Category Archives: Current Projects

May 1 at 5pm: Social Hall: An Oral History Exhibit

The Social Hall: an Oral History Exhibit
Produced and curated by Columbia University’s OHMA Students

Please join us to celebrate our exploration of oral history-based projects

WHEN:     Thursday, May 1, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

WHERE:    Social Hall
Union Theological Seminary
3041 Broadway (at 121st Street)
New York, New York 10027


Columbia University’s Oral History Master of Arts 2014 Cohort is proud to present “Social Hall,” an exhibition of complex projects that both challenge and advance the field of oral history. By considering multimedia applications and social presentations, we wish to introduce a new audience to the field and to share its significance in our world, both past and present.

“Social Hall” is made up of individual projects that address a wide range of topics, including Argentina’s struggle for memory in a post-dictatorship society, a woman’s journey from Fort Mojave Indian Tribe to Yale University, the explorations of a scrap diver, definition of community in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and a documentary on Black men during the era of Black Power and Black Nationalism. These projects are connected through their dependence on oral history and their engagement with living individuals, our narrators.  All projects in this exhibit were developed by OHMA students.


The Oral History Master of Arts is the first program of its kind: a one-yearinterdisciplinary Master of Arts degree training students in oral history method and theory.  Jointly run by the Columbia Center for Oral History Research, one of the preeminent oral history centers in the world, and INCITE, a lively hub for interdisciplinary research in the humanities and social sciences, OHMA connects students with the intellectual resources of a major research university, and with the intimate society of a small cohort of talented students.May 1 Flyer


Here is a roundup of news and happenings in the field of oral history. Follow us on Twitter @CU_OralHistory and “like” us on Facebook for the latest news and events.


Tule Lake Committee Contributes to Japanese American Legacy Project

During World War II, more than 18,000 members of the Japanese American community were detained by the United States government at an internment camp in Tule Lake, California. Today, this immigrant experience is not one that is often shared. As a result, the Tule Lake Committee has received a grant from the California Council on the Humanities to use oral history as a way to tell the stories of Japanese American protest at Tule Lake, and is also partnering with Densho and the National Japanese Historical Society to conduct full life story oral history interviews with people who were incarcerated at Tule Lake and forced to renounce their U.S. citizenship as part of the Japanese American Legacy Project.

Read more at Common Dreams and access interviews at Densho’s Digital Archive

Columbia University’s Center for Social Sciences Chronicles the History of First Campaigns

An oral historian at Columbia University’s Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for Social Sciences, Jeffrey H. Brodsky, has conducted more than 60 hours of oral history interviews with politicians recounting their first political races. Brodsky humanizes politicians as he gives them the opportunity to articulate the doubts, motivations, and inspirations during the campaigns that formed the foundation of their public careers. Through a series of video interviews, audiences everywhere can witness the vulnerabilities of politicians, especially during the early stages of their careers.

Read more at The Washington Post

Veteran’s Oral History Project Preserves Veteran’s Stories

Organized and overseen by the Library of Congress and American Folklife Center, the Veteran’s Oral History Project promotes the preservation of veteran’s stories and experiences related to their participation in the United States armed forces. The Fayetteville Public Library is one of the many libraries across the nation that has agreed to take part in the project, as they also believe veterans need to share their experiences, no longer how long they’ve served.

Read more at The City Wire and learn how to take part in the project at The Library of Congress

Bancroft Library’s Regional Oral History Office Conducts Oral History Project on Bay Bridge

As part of an oral history series sponsored by the California Department of Transportation, the Regional Oral History Office team at UC Berkley is conducting a widespread call for stories from those who were involved in the design, construction, and continued maintenance and managing of the Bay Bridge up to the 1950’s. As the longest bridge in the world when it was built, collected oral histories on the history and role of the Bay Bridge to the San Francisco region will not only inform scholars, students, and community members alike, but also be a part of an exhibition dedicated to the environmental history of the San Francisco Bay, opening at the Oakland Museum of California in September of 2013 during the induction of the new Bay Bridge.

Read more at UC Berkley News Center

Houston Community College Southeast Produces Oral History Project Promoting Latino Legacy

After its establishment in the 1890s, the Magnolia Park neighborhood in Houston, Texas, became home to thousands of early Mexican and Tejano settlers. To understand and promote the legacy of Latinos in this community, the president of Houston Community College Southeast commissioned the Magnolia Park Oral History Project, a thirty-part digital film project documenting the people, history, and legacy of the Magnolia Park neighborhood with over 100 interviews and 2000 photographs of community members and their ancestors. Once completed, the project will become a part of a permanent exhibition available to the public in the Houston Community College Southeast’s campus museum.

Read more at the Media Room


Nixon Presidential Library and Museum Releases Formerly Restricted Oral Histories

The Nixon Library and Museum has just released interviews conducted with Judiciary members and the Impeachment Inquiry staff responsible for investigating whether or not sufficient grounds existed for the potential impeachment of President Nixon. These oral histories represent one of the first times staff members have publically discussed work on Nixon’s impeachment inquiry and have been made available via YouTube videos for public access.


Visit the collection here

University of California Santa Cruz Completes Project on the History of Organic Farming

Stories from 58 farmers, activists, researchers, and educators from the early 1960s to today have been released in a new oral history project on the history of organic farming in the Santa Cruz area. Collected by the Regional History Project at the University of California Santa Cruz’s University Library, transcripts of the interviews are available in text and audio format, along with photographs and additional resources.

Read more at Weekend Hippie

Visit the collection here


Oral History in the Digital Age Teaches Us “How To…”

Looking to learn the fundamentals of oral history technology? In the “How To” section of the Oral History in the Digital Age website, those new to Oral History can learn how to achieve good audio recording levels, understand microphones, use lighting for video interviews, digitally preserve interviews and more!

CCOH Staff Featured on ‘Oral History in the Digital Age’ Website

Looking to start an oral history project of your own? Then check out Oral History in the Digital Age, a newly developed website aimed to establish the most innovative and effective practices for oral history in our media-driven digital age.

Headed by the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the project partners with MATRIX, Michigan State University, the Oral History Association, the American Folklore Society, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in an effort to work with individuals from a variety of experiences and expertise.

From collecting to curating and planning to preservation, Oral History in the Digital Age gives you access to essays written by leading experts about all points in an oral history project. In addition to essays and numerous other interactive resources, these leading voices can also be seen in the “Thinking Big” series, where leaders in the field of oral history talk about their area of expertise in a more personal video format.

Featured in the series are CCOH Director Mary Marshall Clark and Education and Outreach Director Terrell Frazier sharing their insights on both designing oral history projects and engaging communities through oral history in an increasingly digital era. Mary Marshall also reflects on the role of oral history in today’s society and Terrell discusses the exchange that occurs when community groups and oral history centers recognize the value they give to one another and how they inform each other’s work in the process.

You can access Oral History in the Digital Age here and view the other videos in the Thinking Big series here.


Here is a roundup of news and happenings in the field of oral history. Follow us on Twitter @CU_OralHistory and “like” us on Facebook for the latest news and events.


With the support of a grant from the National Marine Fisheries Service, the University of Southern Mississippi Center for Oral History continues its work capturing the stories of those whose livelihood depends on the Gulf Coast’s seafood industry, which was threatened by the 2010 Oil Spill on the Gulf of Mexico. The Center has talked with crabbers, shrimpers and oyster harvesters across the Gulf of Mexico about the challenges the disaster has presented to their way of life and the foodways of the region.

Read more at Southern Miss Now

University of Winnipeg Professor Leads Oral History Project on Salvadoran Voices of Manitoba

Professor of Oral History at the University of Winnipeg in Canada, Alexander Freund, has begun documenting the history of the migration of refugees to Manitoba after World War II, focusing on the Salvadoran community: the most populous Latin American group to arrive as a result of the war.

Read more at Metro News (CA)

Lecturer at University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee Completes Milwaukee Transgender Oral History Project

In an effort to show that oral history is “one of the best ways non-transgender people can get to know and understand those who are transgender,” archivist and lecturer at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Brice Smith, completed an oral history project dedicated to stories of transgender people in the Milwaukee community in a little over a year. The project is now stored in the UWM library archives and is fully accessible to students and to the public. It includes 10 hours of audio and more than 200 pages of transcript.

