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Race & Power Symposium: Who We Are

Assessing the Role of Race and Power in Oral History Theory and Practice
June 27-29, 2022


Benji de la Piedra, cochair, teaches oral history courses at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of the District of Columbia, where he also directs the Herbert Denton Biography Project. A 2021 Visiting Fellow at the Library of Congress’s John W. Kluge Center for Scholars, he is working on a book about Albert Murray, Herbert Denton, and Ralph Ellison’s interrelated frameworks for the act of covering American unrest. Benji holds an M.A. in Oral History from Columbia University, consults on oral history projects around the United States, and sits on the OHA’s Equity Audit Task Force. 

Holly Werner-Thomas, cochair, is an oral history consultant and independent scholar. Her documentary play, The Survivors, about gun violence victims, won Columbia University’s Jeffrey H. Brodsky Oral History Award in 2020 for unique and innovative contributions to oral history theory and practice. Her article on how to evoke the five senses in an interview, “Sensory Roadmaps: How to Capture Sensory Detail in an Interview and Why Doing So Has Exciting Implications for Oral History,” is published in the April 2022 issue of the Oral History Review.

Jessica Douglas (she her) is an independent researcher and archivist living in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. After receiving her Bachelors in Political Science and History from Fordham University, she worked at the Baltimore City Archives and Maryland State Archives as a project archivist and reference archivist, respectively. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Library Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. 

Shanna Farrell (she/her) is an interviewer with UC Berkeley’s Oral History Center. She works on a wide variety of interviews there and specializes in the environment, community history, and food and beverage culture. She is the author of A Good Drink: In Pursuit of Sustainable Spirits and Bay Area Cocktails: A History of Culture, Community and Craft. She co-chaired the 2020 Oral History Association Conference. She holds an Interdisciplinary MA from NYU and an MA in Oral History from Columbia University. 

Kelly Elaine Navies (she/her/Ms.) is an oral historian, writer, and poet. She coordinates the oral history initiative at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Navies has degrees in African American Studies and Library and Information Science from UC Berkeley and The Catholic University of America, respectively.  Her oral history work may be accessed at the Southern Oral History Program, Reginald F. Lewis Maryland Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington DC Public Library’s People’s Archive and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Finally, she is currently the First VP of the OHA.

Linda Shopes has more than four decades of experience with oral history and has served the field and the Oral History Association in many capacities, including OHA president in the late 1990s. Widely published in oral and public history, she currently works as a freelance oral historian and editor. 

Amanda Tewes is an oral historian with the Oral History Center of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. She holds degrees in history and public history. She previously worked as an oral historian at the San Diego History Center and the Center for Oral and Public History at California State University, Fullerton.



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