The Arkansas Delta Oral History Project
Culture, Place, and Authenticity
David A. Jolliffe, Christian Z. Goering, Krista Jones Oldham,
and James A. Anderson Jr.
A multiyear collaboration between the University of Arkansas and several
high schools in rural Arkansas that encourages students to learn about
and celebrate their region.
"This is a book to treasure. Most compelling are the voices of students as they question their elders and friends in order to re-imagine and re-dedicate themselves to a place they thought they knew. Read this book, savor this book, use this book."—Eli Goldblatt, author of Writing Home: A Literacy Autobiography
"A rich, compelling example of community literacy partnerships, The Arkansas Delta Oral History Project details how college and high school writers can work together to investigate their communities, develop persuasive representations, and engage in local social action."—Robert Brooke, professor of English, University of Nebraska
"The authors have two goals. The first is
to offer rich qualitative data about what
occurs when rural students, in partnership
with university students, work on extended
projects with topics of their own choosing.
The second is to argue that such self-chosen
and directed projects—authentic literacy
projects—can actually have an effect on rural
outmigration and rural residents’ desire
and ability to improve their own communities.
Both goals are important and timely."—Kim Donehower, coauthor of Rural Literacies
David A. Jolliffe is professor of English and the Brown Chair in English Literacy at the University
Christian Z. Goering is associate professor of English education at the University of Arkansas.
Krista Jones Oldham is a special collections librarian at Haverford College in Pennsylvania.
James A. Anderson Jr. is assistant professor of English education at Lander University in South
Book Description »[Close »]
In rural America, perhaps more than other areas, high school students have the
ability to contribute to the revitalization and sustainability of their home communities
by engaging in oral history projects designed to highlight the values
that are revered and worth saving in their region. The Arkansas Delta Oral
History Project, a multiyear collaboration between the University of Arkansas
and several public high schools in small, rural Arkansas towns, gives students
that opportunity. Through the project, trained University of Arkansas studentmentors
work with high school students on in-depth writing projects that grow
out of oral history interviews. The Delta, a region where the religious roots of
southern culture run deep and the traditions of cooking, farming, and hunting
are passed from generation to generation, provides the ideal subject for oral
In this detailed exploration of the project, the authors draw on theories of
cultural studies and critical pedagogy of place to show how students’ work on
religion, food, and race exemplifies the use of community literacy to revitalize
a distressed economic region. Advancing the discussion of place-based education,
The Arkansas Delta Oral History Project is both inspirational and instructive
in offering a successful model of an authentic literacy program.
View other series books on Writing, Culture, and Community Practices.
6 x 9, 264 pages, appendixes, bibliography, index