Apr. 2: Stories I Skipped: Narratives of Care, Narratives of War

Alessandro Portelli taught American Literature at the University of Rome until 2012. He is the founder of the Circolo Bosio for the Critical Study of People's Cultures and the author of several oral history books, including The Death of Luigi Trastulli and Other Stories, Form and Meaning in Oral History; The Order has Been Carried Out: History, Memory and Meaning of a Nazi Massacre in Rome, and They Say in Harlan County: An Oral History.

Alessandro Portelli taught American Literature at the University of Rome until 2012. He is the founder of the Circolo Bosio for the Critical Study of People's Cultures and the author of several oral history books, including The Death of Luigi Trastulli and Other Stories, Form and Meaning in Oral History; The Order has Been Carried Out: History, Memory and Meaning of a Nazi Massacre in Rome, and They Say in Harlan County: An Oral History.

Thursday, April 2, 2014

6-8 PM

Knox Hall, 606 W 122nd St., Room 509

Watch this workshop on YouTube!

We all agree that oral history is an art of listening, but we do not always listen to everything with the same intensity. For instance, when people digress, as they usually do, during interviews, sometimes the digression is a revelation, but often we can't wait to get back on topic and hardly listen to what people say. The same applies when transcribing: at times we skip whole passages because we think they are irrelevant to our project. It was precisely because these were the stories Portelli skipped in transcribing that he began to wonder whether there was a relationship between the stories men tell about being in the service and the stories women tell about taking care of relatives in the hospital. Only later and when he started hearing the same kind of narratives from women in Harlan, Kentucky did he notice that both sets of stories were about getting out of the house into public space, facing state, institutions, authority, facing technology, new languages and forms of expression, and dealing with matters of life and death. In this workshop, Portelli will analyze these war and hospital stories, finding new meaning in what had seemed to be the leftovers of the oral history process.

SPONSORS: This talk is part of the “Paul F. Lazarsfeld Lecture Series,” co-sponsored by the Columbia Center for Oral History Research (CCOHR) and the Oral History Master of Arts Program (OHMA). Support from the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) is provided for programming that embodies late Professor Paul Lazarsfeld’s commitment to improving methodological approaches that address concerns of vital cultural and social significance.

INFORMATION: For more information, please email Amy Starecheski at aas39(at)columbia.edu

THIS EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

NO REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED