Native Foodways event on campus…

Because many of you have told me you never hear about stuff like this in time, and because it would be really interesting to attend and consider from the vantage point of many of your research questions, here’s some info on a campus event happening this week.


We are excited to remind the campus community about UNCP’s Third Annual Honoring Native Foodways event, taking place this Thursday, November 10th, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the University Center Annex.  As in past years, Honoring Native Foodways has four central goals: to celebrate Native American Heritage Month in November; to help UNCP students, faculty and staff honor, understand, and sample foods that are indigenous to the Americas; to emphasize healthy foods that have been part of traditional Indigenous diets for centuries, and which can still be easily prepared today; and to cultivate campus and community collegiality through that experience we all enjoy: eating!  Honoring Native Foodways invites the campus and local communities to this free public event.

We encourage all faculty and staff to share a dish that incorporates healthy local foods, particularly foods native to our region.  These include local favorites like collards, corn or cornbread, beans, squash, field peas, sweet potatoes, pecans, rice, soups, venison, bison, game, fish, and stews, prepared in the ways that Native people have and still do prepare them.  If you are able to bring a dish to Honoring Native Foodways, we ask that it is prepared with low “glycemic index” guidelines in mind.  These foods are suitable for persons with blood sugar and diabetic issues.  There are many online resources where you will find a variety of low glycemic index foods and recipes.  Please avoid bringing processed, prepared, or highly sweetened, fatty, or salty foods.

But Honoring Native Foodways is not only a potluck.  The event will provide booklets of recipes, information about traditional American Indian diets and health, and American Indian “first foods” stories.  Information tables with representatives from various campus and community groups will be on hand to provide information on a range of Native health and cultural topics, and we will also have local farmers and other vendors at the event with foods to sample, purchase, or just learn more about.  In addition, UNCP students will share their family foodways traditions and research on the histories of American Indian traditional foods at different times during the event.

The Native Foodways Committee members include: Dr. Cherry Beasley of the Nursing Department; Lisa Bullard and Robert Canida of the Office of Multicultural and Minority Affairs; Alesia Cummings, Dr. Jane Haladay, and Dr. Mary Ann Jacobs of the American Indian Studies Department; Steven Hunt of the Center for Academic Excellence; Lawrence Locklear of University Communications and Marketing; Tonya Elk Locklear of the Biology Department; and Janice Fields of the Robeson County Cooperative Extension.  Please contact any of us with your questions about this event.  We look forward to your best recipes and your good company on November 10th!


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Posted by on 9.30.11 in Uncategorized


On Storyboards

Your final project, as you know, requires you to use your research to create an argumentative video for the audience and purpose of your choice. This week, we are considering issues of design. You will need to consider this word–design–on a couple of different levels. Think about “design” as being both about look and form/structure. You will need to design the look and sound of your video, but also your approach to audience, your selection and organization of evidence and tactics (etc.)

There are readings due throughout the week to support you in these explorations; see the class plans page for links to readings and due dates.

To give you space and time to consider these issues in “writing” (or image…or both), you are to create a storyboard to share in Thursday’s class. (And not being able to draw is no excuse. Cut and paste images, or just write text to describe the images you want to find or create. This two-column storyboard worksheet, from Mary Shaw, is intended to be completed textually. Find the balance of image and text that helps you think about making the video. That’s really the point of the whole exercise.)

As you go through this stage of the project, you should also pay attention to how other videos, and academic arguments, are made. To this end, your required blog posting this week is to locate a video that inspires you. It might give you a way of thinking through the rhetorical appeal you want to make to your audience. It might be on the same topic. It might just be a really cool example of how you’d like to make your own video. Link to it, and write a little about why you’ve chosen this, and how it inspires you.

And here, just for inspirational purposes, are some really cool storyboards.

“Early Storyboards Show Evolution of Star Wars Universe”

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Posted by on 9.30.11 in storyboards


Research Proposal (due 10/6)

To begin your research and writing project for the term, you need to choose a topic, develop a research question, and write a project proposal. The purpose of the project proposal is to share your idea with your colleagues and I, so we can offer feedback and guidance. Your proposal is due before your class time on Thursday, October 6th.

