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An Activist Life: Student Oral History Project

Introduction

An Activist Life Oral History Project is a collection of life histories of women who have dedicated their lives to social and political activism. The project documents both the diversity and the persistence of women's activism, as organizers and as cultural workers, in a variety of social movements such as women's health, economic justice, LGBT liberation, peace, education, and environmental sustainability. Interviews were conducted by Smith College students in Kelly Anderson’s Smith College course, Oral History and Women's Activism in the Fall of 2008. Students were trained in both the history of women's activism and oral history techniques and protocols. Narrators include educators and academics; musicians, writers, and artists; as well as community and religious leaders. They come from a variety of class, ethnic, racial, social, and geographic backgrounds. Interviews cover childhood and growing up experiences; education and employment; activism and politics; family, identity, relationships and community.

The Narrators page includes biographical sketches and abstracts of interviews for each narrator, plus links to the full transcripts for most of the narrators.

The Activist Life Oral History Project includes recorded interviews and complete transcripts. Video and audio recordings are also available online for most of the interviews (on campus only).


Access Information

The oral histories are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection, with the following exceptions:

  • The interviews for Tiik Pollet and Maria Cuerda are not available online. Researchers may view the interviews in the SSC, or contact Special Collections for a copy.
  • Note: This is an undergraduate student project. The oral histories were conducted and transcribed by the students. Due to the high volume of text involved and finite staff resources for proofreading, there may be some typographical or formatting errors that we trust won't prove too distracting.

Copyright and permissions

All oral history interviews on this site are copyrighted. The transcripts and photographs are provided for educational and research purposes only. Rights have been licensed to the Sophia Smith Collection for presentation on this Web site. No other rights are extended for copying and/or publishing.

Requests for permission to publish quotations should be addressed to the Sophia Smith Collection and should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to all of the oral histories except where noted below. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Requests for permission to publish quotations should be addressed to the Sophia Smith Collection and should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

The following narrators have retained copyright: Merle Feld, Barbara Hammer, and Lesléa Newman.

Please cite the oral histories as follows: "{name of narrator} interview, An Activist Life Oral History Project, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA"