Oral History Research Office Hosts Summer Institute Program, "Oral History, Advocacy and the Law"


NEW YORK, May 1, 2008 The Columbia University Oral History Research Office (OHRO) is sponsoring its annual two-week international Summer Institute on Oral History from July 8 to July 20, 2008. The theme of the 2008 Institute is “Oral History, Advocacy and the Law,” and will feature faculty and fellows from around the world.

“This year’s institute draws upon themes that emerged from the 2007 Summer Institute on oral history and human rights, exploring the parallel uses of oral history and legal testimony in the classical definition of advocacy as ‘finding and giving’ voice,” explained Mary Marshall Clark, Director of OHRO. “Relationships between human rights tribunals and oral history documentation will be explored – as well as specific uses of oral history in legal advocacy work in capital crimes proceedings; land claims work involving oral traditions in indigenous communities and documentation of the role of culture and memory in research generally.”

Presentation topics will include: Oral History, Advocacy, and the Law; Oral History as an Interdisciplinary Research Methodology: Documentation and Interpretation; Narrative and Culture in the Struggle for Human Rights; and Globalization in Steel: the Evolution of Working-class Culture and the ThyssenKrupp Strikes, 2004-2008. Public lectures will include War on Democracy: Civil and Human Rights in the Post-911 Era and Indigenous Oral Histories under the Gun: Bamboozled Methodologies. The Institute will also include presentations on the role of oral history in documenting legal reform work. Workshops will include training in oral history interviewing and project design, developing archives of cultural memory, and using digital technology to record and preserve interviews.

Faculty for the 2008 Summer Institute include: Gerry Albarelli, author and oral historian; Peter Bearman, director, Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) and the Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences, Cole Professor of Sociology, and co-director of the Health & Society Scholars Program at Columbia University; Mary Marshall Clark, director, Oral History Research Office at Columbia University; John Grele, human rights lawyer; Ronald J. Grele, director emeritus of the Oral History Research Office at Columbia University; Scharlette Holdman, executive director, San Francisco's Center for Capital Assistance; Peter Maguire, author and a leading authority on the Nuremberg trials and the laws of war; Manning Marable, professor of Public Affairs, Political Science and History at Columbia University, as well as the director of the Center for Contemporary Black History; Roxsana Patel, South African scholar and activist with a background in Clinical, Child and Family Psychology; Alessandro Portelli, pioneering oral historian and professor of American Literature at the University of Rome; Michael Ratner, human rights lawyer and the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights; Steve Rowland, radio documentary producer/director; Linda Shopes, independent oral historian and editor; Amy Starecheski, interviewer and educator for the Oral History Research Office at Columbia University; and Winona Wheeler, associate professor in the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research at Athabasca University.

Applications are now being accepted for admission on a rolling basis. For more information about the 2008 Summer Institute, go to the Oral History Research Office website at www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/oral/, or email oralhist@library.columbia.edu.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 25 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries at www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb is the gateway to its services and resources.

The Columbia University Oral History Research Office is the oldest and largest organized university-based oral history program open to the public in the world. Founded in 1948 by Pulitzer Prize winning historian Allan Nevins, the oral history collection now contains 17,000 hours of taped memoirs, and 1,000,000 pages of transcript. The program is also a center for teaching and research, offering opportunities for students, visiting scholars and fellows. For additional information about the 2008 Summer Institute or for general information about the Oral History Research Office, please see: www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/oral/

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05/01/08 LMK