If you’ve talked to me for at least ten minutes, you’ve likely discovered that I am a Student Archivist at Special Collections and Archives Research Center. If you’ve inexplicably managed to avoid that fate or you are a stranger stumbling upon this blog post, this is a bit of what I’ve been up to this year at SCARC.
I began working as a student archivist in early November 2022. My first priority was a special assignment, to write biographies about individuals in the News and Communications Services collection. This project encompasses approximately two thousand biographies that will be used to create a more comprehensive finding aid for this collection. I’ve enjoyed learning about the unique people who have been associated with Oregon State, such as Edward C. Allworth, a World War I veteran who was the long-time, beloved manager of the Memorial Union, or Rachel Bail Baumel, a journalist, playwright, and producer who traveled the globe in the mid-twentieth century. As of now, summer 2023, I have written several hundred biographies and still have many more stories to discover!
I don’t spend all my time writing biographies, though. I also perform other tasks, like assisting researchers in the Public Services Unit. This means that I help retrieve items that researchers use for their own work. I also help scan and digitize items to increase accessibility of SCARC materials. Of course, I’m always curious about what it is that I’m handling, so with every task I simply must take a few minutes to read the document I’m working with. I’ve seen chemical equations I don’t understand in Linus Pauling’s research notebooks, heartbreaking reports about Japanese prisoners published by the War Relocation Authority, and witty interactions between Oregon State students who came decades before me in the Women’s Center Scrapbooks. There’s a special privilege in holding history in your hands.
My work here has inspired my academic work at the university. In winter 2023, I took a class called “History Lab”, wherein our small group traveled to repositories across the state to design a research project. SCARC was one of the archives we visited, and I was able to use an oral history in our collections for my research!
I look forward to my future work in SCARC, where I will have the opportunity to work in the Digital Productions Unit and continue working in the Public Services Unit. While I had a deep love for history long before being hired here, this job has given me the opportunity to translate this passion into tangible work, where I get to learn and practice historical storytelling every day.
This post is contributed by Grace Knutsen. She is a student archivist at the Special Collections and Archives Research Center. She studies history, French, and German.
This post references a report from the United States War Relocation Authority Reports. The collection is comprised of more than fifty mimeographed reports detailing the operation of War Relocation Authority (WRA) concentration camps used to house Japanese American incarcerees during World War Two.
Series 2 is composed of 14 “notes” published by the Community Analysis Section (CAS) between 1944 and 1945. The notes are short reports on subjects including marriage customs, healing practices, and “block” self-governance within the concentration camps. The notes series includes several reports documenting interviews with incarcerees. It also includes a series of reports on areas within the exclusion zone including Fresno County, Imperial Valley, the San Francisco Bay Area, and San Joaquin County.
The item reference in this post (Box-Folder 1.20) and the entire contents of the collection have been digitized and are available upon request.
After the United States declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941, racism and xenophobia against Japanese Americans grew. White Americans suspected Japanese Americans of espionage and loyalty to the Japanese Empire. In response, President Franklin D. Roosevelt infamously established internment camps through Executive Order 9066, intending to imprison Japanese Americans living on the West Coast. Importantly, this order targeted not only Japanese immigrants (“Issei”), but also their descendents who were United States citizens (“Nisei”).
This mass incarceration caused major organizational chaos. Military commanders were given the authority to create incarceration centers for individuals considered a threat to national security. Soon after, Roosevelt signed another executive order into effect, establishing the War Relocation Authority (WRA). More than 125,000 Japanese Americans were first removed from their homes to military-run “assembly centers”, and later, to one of the ten prison camps established by the WRA.
Between 1942 and 1946, the WRA Community Analysis Section published reports intended to document the social backgrounds of the prisoners and their reactions to conditions in the camps.
Among these reports is a document dated January 15, 1944, entitled “From A Nisei Who Said ‘No’”.
In the document, a community analyst working at the Manzanar internment camp in California documents an exchange between a young Japanese American man and a hearing board authorized to pass upon questions of segregation at the camp.
The analyst writes that the young man, who remains unnamed through the document, replied “no” to Question 28 of the Army registration form submitted to all male evacuee citizens in 1943. The question read, “Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America and faithfully defend the United States from any or all attack by foreign or domestic forces, and forswear any form allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, or any other foreign government, power, or organization?”
The question was controversial. By asking Japanese Americans to forswear allegiance to the Japanese emperor, to answer “yes” would imply that they had previously held allegiance to this foreign power. This implication stung Issei and Nisei who held no such allegiance. However, by answering no, a Nisei revoked their American citizenship. The man’s answer resulted in a hearing wherein board members confirmed that the man was an American citizen who had always lived in the United States and that he understood the consequences of answering “no”.
In the hearing, he stated:
“I thought that since there is a war on between Japan and America, since the people of this country have to be geared up to fight against Japan, they are taught to hate us. So they don’t accept us. First I wanted to help this country, but they evacuated us instead of giving us a chance. Then I wanted to be neutral, but now that you force a decision, I have to say this. We have a Japanese face. Even if I try to be American I won’t be entirely accepted.”
