Tag Archives: Oral History

TONIGHT! West Coast Cocktails: An Oral History

Draper Alumna Shana Farrell will be hosting a cocktail hour to raise funds for the The Center for Oral History of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. $1 from each drink will be donated to the project and a raffle will be held. Stop by and say hello!

Wednesday, August 20
@ the Shanty
79 Richardson Street
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Contact Shana at sfarrell[at]library.berkeley.edu

Fwd: UC Berkeley’s 2014 Advanced Oral History Summer Institute with Keynote Robin Nagle

Please see below for information on an Oral History Summer Institute program at Berkeley this year. It’s being coordinated by Draper alumna, Shanna Farrell (Sept. 2011), and Robin Nagle is the keynote speaker!
Applications are currently open. Details follow.

UC Berkeley’s Regional Oral History Office will be hosting our 2014 Advanced Oral History Summer Institute at UC Berkeley from August 1115. This year our focus will be on the “lifecycle of an interview” and each day will be organized around different stages in the interview and project process. Daily themes include “Foundational Aspects of Oral History,” “Project Conceptualization,” “Anatomy of the Interview,” “Analytic Strategies and Interpretation,” and “Reflections and Reconceptualization.” Sessions will include standard topics such as Oral History Theory, Legal/Ethical Issues, and Project Planning as well as new sessions including the Anatomy of an Interview, Analysis and Presentation, Digital Humanities, and Funding.

We are pleased to announce that Robin Nagle, who is the Director of New York University’s John W. Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program, will be our 2014 Keynote Speaker. Nagle, who is also the Anthropologist-in-Residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), recently published Picking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City, which has been featured in the New York Times and Mother Jones. Nagle’s work has also been featured on This American LifeThe Believer, and in a recent TED talk she gave. She uses oral history as one of her research methods and founded the DSNY Oral History Archive, which is an expanding collection of interviews with Sanitation workers. We look forward to having her!


We will also have several guest speakers for our panel sessions, including Robert Keith Collins of San Francisco State University, Mimi Lok of Voice of Witness, Louise Pubols of the Oakland Museum of California, Isabel Ziegler of the National Parks Service, and Rina Benmayor of California State University, Monterey Bay.


Along with Nagle and our guest speakers, our five Summer Institute faculty from the regular ROHO team are Neil Henry, Martin Meeker, Lisa Rubens, Paul Burnett, and Shanna Farrell. They will be leading sessions and facilitating discussions.


Applications are now open (see the link) and will be accepted on a rolling basis:


Tune in to our blog for updates about the Institute including the week’s schedule, information about panel sessions, and housing options. Please contact Shanna Farrell (sfarrell@library.berkeley.edu) with questions.

We look forward to seeing you this summer!

Upcoming Conference

Injured Cities, Urban Afterlives
Conference at Columbia University
October 14-15, 2011
Miller Theater and Wood Auditorium

See all program information at http://socialdifference.org/injuredcities/

This conference, convened on the tenth anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001, aims to explore the effects of catastrophe on cities and their inhabitants, to analyze the politics of shock and terror states use in response to their vulnerability, and to imagine more life-affirming modes of redress and re-invention.

The focal point of the conference will be the September 11, 2001 Oral History Narrative and Memory Project of Columbia’s Oral History Research Office, an oral history archive of 600 life stories of diverse New York City communities. The collection documents the multiple ways that “difference” – in the form of geography, cultural memory, ethnic identity, class, gender, generation, religious and political affiliation – affects how individuals are subject to and assign meaning to historical catastrophe, both immediately after the event and in the months and years following.

The conference will begin with a morning panel that lays the groundwork for the discussions we hope to stimulate throughout the two days. Panel One, “Injured Cities/ Threshold Catastrophes” will address the temporality of urban catastrophe, looking both at the populations that are most vulnerable and most deeply affected by injury — those on the threshold of catastrophe, to borrow a term from Israeli theorist Ariella Azoulay — and at ‘wounded cities’ in the aftermath. Panelists are urban sociologist Saskia Sassen, cultural theorist Azoulay and cultural geographer Karen Till.

