SOHA Conference

March 31-April 3, 2011 in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, CA


The conference panels take place Saturday, April 2, 2011 and Sunday, April 3, 2011 (jump directly to Sunday).

This page contains lengthier descriptions of each panel’s contents. To view visual overview of the day’s schedule, see the Schedule page.

Session I 9:00 -10:30am

Land, Water and Environmental Activism in the Southwest

Moderator: Dr. Kaye Breigel

Into and Beyond the Museum: Using Multiple Media to Reach Multiple Audiences

  • This presentation will provide an overview of how the Ecological Oral Histories Project at Northern Arizona University has partnered with the Arizona Historical Society, the Arizona Humanities Council, the National Park Service, and others to broaden the audience for oral history research.Peter Friederici is Assistant Professor in the Journalism School of Communication at Northern Arizona University
  • Environmental Activism in Los Angeles

    Overview of three major trends of Environmental Activism in LA through the lives and contributions. Issues explored include: Founders of major organizations in the LA area; Proponents of alternative environmentally friendly lifestyles; Environmental justice advocates.

    Jane Collings is interviewer and series editor for UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.

  • There are Many Sides to a Story: Reconciling Disparate Remembrances of Complex Water Rights Negotiations in Arizona

    This presentation will draw from an ongoing project to collect the stories of attorneys and water policy mangers involved in the resolution of Indian water rights claims in Arizona between 1970 and 2004. It will explore the process of reconstructing history and analyzing the motives, perspectives, and opinions of multiple stakeholders within a single negotiation.

    Dan Killoren is a PhD Candidate in Public History at Arizona State University and currently works as a Water Rights Policy Analyst for ASM Affiliates, Inc.

New Terrains in Oral History

Moderator: Miguel Juarez

  • Oral History as Alternative Narratives: Japanese Mexican Expulsion from the U.S./Mexico Borderlands

    Utilizing oral history to examine the eviction of the entire Japanese Mexican community from the U.S./Mexico borderlands in 1942 this paper will explore the impact of this bi-national event on the lives, rights, and property of Japanese immigrants and their descendants. These narratives challenge state versions of displacement of the Japanese Mexican transnational community along racial lines and show how oral history can help forge multidimensional perspectives of the Japanese Mexicans experience in the borderlands.

    Dr. Selfa Chew-Smithart teaches history at the University of Texas, El Paso.

  • Oral History as Art: From Mouth to Page, from Page to Stage

    Do the arts play a role in the dissemination of oral history research? This presentation will examine Brazilian oral history and how it has been used in books, documentary films, CDs and music concerts. Issues to be discussed include concerns about oral history and memory and the aesthetic attributes linked to the artistic treatment of spoken words.

    Ricardo Santhiago is an oral history researcher at University of São Paulo, Brazil. His main research interests are: theory and methodology of oral history; oral history and arts, music and literature. His publications include the authored books “Dissonant Soloists: An (Oral) History of Black Women Singers” (2009) and “Alaíde Costa: I’d do it all again” (2010), and “The Brazil of Gilbertos: Notes on Brazilian Music and Culture” (forthcoming).

  • “Armed with Our Language, We Went to War/ Nihizaad béé nidahsiibaa’: The Navajo Code Talkers”

    This presentation will examine the process of researching and writing “Armed with Our Language, We Went to War/ Nihizaad béé nidahsiibaa’: The Navajo Code Talkers”. This book is an edited oral history on the Diné/Navajo Code Talkers who used the Navajo language to pass secret military codes during WWII, while stationed in the South Pacific. For the book, 20 of the remaining 37 or so Code Talkers were interviewed in collaboration with landscape and portrait photographer, Deborah O’Grady, who completed the portrait sessions.

