TITLE: Work & Transformation: Panels 1, 2 & Keynote
SPEAKER: Marsha Semmel, Steve Zeitlin, Steve Wunder, Robert McCarl, Richard D'Abate, D'Vera Cohn, Lynda DeLoach, Steven Greenhouse , C. Kurt Dewhurst
EVENT DATE: 2010/12/06
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 220 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
This symposium featured presentations by the 2010 recipients of the American Folklife Center's Archie Green Fellowships on their research and documentation of the culture and traditions of American workers in New York, Idaho, and Louisiana. Panels also included representatives of community-based documentation projects supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services concerning the role of America's libraries and museums as vibrant centers for the documentation of oral history and the development of 21st century skills. Speakers also included social and economic policymakers, who explored the value of using personal narratives about work to address broader social issues.
Speaker Biography: As deputy director for museums, Marsha Semmel manages the Institute of Museum and Library Services portfolio of grantmaking programs that support capacity-building and leadership projects for all types of museums, including art, history, science, historic houses, children's museums, aquaria, arboreta, botanical gardens, and zoos.
Speaker Biography: A 2010 Archie Green Fellowship recipient, Steve Zeitlin received his Ph.D. in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.A. in Literature from Bucknell University. He is the director and co-founder of City Lore, an organization dedicated to the preservation of New York City's and America's living cultural heritage. Prior to arriving in New York, he served as a folklorist at the Smithsonian Institution for eight years. He has taught at George Washington University, American University, NYU, and Cooper Union; served as a regular commentator for the nationally syndicated radio shows, Crossroads and Artbeat; and currently develops segments on "The Poetry of Everyday Life" for NPR's The Next Big Thing. His commentaries have appeared on the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times and Newsday, and he also co-produces the storytelling series "American Talkers" for NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday and Morning Edition. Zeitlin is the author and co-author of five award-winning books including "The Grand Generation: Memory Mastery and Legacy" (l987); "Because God Loves Stories: An Anthology of Jewish Storytelling" (1997); and "Giving a Voice to Sorrow: Personal Responses to Death and Mourning" (2001), as well as three children's books and, most recently, a volume of poetry, "I Hear America Singing in the Rain" (2003).
Speaker Biography: Steve Wunder was born in the upstate New York canal town of Lyons, and spent his first 18 years near the New York Barge/Erie Canal. He did restaurant work, and tended bar before joining the Navy at the age of nineteen. In the Navy, he became a "mess specialist," or as he explains, "I was a cook in the admirals mess hall right out of boot camp and A-school. I've been afloat ever since." After his service in the Navy, he went to work for the Canal and for the last twenty-nine years, he has worked on a tug boat. "I started as a cook," he writes, "and held several titles until becoming a licensed captain." Presently, he captains the Seneca, a tug built in 1932 at the Boston Electric Boat Company. Captain Wunder and his four-member crew perform such duties as towing derricks and dredges for canal maintenance projects, and overseeing winter lock work when the canal freezes. He likes that every day is different: "A good friend of mine once told me running a tug is 80 percent boredom, and the rest of the time is sheer panic!" He is 53-years old, and "still tuggin."
Speaker Biography: Robert McCarl is a 2010 Archie Green Fellowship recipient and professor of Sociology at Boise State University. He has published widely on work culture, focusing on the variety of ways internal diversity and external social and economic pressures result in change. His published works include analyses of both urban and wildland fire fighting, sheet-metal work, hard-rock mining, and a variety of other occupations. In addition to studying the changing cultures of work, McCarl has also examined the intersection of work and ethnicity, region and gender, particularly within Latino and Native American communities. Recently, McCarl has been doing fieldwork in Idaho's Silver Valley, where he was interviewed miners, loggers, millworkers, bike shop owners, water engineers, environmentalist, and others valley residents about the conflicts and shared common challenges of living in one of the largest superfund sites in the United States.
