Category Archives: Other Oral History Projects

Join us for Our 2014-2015 Workshop Series: Oral History, Medicine, and Health

Fall 2014 Oral History Workshop Series: Oral History, Medicine, and Health

This academic year in our public workshop series, in partnership with the Program in Narrative Medicine, the Oral History MA Program at Columbia University will be exploring the intersections of oral history, health and medicine. As public health professionals experiment with using oral history to access new realms of knowledge about health and social life, practitioners of narrative medicine deploy oral history to engage with patients, and oral historians partner with people with disabilities, dementia, and mental illness to record and amplify their stories, the time is right for an in-depth multidisciplinary engagement of the productive areas where these fields meet.

Full schedule and descriptions

All Events are Free and Open to the Public
Campus Map.


Sam Robson. “Oral History Meets Dementia: A Staged Reading of the Play Timothy and Mary.”

Thursday, September 11, 6-8pm, The Faculty House at Columbia University, Seminar Room One.

Luke Gerwe. “Seeking Witness: Voice of Witness and Building an Oral History Network.”

Thursday, September 18, 6-8pm, Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor.


Teiji Okamoto. “A Radical Archive of Be(long)ing.”

Thursday, October 2, 6-8pm, Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor.

Sayantani DasGupta. “Narrative Humility: Medical Listening and Oral History.”

Thursday, October 16, 6-8pm, Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor.


Brian Purnell. ” Can the Oral Historian Speak?

Thursday, November 6, 6-8pm, Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor.

Nicki Berger. “Oral History and Intellectual Disability: Navigating Authority, Authorship, and Advocacy.

Thursday, November 13, 6-8pm, Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor.

Stay posted for upcoming events in the Spring!

Feb. 5: Ann Cvetkovich. “After Depression: Reflections on Oral and Written Personal Narrative as Archive of Feelings.”

Feb. 12: Joanne Ahola. “Finding the Contours of Torture.”

Feb. 26: Christopher Sellers. “Stories of Environmental Danger: A Collective

Mar. 5: Kathy Davis. “Bodies, Embodiment, and the Experience of Passion: What Tango Dancers Can Teach Us.”

Mar. 12: Lynda Crane and Tracy McDonough. “Oral History with Vulnerable Populations: The Schizophrenia Oral History Project.

Mar. 26: Ron Doel. “Oral History and the History of Science and Medicine.”

Apr. 2: Alessandro Portelli. “Stories I Skipped: Narratives of Care, Narratives of War.

Apr. 16: Ynestra King. “Listening with the Whole Body in Mind Feminist Oral History Project.”

Apr. 30: Aline Gubrium and Elizabeth L. Krause.”Digital Storytelling as Narrative Shock: New Views on Young Parenting Latinas, Migration, and Family.

Please refer to for updated information, or email Amy Starecheski, Associate Director of OHMA, at aas39(at)

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

CCOHR Joins Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) in New Partnership

In a pathbreaking move that has strengthened the Columbia Center for Oral History (CCOH), the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) has partnered with the Columbia University Libraries in managing and administering the activities and programs of the CCOH. INCITE and its founder Peter Bearman (Sociology) have worked closely with the staff of CCOH over the years, particularly in the development of the September 11, 2001 Oral History Projects and the Oral History Master of Arts program.

Under the terms of the new partnership, INCITE will have responsibility for the research, education, and outreach activities of CCOH. These include new oral history projects, the Oral History Master of Arts program (which was already jointly administered by CCOH and INCITE), the Summer Institute, and public programming. All of these activities will take shape under the CCOHR. The R stands for Research. The Libraries, in turn, will focus its energies on the curatorial and archiving aspects of CCOH’s mission. The Libraries will devote more staff and attention to acquiring, processing, and making more generally available the rich set of resources that comprise the CCOH archive. All of these activities will take shape under the CCOHA, the A stands for Archives. This new relationship thus anchors CCOH firmly in faculty research and teaching, while bolstering Columbia University Libraries commitments to professional archival management through the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML).

This semester, Mary Marshall Clark, director of CCOHR, along with program coordinators David Briand and Sarah Dziedzic, all officially joined the INCITE team. The CCOHR will carry out a full portfolio of new and important oral history projects. CCOHA will continue to provide reference and support services under the management of the RBML. Research activities will take place at INCITE’s research space at 122nd and Broadway.

Click here to learn more about CCOHR.

