Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016
11:45 - 1:00pm EST
Too often oral history ignores or even erases the body, transforming an embodied encounter between two people into a conversation imaged to take place between two disembodied minds. Many social justice oral history projects either require or could benefit from attention to the body. In this Practitioner Support Network video chat, we will discuss the potential and special challenges of interviewing about the body, and will develop strategies for interviews focused on embodied experience such as breastfeeding, living with a disability, being transgender, or dancing as well as strategies for keeping the body in focus in all of our work.
Nicole JeanBaptiste is both a birth and postpartum doula and oral historian in New York City. She teaches oral history to Bronx high school students through the New York Public Library's Out of School Time department's Innovation Labs program. An alum of Columbia's Oral History MA Program, Nicole is currently continuing an oral history project she began as a student, which focuses on the evolution of birthing practices among women of African descent and how this may be linked to the history of midwifery in the American South. She plans to tour the South collecting narratives from Black women who can speak to shifts in childbirth practices and traditional midwifery and use them to write a book of creative non-fiction on this subject. She's found that her work as a doula in underserved areas of the Bronx also greatly contributes to the development of this work.
Amy Starecheski is a cultural anthropologist and oral historian. Since 2012, she was been the Associate Director of the Oral History MA Program at Columbia University. She consults and lectures widely on oral history education and methods, and is co-author of the Telling Lives Oral History Curriculum Guide. She was a lead interviewer on Columbia’s September 11, 2001 Narrative and Memory Project, for which she interviewed Afghans, Muslims, Sikhs, activists, low-income people, and the unemployed. Starecheski is a member of the Core Working Group for Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change, where she facilitates the Practitioner Support Network. She received a PhD in cultural anthropology from the CUNY Graduate Center and her book, Ours to Lose: When Squatters Became Homeowners in New York City, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press.