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Oral History and Human Rights Work

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Columbia University, 306 Hamilton Hall

1130 Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY 10027

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Oral History and Human Rights Work, Mary Marshall Clark

Oral history is increasingly used in human rights work to engage in historical dialogues, advocacy and the gathering of testimony in societies engaged in conflict and post-conflict situations. Oral history methodologies can be used by human rights advocates in multiple ways: a) to discover the real, daily life needs of vulnerable people, b) to advocate for social and political change based on that real knowledge; c) to develop ways of engaging, through in-depth interviews, across lines of social and cultural difference; and d), to construct opportunities for critical dialogues based on models of social change that emerge out of oral history stories about the past, the present and visions of the future. In this workshop we will discuss models of oral historical dialogues in human rights work, breaking down the components of successful transformational practice. Participants are encouraged to bring their own experiences in human rights and oral history work to the workshop.

Mary Marshall Clark is the director of the Columbia Center for Oral History Research (CCOHR). Mary Marshall is also the co-founder and co-director of Columbia’s Oral History Master of Arts degree program. Mary Marshall has been involved in the oral history movement since 1991, and was president of the Oral History Association in 2001-2002. She was a founding member of the International Oral History Association.

Mary Marshall teaches and writes on issues of memory, the mass media, trauma, and ethics in oral history. She was the co-principal investigator, with Peter Bearman, of the September 11, 2001 Oral History Narrative and Memory Project, and directed related projects on the aftermath of September 11th in New York City. Mary Marshall’s current work focuses on the global impact of U.S. torture and detention policies, focusing on Guantánamo. Mary Marshall is an editor of After the Fall: New Yorkers Remember September 11, 2001 and the Years that Followed, published by The New Press in September 2011.

*For our oral history workshops, please pay what you can. We suggest $30 for students, recent graduates, or others who are financially constrained, while we suggest that professionals and those with more resources should pay more. All profits from these events go towards our annual merit scholarship for an OHMA students.

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Columbia University, 306 Hamilton Hall

1130 Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY 10027

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