Injured Cities: Urban Afterlives seeks to initiate a new collective memory of the events of 9/11, 2001, that arises from the local and urban, but also the global experiences of those most directly – and differently – affected. The first afternoon will focus on a series of dialogues organized by Mary Marshall Clark (Director of the Columbia University Oral History Research Office) that stage an encounter between oral history narrators who will testify to the crucial ways in which “difference” became a threat to the construction of a national collective memory of 9/11—a threat that endangered the national consensus that quickly formed for global retaliation. As a creative extension of the discussions of the opening day, the conference organizer are planning to host an evening performance of Testimony to the Ruins by the acclaimed Colombian theater group Mapa Teatro at Miller Theater.

Day Two of the conference will be organized around three interdisciplinary and international panels of noted artists, architects, scholars, journalists, and practitioners. Panel Four, “Citizens, Immigrants, Aliens in the Aftermath,” will think through the politics of belonging and unbelonging that result in the wake of catastrophic events, as well as the demographic injuries that fracture cities with potentially catastrophic effects. Panel Five, “Spatializing Afterlife” will engage the expressive cultural forms through which urban artists, planners, activists and policy-makers have engaged catastrophe, and how they have responded to their enduring wounds through the spatio-physical re-visioning of injured cities. The final panel “Art and Archive After Catastrophe” will focus on artistic responses to urban catastrophe, and the creative modalities that transform them into acts of redress and renewal.

Participants include Ariella Azoulay, Nina Bernstein, Teddy Cruz, Ann Jones, Dinh Q. Lê, Anne McClintock, Shirin Neshat, Walid Raad, Saskia Sassen, Karen Till, Clive van den Berg, Eyal Weizman and several narrators from the 9/11 Oral History Project; moderators Gerry Albarelli, Carol Becker, Hazel V. Carby, Tina Campt, Andreas Huyssen, Mary Marshall Clark, Saidiya Hartman, Rosalind Morris, Diana Taylor, and Mabel Wilson; and conference co-organizers Tina Campt, Marianne Hirsch, Jean Howard, Lorie Novak, and Laura Wexler.

Check Out the DSNY Oral History Archive, Developed by Robin Nagle and Draper Students

Freshkills, March 2011 (Photo: Robin Nagle)
In spring 2011, Draper and Museum Studies students in Robin Nagle’s “Oral History, Labors of Waste, and the Value of Knowledge” class had the opportunity to launch a new online oral history archive unlike any other currently in existence–one which is dedicated to New York City’s Department of Sanitation and Freshkills Park. The oral history projects begun in this class have been collected into one website: the newly-launched DSNY and Freshkills Park Oral History Archive.

Over the course of the spring semester, students conducted interviews with individuals deeply involved with both the history and future of the DSNY and Freshkills Park. Interviewees featured on the website include current and retired sanitation workers and DSNY employees, spouses of sanitation workers, a former resident of Freshkills (before it was converted to a landfill), the administrator of Freshkills Park, and many others.
In the long term, Robin hopes that “the DSNY Oral History Project will have 100 voices from all corners of Sanitation life. Similarly, the Freshkills Park Oral History Project will have recollections from neighbors, workers and planners whose lives intersected with or continue to shape the Park’s future.” For now, the website marks a vibrant start to a project that will undoubtedly develop and expand in the coming years.
Check out the archive’s website to find out more about the motivation for the project, the narrators who shared their stories and experiences, and listen to full and excerpted interviews.
You can also read a recent article on silive.com about the project: “How Does Your Garbage Disappear from the Curb? Hear from the People Who Make It Happen.”

Oral History in New York: Archives and Public History Brown Bag Lunch Discussion: Dec. 3

The NYU Archives and Public History Program first Friday brown bag lunch series presents:

– Oral History in New York: Planning, Implementation and Use –

Friday December 3, 12:00-2:00pm
King Juan Carlos Center (53 Washington Square South), Room 607

The Archives and Public History brown bag lunch series continues on Friday, December 3rd for a panel discussion featuring oral historians from the New York area. Speakers will discuss their recent and ongoing projects as well as the diverse uses of oral history in exhibits, research projects and education.

Please RSVP to Margaret Fraser at mfraser522@gmail.com by Wednesday, December 1.

Speakers include:
  • Amy Starecheski, Columbia Oral History Research Office, recently worked on the Telling Lives Project in Chinatown and currently working with squatters
  • Sady Sullivan, Director of Oral History at the Brooklyn Historical Society
  • Nina Talbot, artist and oral historian, recently curated the exhibit “Painting Brooklyn Stories of Immigration and Survival” at the Brooklyn Historical Society

The Archives and Public History Program first Friday brown bag lunch series is organized in part by the NYU student chapter of the Society of American Archivists