The Interdisciplinary Center Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) cultivates public intelligence concerning socially and culturally vital ideas that can be advanced by research, education and conversation at the interdisciplinary seams that the social sciences share with one another, the humanities, the life and behavioral sciences:

The Columbia Center for Oral History Research‘s mission is to record unique life histories, document the central historical events and memories of our times, and to teach and do research across the disciplines:

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 11 million volumes, over 150,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 500 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources:


Fall 2013 Oral History Workshop Series

Fall 2013 Oral History Workshop Series

This series is co-sponsored by the Columbia Center for Oral History (CCOH) and the Oral History Master of Arts Program (OHMA). All of our workshops are free and open to the public and will explore the myriad of ethical and practical issues raised by the practice of oral history in the different disciplines within the humanities and social sciences.

All of the events in the Oral History Workshop are funded through the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Lecture Series, which provides support for events that honor the legacy of the former Columbia professor.


Darija Marić “Personal Memories of war and Detention in Croatia from 1941 until Today: Making Private Experiences Public as a Means of Mobilizing Support and Developing Understanding

Thursday, September 12, 6:30-8:30pm, Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor. Campus Map. [More Information]

Co-sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Human Rights

Daniel Wolff “Listening to New Orleans

Thursday, September 26, 6:30-8:30pm, Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor. Campus Map.


Avner GvaryahuOur Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers’ Testimonies from the Occupied Territories 2000-2010

Monday, October 7, 6:30-8:30pm, 523 Butler Library, 535 West 114th Street, 5th floor. Campus Map. [Flyer]

Co-sponsored by The Middle East Institute

Muriel MiguelFrom Storytelling to Storyweaving: Muriel Miguel, A Retrospective

Thursday, October 24, 6:30-8:30pm, Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor. Campus Map.


Audrey Petty (Voice of Witness) “High Rise Stories” 

Thursday, November 7, 6:30-8:30pm, Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor. Campus Map.

Jeff Friedman “The Eros of Oral History” 

Thursday, November 21, 6:30-8:30pm, Room 509, Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, 5th floor. Campus Map.

All events are free and open to the public

Please refer to for updated information


[Workshop Reflection] Subjectivity, Authority, and the Uses of Oral History

On April 11th, OHMA students were given the opportunity to interview Sarah Mountz, a scholar and advocate of LGBTQ youth in child welfare systems. The talk was part of OHMA’s year-long oral history workshop class, in which students meet with oral historians, activists, scholars, journalists and others who incorporate oral history into their work. During the hour-long session, the students asked questions on several topics, including subjectivity, authority, and the role oral history can play in academia and social work. Some highlights from the session have been provided below.

Upcoming Workshop: Movement Creates Museum, 4/25 at 6PM

The Columbia Center for Oral History, the Oral History Master of Arts (OHMA) Program, the MA in Museum Anthropology, and the Institute for Research in African-American Studies Present:

Movement Creates Museum:
The Activist Beginnings of Weeksville Heritage Center

WHO: Jennifer Scott is an Anthropologist, Public Historian, and Curator. She serves as the Vice Director/Director of Research at Weeksville Heritage Center, a historic house museum specializing in innovative study and applications of history, culture, the arts and civic engagement. An oral historian, she spearheads Weeksville’s oral history project, conducts oral history workshops, and has served on oral history advisory boards, including StoryCorps Griot.

WHEN: Thursday, April 25, 2013, 6:00-8:00pm.

WHERE: Columbia University, Northwest Corner Building, Room 602, 550 West 120th Street, 6th floor. Enter campus at 116th Street, at either Broadway or Amsterdam. Campus Map.

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP: Scott will be discussing the role and possibilities of oral history for understanding activism and social change in the founding and expansion of a public history center. Weeksville Heritage Center’s (WHC) oral history program began in the 1970s alongside the rediscovery and reclamation of a “lost” history. Founded in 1972 in Brooklyn, WHC currently consists of the historic Hunterfly Road Houses, three nineteenth century wood-frame residential structures that have been restored and opened to the public. Through research, tours, exhibitions and programs, WHC interprets the forgotten history of Weeksville, a free black, intentional, land-owning community, which established its own schools, churches, anti-slavery organizations, and operated as a safe space for African Americans in the greater New York area throughout the 19th century.

SPONSORS: This talk is part of the “Paul F. Lazarsfeld Lecture Series,” co-sponsored by the Columbia Center for Oral History (CCOH), Oral History Master of Arts Program (OHMA), the MA in Museum Anthropology, and the Institute for Research in African-American Studies. Support from the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) is provided for programming that embodies late Professor Paul Lazarsfeld’s commitment to improving methodological approaches that address concerns of vital cultural and social significance.

INFORMATION: For more information, please email Terrell Frazier at