Your proposal should be at least 500 words in length, and should:

  • Identify the topic, and your initial research question.
  • Tell us a bit about the topic and research questions, and why it’s a problem worth addressing. Your goal here is to create reader interest in your topic, and illustrate how it fits into the course theme (community health and wellness), and why it interests you personally.
  • Tell us what you already know about the topic.
  • Tell us what you think you need to find out, and where/how you will look for this information.

Draft your proposal offline, in a word-processing program, to give yourself time to think and to polish your writing and your ideas. When you are done, post your proposal to your blog. (This should be done and up before class on October 6th.)

The proposal is NOT part of portfolio 2. This will be graded as complete and thoughtful (full credit), incomplete/undeveloped (half credit), or not done (no credit), and will count as part of your participation grade.  That said, this is a necessary, and important, step in your work this term, so put some time and effort into your topic selection and your proposal.

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Posted by on 9.30.11 in Uncategorized


themes, topics & research questions

A theme that’s come up over and over, as we discuss the issues of community health and wellness, is access. We’ve talked about lots of different kinds of access–through education, financial resources, insurance, transportation–but one of those that has seemed most surprising to you all is the idea of food deserts, places where access to healthful foods is restricted by one thing and another. This weekend, I happened to see a bit on CNN regarding Gina Keatley’s Nourishing NYC program (intended to provide increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables) and thought you all might find this, and some related, resources interesting.

This also provides us with a way of thinking through how one might move from a personal interest (in my case, access) to a researchable issue (food deserts) to a “first draft” research question (What is a food desert, and what can be done to address the problem?)

Does it encourage you to see that “everyday folks” JUST LIKE YOU *are* doing something about the problems we’ve been discussing?

It’s time to start thinking about what your research trajectory will be….. Reply to this posting, and tell us: What questions, issues, or problems about community health/wellness have captured your attention? What would you like to know more about? What do you wish you could DO something about?


Posted by on 9.30.11 in food desert, research


Preparing for the interview

You will need a complete, working draft of the interview summary by 9/20, so you need to begin taking preparatory steps this week, and make sure you get the interview scheduled and completed in time to allow yourself to draft the summary in advance of the 9/20 workshop.

Here’s some advice, and resources, for preparing for the interview, and for the interview itself.

Before the interview:

  • Locate an appropriate person to interview. They must be over the age of eighteen, must live in Scotland, Hoke, or Robeson County at least part of the year, and must access at least some of their medical care in these areas. This person can be a student, but cannot be enrolled in any course participating in this project.
  • Invite the individual you have identified to participate. Use the recruitment script (Appendix A) I’ve given you as a guide. Remember: participation is purely voluntary, and if an invited individual says no, you *must* accept no for an answer without lobbying or badgering the person to change their mind.
  • Make an appointment to meet your interview subject somewhere quiet and comfortable for both of you. Often the best choice is their home, but if you (or they) are uncomfortable with this, suggest another, more public, location. (Be careful of background noise though…. Restaurants and the like generally do not work well. You could meet in one of the group-work rooms in the library, or similar, with good results.) The interview probably won’t take more than an hour.
  • Prepare for the interview:
    • …by getting your technology in order. Figure out how you are going to audio record the interview. Try out the technology to ensure there are no problems later. (If using a phone: learn how to put it on airplane mode, so you aren’t interrupted while taping. Figure out where/how to place it for optimum sound quality. Check to ensure you have enough ROOM to tape a good, long conversation. Figure out how to export the file.) (If using your laptop: check the sound quality. Will you need a mike? Figure out how to place the laptop so it doesn’t distract either of you or inhibit conversation Check power settings to ensure it won’t go into hibernation in the middle of an interview.) (If you have NO idea what to use, let me know. I have a few digital audio recorders to loan out.)
    • …by doing some exploratory research, as we discussed in class. Your assigned blog post for the week should help you through this process.See the class plan for 9/6 for your blogging prompt. Reading one another’s posts (assigned as a 9/8 activity) will also be a help.
    • …by reviewing the interview guide, so you are very familiar with it. Think about possible follow up questions.

