Due to scheduling conflicts, the dates of the Summer Institute on Oral History have been changed to June 20-30, 2005. The application deadline has been moved to May 6, 2005.
Summer Institute on Oral History
June 20-30, 2005
Living to Tell: Narrating Catastrophe through Oral History
As the 21st century unfolds, catastrophic events worldwide continue to occur with alarming frequency. The “memory communities” formed through these events utilize collective memory to solidify identity; justify historical grievances; create public commemorations, and contest the sanctioned memories of the state and opposing communities. Memory communities infuse catastrophe with meaning that is passionate, pragmatic and shaped by cultural themes of past catastrophic events. Individual witnesses, suffering from crises of representation, endeavor to find personal meaning in the aftermath of catastrophe as they struggle to communicate these events.
Our focus at this year’s Summer Institute will be on the challenges of using oral history to document catastrophe in its immediate aftermath, as memory communities arise, or are strengthened by the very events that threaten their existence. We will look at psychological responses to trauma, as well as the role culture plays in shaping experience. We will examine how individuals and communities use the memory of catastrophic events to manipulate relations of power. We will explore the ways in which oral history method and theory confronts the issues of giving voice to these experiences, creates the context to bear witness, and elicits narratives that inspire “thick description.” We will also explore the tensions between commemoration, documentation and interpretation in developing oral history archives of catastrophic events.
In addition to lectures, presentations and discussions on the themes of the Institute, we offer practical workshops on interviewing, developing community history projects, and recording audio and video oral histories for multimedia environments. 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; Steve Rowland, founder and President of CultureWorks of Philadelphia; Linda Shopes, historian, Pennsylvanian Historical and Museum Commission;, 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. Additional faculty to be announced.
Registration is $1,000. Low-cost campus housing is available if required, at $51.00 a night for a single room, with common floor single sex bathroom.
The application deadline is May 6, 2005.
Please visit our website for an application and further information (web address shown below).
Mary Marshall Clark
Oral History Research Office
801 Butler Library, Box 20
535 West 114th Street
New York, NY 10027
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