The hearing ended shortly after, when he had convinced the board that his mind was made. He was not willing to serve a country that had imprisoned innocent American citizens. The community analyst who authored the report reached out to the man for a fuller statement on his views, a portion of which are included below:
“Before evacuation, all our parents thought that since they were aliens they would probably have to go to a camp. That was only natural – they were enemy aliens. But they never thought that it would come to the place where their sons, who were born in America and were American citizens would be evacuated. We citizens had hopes of staying there because President Roosevelt and Attorney General Biddle said it was not a military necessity to evacuate American citizens of Japanese ancestry.”
“I don’t know Japan. I’m not interested in Japan. I don’t know what will become of me and people like me if we have to go to Japan.”
“I tell you this because it has something to do with my answer about that draft question. We are taught that if you go out to war you should go out with the idea that you are never coming back. That’s the Japanese way of looking at it.”
“In order to go out prepared and willing to die, expecting to die, you have to believe in what you are fighting for. If I am going to end the family line, if my father is going to lose his only son, it should be for some cause we respect. I believe in democracy as I was taught in school. I would have been willing to go out forever before evacuation. It’s not that I’m a coward or afraid to die. My father would have been willing to see me go out at one time. But my father can’t feel the same after this evacuation and I can’t either.”
This report is a rare occurrence, wherein a Japanese American was able to voice their views to a government authority. Moreover, the young man’s decision and statement represents radical protest by Japanese Americans against United States policy during the war. The young man was not alone; it is estimated that twenty percent of all Nisei responded “no” to Question 28. The WRA also found a sharp increase in the number of repatriation and expatriation applications from Nisei and Issei during this time. By refusing to serve the United States, these individuals were practicing the very democracy they had hoped to defend.
This post is contributed by Grace Knutsen. She is a student archivist at the Special Collections and Archives Research Center. She studies history, French, and German.
SCARC completed 12 new finding aids April – June 2023!
These finalized finding aids are available through the Archives West finding aids database, our Archon finding aids interface, and the OSUL discovery system a.k.a. “the catalog” or “Alma/Primo” (note: “new” means that a finding is available via all three platforms). The links below are to the guides in Archon.
Twelve new collection guides were created this quarter; as of the end of June, SCARC has 1136 finding aids in Archives West!
College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) Records (RG 320) ~ The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) Records document the activity and outreach of the Oregon State University CAMP office as well as its resources from the late 1980s to the late 1990s. CAMP is a federally funded program operating out of the OSU Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) to support first-year students from migratory and seasonal work backgrounds.
Ellen and Carolyn Dishman Papers, 1998-2014 ~ The Ellen and Carolyn Dishman Papers are the collected materials and photography by the Dishmans documenting their involvement at Oregon State University in the late 1990s to early 2000s. As OSU students, they were involved in prominent LGBTQ+ groups on campus and served as primary advocates for the establishment of the Queer Resource Center (QRC) in 2001; the QRC is now called the Pride Center.
Corvallis Queer Film Festival Collection, 2009-2019 ~ The Corvallis Queer Film Festival (CQFF) Collection documents promotional materials of the community-based, internationally-sourced, and queer-directed film showcase that ran from 2013 to 2019. It also includes promotional materials from related queer film festivals in Portland, Oregon.
Northwest Forest Plan Oral History Collection (OH 48) ~ The Northwest Forest Plan Oral History Collection consists of interviews conducted in 2016 and 2017 with thirteen scientists and others whose input proved crucial to the shaping of the Northwest Forest Plan, a monumental set of federal forest lands policies for the Pacific Northwest enacted by the Clinton administration in 1994. The sessions trace the personal and professional lives of these individuals, including their participation in one or more of the major efforts to provide policy makers with scientific information and perspectives. All interviews were collected by historian Samuel Schmieding. The collection is entirely born digital and available online.
Early Written Word Collection, 2046 B.C. – 1837 ~ This collection contains leaves separated from bound manuscripts and printed texts. Some leaves were included as parts of commercially sold leaf portfolios compiled by Otto Ege and Alfred W. Stites. Cuneiform tablets from Iraq, a Balinese palm leaf book, and an example of early Chinese block printing are also included.
Mount St. Helens Oral History Collection (OH 050) ~ The Mount St. Helens Oral History Collection consists of seven interviews conducted in 2015 by historian Samuel Schmieding with five scientists and one administrator who have played a leading role in the study and management of Mount St. Helens, a Cascades Range volcano that famously and catastrophically erupted on May 18, 1980. All of the interviews described in this collection have been transcribed and made available online.
Ninkasi Brewing Company Collection, 1999-2015 ~ The Ninkasi Brewing Company Collection includes materials generated by the Ninkasi Brewing Company that document the various types of beer produced at the brewery. It is primarily an electronic collection, with a much smaller number of printed materials. The Ninkasi Brewing Company formed in 2006 in Eugene, Oregon.
Phil Decker Oregon Crop Festival Photographs Collection, 2010-2016 ~ The Phil Decker Photograph Collection consists primarily of born digital images taken by Phil Decker, a Salem-based photographer, of various crop festivals in Oregon. Decker is an elementary school principal and documentary photographer living in Salem, Oregon.
Deschutes Brewery Collection, 1986-2007 ~ Deschutes Brewery was founded in 1988 by Gary Fish in downtown Bend, Oregon. The Deschutes Brewery Collection includes print and digitized materials related to operations, promotional campaigns, and photographs.
