In October 2016, I presented a paper at the annual meeting of Oral History Association in Los Angeles, California.
My paper, titled “Exploring Pedagogical Transfer from Oral to Written Narratives in the Literature and Composition Classroom,” examined the construction of a meta-narrative on the thematic and stylistic connections between oral literature and the written text.
Focusing on post-conflict reconciliation and healing, I investigated the intersections of traumatic narratives of amputees and survivors of carnage of the Sierra Leone civil war and war narratives like Aminatta Forna’s The Memory of Love, Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone, Mariatu Kamara’s The Bite of the Mango, and Yema Hunter’s Redemption Song.
In this paper, and using these texts, I explored the following pedagogical questions:
- How do I incorporate Oral History methodology into the English Composition or literature classroom?
- What methodological skills are transferrable from oral history to the pedagogy of literature? Are there overlaps between the oral and written methodologies of representation and analysis? Does the medium of representation impact meaning? What would be the implications of choosing one mode of representation over the other or choosing both in the delivery of instructional materials?
- How and where does oral history or oral narratives intersect with the written narratives or literature?
- How do I develop a database of resources, theoretical and digital, for teachers of English who uses Oral History in their classrooms?
- How would I use OHMS as pedagogical tool to create learning tasks, classroom activities, experiential learning activities, and thematic and theoretical frameworks for analyzing composition and literature?
However, California was not all books and conference presentations. I found time to explore L.A. and to have a sense of its sights, sounds, taste, touch, and smell. I reproduce some of what L.A. offered me below: