Hall Center For The Humanities


Learning to Hear the Stories VIII

"Oral History at Work: The View From Within?
Oral History Workshop

Mon., Mar. 26, 2007, 8:00am - 5:00pm
Location: Kansas Union Ballroom
It is nearly sixty years since oral history was established as a modern technique for historical documentation. Certainly no historical method has been used in more ways by so many different kinds of people?academic scholars, public policy makers, health care professionals and community historians, to name a few?and for as many different reasons. All ask the same question. Is there a ?right way? to do oral history?

Finding our answer requires us to consider much that has happened in recent decades. How do interviews operate within culturally specific communities? What opportunities and dilemmas in the interpretation of oral testimony are posed by new thinking about memory and history? What concerns do we spotlight as new technologies expand ways of generating and presenting oral testimony? These are a few of the questions we take up in the Hall Center?s eighth annual workshop. For answers we go around the U.S. and the world to see oral history at work, taking a very close look at the processes that it engages and the results?fascinating, complicated and often disturbing.

Presenters include:

Carol Ann Carter, Professor of Art and Design.
?Connecting the Dots: The Western Kentucky University Centennial Project?
Carter was commissioned to do a visual commemoration honoring the centennial of Western Kentucky University. She collected oral histories, visual and written data and video-taped interviews that became part of public installation in October 2006. The multimedia project is designed as public art. It represents a ?conversation? between the artist and different constituencies and cultures she found in a community that had yet to heal from its troubled past.

Tobias Hecht, anthropologist, independent scholar.
?In Search of a Reliable Narrator: An Ethnographic Fiction from Brazil?
Hecht was captivated by the stories told to him over the course of many years by Bruna Verissimo, a youth from the streets of Recife in Northeast Brazil. Finding it sometimes difficult to separate truth from invention, he wrote After Life (Duke University Press 2006), a reinterpretation of the Latina American testimonio genre, based on the spoken and written narrations he collected. The book, says one critic, is a ?call and response of truth, invention, mental illness and yearning.?

Byron Hurt, filmmaker.
Beyond Beats and Rhymes: Masculinity and Hip Hop Culture (Film Screening and Discussion)
Hurt?s award winning documentary, which made its appearance at The Sundance Film Festival in 2005, provides an in-depth look at machismo in rap music and hip hop culture. His candid ?in-your-face? interviews present divergent voices of fans and social critics speaking about the struggle to negotiate the exciting creativity, seductive rhythms, blatant violence and homophobia in what is an international music form. The film depicts Hurt?s powerful self-transformation in the filming process. KU scholars and students will join Hurt in a discussion after the film.

Registration is required for this event.
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