Art Larrance Papers, 1876-2000 ~ Art Larrance is the co-founder of Portland Brewing Company and the Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub and Cascade Brewing. He co-founded the Oregon Brewers Festival and collects materials related to Northwest beer history. The Art Larrance Papers include digitized versions of materials held by Larrance, including articles of incorporation for Portland Brewing, company newsletters, and pre-Prohibition hops and brewing advertising and company materials. The digitized materials in this collection are available in Oregon Digital.
Oregon Black Pioneers Oral History Collection (OH 042) ~ The Oregon Black Pioneers Oral History Collection consists of two projects, both of which focused on collecting the stories of figures instrumental to the formation and growth of Black communities in Oregon. One project, conducted in 1993, was led by middle school students primarily interested in female elders in Eugene, Oregon. The second project, carried out from 2018-2020, was sponsored by Oregon Black Pioneers and featured community leaders from Portland, Eugene and Salem. All of these interviews have been transcribed and made available online. Founded in 1993, Oregon Black Pioneers is a non-profit organization that seeks to preserve and amplify the history of African Americans in Oregon
OSU Sesquicentennial Oral History Collection (OH 26) The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Collection documents the history, culture and ambition of Oregon State University through interviews with alumni, faculty, staff, administrators, current students and supporters. Most of the items held in the collection take the form of life history interviews, their sole common thread being a given interviewee’s association, past or present, with Oregon State University. A total of 243 interviews were conducted for the project, summing to more than 350 hours of recording time. The contents of this collection are available online through a dedicated web portal.
Also of note are 8 findings that were updated/expanded and reuploaded to ArchivesWest:
Below is a description of the course and the collaboration:
Over the course of the term, we will work collaboratively with Natalia Fernández in the Special Collections & Archives Research Center (SCARC) on an oral history project that focuses on the legacies of feminist leadership in our community. In honor of the 50-year anniversary of the WGSS program at Oregon State, we will conduct oral histories with members of our WGSS community. We will spend time in the archives learning about histories of feminist leadership, activism, and resistance on our campus, work with Natalia on the purpose and processes of oral histories, and by the end of term, contribute oral histories to SCARC’s collection. We will work collaboratively to determine the structure and process of our oral history project, create an interview guide, and to support each other throughout the process. At the end of the term, we will have an open celebration with SCARC, our interviewees, and the broader WGSS community where we share highlights from our oral histories.
Engaging with the archives and conducting oral histories through this project allows us to engage with feminist leadership in multiple ways:
– To engage in a feminist leadership praxis, it is important to know the history of the communities we are a part of, what legacies we are leading from, and who we are leading with. This project offers the opportunity to learn about the history of our community and individuals within it, and to think about our own feminist leadership praxis from an informed place-based perspective.
– Conducting oral histories gives us the opportunity to explore the relationship between living a feminist life and praxis-informed feminist leadership for leaders within our community. This process will also allow us to learn things about ourselves too!
– Engaging with the archives and conducting oral histories also allows us to develop a specific skill set that will be useful in your current and future leadership endeavors and is a particular kind of research method that can be applicable to your studies more broadly.
At the end of the term, the students submitted a total of 7 interviews featuring 9 interviewees! The interviews provide a range of perspectives on the OSU WGSS Program and what feminist leadership means to the interviewees.
Below are the oral history interviews, organized in chronological order, with the bio notes and summaries written by the students:
Ron Mize Oral History, interviewed by Jakki Mattson on May 10, 2023
Bio: Ron Mize is an associate professor in the School of Language, Culture, and Society and former coordinator of Ethnic Studies (2020-2021). He previously taught International Relations, Sociology, Latino Studies, and Ethnic Studies at ITAM (Mexico City), Humboldt State University, Cornell University, University of Saint Francis-Fort Wayne, California State University-San Marcos, University of California San Diego, Southwestern College, Colorado State University and University of Wisconsin Rock County. He was trained as a journalist at the University of Colorado Boulder and went on to study Sociology at Colorado State University (MA) and University of Wisconsin-Madison (PhD). In 2016, he was the Fulbright-Garcia Robles Chair in U.S. Studies at el Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México. In 2020-2021, he was the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Global Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. His scholarly research focuses on the historical origins of racial, class, and gender oppression in the lives of Mexicano/as and Latina/os residing in the United States. Due to the reliance on Mexican labor in the rural industries of agriculture, mining, and railroad construction, his historical research explores the class, gender, and race formations of Anglo-Chicano relations as they relate to these sectors of rural spaces and the economy. He investigates the degree to which contemporary immigrant labor is informed by the history of Mexican incorporation into the rural United States. He is also committed to building Latinx studies within a comparative ethnic studies framework. He seeks to understand the underlying assumptions about nation, race, identity, gender and class in how the public forms our opinions about immigration and part of his effort is to carve out a new paradigm for understanding both the political economy and culture of immigration as well as their interconnections. Dr. Mize is the author of over 50 scholarly publications, including LATINA/O STUDIES (2019, Polity Books), THE INVISIBLE WORKERS OF THE U.S.-MEXICO BRACERO PROGRAM: OBREROS OLVIDADOS (2016, Lexington Books), CONSUMING MEXICAN LABOR: FROM THE BRACERO PROGRAM TO NAFTA (2010, University of Toronto Press, with Alicia Swords), and LATINO IMMIGRANTS IN THE UNITED STATES (2012, Polity Books, with Grace Peña Delgado).