Speaker Biography: Richard D'Abate has served as the executive director of the Maine Historical Society since 1996. During this tenure, the organization has expanded its museum program; developed the Maine Memory Network (an online resource of images of the state, supported by a major grant from IMLS); and upgraded its journal, and completed a major renovation of its library. D'Abate is a graduate of Columbia University, and undertook graduate work in writing and English at Cornell University. From 1971 to 1983, he taught English at Nasson College in Springvale, Maine, and also served as the college's vice president for Academic Affairs. Between 1985 and 1995, he was the associate director of the Maine Humanities Council. D'Abate is the author of a book of poems and non-fiction publications, and he co-editor of "American Beginnings: Exploration, Culture, and Cartography in the Land of the Norumbega" (1994).
Speaker Biography: D'Vera Cohn is a senior writer at the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. She was a Washington Post reporter for 21 years, writing mainly about demographics, and was the newspaper's lead reporter about the 2000 Census. After leaving the newspaper in 2006, she served as a consultant and freelance writer for the Pew Hispanic Center, the Brookings Institution and the Population Reference Bureau. She has advised the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism on demographic topics, and has spoken at national journalism conferences about how reporters can make use of demographic data in stories. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, she is a former Nieman Fellow.
Speaker Biography: Lynda DeLoach, archivist, oversees the administration of records management, exhibits, reference and outreach for the George Meany Memorial Archives the official repository for the historical records of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. Beginning in 1990, DeLoach expanded the archives' outreach efforts in order to rewrite history education for grade 6-12 students and teachers; Labor in the Schools initiatives included facilitating workshops under the auspices of several AFL-CIO-affiliated organizations and, as a judge, trustee, advisory-council member and prize sponsor, championing the National History Day program. DeLoach holds a faculty appointment at the National Labor College, where she participates in faculty governance and teaches in the B.A. degree (Labor Studies) program. DeLoach earned a B.A. degree (English) from Carleton College and a M.A. degree (History) from New York University.
Speaker Biography: Steven Greenhouse is labor and workplace reporter for the New York Times, and author of "The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker" (2008), an in-depth account of how American companies have squeezed millions of workers by clamping down on wages, cutting benefits, weakening job security, and violating wage and hour laws. Greenhouse has covered workplace issues for the Times since 1995, and is one of the few remaining full-time labor reporters in the country. He has written about wage trends, labor unions, immigrant workers, child labor, and the way major corporations treat and mistreat their workers. Greenhouse began at the New York Times in 1983 as a business reporter, covering the steel industry and other industries, and spent two-and-a-half years in Chicago, writing about the Midwest's economy during a time of plant closings and large-scale layoffs. From 1987 to 1992, he was based in Paris as the newspaper's European economics correspondent, and wrote about a range of topics, including the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, Western Europe's welfare state, industrial giants like Nestl and Fiat, French culture, and Poland's transition from Communism to capitalism. In 1992, he became a correspondent in the Times Washington bureau, covering the Federal Reserve and economic policy, the State Department and foreign policy. After nearly four years in Washington, he asked to cover labor and workplace issues, largely because he was eager to return to reporting about flesh-and-blood people. He has appeared on National Public Radio, PBS (The News Hour), MSNBC, CNN, and the BBC. A native of Massapequa, N.Y., he attended Wesleyan University, and after earning a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, went to work for the Bergen Record, in New Jersey. In 1982, he graduated first in his class from the New York University School of Law.
Speaker Biography: Kurt Dewhurst is the director of Arts and Cultural Initiatives and senior fellow of University Outreach and Engagement, curator of Folklife and Cultural Heritage, MSU Museum, and professor of English at Michigan State University. Previously, he served as the director of the Michigan State University Museum and director of the Center for Great Lakes Culture. A founder of the Folk Arts Division at the museum, he coordinates a variety of folklife research, collection development, and outreach programs. He currently serves as the chair of the Board of Directors for the American Folklife Center and president of the American Folklore Society. He has served as chair of the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, vice chair of the Michigan Council for the Humanities, president of the Michigan Museum Association, chair of the Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and chair of Board of the Fund for Folk Culture. He is the author or co-author of many publications focusing on folk and traditional arts, South African arts and culture, and museum and cultural heritage practice and policy. He has currently involved in international partnerships in South Africa and China.