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Columbia’s Oral History Master of Arts Announces Fall 2018 Workshop Series “Oral History and the Future: Archives and Embodied Memory”

The Oral History Master of Arts Program is pleased to announce its 2018-2019 workshop series:

Oral History and the Future: Archives and Embodied Memory

Oral history is a conversation about the past that takes place in the present and is oriented towards the future. How is this future orientation made real?

Oral history as a research practice, particularly in the United States, has been defined by a focus on recording and archiving in institutional repositories. But people can be archives too, and oral history-telling practices more broadly often depend on embodied memory, on person-to-person transmission. And because people have been formally recording and archiving oral histories for over seventy years, we are now living in the futures imagined by earlier generations of oral historians. How do these voices from the past function in our present/their future? Looking at examples from digital archiving to indigenous oral history practices, in this series they will examine how the various ways that oral history is projected into the future work, and how they shape our practices as oral historians.

Stay tuned for the announcement of the Spring half of the series but in the meantime, check out the full list of our Fall workshops below:


Thursday, September 13, 2018 | 6:10 – 7:30pm

Pan Dulce: Breaking Bread With The Past

Maria Cotera is an associate professor in the Departments of Women’s Studies and American Culture at the University of Michigan, where she also directs the Latina/o Studies Program. Her first book, Native Speakers: Ella Deloria, Zora Neale Hurston, Jovita González, and the Poetics of Culture, (University of Texas Press, 2008) received the Gloria Anzaldúa book prize for 2009 from the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA). Since 2009 she has been building Chicana por mi Raza, a digital archive documenting Chicana Feminist Praxis in the 1970s.


Thursday, October 4, 2018 | 6:10 – 7:30pm

The Uses of Narrative in Organizing for Social Justice

Sujatha Fernandes is a Professor of Political Economy and Sociology at the University of Sydney. Previously she was a Professor of Sociology at the City University of New York. Her work focuses on the cultural politics of global labor and social movements. She is the author of three academic books, Cuba Represent! Cuban Arts, State Power, and the Making of New Revolutionary Cultures (2006), Who Can Stop the Drums? Urban Social Movements in Chávez’s Venezuela (2010), and her latest book Curated Stories: The Uses and Misuses of Storytelling (2017). She has also written a memoir of global hip hop, entitled Close to the Edge: In Search of the Global Hip Hop Generation(2010) and a children’s book, Don’t Throw My Teeth on the Roof (2013). Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Nation, and American Prospect, among other places.


Thursday, October 18, 2018 | 6:10 – 7:30pm

Confessions of an Accidental Oral Historian, Archivist, and Podcaster

Eric Marcus is the creator and host of the award-winning Making Gay History podcast, which mines his decades-old audio archive of rare interviews — conducted for his oral history book of the same name about the LGBTQ civil right movement — to create intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history.

His other books include Is It A Choice?Why Suicide?, and Breaking the Surface, the #1 New York Times bestselling autobiography of Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis. HarperCollins recently republished the 1992 edition of Making Gay History in an e-book under the original title,  Making History: The Struggle for Gay & Lesbian Equal Rights, 1945 to 1990.


Thursday, November 1, 2018 | 6:10 – 7:30pm

Accelerating Change: Oral History, Innovation, and Impact

Doug Boyd Ph.D. serves as the Director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries and is a recent president of the Oral History Association. Boyd manages the Oral History in the Digital Age collaborative initiative publishing current practices and models for collection, curating and disseminating oral histories. Additionally, Boyd leads the team at the University of Kentucky that envisioned, designed and implemented the open source and free OHMS system, which synchronizes text with audio and video online. Recently, Boyd created the open source digital transfer tool Exactly for safely transferring born-digital archival material to an archive.

Boyd is the co-editor (with Mary A. Larson) of the book Oral History and Digital Humanities: Voice, Access, and Engagement published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2014, and he is the author of the book Crawfish Bottom: Recovering a Lost Kentucky Community which was published in August 2011 by the University Press of Kentucky.  He authors the blog Digital Omnium: Oral History, Archives, and Digital Technology and is the author of numerous articles pertaining to oral history, archives and digital technologies.


Thursday, November 29, 2018 | 6:10 – 7:30pm

Words Transmitted; Worlds Apart

Fernanda Espinosa is an oral historian and cultural organizer based in New York and Quito. She has been generating, listening to, and interpreting oral histories to inform creative public interventions that aspire to act as platforms for resistance and dialogue.

Fernanda holds a degree in Oral History from Columbia University, where her thesis was awarded the 2018 Jeffrey H. Brodsky Oral History Award.  She is the co-founder and coordinator of Cooperativa Cultural 19 de enero (CC 1/19), an ongoing art and oral history collaboration with visual artists. She is a former member and co-founder of People’s Collective Arts/Colectivo de Arte Popularand is currently the Associate Manager of StoryCorps’ Mobile Tour program.

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