Advanced Oral History Summer Institute
About the Institute
Keynote and Guest Speakers
General Resources
Oral History Resources


Neil Henry is the Interm Director of ROHO. He worked for 16 years as a staff writer for The Washington Post and Newsweek magazine prior to joining the faculty of Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism in 1993. A former national correspondent and Africa Bureau Chief for the Washington Post, Professor Henry has won awards from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Associated Press, and Robert F. Kennedy Memorial for his reporting and writing. He is the author of a 2002 racial memoir, Pearl’s Secret. His second book, American Carnival, which examines the news industry's adjustments to the digital age, was published in 2007. Between 2007 and 2011, Professor Henry served as dean of the Graduate School of Journalism, attracting three endowed chairs under the Hewlett Challenge and hastening the School's curricular transition to incorporate digital skills training. A graduate in Politics from Princeton University, Professor Henry earned his Master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Professor Henry is currently the director of the Regional Oral History Office.

Martin Meeker is the Associate Director of ROHO. Martin heads up several oral history projects, including: the Kaiser Permanente project, which explores the history of health care since 1970; the Debt and Deficits project, which looked into the politics and policy of national debt; the Oakland Army Base project, which recovered the social history of a large military installation; and several other projects, many of which focus on the history of politics and social movements in the San Francisco Bay Area. After receiving his doctorate in U.S. history from the University of Southern California, Meeker taught at San Francisco State University and at UC Berkeley. He has published numerous reviews and encyclopedia articles and he has essays published in the Pacific Historical Review, the Journal of the History of Sexuality and the Journal of Women’s History. Meeker’s books include: The Oakland Army Base: An Oral History (The Bancroft Library, 2010) and Contacts Desired: Gay and Lesbian Communications and Community, 1940s-1970s (University of Chicago Press, 2006), which was the winner of the 2005-2006 John Boswell Prize. Martin’s approach to oral history interviewing is to move beyond the “recovering voices” tradition of oral history and, instead, to explore how interviewing can help scholars develop and refine their research questions and even begin to test hypotheses qualitatively. 

Lisa Rubens is an Historian and Academic Specialist at ROHO who is engaged with a wide range of projects which currently include: Women at U.C. Berkeley, social movements and community politics in the Bay Area [Berkeley’s 1964 Free Speech Movement; The Oakland Army Base and Affordable Housing]; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Rubens uses oral history to establish the social and cultural context of a subject’s experience. Her own research has centered on the interpretation and reception of mass culture and the role of women, labor and students in social movements and politics. Rubens taught for ten years at the community and state college level before receiving her PhD in U.S. History from UC Berkeley in 1997. Her dissertation on San Francisco's l939 World's Fair is a cultural and political history of race and regionalism, currently under review for publication by the University of Pennsylvania Press. She has written monographs reviews, and curriculum about labor and California Women's history, and served on the advisory board of the California Museum of History, Women and the Arts. Dr. Rubens created the Advanced Oral History Summer Institute for ROHO in 2002, serving as director until 2009.

Paul Burnett is a Historian and Assistant Academic Specialist. He joined ROHO in October, 2013 from the Science and Technology Studies Programme at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada, where he was an Assistant Professor. Before that, Paul spent a year in Philadelphia researching and producing museum exhibits for the American Philosophical Society. While there, he got a strong sense of the public appeal of historical research, and learned about how different techniques and media can be used to ignite the curiosity of new communities. He completed his Ph.D. at the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania in 2008, where he developed his research on the politics of expertise – how scientists and experts of all kinds establish their credibility, and how people choose between different kinds of expertise to try to solve complex social, political, scientific, and technical problems. He is currently writing a book on agricultural economics, neoliberalism, and development. At ROHO, Paul is developing oral history projects on biotechnology, computing, and mining. He is also interested in the promises and pitfalls of new information technologies as they shape the direction of oral history in the twenty-first century.

Shanna Farrell is a Historian and Assistant Academic Specialist at ROHO. She holds an MA in Oral History from Columbia University, an Interdisciplinary MA in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University, and a BA in Music from Northeastern University. Her studies focused on environmental justice issues in communities impacted by water pollution for which she used oral history as her primary research method. Her work includes a community history of the Hudson River, a documentary audio piece entitled “Hydraulic Fracturing: An Oral History” that explored the complexity of issues involved in drilling for natural gas, a study that examined the local politics of “Superfunding” the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York, and a landscape study of a changing neighborhood in South Brooklyn. Before joining ROHO she worked for Michael Frisch at Randforce Associates as a Project Manager on an oral history project about a group of grain scoopers in Buffalo, New York.

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