News Brief: The Latest in Oral History II

Kate Brenner is a current OHMA student. Hailing from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, she spends a lot of time laughing at New Yorkers who complain about the cold, and generally bemoaning a lack of availability of cheesecurds. When she's not busy perpetuating stereotypes about Midwesterners, she explores the dynamics of group interviews and story circles to better capture the history of a community.

As much as it’s fun to read about oral history, it can also be nice to revel in the actual orality of it. So here are links that (mostly) have an oral component for you to listen to.

I may be biased because I read some of Listening on the Edge for a class, but here’s an opportunity to listen to the two authors discuss their opinions on interviewing people closely after an event, as well as the impact on the interviewer.

If you listen to Radio Diaries you may have already heard this, but I just started listening, and was very excited when I listened to their podcast from last September. It has 2 previously unpublished oral histories conducted by Studs Terkel for his Working series, one with a taxi driver, the other with a parking attendant.

Speaking of Studs Terkel and Working, did you know they made it into a musical in the 70’s? I did not, but a school in California recently performed it, and a blogger mused upon the relevance of performing it today.

The New York Public Library is embarking on a massive oral history project on living in New York. Here they’ve assembled a sampler of clips to pique your interest in interviews about life in Greenwich Village, Harlem, Morris Park, as well as the experiences of being blind in the city. Listen to them and then explore the full interviews available on each project’s website.

This essay from Transom about perception of voices on NPR was published in multiple places on the internet, inspiring a lot of different conversations. One was orchestrated on twitter by NPR’s Code Switch blog team. It was also a topic of discussion on one of my favorite podcasts, NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, where they took into consideration all different types of voices and the general perception of them on the radio.

February was Black History Month, so a lot of links in my Google alert were specifically related to that, which is great, but wouldn’t it be cool if African American history wasn’t highlighted for just one month? The Visionary Project looks at the lives of African American Elders. Each person’s page has a brief biography, and then a selection of clips to watch from their interview. It’s really well organized and seems like it would be a great teaching tool to use all year.

Despite being a self-avowed nerd, I have never watched Star Trek. But after the death of Leonard Nimoy, this segment of his interview with the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexlar History project describing exactly his inspiration for the Vulcan hand gesture was widely circulated on the internet.