Growth, Change, and Dirt

Margaret Gooding-Silverwood

This installation is a part of Listening Through Time and Place: An Interactive Oral History Exhibit, OHMA's multimedia interactive popup exhibition of stories, which will take place at the Social Hall at Union Theological Seminary on April 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm.

Growth, Change and Dirt is a multi-sensory experience aimed at helping the participant engage with their own body and its connection to the land. At the same time, this exhibition presents a public-facing, truncated version of my thesis project: Bullshit into Fertilizer: Empowerment Narratives, Sense of Place, and Agriculture in the American South, the goal of which is to explore the roots of imposed institutional memories that have oppressed and/or suppressed individuals and communities in the American South and how radical re-definition of self through the practice of agriculture has helped or can help to dismantle these insidious narratives. Using an “empowerment narrative” structured oral history interview, the narrator and the oral historian will move through the process of recognizing these imposed institutional memories and their effects on the individual in body, ritual, and memory, as well as implications for the community as a whole. They will then identify the practices—especially participation in agriculture—that have helped or can help the individual and community to re-define themselves counter to these existing narratives. 

Margaret Gooding-Silverwood was born in New York City and raised in Virginia. She is a Chickasaw Native scholar who has absolutely no idea where she belongs, which led her to her work on sense-of-place. In her undergraduate work at Tufts University, Margaret double majored in History and Political Science. She wrote senior thesis papers on Abolitionist Tourism in the Ante-Bellum South, and Diversionary War Theory versus Threat Inflation as explanations for the Spanish American War and implications for modern conflicts (Iraq and Afghanistan) respectively. Since then she has worked doing everything from campaign finance for a national senatorial run to bar management, but she finally has found her home in oral history. In the future she hopes to publish her findings related to empowerment narrative structure...and eventually find her place in the world.

Read more about Listening Through Time and Place: An Interactive Oral History Exhibit.