Veteran’s Oral History Projects: Nuanced Methodological and Pedagogical Approaches to Recovering Our Nation’s Past

Endorsed by the Society for Military History, the Oral History Association, and the Western History Association

Saturday, April 4, 2020, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Military; Teaching and Pedagogy; Theory and Methodology


Scholars reveal new methodological and pedagogical approaches to recovering our past through the use of oral narrative to rectify the historical erasure of vulnerable and excluded communities from our nation’s memory. The roundtable foregrounds its discussion on the multiple methodological approaches to oral history, including the collection, preservation, and dissemination of historical knowledge and how instructors can create student-centered oral history projects that train students in professional oral history while advancing experiential student learning.

Session Participants

Chair and Panelist: Valerie A. Martinez, Our Lady of the Lake University
Dr. Valerie A. Martínez specializes in 20th Century Mexican American history, U.S. Military and Labor History, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Her current project, Latina Ambassadors:The Benito Juárez Squadron and Hemispheric Politics during World War II, reconceptualizes contemporary understandings of diplomacy and international actors by investigating how Latina military participation during World War II embodied Pan-American unity during a historical period that emphasized wartime cooperation in the region. Her transnational research in both Mexico and the US has been funded by OLLU’s Center for Mexican American Studies, UT Austin’s History Department, the Center for Mexican American Studies, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, the Mexican Center of the Teresa Long Institute of Latin American Studies, the American Association of Women-Austin Chapter, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Museum and Library, the General George C. Marshall Foundation, the Texas State Historical Commission, the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies, and the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University. She is also the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for her work on women and the military. Dr. Martínez is a graduate of Texas Tech University (B.A, 2006, M.A, 2009) and from the University of Texas at Austin (Ph.D, 2016). She was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Historical Studies at UT Austin and is currently an Assistant Professor of History at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.

Panelist: Kirsten E. Gardner, University of Texas San Antonio
Kirsten E. Gardner, Associate Professor of History, teaches in the Department of History, Program of Women’s Studies, and American Studies Program. In 2015, she was honored with the UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. She is also a member of the UTSA Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars and a winner of the President’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Core Curriculum.
Dr. Gardner earned a B.A. from Georgetown University; M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati; and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from University of Cincinnati. Her research focuses on issues of women's health, technology and healthcare, and women and the military. Early Detection Women, Cancer, and Awareness Campaigns in the Twentieth-Century United States (UNC, 2006) traced women’ s activism and cancer early detections campaigns for nearly a century. More recently, her work on the history of diabetes since insulin explores how medical technologies and patient experience have intersected in the past century. Gardner has published her research and reviews in several book chapters and many academic journals including The Journal of Women's History; Enterprise and Society; Literature and Medicine; Gender, Health and Popular Culture: Historical Perspectives; Beauty and Business: Commerce, Gender, and Culture in Modern America; and Artificial Parts and Practical Lives: Modern History of Prosthetics.

Panelist: Christine Margaret Lamberson, Angelo State University
Christine M. Lamberson is an Assistant Professor at Angelo State University whose research interests focus on the intersection of the cultural and political history of the United States, particularly during the twentieth century. She received her PhD in U.S. history from the University of Wisconsin in 2012. She has a recent article, “The Zebra Murders: Race, Civil Liberties, and Radical Politics in San Francisco,” in the Journal of Urban History, and is currently working on a manuscript titled, In the Crucible of Violence: The Remaking of American Political Culture in the 1960s and 1970s.Lamberson’s manuscript examines popular and political responses to violence during the 1960s and 1970s on both the local and national levels. It uses these sources to show the effects of public anxiety about a seemingly new violence problem on U.S. policy, society, and political culture. She served as the co-director of War Stories: West Texans and the Experience of War from World War I to the Present, an National Endowment for the Humanities-funded project at Angelo State University. The project works to preserve and present the experiences of military veterans and their families by digitizing their photographs, letters, and other memorabilia as well as interviewing them. These materials are preserved in a digital archive housed at Angelo State and partially available on the web.

Panelist: Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez is a professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as the founder and director of the multi-faceted Voces Oral History Project. The project has recorded interviews across the country with over 1,000 Latinos/as of the WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War generations. The project has produced four books, launched an academic journal, provided the bases for three plays, developed educational materials, created photo exhibits, and become a resource for scholars and others looking for photographs and interviews with Latinos of the three periods. Before earning her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Rivas-Rodriguez worked for more than 17 years in major market news outlets, including the Boston Globe, United Press International, WFAA-TV in Dallas and the Dallas Morning News. Rivas-Rodriguez also has a masters from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Her bachelor of journalism degree is from the University of Texas at Austin.

Panelist: Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai, Massachusetts Historical Society
Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai is Director of Research at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Prior to taking up that position, he was an associate professor of history at Angelo State University where he co-directed the National Endowment for the Humanities-sponsored project, "War Stories: West Texans and the Experience of War: World War I to the Present." He and co-director Christine M. Lamberson traveled to small towns in West Texas for four years to interview veterans and their loved ones. Samples of the interviews they conducted and materials that they collected can be found at Wongsrichanalai is also the author of Northern Character: College-Educated New Englanders, Honor, Nationalism, and Leadership in the Civil War Era (Fordham University Press, 2016) and co-editor of So Conceived and So Dedicated: Intellectual Life in the Civil War Era North (Fordham University Press, 2015).