Oral History Summer Institute


Bi-Annually, the Columbia Center for Oral History Research sponsors a Summer Institute in New York City, which brings together oral historians, scholars, activists, and others for two weeks of advanced training in the theory and practice of oral history. Participants work with world-class instructors, network with oral historians from around the world and go to exhibits in New York City. Each year we focus on a different theme.


2019 Summer Institute

Oral History from the Margins to the Center: Narrating the
Politics of our Times

June 17 – June 28, 2019

(Detailed Schedule Released Soon) — CLICK HERE TO APPLY

What do oral historians, journalists and scholars of contemporary history do when the President of the United States, supported by numerous members of congress, tells blatant lies and strives to undermine our access to traditionally reliable sources of information and democratic processes?  What do oral historians, journalists and scholars of contemporary history do when scientific knowledge is dismissed as mere opinion? What do oral historians, journalists and scholars of contemporary history do when false information is knowingly transmitted with the precise aim of enhancing distrust?

The 2019 Summer Institute in Oral History will focus on the challenges we face in documenting the political present when secrecy and distortions of truth threaten the most vulnerable in open societies.  What role does public memory and the search for meaning  play in rescuing and preserving the stories that we most need to hear?  Specifically, we will explore what journalists, oral historians, advocates and scholars of the present can learn from each other, as we sharpen our skills and awareness of how to document the stories that we most need to record and disseminate. 

The overarching goal of the 2019 Institute will focus on the role of oral history in opening up multiple accounts of truth and the search for meaning that otherwise may remain marginal – moving them to the center of our political discourse.

Core faculty includes: Doug Boyd, Mary Marshall Clark, Ronald J. Grele, June Cross, Sheila Coronel, Terrell Frazier, Alessandro Portelli, Linda Shopes, Amy Starecheski, and Gabriel Solis. 

Priority deadline: February 28, 2019
Application deadline: April 1, 2019
Admissions decisions will be released by April 10th. 
Early decisions are available upon request. 

For inquiries, please contact Institute Co-Directors Mary Marshall Clark (mmc17@columbia.edu) and Terrell Frazier (tf2292@columbia.edu).