The Columbia Center for Oral History Research housed at INCITE is pleased to announce its 2015 Oral History Institute, “Narrating Population Health: Oral History, Disparity, and Social Change,” to be held June 15-26, 2015 at Columbia University in New York City. Increasing economic disparities, war, political conflict and identity-based forms of discrimination have resulted in an unprecedented global crisis in equitable health practices and the distribution of resources.  Specifically, we will look at concrete ways that oral history reveals those disparities within communities that face discrimination and stigma, and offers new paradigms for understanding and response. This Summer Institute is partially funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars Program.

Areas of focus will include: HIV/AIDS, mass incarceration, reproductive rights, harm reduction, addiction, stigma and discrimination and the impact of the built environment on health such as asthma and other diseases.  The program will focus on ways that scholars and advocates have used oral history to illuminate the impact of inequitable distribution of health resources in local and global communities. 

The program will hold workshops on interviewing, analysis, digital oral history applications, and interdisciplinary research methods with presentations from medical researchers, historians, population health experts and sociologists.  We encourage applicants to use the Institute to explore a range of oral history-research applications, and will select participants based on a successful pairing of the oral history method with other modes of inquiry and analysis in engaging the topics of population health from interdisciplinary perspectives.

The 2015 Application is Now Closed
Applicants should expect to hear from us in early May

Sessions include:

Confronting Disparities: Life Narratives in Health Research

Mary Marshall Clark, Director of the Columbia Center for Oral History Research and Co-Director, Oral History Master of Arts Program at the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics of Columbia University

Peter Bearman, Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics, Co-Director, Oral History Master of Arts Program, Co-Director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Program, and Member of the National Academy of Sciences

Reflections on health, history, pain, race and advocacy

Keith Wailoo, Townsend Martin Professor of History and Public Affairs and Vice Dean, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University

Community Oral History and Fundamental Interventions

Adam Reich, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

Terrell Frazier, Education and Outreach Director, Columbia Center for Oral History Research

Recorder exercise and training

Doug Boyd, Director, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries

Panel: Listening with Care in Mind: Oral History and Narrative Medicine

Amy Starecheski, Associate Director, Oral History Master of Arts Program at the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics of Columbia University

Studying up and down: eliciting narratives of structural causes and personal experiences of inequality, stigma, and addiction

Helena Hansen, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center, Professor of Anthropology at the NYU Washington Square Campus, and Research Scientist at the Nathan Kline Institute Division of Services Research, New York University

Sickle Cell Disease and Ethics of Treatment in Interviewing

Gina Jae, PhD Candidate, Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University

Measuring in Liters: A Continuous Journey through Chambers of Sickled Cells

Darryl Alladice, performance poet

Speaking Truth to Power: Testifying about Lead Poisoning and Environmental Racism

David Rosner, Ronald H. Lauterstein Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Professor of History at Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University

Oral History in the Digital Age

Doug Boyd

Organizing at the Intersection: A Public Interview

Terrell Frazier

Kenyon Farrow, HIV prevention treatment activist and writer

Editing for digital publication

Doug Boyd

Editing for Written Publication

Linda Shopes, Former President of the U.S. Oral History Association, Freelance Editor and Consultant in Oral and Public History

Phoenix House: A Public Interview

Kristin Murphy, PhD Candidate, Sociology, Columbia University

Ronald Williams, Founder and Director, Stay 'n' Out

Creating a Record: Oral History during the AIDS Epidemic

Ronald Bayer, Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Co-Director, Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health

Gerald Oppenheimer, Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University

Panel: What is the Oral History Interview?

Mary Marshall Clark

Terrell Frazier

Amy Starecheski

Ronald J. Grele, Director Emeritus of the Columbia Center for Oral History

An interview with Dr. David Ferris on HIV/AIDS

George Gavrilis, Research Fellow, Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life at Columbia University

David Ferris, MD

From Story to Writing and Research: Analyzing Oral History Narratives

Mary Marshall Clark

Ronald Bayer

Gerald Oppenheimer

George Gavrilis

Reclaiming Justice: Oral History, Health Activism and the Law

Virginia Espino, Program Coordinator for Latina and Latino History, UCLA Center for Oral History Research

Film Screening: No More Babies for Life 

Framing dialogues on race, body, and gender in health activism

Alondra Nelson, Dean of Social Science, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies, and Director, Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Columbia University

Dorothy Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at the University of Pennsylvania

The Biopolitics of Narrating Health and Justice

Dorothy Roberts

Lynn Paltrow (discussant), Founder and Director, National Advocates for Pregnant Women



2014, Second Generation Memories and Stories
This program explored the ways in which memories are formed and transmitted through family, cultural, political and social frames and experiences. Other areas of exploration included were how communities are reshaped and strengthened by oral traditions of telling stories about the past.

2013, Telling the World: Indigenous Memories, Rights, and Narratives
This year’s institute explored the political, cultural, psychological, ethical and personal dimensions of documenting urban injury and recovery.

2012What is Remembered: Life Story Approaches in Human Rights Contexts
This year’s institute s explored the methodological and theoretical implications of doing life story research with individuals who have suffered human rights abuses and other forms of discrimination. 

2011Rethinking 9/11: Life Stories, Cultural Memory and the Politics of Representation
This year’s institute s explored the political, cultural, psychological, ethical and personal dimensions of documenting urban injury and recovery.

2010, Oral History from the Ground Up: Space, Place, Memory
This year’s institute examined the meaning that space, place and memory hold in producing individual, social, cultural and political narratives.

2009, Narrating the Body: Oral History, Narrative and Embodied Practice
This year’s program explored issues, stories and performances tracing the history of the body, as well as oral history as an embodied practice.

2008, Oral History, Advocacy and the Law
This year’s program explored the parallel uses of oral history and legal testimony in the classical definition of advocacy as “finding and giving” voice, and looked at human rights commissions, tribunals and oral history documentation.

2007Telling the World: Oral History, Struggles for Justice and Human Rights Dialogues
This year’s program explored how oral history theory and method contribute to an understanding of the political, historical and personal dimensions of human rights dialogues. Joining us in the creation of this year’s program was the International Center for Transitional Justice.

2006, Women's Narratives, Women's Lives: Intersections of Gender and Memory
This year’s program featured presentations on such topics of gender and memory in illness and activist narratives.

2005, Living to Tell: Narrating Catastrophe through Oral History
This year’s program focused on the challenges of using oral history to document catastrophe in its immediate aftermath and beyond.

2004, Constructions of Race & Ethnicity from Past to Present: Negotiating Collective Memories through Oral History
This year’s program focused on the role of oral history in creating and critiquing representations of race and ethnicity in collective memory, popular culture and individual life narratives.