Columbia University Summer Institute on Oral History
July 12-23, 2004
Constructions of Race and Ethnicity from Past to Present:
Negotiating Collective Memories through Oral History
The 2004 Summer Institute in Oral History will focus on the role of oral history in creating and critiquing representations of race and ethnicity in collective memory, popular culture and individual life narratives. We will explore the methodological and theoretical challenges of using oral history to document experiences of discrimination and subjugation as well as social movements of resistance and liberation. We will reflect on the power of collective oral history accounts, from the collection of the WPA narratives with ex-slaves to the creation of contemporary multi-media public projects, to address contradictions, amnesias and silences in historical and media portraits of ethnicity in American life. Looking for the ways in which language about race, racism and ethnicity has been developed within the American context, and exported to other cultural and political situations around the world, we will analyze the frameworks through which "the other" is created in American memory and consciousness. Finally, we will explore the ways in which oral history can be used to negotiate shared and unshared memories, working towards the creation of a collective memory of diversity and struggle.
In addition to lectures, presentations and discussions on the themes of
the Institute, we offer standard workshops on interviewing, developing
community history projects and documentary methods for recording oral
histories through sound and video. The Summer Institute also features
video and audio documentaries, and visits to area museums and archives.
Faculty in the 2004 Summer Institute will include Alessandro Portelli,
Professor of American Literature of the University of Rome; George
Lipsitz, Professor of American Studies at the University of California
at Santa Cruz, Manning Marable, Professor of Public Affairs, Political
Science and History, and Director of the Center for Contemporary Black
History at Columbia University; Julieanna Richardson, founder and
Executive Director of The HistoryMakers, a video archive of African
American oral histories, Chicago, Illinois; Steve Rowland, founder and
President of CultureWorks of Philadelphia; Linda Shopes, historian,
Pennsylvanian Historical and Museum Commission; Revan Schendler,
sociologist and writer, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts; Mary
Marshall Clark, Director, Oral History Research Office; Jessica
Wiederhorn, Associate Director, Oral History Research Office; Ronald
Grele, Director Emeritus, Oral History Research Office.
Registration is $1,000. Low-cost campus housing is available if
The application deadline is May 1, 2004.
Please visit our website for an application and further information.
Mary Marshall Clark
Oral History Research Office
801 Butler Library, Box 20
535 West 114th Street
New York, NY 10027
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