Evening at Egan features curator of oral history William Schneider

Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010

This week's Evening at Egan presentation will feature William Schneider, curator of oral history at the University of Fairbanks' Rasmuson Library, as he shares some of the stories he has recorded over the past 29 years. His presentation, "The Way We Remember It: Stories from Alaskans about their History," will begin at 7 p.m. Friday in the Egan Lecture Hall at UAS.

Schneider will demonstrate how the personal perspectives of storytellers broadens and deepens our understanding of Alaskan history, and discuss the role of personal experience and memory. Schneider will also retell the recorded and archived stories of people who experienced significant chapters in the history of Alaska, including statehood, the Mental Health Trust, aviation, railroads and advances in medicine.

An anthropologist by training, Schneider has been working with oral narratives throughout his professional career and has assisted in the publication of several life histories. His book, "...So they Understand," is a study in oral narrative, oral history and the issues raised by recording and preserving recordings. He is a co-editor with Phyllis Morrow of the book, "When our Words Return," consisting of a series of articles by various authors on oral history. "Living with Stories" is his most recent book.

Schneider's presentation comes at a time when UAS is also sharing and recording personal stories through a campus-wide "One Campus, One Book" and Listening Project. The book is "Listening is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from NPR's Storycorps Project. "

"I think that after reading the stories in the book, people draw up their own experience and memory and realize that the lives of everyday people are unique and important," said project developer and UAS Public Services librarian Wendy Girven. "By sharing our story, we build a stronger sense of community and connection to the people and place, surrounding us."

For more information on the Evening at Egan series, visit www.uas.alaska.edu/eganlecture/.

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