Tag Archives: Oral History Master of Arts

Oral History Open House and Book Talk: Thursday, Feb. 21 AT COLUMBIA

The Oral History Master of Arts (OHMA) Program, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, the Columbia Journalism School and Voice of Witness Present:

Everybody’s A Stranger When They First Arrive:
Refugees’ Experiences in America

WHO: Gabriele Stabile, is an Italian photographer based in New York City. His photography has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Juliet Linderman is a reporter for the Times-Picayune. Formerly the editor of a small community newspaper, she has written for many publications including The New York Times and Village Voice. The two will discuss the newest title from Voice of Witness, Refugee Hotel, a collection of photography and oral histories that documents the experiences of refugees in the United States. Staff will also be on hand to talk with prospective students about the Oral History Master of Arts (OHMA) program at Columbia University.

WHEN: Thursday, February 21, 2013, 6:00-8:00pm.

WHERE: Columbia Journalism School, Stabile Student Center, Morningside Heights Campus, 2950 Broadway NY, NY 10027. Enter campus at 116th Street, at either Broadway or Amsterdam. Google Map, Campus Map.

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP Join Gabriele and Juliet for a presentation and discussion on the role of oral history in contemporary human rights and photojournalism. The editors will discuss and read from their new book, in which evocative images are coupled with moving testimonies from men and women who have resettled in the United States from Burundi, Iraq, Burma, Somalia, Bhutan, and Ethopia. In their narratives, they describe their first days in the US, the lives they’ve left behind, and the communities they have since created.

There will also be a presentation from faculty and alumni about the Oral History Master of Arts (OHMA), a multi-disciplinary program that utilizes theoretical approaches across the social sciences and humanities.

SPONSORS: This talk is part of the “Paul F. Lazarsfeld Lecture Series,” co-sponsored by the Columbia Center for Oral History (CCOH), the Oral History Master of Arts Program(OHMA), the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, and the Columbia Journalism School. 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 terrellfrazier@columbia.edu

THIS EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED

[Video] Interviewing Interviewers about Interviewing

Andrea Dixon, who received her MA in Oral History and is now a PhD student, says that theoretical understanding will help with oral history’s struggle for legitimacy. Her dissertation research consists of interviews with oral historians about their interview practices and the origins of those practices. “Reflecting about the practice via the practice – it’s pretty meta,” Dixon joked to a packed housePart 1 of her enlightening presentation began with a YouTube clip of Penn State historian Lee Stout exploring the question “What is an Oral History Interview?” Through Stout’s answers, Dixon discussed how oral history is a unique research method that is both process and product, creating new sources. This understanding of oral history is widely shared. But Dixon also urged us to look at the oral history interview as a “communication event” imbued with “symbolic interactionism.” She pointed to the gap between dialogue and communication, teasing out how we can know that the oral history interview is a communicative event.

Part 2 of the presentation is where Dixon delved her dissertation work – interviewing the interviewer about interviewing. She explains that she wants to understand the bedrock assumptions underlying oral history practice, and to see if there are some unexamined beliefs or adherence to theories by oral history practitioners. This is a project that is only feasible and relevant in the 21st century; standing on the sturdily built foundation that oral historians of the past sixty years have built, the next wave of oral historians, of which Dixon is an exceptional member, are able to face larger and more complicated questions than ever before.

Dixon grapples with social epistemology, which, applied to oral history, amounts to what oral historians assume is true about social interactions (like the interview) and the study of whether these assumptions can be proven true. Dixon discussed the matter of narrative depending on coherence (or the allowance of incoherence) as well as the dependence of intersubjectivity on subjectivity, performance on language and memory on self. For oral history to be accessible and understandable, users need to understand these relationships. And the accessibility of oral history is one of Dixon’s primary concerns. She asks the question; how accessible is oral history? And conversely, how is oral history accessible? Dixon sees oral history as an emancipatory enterprise which can and should be used across academic genres. A deeper study of the epistemology of oral history has the potential to lead to a better understanding of the sociology of knowledge.