The Interview:

  • Arrive on time. In fact, arrive a little early–it’s better for you to wait on them, than them on you. Set up your audio equipment. Have your list of questions, a notepad, and a pen/cil handy.
  • Take two copies of the informed consent form (Appendix B) with you. (Please note: this is an amended consent form. The version I printed out and gave you has an error in the contact information. Use this one instead!)
    • Give your interview subject a copy of the informed consent document and talk through it with them.
    • Answer any questions they have. If they have questions you can’t answer, direct them to me or Dr. Melanie Hoy. (Contact information for both is on the consent form.)
    • The interview subject must sign the form for us to use their interview, BUT they can stop the interview at any time, and can even have their interview removed from the website down the road, if they wish.
    • Leave one copy of the informed consent document with the interviewee, and keep a signed copy to hand in with your interview.
  • Check to make sure your audio equipment is functioning. (You might even rewind a bit and listen to check the sound quality. Make adjustments as necessary. Begin your interview!)
  • Some reminders about consent and confidentiality:
    • Your interviewee has consented to have the interview taped, but they may have chosen a pseudonym. Be sure to use this for them throughout the interview.(This can be especially tricky if you know them well and are used to calling them by another name.)
    • Also: the interviewee may wish to mention others—doctors, family members, etc.—by name during the interview. We do NOT have those individuals’ permission to use their names on our website.
    • Just before you begin, remind the interviewee that they can use a pseudonym for themselves throughout, and they MUST use pseudonyms (or no name at all) for anyone else they mention.
  • Consider the list of questions (Appendix C) a guide, NOT a script. In other words, try to ask these questions in your own words, rather than just reading from the page. Further, these are not ALL the questions you’ll need to ask to have a good interview. A few tips:
    • Be flexible about what order you ask questions in. If you plan on asking something later, and your interviewee gets near that subject now, stay with it. Mark off questions as you go, so you’ll remember to come back to unasked questions.
    • When introducing a topic, ask open-ended questions—questions that seek details and examples, not just yes or no answers.
    • Ask specific follow-up questions to elicit more details, so we capture rich stories full of information, and so we fully understand the lessons arising from this person’s life experiences. Remember: we’re not doing a survey, so you don’t simply want answers to the questions. You want the fullest, most thoughtful answer you can get. This will take conversation. Conversation is a two-way street. Ask questions!
    • Be non-judgmental. (Sometimes, for example, we might simply ask “why” as a follow-up question. We ask hoping to get more details, but this can be misunderstood as a judgmental question—like “why on earth would you do that?!” Be careful how you phrase things and clarify your meaning, if necessary.)
    • Be curious, and have a real conversation! (Again: ask follow-up questions!)
    • Remember confidentiality as you go! Don’t use, or allow the interview subject to use, the names of people who aren’t there to consent, or to defend themselves.
  • Discussing difficult times in our lives can be upsetting. If the person you are interviewing seems to be suffering from psychological stress because of this interview, please very sensitively suggest they contact the primary investigator, Dr. Dundee Lackey, so I can help them find appropriate counseling resources on campus or in the local community.
  • Before you leave: Be sure to sincerely THANK the person you have interviewed for their time. Tell them how the time they spent giving this interview can benefit their community. Remind them that they can contact the primary investigator at any time to ask questions, give us feedback, or withdraw their interview from the website.
I will be off campus the week of 9/5; however, you DO have class on Tuesday 9/6 and much to accomplish next week. Check the class plans page for reading and blogging to be done before the 9/6 class period. While we will not meet Wednesday or Thursday, you should consider these “online class days” and work to complete the tasks assigned before we return to the classroom on 9/13.  I WILL be available via email all week. Write as needed! (You won’t be bothering me. Promise. I hate to be away next week, and want to help in whatever ways I can while away.)



Posted by on 9.30.11 in blogging, oral history


Thinking about oral history

This week, we’ll start work on your first major writing project–the oral history interview.  In my weekly post for you, then, I want to highlight some oral history sites that may be useful in helping you wrap your head around the concept, purpose, and possible products, of projects like ours.

Please explore these samples of online oral history archives. Do some searches online to see if you can find more relating to interests/communities of YOUR choosing. (If you find some, please share them with us by posting a comment to this post! You may also wish to write about your finds, or about what you thought about those I’ve linked below, as one of your three blog posts for the week.)

The ACT UP Oral History Project “is a collection of interviews with surviving members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, New York. The project is coordinated by Jim Hubbard and Sarah Schulman, with camera work by James Wentzy (in New York) and (on the West Coast) S. Leo Chiang and Tracy Wares. The purpose of this project is to present comprehensive, complex, human, collective, and individual pictures of the people who have made up ACT UP/New York. These men and women of all races and classes have transformed entrenched cultural ideas about homosexuality, sexuality, illness, health care, civil rights, art, media, and the rights of patients. They have achieved concrete changes in medical and scientific research, insurance, law, health care delivery, graphic design, and introduced new and effective methods for political organizing. These interviews reveal what has motivated them to action and how they have organized complex endeavors. We hope that this information will de-mystify the process of making social change, remind us that change can be made, and help us understand how to do it.”

“The Duke Collection of American Indian Oral History online provides access to typescripts of interviews (1967 -1972) conducted with hundreds of Indians in Oklahoma regarding the histories and cultures of their respective nations and tribes.”

“The Institute of Oral History [at University of Texas, El Paso] was established in 1972 for the purpose of ‘preserving the history of the region adjacent to the Rio Grande both in the United States and in Mexico.’ Since that time, the Institute has built one of the largest border-related oral history collections in the United States. While an emphasis has been on the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez region, the collection also contains interviews dealing with the history of communities all along the U.S.-Mexico border. These materials cover a wide range of subjects, spanning social, economic, political, cultural and artistic concerns.”

“The Population and Reproductive Health Oral History Project, funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, includes accounts of individuals throughout the world who have made important contributions to the field. Reflecting the voices and perspectives of advocates, communication specialists, lawyers, managers, physicians, researchers, social workers and others, the series addresses the historical period 1965-2005.”

“Southern Oral History Program” (UNC Chapel Hill): “‘Oral Histories of the American South’ is a three-year project to select, digitize and make available 500 oral history interviews gathered by the Southern Oral History Program (SOHP). These 500 are being selected from a collection of over 4,000 interviews, housed at the Southern Historical Collection, that cover a range of fascinating topics. This project is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.”

“Traders: Voices from the Trading Post”

The USC Shoah Foundation “is committed to expanding its archive to include testimony from survivors and witnesses of other genocides and crimes against humanity, and to make such testimony available for educational use around the world, alongside its current collection of nearly 52,000 testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses.”

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Posted by on 9.30.11 in blogging, oral history


Your blogging requirement

As part of your participation grade (15% of the total course grade), you must blog at least three times per week. (Since our classes meet on T/R, we’ll consider a week to run from Tuesday to Monday.) One of these will be a reading response, assigned by me. I’ll give you prompts for these as we go. The second and third will be up to you. One will be a response to something from class you want to think more about or are interested in; and the last will be a post on something you think is related to what we are working on. (This could focus on research, writing, OR y/our research topic. It could be a news item you read, a RELATED personal experience you want to share, a source you’ve gathered in your research, a research or writing resource you want to share with others, or lots more things. You might find the resources page on our website useful in this regard. I’ve set up links to lots of websites that follow health news, places where you can find out more about the counties we are studying, and etc.)

Be sure to keep up with these! I’ll read them each week, and grade them as either full credit, half credit, or no credit. (Full credit posts are thoughtful and focused, well-developed, reader friendly, and relevant to our research trajectory.)

Don’t post your responses as a reply to this, or any other post, on the course website. You will set up a blog of your own. You may use any blog site you want to set up a space for your weekly posts.

Some sites to try:

Your first blog response should consider your reading of “Health Status and Health Care Access of Farm and Rural Populations.” Here’s a prompt to help you focus your response: “We are conducting a study of health and wellness in Robeson, Scotland, and Hoke counties. What do you already know about these issues in our area? What did you learn from the reading “Health Status and Health Care Access…” about health, access, and health care concerns in rural areas?  What questions do you have about these issues in our area?”
When you’re done with your first post (due before your class on Thursday, 8/25), email me your blog address. I will link your sites to the blog roll on our course website, so you can read and respond to your classmates, if you wish. This should be very useful as your begin pursuing your individual research questions.
Happy blogging!
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Posted by on 9.30.11 in blogging