Conference: Oral History and Our Times, May 1-2

May 1-2, 2013

A two-day conference


The Columbia Center for Oral History [CCOH], of the Columbia University Libraries, and the Oral History Master of Arts program [OHMA], through INCITE’s Paul F. Lazarsfeld Lecture Series, are hosting a two-day conference exploring the role of oral history in documenting, disseminating and educating students and the public about the central events and concerns of our times — featuring the Rule of Law Oral History Project and impact of U.S. detention and rendition policies over the last decade. The conference will also survey the impact of Columbia’s path-breaking Oral History Master of Arts program [OHMA], the first program of its kind in the U.S., now in its fifth year. The conference gathers leading experts in the fields of oral history, human rights, and the arts.

The first day of the conference, May 1st, will conclude with a keynote (6:00 – 8:00 p.m.) by Stephen Soldz, Director of the Center for Research, Evaluation, and Program Development at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis and public activist. Soldz will discuss the uses and impact of psychological torture on those held at Guantanamo and other black sites, and the impact of condoning torture on democracy.

The second day of the conference, May 2nd, will feature a presentation on the WKCR/Center for Jazz Studies Oral History Project. Brent Edwards, a professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and the co-director of the Project (with Ben Young, the director of WKCR, the Columbia University radio station), will discuss the issues raised by oral history in the performing arts and the   unique approach of the Project, which involves the extensive use of archival material (including recordings, date books, programs, and flyers) in the oral history process.

In connection with this conference, there will be interactive oral history workshops May 2 from 12:15 – 1:45 p.m., taught by OHMA students and alumni, free to the public. Register now for a workshop to reserve your spot.