Dixon stated that all epistemology is still responding to Descartes: “what if what we know turns out not to be true?” She talked about knowledge as “justified belief” and about how oral historians have had secondary status because of subjectivity. “Social epistemology – why does it matter for us? Because it is crucial that we engage critically on the bases of our practice… as oral historians, we are really studying what it means to be human – a different kind of truth.”

Post by OHMA students Sara Wolcott, Ellen Coon, and Ellen Brooks.

ORAL HISTORY OPEN HOUSE AND LECTURE, Thurs., December 6 AT COLUMBIA

The Oral History Master of Arts (OHMA) Program, Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program (CUSP), and Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars, as part of the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Lecture Series, Present:

THE NEWTOWN CREEK COMMUNITY HEALTH AND
HARMS NARRATIVE PROJECT: 

ORAL HISTORY AND PUBLIC HEALTH (WITH OPEN HOUSE PRESENTATION)

WHO: Suzanne Snider is a writer and oral historian. She has worked as an interviewer for Columbia University’s Center for Oral History, the New York Academy of Medicine, HBO Productions, the Newtown Creek Community Health and Harms Narrative Project, and the Prison Public Memory Project, among others. She teaches at the New School University and is the founder/director of Oral History Summer School.

WHEN: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2012, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Columbia Law School, 701 (Case Lounge) on the 7th Floor of Jerome Greene Hall. 435 W 116th Street NY, NY 10027. Enter campus at 116th Street, at either Broadway or Amsterdam. Google Map. Campus Map.

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP: The Oral History Master of Arts program (OHMA) and Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars present Suzanne Snider who will discuss the use of community-based oral history to politicize victims of environmental injustice and to establish a collaborative public health report and map, based on the testimony of long-term residents in three adjacent New York City neighborhoods. The Newtown Creek Community Health and Harms Narrative Project engaged oral historians, social scientists, information designers, community activists, and residents (These categories were not mutually exclusive). This project was initiated by Rachael Weiss and Michael Heimbinder; Snider participated in this project as an oral history consultant and community trainer. What connected all participants was Newtown Creek, an estuary that separates Brooklyn and Queens. Over the last 100 years, Exxon Mobil has dumped or leaked between 17 and 30 million gallons of oil into the creek. A disproportionate number of area residents suffer from rare forms of cancer.

There will also be a presentation from faculty and alumni about the Oral History Master of Arts (OHMA), an interdisciplinary program in the field of oral history that focuses on interviewing methodologies and interpretive methods.

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), and the Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars, and the Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program (CUSP). 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 terrellfrazier@columbia.edu

Workshop: Andrea Dixon, The Epistemology of Oral History, 11/15 at 6PM

The Oral History Master of Arts (OHMA) Program, and the Communication Ph.D Program at the School of Journalism:

Interviewing Interviewers about Interviewing:
The Epistemology of Oral History

WHO: Andrea Dixon studies the philosophy of social science, specifically the epistemology of the interview—the cornerstone of her fieldwork and research. Prior to entering the Communications Ph.D Program at Columbia’s Journalism School, Dixon completed her M.A. in Oral History at the Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, submitting a thesis exploring a hybrid of social network and cognitive mapping analyses, mapping individual frameworks of interactivity within a population, as gleaned from oral history interviews. Her previous work experience includes public media production and distribution at Georgia Public Broadcasting as well as with the public radio program This American Life.

WHEN: Thursday, November 15, 2012, 6:00-8:00pm.

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

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP: In this workshop, Andrea Dixon asks what reliable data or information can be gleaned from interview content, and with what degree of certainty. How do oral history interviewers know what is true or meaningful in their interviews, and how is this knowledge deployed as interviews are translated into other forms of content? Dixon’s ongoing dissertation research concerns epistemological questions as applied to interview-based research, using a microinteractionist theoretical framework to investigate role, mind, and meaning in the interview context. This presentation will draw on preliminary fieldwork interviewing oral history interviewers about interviewing.