    Laura Tohe is a Professor in the Department of English at Arizona State University

Women’s Untold Stories: Food Production, Curriculum Building and the Apalacian Diaspora

Moderator: Julie Bartolotto

  • Culture, Cooking and Community: Eleni Kyrazis and the Houston Greek Festival

    Oral histories have a life beyond the archives, and this presentation proposes how historians can use it to analyze themes in cultural history and give back to the community from which the stories came. This paper examines women in immigrant communities through the vehicle of food and food production examining the role food played in the life of a family.

    Kristi Roberts is a graduate student in American History at the University of Houston, Texas

  • “Powerful Women: Bringing the voices of Oklahoma women legislators to the classroom using oral ‘herstories'”

    The Women of the Oklahoma Legislature Oral History Project explores women in political office between 1907 and 2008 in order to add their stories to mainstream Oklahoma history. In this presentation I will describe the project, discuss the process we underwent to develop lesson plans, including adhering to the Oklahoma PASS objectives, and how the curriculum was marketed and made available to teachers across the state.

    Latasha Wilson is a visiting oral historian at the Oklahoma History Research Program.

  • “Texturing the Urban Migration Experience: Appalachian Women Migrants in Chicago, 1955-1980”

    Voices of Appalachian women are at the center of the migration experience to Uptown, Chicago, yet are conspicuously absent from discussions of the southern Diaspora. In addition to secondary sources, this presentation will use the content of personal interview to illustrate how Appalachian women responded to the demands of migration and urban life in postwar Chicago.

    Roger Guy, Ph.D. is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Break 10:30-10:45

Session II 10:45-12:15

Reconceptualizing the Past: The Poetics and Politics of Latina Oral History

Moderator: Dr. Selfa Chew

  • Capturing the Lives of Arizona’s Depression-Era Latinas through Oral History

    This paper will discuss the importance of oral history methodologies when examining Latinas in copper mining towns who experienced the decade of the 1930s. Their stories reveal new and complex interpretations of Arizona’s Mexican American experience during the era of the Great Depression.

    Dr. Chris Marin is Archivist Professor Emerita for the Chicana/o Research Collection & Archives at Arizona State University.

  • Protestantism and Community Empowerment in Post World War II Los Angeles

    Utilizing oral histories with Mexican Americans and Chicana/os, this paper will outline the some of the social and cultural influences of the Protestantism in Los Angeles. Most of what is known about Mexican Protestantism has been mediated by Anglo-American missionaries, therefore this presentation seeks to demonstrate the meaning that Mexican Americans and Chicana/os give to their personal experience with the Methodist and Baptist religion.

    Virginia Espino is an interviewer and series coordinator for UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research

  • Josefina Fierro and the Sleepy Lagoon Crusade, 1942-1945

    Josefina Fierro was a talented businesswoman who was indispensable to the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee because of her influential contacts and promotion and fund-raising ability. Through interviews and numerous other sources this presentation will examine a major civil rights committee that formed during World War II. It will also shed light on the devastating effects of McCarthyism on civil rights organizations in Southern California.

    Carlos Larralde is an independent researcher living in Southern California

Keeping the Flow, Nature and the Built Environment

Moderator: Phillip Holmes

  • Find It, Sort It, Compare It, Use It! Managing Multiple Interviews in an Oral History Project

    Utilizing the archive of Chumash elder, Charlie Cook, this presentation will to demonstrate the process used to bank and retrieve information by showing excel pages of compiled notes, playing audio from the interviews, reading related sections of the story, and showing photos of sites and work in action including a verification meeting with some of the persons who were interviewed.

    Dr. Mary Gordon is an independent writer and researcher residing in Tucson, Arizona.

  • Voices from the Wilderness: Incorporating Oral History into National Park Service Planning

    This presentation uses a project at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks as a case study by which to explore the value of oral history in the wilderness planning process. Funded through the ranger division, rather than cultural resources, it focuses on the practical applications of oral history interviews.

    Alison Marie Steiner is a graduate student in history at the University of California, Davis.