Summary: In this oral history with Dr. Ron Mize, the conversation begins by Dr. Mize describing a small insight into his homelife before he decided to pursue higher education. He describes how he was the second person in his family to attend college and what the alternative would have been if he didn’t (working full time for his family’s carpet cleaning and chemical business). After he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Colorado Boulder, he worked in radio for a few years before deciding to pursue additional higher education. He earned his Master’s in sociology from Colorado State University then continued on to get his PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Once he received his doctorate, he entered the job market in institutions of higher education. He talked about his experiences trying to get tenure at Cornell University and the challenges he faced in the process, which ultimately led to his tenure being denied and him leaving the university. Throughout the approximately dozen institutions of higher education at which he has worked, he finally settled at Oregon State University within Ethnic Studies. He talks about the institutional changes that were in progress and continued once he arrived, including the institutional movement from departments to programs and colleges to schools (to encourage more interdisciplinary work). Throughout the conversation, Dr. Mize details the challenges he and others faced doing critical pedagogical and research work. He details the institution systematically working against the advancements he and other colleagues in the ethnic studies and women, gender, and sexualities studies programs were doing to advance critical feminist and race studies at Oregon State University. Throughout the conversation, Dr. Mize speaks to how women, feminist principles, and feminist leadership impacted the work he has done and continues to do. He intertwines narratives and experiences from growing up with how those moments impact the work he continues to do now. He strives to embody feminist practices and principles in every classroom he is a part of without necessarily labeling himself or his actions in that way. Dr. Mize acknowledges and honors the work and legacy others did within the WGSS program here at Oregon State before he arrived and the work that others continue to do now. While not chronological in narrative, this oral history of how Dr. Mize became affiliated with the WGSS program at Oregon State and is unique in detailing the institutional barriers and successes this program has experienced.
Qwo-Li Driskill Oral History, interviewed by Finn Johnson on May 22, 2023
Bio: Dr. Qwo-Li Driskill is an unenrolled Cherokee and Two-Spirit scholar, activist, and artist. Qwo-Li Driskill is an Associate Professor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) at Oregon State University. They are also the Director of Graduate Studies and Coordinator for Queer Studies in WGSS at OSU. They earned their Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Rhetoric and Writing with a concentration in Cultural Rhetorics. They also hold an M.A. from Antioch University in Whole Systems Design with concentrations in Native Writing, Theater, Story, and Resistance, and a B.A. from University of Northern Colorado in Social Transformation and the Arts. They are the author of two books, Asegi Stories: Cherokee Queer and Two-Spirit Memory, and Walking With Ghosts. They are also the co-editor for Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature and the editor of Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature.
Summary: Dr. Qwo-Li Driskill begins the conversation by providing background information about how they came into their own feminist praxis and the formation of their own feminist ideologies, stemming from their mother, growing up in rural Colorado, queer, and trans organizing, and being influenced by Indigenous feminisms, Black feminisms and Womanisms, Crip and Disability feminisms and Transfeminisms. Dr. Driskill continues the conversation by talking about the importance of looking to queer and trans ancestors who cleared the way for the work they do in WGSS to be possible and to look to their work for answers to current political issues. They talk through the development of Queer Studies at Oregon State University, creating the largest number of course offerings in Trans Studies for graduate education, and the many strengths of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, including that the WGSS graduate program at Oregon State is mostly comprised of queer and trans identifying students.
Mehra ShiraziOral History, interviewed by Md Tanveer Hossain Anoy on May 22, 2023
Bio: Dr. Mehra Shirazi is a bicultural, bilingual community-engaged scholar with a broad background in health behavior. Their work is grounded in postcolonial feminist scholarship that focuses on health in the global context of race, gender, immigration, and environment. Their particular focus is on health inequities among immigrant/refugee women, specifically on the socio-cultural barriers limiting access to breast health and lifesaving prevention and care through the utilization of Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR). Shirazi’s scholarship also addresses transnational praxis and pedagogy through critical studies of culture, lived experience, and narratives of decolonization with publications on Muslim mothering, family relationships in Iranian film, anti-racist pedagogy, and gendered Islamophobia. Dr. Shirazi joined the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies faculty in the School of Language, Culture, and Society in 2011. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. Some courses they teach include: Global Perspectives on Women’s Health, Violence Against Women, Feminist Research Methods, and Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Health Justice. In 2017, Dr. Shirazi was awarded Oregon State University’s Frances Dancy Hooks Award, for building bridges across cultures and modeling transformative action.
Summary: A Bonding of Transnational Feminists ~ Oral history has an immense power to uphold the intersectional history of narrative and experience – an unstructured decolonized talk with one of the prominent professors of the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University – Dr. Mehra Shirazi is no stranger to anyone. Their postcolonial approach to working broke and created conversations in academia. Migrating from Iran and earning a Ph.D. wasn’t a smooth journey for Dr. Mehra Shirazi. No matter how qualified they showed to the world, the white power structure always struck her down with questions like – “How women like you, Muslim women like you- who wear a Hijab can contribute to the feminist world?” Who’s the feminist world white people are talking about? The narrative they have created? Who gave the power to say a person can wear this or that- how can ideology be this much segregated? Throughout the interview, Dr. Mehra Shirazi shared how lived experiences helped her to get into her own feminist journey. Dr. Mehra’s decision to migrate wasn’t an easy one; it was more like a forced one. She spoke about her positionality in academia, shared a couple of triggering stories for being targeted as traditional Muslim women, and spoke highly about her stance with antiracist, anticapitalist, and anti-imperialist- although being vocal also comes with a price. Dr. Mehra Shirazi being in the department is a political statement; it gives a very strong intersectional and transnational to the white-dominated culture. Unfortunately, the number of people like her is so low that the journey can be very tough and lonely. As a South Asian, brown, Queer, international student- voices like Dr. Mehra give me strength and hope for greater intersectionality in movement and leadership building. This oral history is a monument of the change, the diversity we have been craving for a long time.
Patti Duncan and Patti Sakurai Oral History, interviewed by Trung Nguyen on May 23, 2023
Bios: Patti Duncanis a Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University, specializing in women of color feminisms and transnational feminisms. She is the author of Tell This Silence: Asian American Women Writers and the Politics of Speech and numerous articles and essays. She is also the editor of the scholarly journal, Feminist Formations, as well as co-editor of the anthology, Mothering in East Asian Communities: Politics and Practices, co-editor of the textbook, Women Worldwide: Transnational Feminist Perspectives, 2nd edition, and co-editor of the four-volume encyclopedia, Women’s Lives Around the World. Patti Sakurai is an Associate Professor in Ethnic Studies with teaching and research in critical ethnic studies and Asian American studies. She received her Ph.D. in English from SUNY at Stony Brook and taught at UC Santa Barbara, Colorado College, and Emory University, where she held a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship prior to arriving at OSU. Also a filmmaker, her short films engage issues of race and Asian American experiences and have screened at various film festivals in Portland, Seattle, New York City, Hong Kong, and Macau. She was a founding member of the production collective for APA Compass, a monthly public affairs program on KBOO 90.7 FM Portland.
Summary: “Asian/Asian American Feminisms on the OSU Campus” ~ Starting the interview, Nguyen introduces the purpose of this specific issue of OSU Oral History Interview project focusing on the celebration of 50 years anniversary of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program at OSU. Duncan and Sakurai then each introduce themselves before delving into stories of how they first met at Emory University where Sakurai was doing her postdoc while Duncan was working on her doctoral degree. The two continue to share their favorite memories of each other including another graduate student that they had previously co-mentored. Duncan, Sakurai, and Trung then reflects on what it means to be an interdisciplinary or anti-disciplinary programs like WGSS and Ethnic Studies (ES). Duncan and Sakurai next describe what feminism means to each of them. They continue by sharing the roots of their feminisms which stem from their mothers and the feminist authors and books that they read. Both Duncan and Sakurai agree that their feminisms are unapologetically inspired by women of color and Asian/Asian American feminisms. After sharing briefly about their feminist journey at OSU, Duncan and Sakurai expressed both hope and critiques for the status quo of Asian/Asian American Studies at OSU. They move on by sharing the complexity and muddled grouping of Asian American and Pacific Islander in recent political contexts. Nguyen briefly mentions the hope for future interview with Patricia Fifita, a new Ethnic Studies and Indigenous Studies Assistant Professor at OSU, in order to discuss more in depth this identity politics topic. Duncan and Sakurai sum up the significance of feminist leadership that is elevated by Asian & Asian American feminisms on OSU campus. They reflect on how their feminist leadership has changed over time in support of students on campus who need their guidance and feminist practices. Their practice of women of color feminist leadership can at times conflict with institutional barriers that they themselves find creative resistant methods to challenge these obstacles while managing to offer the best support they could for their students. The three, Nguyen included, conclude by staking their hopes for the future of women of color feminist practices and its presence on OSU campus so that Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and other students of color could feel represented and supported for a better and more diverse campus environment.
Whitney Archer and Kali Furman Oral History, interviewed by Elizabeth Kennedy on May 25, 2023
Bios: Kali Furman is an Instructor for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Oregon State University. Dr. Furman is a social justice educator with over ten years of experience in higher education providing education, programming, and training for students, staff, and faculty. Research interests in social justice education, feminist pedagogies, faculty development, institutional change, and student activism. Whitney Archer holds an Ed.M in College Student Services Administration, an M.A. in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and is a current PhD Candidate in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University. As the Associate Director of Diversity & Cultural Engagement and Director of the Women’s Center at Oregon State University, Whitney provides leadership for the Women’s Center and support for all seven of Cultural Resource Centers. Whitney’s research interests include gender identity and expression, feminist leadership, feminist pedagogy and student activism.