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), and the Communication Ph.D Program at the School of Journalism. 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 terrellfrazier@columbia.edu

THIS EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

[Photos & Recap] Folk Music as Oral History: A Performance by The 198 String Band

On Thursday, October 4, 2012, the Columbia Center for Oral History and the Columbia University Oral History Master of Arts program hosted the event, “‘We’d Rather Not Be on the Rolls of Relief’: Folk Music as/and Oral History: Civic Engagement Through Songs, Documentary Photographs and Voices from the Depression and the New Deal.”

The workshop included a presentation by Michael Frisch and a performance by the 198 String Band. Frisch, a renowned historian and scholar, joins Peggy Milliron and Tom Naples to form this unique musical experience of Great Depression Era photography and folk music.

Milliron sifted through thousands of time period photographs from Library of Congress holdings and chose those that complement, as opposed to illustrate, the songs. She described the importance of using images that spoke to her understandings of the music rather than the most iconic photographs from the era.

Similarly, the songs, frequently chosen by Naples, were most often not popular pieces still in circulation today. Instead, they were largely archived recordings by the Farm Security Administration in migrant camps and struggling homesteads.

The result of these combined efforts is a multimedia representation that incorporates music through the lens of history. The presentation was further enhanced by the addition of oral history recordings that spoke to similar subjects as the songs themselves.

The event, which was open to the public, allowed for a forum to discuss the music and discover the personal and collective stories behind the songs and photographs. The dialogue focused on the themes that continue to resonate with modern America, spanning financial hardship, economic disparity, and human resilience.

Most notably, the musicians described their presentation as a work in progress, as they continue to absorb feedback from their workshops and expand their research interests.

This post was written by OHMA students Erica Fugger and Miriam Laytner:

Erica is recent graduate of Union College in Schenectady, New York, where she obtained an interdepartmental degree in History and German Studies. Her current research involves interviews with former workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and peace activism during the Vietnam War.

Miriam is a graduate student in the Oral History Master of the Arts program at Columbia University. As a senior at Barnard College, she wrote her thesis on the use of West African oral traditions as a tool of resistance in pre-emancipation Caribbean countries. Miriam is presently interviewing Caribbean Americans to gain insight into their experiences of religion.

Workshop: Amy Starecheski, Oral History in NYC’s Squatting Communities, 10/18 at 6PM

The Oral History Master of Arts (OHMA) Program and Anthropology Department Presents:

Learning From the Old School:
Oral History and Historical Production in New York City’s Squatting Communities

WHO: Amy Starecheski is the Associate Director of the Oral History MA (OHMA) program at Columbia University. She is also a former squatter, and is completing a PhD in cultural anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center, working with squatters to study the roles of history and property in their lives. She consults and lectures widely on oral history education and methods, and is co-author of the Telling Lives Oral History Curriculum Guide. Amy was a lead interviewer on the Oral History Research Office’s September 11, 2001 Narrative and Memory Project, for which she interviewed Afghans, Muslims, Sikhs, activists, low-income people, and the unemployed.

WHEN: Thursday, October 18, 2012, 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: How, when, why and to whom do people talk about their pasts? What is the relationship between oral history and other genres of talk about the past? And what can looking at oral history as a particular intersection of history-making and talk tell us about the sources and deployment of the power of history to work in the world? In her research, Starecheski uses ethnographic fieldwork and interviews to explore these questions in one historically-minded intergenerational activist community: squatters in New York City. In this talk Starecheski will compare three very different contexts in which activists talk about the past with the aim of promoting and supporting new activist projects: a walking tour of squatted buildings, a series of political education lectures organized by a direct action group, and an oral history project aimed towards producing a book.

SPONSORS: This talk is part of the “Paul F. Lazarsfeld Lecture Series,” co-sponsored by the Columbia Center for Oral History (CCOH) and the Oral History Master of Arts Program (OHMA). Support from the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences is provided for programming that embodies the late Professor’s commitment to improving methodological approaches that address concerns of vital cultural and social significance.

INFORMATION: For more information, please email Terrell Frazier at terrellfrazier@columbia.edu

THIS EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC