Friday, April 9, 2010

Project Contractors

American Folklore Society Seeks Civil Rights Oral History Survey Project Contractors

The American Folklore Society, the US-based professional society for the field of folklore studies, is seeking applicants for four full-time, seven-month (May-November 2010) contract researcher positions for the Civil Rights Oral History Survey Project. For the purposes of this project, the Civil Rights Movement is defined as the struggle for equal rights and justice for African American citizens that took place from the 1950’s through the 1960’s in the US.

The Civil Rights Oral History Survey Project is supported by the US Congress, through the American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The survey is intended to inform the AFC and the NMAAHC about extant repositories and collections of Civil Rights Movement oral histories and to help find potential interviewees, as a foundation for their future work to collect new oral histories of participants in the Movement, and to provide public information about all such collections.

In Phase 1 of the project (May-July 2010), project researchers, working with the staff of the AFS, the AFC, and the database design and implementation team for the project, will:

1. Provide input into the development of the research plan and a methodology for this survey
2. Gather collection-level information about repositories and collections nationwide
3. Identify, wherever possible, Civil Rights Movement participants whose experiences have never been documented or that need further documentation
4. Enter this information into a database specifically designed for the project
5. Perform additional tasks as required

Researchers will receive hands-on training concerning the use of the database at the beginning of this phase.

In Phase 2 of the project (August-November 2010), project researchers will:

1. Continue their work to gather and input collection-level information
2. Continue their work to identify Movement participants who would be potential interviewees
3. Gather and input item-level information on selected collections into the database
4. Travel to specifically targeted repositories, to refine survey findings and gather item-level information, when such site visits are required
5. Perform additional tasks as required

At the conclusion of each of these phases, the researchers will collaborate with AFS staff on the preparation of progress reports for the Library of Congress, and on the submission of the completed database to the Library at the project’s conclusion.

Pay for each of these four positions is $25,000, plus reimbursement for the costs of travel to the Phase 1 survey training meeting and to Phase 2 site visits.

We seek applicants for these positions who have:

1. Professional training (PhD, or MA minimum) in folklore, oral history, or other ethnographic disciplines, or in archiving or library sciences
2. Strong library and archives research skills
3. Working knowledge of databases (e.g., MySQL in particular
4. Demonstrated professional or personal interest in American history, culture, and society, and in the Civil Rights Movement in particular
5. Excellent self-motivation to accomplish all project tasks independently, successfully, and on deadline
6. The ability to travel, possibly extensively, during the period August-November 2010

We especially seek young professionals in folklore, oral history, and archiving or library sciences, including recent recipients of the MA or PhD, and independent scholars/public humanists, for these positions. The American Folklore Society is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer. We also especially encourage women and members of minority groups to apply.

To apply, please submit a letter detailing your relevant experience and skills, and your interest in this project, accompanied by your CV and the names and contact information for three references, by e-mail to AFS Executive Director Dr. Timothy Lloyd ( by April 16, 2010.

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