Summary: Using a Story Corp Model, Kennedy poses questions to Whitney Archer and Dr. Kali Furman about feminist leadership and the relationship between the Women, Gender, & Sexualities Studies program and the Women & Gender Center at Oregon State University. Within this interview, they share their thoughts on what feminism means to Archer and Furman, how they each came to find feminism, and in turn how feminism informs their work. In addition to how feminism informs their work now, they discuss how their approach has changed overtime and how that change has been reflected in the relationship between the Women & Gender Center and the Women, Gender & Sexualities Studies program. Both Archer and Furman discuss what brought them to Oregon State University and some of the experiences they have had in their time at the institution, including challenges they have faced and ways in which they have been strategic in their work. Archer and Furman speak to how they grappled with the reality of trying to do feminist work in an inherently hierarchical system of higher education and how they have built accountability with each other to strive for congruence between their values and the work they do. As a follow up to their conversation about finding congruence, Archer and Furman discuss how we can move from performative tropes of feminism or social justice in the institution to making meaningful institutional change. They focus on ways they have seen push back against a White liberal feminist leadership framework that positions feminist leadership as the GirlBoss aesthetic. Archer and Furman conclude their conversation by sharing how they hope to see the partnership between the Women & Gender Center and the Women, Gender & Sexualities Studies program grow in the future.
Nana Osei-Kofi Oral History, interviewed by Keara Rodela on May 30, 2023
Bio: Nana Osei-Kofi is Director of the Difference, Power, & Discrimination Program/ Associate Professor of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. Prior to her appointment at Oregon State University in 2013, Osei-Kofi was Associate Professor and Director of the Social Justice Studies Graduate Certificate Program in the School of Education at Iowa State University. Her areas of scholarly focus include critical and feminist teaching and learning, the politics of American higher education, Black Nordic studies, and visual cultural studies. Journals in which her work has appeared include, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, Feminist Formations, Equity & Excellence in Education, Latino Studies, and The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies. Her current work includes a book project titled Cultural Production and the Construction of an Afro-Swedish Identity, and several articles on the notion of “ally as identity” within social justice work in higher education. Osei-Kofi serves on the editorial board of Feminist Formations and The Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis, and is the incoming Vice-President of the National Women’s Studies Association.
Summary: In this oral history with Dr. Nana Osei-Kofi, the conversation begins with Dr. Osei-Kofi sharing about her cultural background, being raised by her Swedish mother and Ghanaian father, living between Ghana and Sweden, and moving to the U.S. when she was in her 20’s. She comes from a family of educators but ended up doing work in non-profits around diversity, equity, and inclusion for many years. She decided she loved education and pursued her Ph.D. in educational studies. During her graduate programs, she found herself in a couple of women’s studies classes, discovered that women’s studies focus on race, class, and sexism, and completed an M.A. in applied women’s studies alongside her Ph.D. Dr. Osei-Kofi worked at Iowa State University before joining OSU as the Director of Difference, Power, & Discrimination. After briefly discussing her background, we discussed how feminism found her. She decided it was best to have her tenure housed in WGSS, where the work she was interested in was happening at OSU. Dr. Osei-Kofi discusses how feminism found her and the feminist authors that informed her practice. Her interest is, and she is invested, in a radical feminist praxis. She is not interested in liberal feminism. She speaks on how feminism is a way of life, and a feminist praxis is part of your life, not just scholarship, “the personal is political.” Next, Dr. Osei-Kofi speaks on how she has engaged with activism and teaching and how feminism gave her language and tools to describe, understand, and make meaning. She speaks about other feminists of color who have influenced her scholarship. As well as mentioned how some of her colleagues and students work, which is equally important. She is intentional and appreciates and cites the work of activities, especially youth. We discuss not limiting your intellectual learning and engagement to the canon because it keeps us in rigidity and does not allow for movement within the community. Speaking of her time at OSU, she shared of her experiences as an administrator and faculty in WGSS. She is describing how her department is unique in how WGSS colleagues engage and each other. She feels that the diversity in disciplines and interests contributes to the lack of direct competition with other colleagues and the support they provide each other in this space. Dr. Osei-Kofi also touches on the challenges of making true institutional change and the resources and policies needed to make the actual changes identified. She felt it was important to talk about how institutions know what to do and they should put their resources where the work needs to be done. We then discuss the status of students of color within WGSS and student and faculty retention. She mentions how the student body in undergraduate mirrors the institution, and it is better in graduate programs, but still not many Black students in either area. Student and faculty retention is impacted by finances as well as the interest of students in social justice activities and activism over the past decade; in addition, by the time graduate students come to WGSS, most folks have an idea of what they want to do within WGSS. We then discuss how her feminist leadership has changed over time. An example she gave was her choosing when she would engage in activities or projects—balancing time and effort as a way to redress burnout in her field and career and recognizing whom we can do the work with, in solidarity, and when it is not possible. Within WGSS, it has played out in how she decides not to take on student defense or independent work outside of her 9-month contract and is transparent with students about why. This connects to taking a stance on doing the work they compensated, not taking on free labor as an institutional issue, and making it clear that it is. Dr. Osei-Kofi discusses an instance where the institution challenged feminist leadership. Then we move into conversations around the institution’s engagement in DEI work surrounding the Gorge Floyd murder and how that engagement did not go as far as hoped. As well as the need for sufficient financial support and power to the DEI leadership team, who is doing good work. Regarding our conversation around DEI, Dr. Osei-Kofi can be heard saying, “We know what to do.” We moved into a conversation about BIPOC faculty experiences within WGSS, the institution, the classroom, and living in Corvallis. This segwayed us into talking about the Difference, Power, & Discrimination (DPD) program in that she is the current director. DPD is a faculty-wide professional development project started based on student activism. It was Black student activism’s push to address racism on campus and, as part of anonymous students’ demands to the institution, curriculum to address racism, bias, and discrimination. It is now part of the general education requirements. It is about introducing scholarships about DPD issues and supporting faculty and graduate teaching assistants to create courses within their schools that address DPD through workshops and extended cohort support. We wrap up with what she was most proud of during her time at OSU, which includes the book published about the DPD program and what she hopes for the program’s future. We discuss Dr. Osei-Kofi’s upcoming retirement as director of DPD and tenure faculty, her future work, and why she chose to do intellectual activism within the academy with like-minded folks.
