kerr@american.edu


Article: “We Know What the Problem Is”: Using Oral History to Develop a Collaborative Analysis of Homelessness from the Bottom Up

The Oral History Review recently included my article “We Know What the Problem Is” in their fiftieth anniversary (of the Oral History Association) special issue, which showcases the most influential work published in the journal since its founding in 1973.  The article is freely accessible here: http://ohr.oxfordjournals.org/content/30/1/27.full.pdf+html


Article: Allan Nevins is not My Grandfather: The Roots of Radical Oral History Practice in the United States

In Oral History Review 43, no. 2 (2016): 367-391. Abstract: Oral historians in the United States have adopted a problematic history of our field that erases the contributions of our radical forbearers. By fixating on recording technologies, archives, and academia, we ignore those who have shaped the theories and methodologies we draw upon when we […]


New Exhibit: Whose Town?

Whose Town? The DC Employment Justice Research Project Drawing on the first hand stories of unhoused people’s working experiences, “Whose Town?” seeks to offer insight into the complicated reality of low-wage labor in Washington, DC. The site draws upon twenty-one oral history interviews that were conducted in 2015 in locations across downtown Washington, DC.


Should the Oral Historian Laugh?

You have multiple and at times competing objectives in an oral history interview.  Most importantly you want a great interview, where the person reflects deeply about her or his life experiences and offers her or his interpretations of the past.  Doing so depends on developing rapport and also asking tough questions — questions that may […]


An Engaged Historian?

With this blog I hope to explore the relationship among activism, social change, and history.  Can the study of history facilitate movement building in community?  Can a transparently subjective approach to the past lead to a sharper understanding of the world we live in?  What does it mean to be an engaged historian?  These are […]