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LSC Center for Local & Oral History (CLOH)

Mission: Carpe Historiam!

The LSC Center for Local & Oral History (CLOH) was founded with an LSC Chancellor’s Faculty Technology Innovation Grant in 2016. The Center works to incorporate into the college’s curricula the practice of Oral History, which is defined by the Oral History Association (OHA) as “a method of gathering and preserving historical information through recorded interviews with participants in past events and ways of life." Introducing oral history into the classroom empowers students to do and to make history, hence the Center's motto: Carpe Historiam! 

The aims of CLOH include the following:

  • Document the local history of the LSC service area
  • Empower students through experiential learning
  • Develop student research skills
  • Collaborate across disciplines
  • Engage the community
  • Integrate technology into the learning process
  • Understand history as narrative

Rationale

The faculty and staff affiliated with CLOH train students in the application of new technological media such as digital recording, audio and video processing, transcription, and archiving. In doing so, we intend to give students a greater and more personal stake in their education, as well as new skill sets for success in the global marketplace.

Student-led oral-history projects are an amazing but under-used pedagogical tool, enabling students to become historians for a semester. They not only preserve local history but also create a unique space for teaching and learning. As many of our students have discovered through their own oral-history projects, ours is a diverse and introspective community that treasures its past.

Teachign & Learning

Oral History is both the oldest type of historical inquiry, predating the written word, and one of the most modern, initiated with tape recorders in the 1940s. Today, it is used a method of gathering and preserving historical information by recording and archiving local memories from individuals with firsthand knowledge of past events. 

Student oral-history interviewOver the last decade or so, educators have witnessed a shift away from the more traditional, content-based model of teaching academic subjects, in which students are expected to digest large quantities of discipline-specific information in a survey course. In an effort to engage and teach our students in other ways, forward-looking instructors in the humanities and social sciences are striving to incorporate more research-based and experiential ways learning, especially new forms of technology.

With this in mind, CLOH aims to expand learning outside classroom, allowing students to explore their community and to create and preserve a trove of knowledge about the composition of, and lived experiences in and around, northern Harris andMontgomery counties.

Activities

The local history of smaller towns and communities, especially historically marginalized and and underserved ones, are often excluded from the larger historical narratives of US history. Our community members have a wealth of knowledge and personal experience that might otherwise be lost; theirs is a fine-grained, very personal and lived history that cannot be found in textbooks.

Chez Nous oral-history interview

Local Oral History Projects

To date, LSC students have collected and archived a range of oral-history narratives from family and community members in the local area, such as the following:

  • Billy Sheffield oral-history interviewLife histories of the Great Depression
  • Veteran and home-front experiences of foreign wars, incl. WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq & Afghanistan
  • Settlement and development of Humble, TX
  • History of local cuisine and food culture
  • Immigrant journeys to Houston from around the world
  • Legacies of Jim Crow, segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement
  • Labor in the Texas cotton fields
  • Impact of Hurrican Ike
  • Memories of Pearl Harbor, the Cuban Missile Crisis, 9/11

International Oral History Projects

LSC students have also explored the wider world through the discipline of oral history, producing innovative oral-history projects with an international scope, often in a foreign language. Projects focusing on international historical and political events include the following:

  • Errection/destruction of the Berlin Wall and the division of Germany during the Cold War
  • Exodus of Vietnamese "boat people" at the end of the Vietnam War (1978–79)
  • National Reorganization Process and the "Dirty War" under Argentinia's dictatorship (1976–83)

Research

In spring 2017, through the generous support of the the Honors College at LSC-Kingwood, an honors-level US History class conducted archival research at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.

CLOJ image LBJ archive

CLOH plans to sponsor future research activities at museums and archives in and around Houston, as training students to undertake this type of primary-source research is a key learning objective in LSC's social-science and humanities curricula.

Awards

The following individuals won awards based on their activities or projects undertaken through the Center for Local & Oral History:

  • Faculty Innovator of the Year, 2016–17 – R. Chris Davis
  • Cody Award for Outstanding History Student, 2016–17 – Anna Clark
  • Cody Award for Outstanding History Student, 2015–16 – Victoria Godsby

Classes

CLOH image-2Courses that utilize oral history are typically special-topics US History since 1877 (HIST 1302) courses. However, oral history is an interdisciplinary methodology, and as such it has been utilized in various courses in the LSC catalog, including Government (GOVT), English (ENGL), and Communication (COMM) classes, among others.

Using oral history in the classrom enables an exploration of the course subject through the recorded testimonies of eyewitnesses to past events and experiences, using sound and video recordings. Regardless of the discipline, students learn new technology, engage with the community, and produce original research through individual or group projects.

Collaboration

Quest Early College High School

AW Jones interview Quest ECHSCLOH provided technical support for oral-history projects undertaken by dual-credit history students from Quest Early College High School. One project focused on the historical experience of individuals from, Bordersville, Texas, an original settlement founded after the Civil War by freed slaves from Humble, Texas. Quest Early College students are helping to preserve the local history and collective memory of this historically black community. Group interviews were conducted at the Bordersville 3H Center, in cooperation with the Bordersville Neighborhood Council.

Another project explored on the mid-twentieth-century history of the city of Humble. Interviews for this project were conducted at the Charles Bender Performing Arts Center (formerly Charles Bender High School).

Mayor interview Quest ECHS

See recent features in the Houston Chronicle:

Speaker Series at the Humble Museum

Speaker Series at the Humble MuseumIn spring 2017, in partnership with the Humble Museum, CLOH helped launch the innagural Speaker Series at the Humble Museum. The Speaker Series endeavors to create a public forum for local history and civic education by bringing to the museum historians, public officials, artists, museum curators, genealogists, and others to speak on a variety of historical and contemporary issues. With this new initiative, CLOH and the Humble Museum aim to establish new links (and to strengthen old ones) between the college, the museum, and the communites they serves, including local educational institutions, businesses, societies, churches, and governments.

All events take place at 7 PM at the Humble Museum, 219 E Main St, Humble, TX 77338.

See recent features in the Houston Chronicle:

Elvis in East Texas flier

Affiliated Faculty & Staff

R. Chris Davis, PhD (director)

Associate Professor of History
Director, LSC Center for Local & Oral History (CLOH)
Office: PAC 113C, LSC-Kingwood
Phone: 281.312.1654
Email: R.Chris.Davis@LoneStar.edu
Website: http://lonestar.edu/blogs/robertdavis1

Jose Vela

Video Production Specialist
Media Services, LSC-Kingwood
Office: CLB 121, LSC-Kingwood
Phone: 281.312.1707 
Email: Jose.J.Vela@LoneStar.edu

Shawn Sedoff

Visual Communications Lead Faculty
Office: ADM 201-B
Phone: 281.312.1742
Email: Shawn.G.Sedoff@LoneStar.edu

Marty Willits

Dual Credit/Adjunct Faculty in History
Quest Early College High School (Humble ISD) & LSC-Kingwood
Office: Room 3204, Quest Early College High School (Humble High School)
Phone: 281.641.7300
Email: Marty.D.Willits@LoneStar.edu
Website: http://www.humbleisd.net/Domain/8636

Crescida Jacobs

Quest Early College High School & LSC-Kingwood
Email: Crescida.E.Jacobs@LoneStar.edu

Juan M. Galván Rodríguez

History Faculty, LSC-Kingwood
Email: Juan.GalvanRodriguez@LoneStar.edu