Luhui Whitebear Oral History, interviewed by Gabriela Esquivel on May 31, 2023
Bio: Dr. Luhui Whitebear is an enrolled member of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation with Huestec and Cochimi ancestry. She is an assistant professor in the School of Language, Culture, and Society (Indigenous Studies) and has served as the Center Director of the Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws at Oregon State University. Institutionally Luhui serves on the core leadership of the President’s Commission on Indigenous Affairs, the Bias Response Team, and on the Faculty Senate representing the College of Liberal Arts. In the community, she serves as the co-chair of the Corvallis School Board, as the Vice President of the OSBA Caucus of Color, on the MMIW USA board, and on the Oregon Women’s Foundation board. Luhui is a mother, poet, and activist engaged in community-based work. Dr. Whitebear received her Ph.D. from Oregon State University (OSU) in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; her MA from OSU in Interdisciplinary Studies; BS degrees from OSU in Anthropology and Ethnic Studies. Her research focuses on California Indigenous studies, Indigenous feminisms, Indigenous rhetorics, Indigenous activism, MMIW, national law & policy, and Indigenous land & water rights.
Summary: “The Intersection of Motherhood, Feminism, and Culture” ~ Dr. Luhui Whitebear describes her journey and experiences with indigenous feminism and how it has shaped her way of life through her indigenous culture, community, and motherhood. She describes the different ways she has experienced feminism in her life and within her motherhood, coming from a long line of resistance and activism it has always been part of who she is and as a mother. Being able to use her voice and carry on her traditions has transcended into her motherhood, passing those cultural values and resiliency to her children. Dr. Luhui Whitebear describes her journey as a single mother while also being a Ph.D. student at Oregon State University and how it has shaped her feminist experiences, her story is a story of resilience, activism, and determination. Giving hope to OSU students who may be in similar situations to never give up. An ice-breaker moment in one of her classes in the Women’s Gender and Sexual Studies Program (WGSS) is when she discovered her dream job which allowed her to dream big. Dr. Luhui Whitebear’s academic scholarship and leadership are shown through the various roles she’s had throughout her journey as an indigenous Ph.D. student, mother, and advisor, she is grateful to her community and WGSS program for providing the support she needed to reach her goals.
Chances are, if your campus experience here was characterized by a social whirlwind of activity where you went to nickel hops, picked up “paw paws,” saw a stunt show, or joined your fellow students in a serpentine formation at a football game, then, you are familiar with dance cards!
Dance cards were a longtime fixture of campus life that reflected an era where social interaction between women and men was much more regulated than today. Handed out at the beginning of events where live music and dancing were the primary attraction, these cards were often little booklets that contained blank spaces to jot down names with a tiny pencil that was usually attached. These names were to correspond with dance partners that the attendees would sign up for in advance.
During the mad scramble to sign up prospective dates on the card (and possible future spouses), this ritual offered an opportunity for women and men to mix socially in a world where this activity was, more often than not, officially discouraged by the college.
To put this practice in perspective, during the dance card golden age (roughly 1910 to 1960), student housing was segregated by gender, women living in cooperative houses often needed permission to leave their residence after hours, and physical education courses were held in separate buildings that did not mix men and women together.
It is little surprise then, that dance cards became such a treasured memento among students. These little souvenirs of the good times on campus (dating, bands, and breaks from homework) occupy a lot of scrapbook space in collections that have found their way into the OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center!
Post contributed by Karl McCreary, SCARC Collections Archivist.
SCARC completed four new finding aids from January – March 2023!
These finding aids are available through the Archives West finding aids database, website, and the OSU Library discovery system a.k.a. “the catalog.” The links below are to the guides in Archon, SCARC’s finding aids website.
The Gwil Evans Papers primarily consist of photographic negatives documenting the Oregon State University Black Student Union rallies and walkout of February 1969, as well as events surrounding the OSU Centennial Lecture series, including presentations by Linus Pauling. Also included are negatives depicting OSU marine sciences and Seafood Laboratory activities; images of a U.S. bicentennial parade held in Corvallis; a report written by Evans titled “A Position of Analysis: Editor of the Oregon State Daily Barometer”; and a printing block of the Daily Barometer masthead. A graduate of Oregon State College, Gwil Evans enjoyed a long and varied career at OSU as a communications officer and administrator.
The George H. Taylor Papers are made up of materials documenting the research and writings of Oregon State University climatologist George H. Taylor. Primarily consisting of reference materials on Oregon weather history assembled by Taylor, this collection also contains drafts of book chapters and newspaper articles. Taylor worked from 1989 until 2008 for the OSU College of Oceanic and Atmopsheric Sciences serving as the Director of the Oregon Climate Service.
The Edward and Donna Caldwell Collection consists of materials generated and assembled by alumni Edward Caldwell and Donna Drinkard Caldwell documenting their receipt of awards for student scholarship at Oregon State University, and their careers as pharmacists in the Portland area. Edward received his undergraduate degree in pharmacy in 1960, becoming the first African-American to graduate from the OSU School of Pharmacy. Donna graduated in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and later returned to earn a master’s degree in 1968.
The Chuck Williams Photographic Collection documents the life and work of Oregon photographer Charles Otis “Chuck” Williams. Throughout his decades-long career, predominately between the 1970s-2000s in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, Williams photographed a variety of events, locations, and communities. His photographic record includes images of Native American communities as well as events related to environmental activism, cultural celebrations, Pride celebrations, food and agriculture, and the arts. His collection also includes documentation of Oregon’s scenery and recreational activities as well as national parks across the United States. The majority of the collection is comprised of slides, but also includes prints, contact sheets, and negatives. A sampling of Williams’ photography of cultural celebrations is available online via Oregon Digital.
Celebrating 50 Years of the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies / Queer Studies Program at Oregon State University
In 2022, Susan Shaw, Professor and former Director of OSU’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program asked librarian, Jane Nichols, if The Valley Library would create and host a display of materials celebrating the program’s history. As the librarian for WGSS, she was well-positioned to bring together a team to work on this project. Drawing on OSU’s Special Collections and Archives Research Center holdings, they pieced together WGSS’ history through this exhibit.
The WGSS 50th Anniversary exhibit celebrates and documents the growth of the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies / Queer Studies program from its 1972 beginnings as a feminist reading group to its current success as an academic program with a thriving activist-scholar community. Detailing how the history of WS/WGSS/QS bleeds through to the present, this display highlights activism, community organizing, intersectionality, and the collaborative ethos which has guided the program, the faculty, and the students in their work both inside and outside of the classroom. Interviews, scholarship, zines, and art express the academic vigor and creativity of WGSS/QS faculty, alumni, and students across the years. Reflecting on WGSS/QS’ journey as a burgeoning discipline at OSU, the posters and accompanying book display explore the program’s ongoing commitment to tackling multifaceted societal injustices and look forward to the ways in which the program will continue to expand on and nuance the revolutionary energy of the early program leaders.
All are welcome to view the exhibit and check out books from the accompanying display, both located on the 5th Floor Alcove across from the Special Collections Special Collections and Archives Research Center.
Our work and this display take place on the Oregon State University Corvallis, Oregon campus, which is located in the traditional territory of the Chepenefa (“Mary’s River”) band of the Kalapuya. Through this display we wish to create space for us the contributors and you the readers to interrogate understandings of this location’s history where after the Kalapuya Treaty (Treaty of Dayton) in 1855, Kalapuya people were forcibly removed to what are now the Grand Ronde and Siletz reservations. The Kalapuya are now members of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.
We extend our appreciation to all who contributed to this project including OSU’s Special Collections and Archives Research Center staff Rachel Lilley and Anna Dvorak; OSULP librarian Jane Nichols and graphic designers Rox Beecher and Robin Weis; and interviewees Dr. Qwo-Li Driskill, Dr. Susan Shaw, Kryn Freehling-Burton, and Sujittra Avery Carr. Extra gratitude goes to Chris Snyder, School of Writing, Literature, and Film Graduate Teaching Assistant who authored much of the writing of the exhibit. This exhibit would not be possible without their collective contributions.
Our newest mini exhibit, “The Beaver 1923: Oregon State’s Campus 100 Years Ago“ is on display in the alcove outside our Reading Room on the fifth floor of the Valley Library. In this new exhibit put together by Public Services Assistant Anna Dvorak, she shares a glimpse of what campus was like a hundred years ago. Inspired by the surprise she experienced when she found a photo of the tennis courts in the Memorial Union quad, the new exhibit is centered on a map of campus. Anna selected images that show things that no longer exist on campus and photos that show how campus has changed over the years.
When walking around campus, much of what we see on the Oregon State campus today seems like it has been a part of campus for a long time, but what wasn’t on campus in 1923?
The Memorial Union (would be completed in 1929)
The gates at the east edge of campus (construction began 1939)
The Valley Library
Weatherford Hall (completed in 1928)
Gill Coliseum (completed in 1949)
Plageman Student Health Center (completed in 1936)
Even the Pharmacy Building wasn’t completed until 1924!
Campus is always changing and evolving. What has changed in your own time as a student? What will campus look like in another 100 years?
All information in creation of this exhibit was found in SCARC portals, including:
The Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) at Oregon State University Libraries is home to an active and well-established oral history program that is populated by collections from long ago, collections that SCARC faculty have created, and collections built by external partners. This guide is meant to serve as a resource for individuals who are interested in working with SCARC as an external partner. It assumes that the reader is already enthusiastic about collecting oral history interviews, but needs help with one or more aspects of the process. Importantly, the guide also details some of the specifics that we ask of our external partners if they wish to deposit their content with SCARC.
This guide is not meant to be the definitive history of the study of Home Economics on Oregon State’s campus. Instead, it serves as a starting place to explore this history on your own through the information contained in this guide and links to other resources, both in SCARC collections and outside Oregon State University.