  • Biting Your Tongue When Teaching Oral History: The Route 66 Summer Field Studies Program and Student Learning Outcomes

    While a number of books have been published on the geography, tourism, and history associated with Route 66, few have attempted to explore and interpret the socially-constructed meanings that the “Route 66 community” attaches to this epic road. This paper will utilize 150 oral history interviews conducted through the “Route 66 Field Studies Program” to demonstrate the significance of this road to those who have lived near it.

    John R. Mitrano, Ph.D. teaches in the Department of Sociology at Central Connecticut State University.

Oral Histories and Archives

Moderator: Stephanie George

  • “What would you say, for the archives?” Mennonites and the Memory of Cesar Chavez

    Using the techniques of Alessandro Portelli, Jan Assmann, and others, this paper provides a close reading of oral history interviews with Mennonite owners of fruit growing and fruit packing companies and Mennonite pastors in California’s San Joaquin Valley. In so doing, it explores questions of power, class, and identity in a closed and conservative religious community.

    Dr. Janis Thiessen is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba.

  • When Oral History and Archives Collide: The interplay between oral and documentary sources

    This presentation will examine the importance of not simply processing, but rather learning from and about a collection so as to identify potential disjuncture between oral and documentary sources. I will discuss why an oral history interview and the creation of a film for the finding aid was beneficial for this collection as well as ways it could benefit others.

    Ashley Sherry is the LaDonna Harris Graduate Fellow at the Center for Southwest Research at the University of New Mexico.

  • Conversations with the Elderly

    Hear how caregivers are creating fresh relationships with their elderly clients through private oral histories. They see these special conversations playing an important role in the well-being of the elder and providing a legacy for their families. Learn why caregiving professionals are paying attention to the process and its benefits; and how some are even incorporating it into their services.

    Barbara Tabach works at the Oral History Research Center at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and is co-author with Polly Clark of LifeCatching: the Art of Saving and Sharing Memories. She has been a presenter on the healthy benefits of reminiscing and saving personal histories before they fade.

Awards Lunch 12:30-1:45pm

Session III 1:45-3:15pm

Celebrating School: Local and Global Stories

Moderator: Anna Coor

  • A Celebration of Snow Mountain Technical School, Golok Tibet

    Our celebration of the Snow Mountain Technical School in Golok, Tibet, draws from an oral history of the politically hazardous founding of the school by a Tibetan Buddhist master, video interviews of 21students, their striking artwork, and a Tibtan Buddhist chant.

    John Crigler is an American businessman and musician and disciple of the founder of the school, Hungkar Dorje Rinpoche, Abbot of Thubten Chokor Ling Monastery.

    Jean Maria Arrigo is a social psychologist and oral historian who specializes in ethics of political and military intelligence.

  • Southern California Story: Seeking the Better Life in Sierra Madre

    This presentation will examine the use of oral history in the researching of materials during the writing of our award-winning book, Southern California Story: Seeking the Better Life in Sierra Madre. The process of review and selection criteria specifically relating to these oral histories will be presented.

    Michele Zack is an award winning author and is also active in local historical groups and projects including Teaching American History grant projects, the production of Eaton’s Water documentary film, and numerous Asian projects resulting from living in Thailand for 10 years.

    Jay Whitcraft is a retired business executive living in Sierra Madre who has devoted most of his retirement to activities surrounding the betterment of the Sierra Madre Public Library and the Sierra Madre Historical Preservation Society.

    Louise Neiby is a retired nurse practitioner who has worked for the past 10 years on the Sierra Madre Oral History project. She is an active member of the SMHPS Board and currently serves on the Oral History committee as one of its primary resource personnel.

    Amy Putnam is a member of the SMHPS Oral History Committee

Screening Oral Histories I

Moderator: Denise Sandoval

  • Rough Cut: Challenges of Doing Oral History for Educational Television

    This presentation will discuss the challenges, roadblocks, as well as the opportunities involved with producing a documentary series titled “1910, the Mexican Revolution in El Paso.” Footage of the project in progress will be presented along with a discussion of how it formulated from idea to near completed project.

    Miguel Juarez a doctoral student in the history department at the University of Texas, El Paso.

  • From Oral History to a Documentary Film: the Making of Cassandro, El Exotico

    This presentation will outline the process of making a film about “Los Exoticos” or the Exotic ones. This film won Best Short Documentary at the Short Film Festival in Mexico and received several other prestigious awards.

    Michael Ramos-Araizaga is a 2010 graduate of the Moving Image Archive Studies (MIAS) at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

  • Howard Citizen: The Man and His Music

    The SOHA presentation will include a discussion of all component parts of this process. This will cover the initial contact with the dance community, SOHA involvement, the creative collaboration, camera work, editing with Final Cut Express and the current status of the project. Time for audience feedback is welcomed.

    Sharon Donnan is a native Angelino and retired LAUSD. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA. Co author of  “El Cinto Piteado – A Folk Art Tradition of Mexico” to be published by the The Textile Museum in Washington DC and Production assistant for documentary films “The Moche of Peru” and “Eduardo the Healer”.

Session IV 3:15-5 pm

The Bracero Oral History Project at CSU Channel Islands

Moderator: Dr. José M. Alamillo

  • This roundtable will discuss how the Bracero History Project can provide many lessons about using oral history to design a museum exhibition. The panelists will also address how the Bracero Project helped to bridge the university with the larger community.Erica Jimenez, Maria Salas and Tania Tolteca are students at California State University Channel Islands.José M. Alamillo is Associate Professor and Coordinator of Chicana and Chicano Studies, California State University Channel Islands.

“Visualizing Oral History: Theory and Practice in a Secondary School Setting”

Moderator: Dr. Kenneth M. Edison

  • This panel is formatted like a workshop that will present an overview, descriptive narrative and reflective commentary on two high school student oral history projects. These two oral history projects were carried out as a part of the SEP summer program curriculum at the Polytechnic School, in Pasadena and International Baccalaureate curriculum at the Blair IB Magnet World School in the Pasadena Unified SchoolDr.Kenneth M. EdisonMr. Rico and Ms. Swartz are school teachers at the Blair IB  Magnet World  School in Pasadena, California.

African American Identity in the Southwest

Moderator: Claytee White

  • Ancestry, Citizenship and Race on Indigenous Borderlands: Narratives of John Taylor and the Black Ute ClanThe presentation will include a number of representative stories and examples collected about John Taylor, Kitty Cloud and their descendants. The stories reflect mostly untold experiences that illuminate the construction of race, within a unique racial niche that was created for a small number of Africans living on indigenous borderlands.L. Greg McAllister is a graduate student in the Department of History at Northern Arizona University.
  • The Thornton Family:  Self Identity and Place in Society

    This presentation will focus on the Thornton Family of Nogales Arizona who are biracial African American and Mexican.  How do race, language and history inform who the Thorntons are?  Readings from oral interviews will shed light upon the agency of family members in both their self-identity and place in society.

    Alva Stevenson is Program Coordinator in the UCLA Department of Special Collections and the Center for Oral History Research.

  • The History of the Cosmos Club

    The Cosmos is an African-American social club. It was founded in April of 1946 for the purpose of social and community support for African-Americans in Los Angeles. This presentation will illustrate how blacks in Los Angeles were subjected to Defacto segregation, yet out this negative experience emerged a strong cohesive community of self-respecting, upright individuals.

    Linden Beckford, Jr. is an independent writer and researcher living in the Los Angeles area.

Sunday, April 3

8 am – 9 am

  • Business Meeting

9:15 – 10:45 am

  • Performance by SOHA Oral History and Performance Group

    Miyako Hotel, Second Floor Meeting Room

11:00 am – 12:30 pm

  • Closing Plenary: The Future of Oral History in the 21st Century

    Speaker: Professor Horacio Roque-Ramirez
    University of California, San Barbara, Chicano Studies

    Discussants: TBA
    Miyako Hotel, Second Floor Meeting Room

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