The Palestinian Oral History Archive (POHA) is an archival collection that contains more than 1,000 hours of testimonies with first generation Palestinians and other Palestinian communities in Lebanon. The project’s aim is to digitize, index, catalog, preserve, and provide access to the material through the creation of a state-of-the-art digital platform. It aims to expand and include additional oral history collections documenting varied aspects of the Palestinian experience in Lebanon and the region. The project is being completed in partnership with the AUB Libraries, the Nakba Archive and the Arab Resource Center for Popular Arts (AL-JANA), and is currently funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant(2016-19).
The fellowships are made possible by the National Endowment for Humanities grant, and will provide a stipend for the duration of the fellowship (four months each).
The Fellows will be hosted at the AUB Libraries and will be given access to the Palestinian Oral History Archive (POHA) collection which have been digitized, indexed and will soon be availed through a stateof the art digital platform. Fellows are expected to conduct research, mining the Archive’s content, and producing research outcomes (papers, presentations, etc.) to be presented at the Archive’s launch conference, in April 2019. Some Fellows can also opt for supporting the development of the Palestinian Oral History digital platform, and its upcoming launch, by helping with the writing of manuals, background and how-to documents related to the Archive, which will be posted on the POHA website.
Proposals for the Fellows’ research are solicited around one of the following 4 themes:
Women Histories: A great number of the interviewees in the POHA collection are women: the archive thus offers rich material for the exploration of women’s lives in pre-1948 Palestine, their experience of refuge in the events of 1948, and their experience in the early days of refuge in Lebanon. Proposals under this theme are encouraged to tap into the archive’s rich potential of inscribing the voice of subaltern women into the historical record, producing research on any facet of women’s history made possible by the testimonies housed in thearchive.
Use of Digital Mapping Tools: Layers of geographic data available in the interviews, as well as the fine- tuned indexing of geographic markers and local landmarks, renders the archive a rich source for complementing and enriching the cartographic and human-geographic repository available thus far. Proposals under this theme are encouraged to employ the Archive’s geographic data using digital tools for mapping and spatial-temporal storytelling.
Oral History as Ethnography: In avoiding transcription of interviews, and the flattening of a sonic and visual experience into text, POHA strove to maintain the power of oral history in allowing for a dialogical-ethnographic stance for the researcher. Proposals under this theme are encouraged to reflect on the researcher’s ethnographic positioning while exploring oral history interviews, and the methodological implications such a stance allows.
Theories and Methods of Oral History Archiving: A key concern of the project has been devising a methodology for archiving oral history that remains faithful to the narrator’s experience while complying with international standards for cataloging and indexing. This methodology has animated the project’skey decisions and has been documented over the course of the project’s development. Fellows under this theme are encouraged to reflect on methodologies of archiving oral histories and exploring alternative methodological avenues and technical tools and the ways in which they might impact users’ experiences.
Fellows are expected to:
- Implement the research / digital project they have described in theirapplication.
- Provide feedback on the beta version of the archive before its launch in May 2018.
- Present their project/research results in the launch conference of May 2018, and partake in the conference’s preparation as needed.
- Provide help with writing and preparing background and how-to material to be posted on the website regarding best practices, project planning, etc.
Applications should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 5, 2018, and must contain:
- A Curriculum Vitae
- A proposal detailing the applicant’s project, or research under one of the above themes, or under support for background material related to the digital platform
- A recommendation letter