Read more at Wisconsin Gazette

The Memory Project Documents Oral Testimonies on the 1991-2002 Civil War in Sierra Leone, Africa

Similar to Voices of Rwanda, an Oral History project documenting the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the Memory Project, led by the director of the Jeneba Project, Joseph Kaifla, will give those who lived through the Civil War in Sierra Leone the opportunity to give oral testimonies about what happened and how they were affected by the war. The project will serve as “a platform for justice”, with hopes of educating community youth in order to provide understanding and prevent a brutal civil war from happening again.

Read more at Awoko


Retired Music Executive Donates Interviews with Bob Dylan and more to Library of Congress

According to the NY Daily News, retired music executive, Joe Smith, will donate more than 200 rare audio interviews recorded while President of Capitol Records with popular singers including Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner and others to the Library of Congress.

Read more at NY Daily News

Western Carolina University Library Releases “Stories of Mountain Folk”

As the first audio collection released by Hunter Library at the University of Western Carolina, “Stories of Mountain Folk,” an oral history collection produced by a western North Carolina not-for-profit, Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, has now become available through the library’s website. The collection’s interviews cover traditions, events and life stories of regional individuals of Western Carolina including gardeners, herbalists, farmers, musicians, artists and writers, and is now searchable by name, place, and topic in the collection’s online archives.

Read more at Macon County News

Visit the collection here.


Audio and Sound Recording Forum

Looking for a place where you can share knowledge and discuss current topics relevant to the fields of audio recording, composition, archiving, engineering, and research? “Playback” is a social media network that welcomes people with both professional and personal interests in audio recording.

Joining is free at:

TONIGHT at 6:30PM: The Role of Oral History in Situations of War and Conflict


The Role of Oral History in Situations of War and Conflict

WHO: Dr. Lucine Taminian (The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq) and Professor S. Mohammad Mohaqqeq (Kabul University) will discuss their fieldwork and conducting oral history projects in conflict and post-conflict settings.

WHEN: June 13, 2012, 6:30-8:00pm.

WHERE: Columbia University Law School, Jerome Greene Annex, Morningside Heights Campus, 410 West 117th Street  NY, NY 10027. Enter campus at 116th Street, at either Broadway or Amsterdam. Google Map, Campus Map.


Lucine Taminian is a senior researcher in residence at The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq, based in Amman, Jordan. Dr. Taminian earned her PhD in anthropology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and has taught there as well as at the American University of Beirut, Pace University, Sarah Lawrence College and Yarmouk University. She has conducted field research in Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen and authored numerous articles and edited three books based on that work. Dr. Taminian currently serves as a member of the editorial board of al-Mastoor, a Jordanian monthly magazine dedicated to issues of poverty. She has consulted widely on women’s issues, particularly as they relate to the development process. In 2006 she was consultant to the Jordanian National Council for Family Affairs working on the Strategic Plan for Family Protection against Violence in Jordan. In 2005, she served as an academic advisor to the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies (RIIFS), Amman, Jordan and the academic coordinator to WECOMES-2 (World Congress for Middle East) held in Amman. Currently she is the senior researcher for TAARII’s project on the oral histories of Iraqis living outside Iraq.

Sayed Mohammad Mohaqqeq is currently teaching at Kabul University and leads Sarv Consultancy in the area of educational and cultural development. He was born in 1976 in Kabul, Afghanistan; he received his bachelor’s degree in English language and literature and his master’s degree in translation studies from Allameh University, Tehran (1997-2004). Mohammad’s master’s thesis was entitled “Ideology and Qur’an Translation”. He was a Fulbright fellow to Southern Illinois University, Department of Sociology (2006-2007) and Central European University research fellow, Budapest, Hungary (2007-2009). His published works include “Religion and National Identity in Afghanistan” and “Hope in Kabul University: Collective Hopefulness and Individual Hopelessness.” He has also translated many works from English to Farsi and Dari in the field of social sciences.

SPONSORS: This presentation is a part of the Columbia Center for Oral History 2012 Summer Institute, “What is Remembered: Life Story Approaches in Human Rights Contexts,” co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute (Columbia Law School).