How can textual analysis methods help historians to utilize the archival trove of oral histories that have been digitized in the past decade, along with those interviews born digital?
The Stanford Oral History Text Analysis Project, which we created to explore twentieth-century women’s narratives of sexual assault and harassment, has compiled a corpus of 2500 oral history transcripts from varied U.S. repositories. We developed a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, including an original search tool, called Winnow; NVivo coding; metadata/coding analysis; and close reading. At this presentation we will illustrate how combining these methods help us understand which women recalled which types of sexual violence, the ways they spoke about them, and how these narratives changed over time. In addition to the implications of the results for our understanding of sexual violence, these mixed methods can be applied to any research topic. Our work encourages oral historians and archivists to adopt standard practices in order to enable widescale textual analysis of digital oral history transcripts.
This event is cosponsored with the Department of History.
The presentation will include lunch and take place in the History Department, Room 307. A Zoom link is available upon request from Office Management Intern, Daniela Perez (perezd20 [at] stanford.edu (perezd20[at]stanford[dot]edu)).
About the Presenters
Estelle Freedman is the Edgar E. Robinson Professor in U.S. History (Emerit) at Stanford University, where she co-founded of the Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. The recipient of multiple teaching awards, she has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, where she is currently a Faculty Fellow. Her books include studies of women's prison reform (Their Sisters' Keepers  and Maternal Justice ; feminism (No Turning Back  and The Essential Feminist Reader ; and, with John D’Emilio, sexuality (Intimate Matters [3d ed., 2012] and My Desire for History: Essays on Gay, Community, and Labor History by Allan Bérubé ). Freedman is the author of the multiple award-winning Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation (2013). She continues to study rape and harassment through the Stanford Oral History Text Analysis Project. Her article “‘Not a Word Was Said Ever Again’: Silence and Speech in Women’s Oral History Accounts of Sexual Harassment,” appears in the Spring 2023 issue of the Oral History Review. She is also co-producing/directing a documentary film about folk musician and activist Faith Petric (1915-2013).
Natalie Marine-Street supports university faculty and staff, leaders, and community members documenting their lived experiences and stories of organizational, social, and technological change using her skills as a historian, oral history interviewer, and project manager. She currently manages the Stanford Historical Society's Oral History Program, which documents the history of the university through interviews with faculty, staff, and alumni; conducts theme-based projects on topics ranging from the experiences of the university’s pioneering female faculty members to the history of Stanford’s athletics program; and serves as an oral history education and training resource to the university community.