Category Archives: Oral History

Oral History and Storytelling Workshops from OHMA

The Oral History Master’s Program at Columbia has released their fall line-up of workshops. This year’s theme, Oral History and Storytelling, considers storytelling as an underused tool in academic oral history practice.

From workshop, “Finding Fathers: A Cautionary Tale for Oral Historians”

Visit OHMA’s website for workshop details and featured speakers.

September 12, 2019
Europe according to Auschwitz: Experiments from the Laboratory of Reportage

September 19, 2019
Newest Americans: Stories from the Global City

September 26, 2019
Oral History and Indigenous Peoples: Rethinking Oral History, Methods, Politics and Theories

October 3, 2019
Finding Fathers: A Cautionary Tale for Oral Historians

October 24, 2019
Standing With Sky Woman: A conversation on cultural fluency

November 7, 2019
“Necessary as Water”: Queer Black Ceremony and the Depth of Listening

 

 

Remembering the Chicago Defender’s Influence

Noted African-American newspaper, the Chicago Defender, announced earlier this summer that it will cease print production. The weekly paper, founded in 1905, played a crucial role in providing news for scores of migrating African-Americans. With the rise of industrialization, job creation and seeking greater opportunities than in the South, migrants relocated to the North, especially Chicago. The Defender was a resource for establishing black political, social and cultural roots in the city.

A notable number of reporters and editors interviewed for the Oral History Archives’ Black Journalists Collection reflect on the Chicago Defender’s role in their training and influence in creating a black press in American communities.

Panel from Bungleton Green, which ran in the Chicago Defender

Blacks in urban centers used newspapers like the Defender to acclimate to cities and new social mores. One feature newspapers used to convey etiquette and ethics for city living was the cartoon Bungleton Green.

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Lo and behold: a new finding aid for the Wellington Koo Papers

Processing collections and creating finding aids according to updated archival standards gives RBML archivists the opportunity to discover anew our collections. In this post, Processing Archivist Yingwen Huang reflects on creating a new finding aid for the heavily used Wellington Koo Papers. Wellington Koo, a graduate of Columbia and a prominent statesman and diplomat from China, played a major role in positioning China in the 20th Century international political scene. Koo used this papers as the basis for his extensive (10,000+ pages!) oral history interview held in RBML’s Oral History Archives.

“I hope this record will contribute in some small way to a mutual understanding between East and West, and to an understanding of history.” – Speech on the presentation of the Koo oral history to Columbia University, May 28, 1976

At the age of 31, Koo was the youngest delegate in the Chinese Delegation to the Paris Peace Conference. He was the key figure in speaking on the behalf of China in the direct restitution of Shandong province during the conference. He later went on to serve as the Chinese Ambassador to France, England, the United States, while representing China at the League of Nations and contributing to the founding of the United Nations.

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In Passing | Oral history with Justice John Paul Stevens

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died this week at the age of 99.  Nominated by Richard Nixon, Justice Stevens ruled on several pivotal cases that have shaped environmental policy, presidential elections and campaign financing.

The Columbia Center for Oral History interviewed Justice Stevens for its project, The Rule of Law. The project documents the state of human and civil rights in the post-9/11 world.

Read the transcript online to hear Justice Stevens’ reflections from the bench on Citizens United, capital punishment, affirmative action, shutting down Guantanamo Bay, the 2012 election and the use of advertising among other topics.

Oral history interview with Justice John Paul Stevens, Oral History Archives at Columbia (PDF)

The Oral History Archives announces a new book series

square word bubble with words oral history archives

The Oral History Archives at Columbia and the Columbia Center for Oral History Research are joining forces with Columbia University Press, the Columbia Center for Oral History and the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics to produce a new series of books on oral history methodology and practice.

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Celebrate the International Year of the Periodic Table in our collections

Let’s be honest: most contemporary awareness weeks and anniversaries are commercially-driven attempts to garner social media clicks and buzz.

But occasionally there’s something worth noting related to the humanities or the sciences. Herewith, the United Nations has declared 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table.

“The Periodic Table” by James Nicholls is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

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Pride Month and history in the RBML collections

Photo by Jiroe on Unsplash

Getting to tell your own story is a gift, but it means that you have to contend with other people’s stories, and I guess that can mean arguing, maybe for 50 years straight. And that’s O.K.  – Who Threw the First Brick at Stonewall? Let’s Argue About It

The RBML’s archival, manuscript, oral history and University Archives are full of materials from people who were out and proud, recently revealed queer collections and likely materials and people still somewhat closeted by historical forces and past archival practices rooted in homophobia.

You’re invite during PRIDE month, and every other month, to explore the collections we have on offer that begin to demonstrate the range of LGBTQIA people, voices and experiences. Some materials to start with include, but aren’t limited to:

Ephemera relating to the LGBT movement in Croatia // A collection of leaflets and cards and one button relating to the LGBT movement in Croatia. Several of the items were issued by Kontra or Iskorak, both based in Zagreb. // http://tiny.cc/rbml_CU_croatia_lgbt

And, by all means, if you come across items in our collections that show evidence of LGBTQIA histories, let us know so that we can update our records accurately.

Collecting News | Obama presidency oral histories to be archived at Columbia

The Oral History Archives at Columbia (OHAC) is pleased to announce that it will be the sole repository of the official oral histories of the presidency of Barack Obama (CC ’83).

President Obama on the phone at his desk in the Oval Office with quote from President Bollinger about the value of oral history to understanding the presidency

From the University’s official announcement:

Starting this summer and over the next five years, the Obama Presidency Oral History Project will conduct interviews with some 400 people, including senior leaders and policy makers within the administration, as well as elected officials, campaign staff, journalists, and other key figures—Republican and Democrat—outside the White House.

The Obama Presidency Oral History Project also will incorporate interviews with individuals representing different dimensions of daily American life, whose perspectives enable the archive to weave recollections of administration officials with the stories and experiences of people who were affected by the Administration’s decisions. This project will also examine Mrs. Obama’s work and legacy as First Lady.

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Newly Available | Oral histories documenting the Tunisian government transition

The Tunisian Transition Oral History Project’s thirty-eight interviews document the Tunisian revolution (2010-2011) and the period of the transitional governments (2011-2014), with a particular emphasis on the technocratic government of Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa (January 2014-December 2015).

(FILES) A photo taken on January 23, 2011 shows inhabitants of the central Tunisia region of Sidi Bouzid demonstrating in front of the Government palace in Tunis as they came from a poverty-stricken rural region where the crackdown against a wave of social protests in the final days of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's 23-year regime was at its harshest. Tunisian mediators of the socalled National Dialogue Quartet (Tunisian General Labour Union UGTT, Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts UTICA, Tunisian Human Rights League LTDH and Tunisian Order of Lawyers) won the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, for helping to create the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring, at a time when the country is under threat from Islamist violence, the Norwegian Nobel Commitee announced on October 9, 2015 .

AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID

Consistent with the composition of the technocratic government that it documents, the collection’s narrators come from a wide range of expertise: businesspeople, union leaders, NGO leaders, human rights advocates, and bureaucrats in the areas of security, education, economics, and more.

The Columbia Center for Oral History Research, a the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) conducted roughly 110 hours of interviews. Read more about the project on INCITE’s blog.