Mar 11| Documenting State Violence, Building Archives of Survival

Amy Starecheski's picture

March 11, 2021 | 6:10 - 7:30pm

Columbia University Oral History Master of the Arts (OHMA) invites you to our 2020-2021 workshop series on Oral History and Power. All events are free, online, and open to the public. Most events are recorded and may also be viewed at a later time through OHMA's Youtube channel.

These events are open to all. For more information or if we can make any of these events more accessible to you please contact Rebecca McGilveray at


Where: Zoom - Sign up to receive the link here.

When: Thursday March 11 6:10-7:30pm

We often talk about the importance of changing narratives about violence and the criminal legal system, but what does this actually mean? Is the aim of narrative work related to violence and the state’s counter-violence to record and reveal their widespread impacts for a public audience? Or is it to shift power to survivors and other impacted people and communities by creating counternarratives and irrefutable cultural and historical records? Is it both? This presentation approaches these questions, and others, in the context of the work of the Texas After Violence Project, including recent oral history and archival projects related to police violence, the death penalty, and the relentless spread of COVID-19 through jails and prisons. It reframes archives of violence as archives of survival, which hold a multidimensional and multidirectional power to transform people, beliefs, and cultures. It also borrows from the practice of restorative justice to suggest that archives of survival, and liberatory memory work broadly, are important conduits in the transfer of power and pain on the path toward transformative justice.


Prior to returning to the Texas After Violence Project as its Executive Director in 2016, where he previously served as project coordinator and associate director, Gabriel Solis worked as a post-conviction mitigation specialist for the Office of Capital and Forensic Writs, criminal justice policy researcher at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, and project coordinator of the Guantánamo Bay Oral History Project at the Columbia Center for Oral History Research. Gabriel’s writings have appeared in the Oxford AmericanScalawagCultural Dynamics: Insurgent Scholarship on Culture, Politics, and Power, and Kula: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies. Gabriel is the recipient of the 2018 Pushcart Prize for Nonfiction and served as guest prose editor for the 2019 Pushcart Prize Selection Committee. Gabriel is currently serving as the archival consultant for the Ford Foundation’s Reclaiming the Border Narrative initiative. He has degrees in philosophy and Mexican American history from the University of Texas at Austin.


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FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please contact Rebecca McGilveray at or visit the OHMA site.

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