Feb. 5: After Depression: Reflections on Oral History and Memoir as Archive of Feelings

Thursday, February 5, 2015

6-8 PM

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

Watch the video of this workshop!

This session will be an informal talk and discussion reflecting on the connections between my use of memoir in Depression:  A Public Feeling (2012) and oral history in An Archive of Feelings (2003) as genres of public feeling.   In each case, I was interested in how personal narrative can intervene in challenging medical models of trauma (Archive of Feelings) and depression (Depression) and in how the documentation of personal experience can lend itself to social and political critique and forge new kinds of collectivity around shared feeling.  In addition to discussing how the practice and study of memoir can inform oral history, I’d like to consider why I didn’t use oral history for Depression, as well as what might have happened if I had.  More generally, I will discuss my past and current research in the context of the Center for Oral History’s focus on public health, with a particular emphasis on the implications of queer and affect theory for oral history practice. I will also hope to discuss some new work on disability, mental health, and queer studies and how oral history might be of methodological use, as well as what challenges it might present.

Ann Cvetkovich is Ellen Clayton Garwood Centennial Professor of English and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Mixed Feelings: Feminism, Mass Culture, and Victorian Sensationalism (Rutgers, 1992); An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures (Duke, 2003); and Depression: A Public Feeling (Duke, 2012). She co-edited (with Ann Pellegrini) “Public Sentiments,” a special issue of The Scholar and Feminist Online, and (with Janet Staiger and Ann Reynolds) Political Emotions (Routledge, 2010). She has been coeditor, with Annamarie Jagose, of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Her current writing projects focus on the current state of LGBTQ archives and the creative use of them by artists to create counterarchives and interventions in public history.

SPONSORS: This talk is part of the “Paul F. Lazarsfeld Lecture Series,” co-sponsored by the Columbia Center for Oral History Research (CCOHR), the Oral History Master of Arts Program (OHMA), and the University Seminar on Narrative, Health and Social Justice. 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