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Temporality, Time Jumping and the Space Time Continuum of Black Oral History


October 25, 2023, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Location: Online

An image of a book, Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Black concepts of time have never been linear and this shows even more in our use and engagement of public history and oral history. In this talk, public historian and curator Orilonise Yarborough will analyze the concept of sankofa, time jumping and time collapse through the use of oral history and archival research. Through the concept of time jumping and time collapse, she will illustrate how the design of oral history projects can support narrators, interviewers and listeners to experience history from an embodied perspective that engages the senses and creates a wrap around experience through voice, frequency, sound and memory.

This is the third in a series of six lectures, Beyond the Veil: Making Sense of the Spirit World, the fall 2023 Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery Spotlight! symposium. The symposium presents speakers who explore themes from the Special Collections’ Eileen J. Garrett Parapsychology Foundation collection, such as the history of human interaction (beliefs and practices) with supernatural, paranormal, mystic, and psychical phenomena, as well as the interaction of race, spiritualities, magic, mysticism and feminist expression with the otherworldly.

Orilonise C.D. Yarborough (pronouns: she/they | pronunciation: oh-ree-low-knee-shay) is a Black queer public historian, writer, curator and creative. They recently received their Masters in Public History at North Carolina Central University, where their thesis work focused on the development of an oral history collection about the history and spread of D.C. Black Pride. Currently, Orilonise serves as the Robert F. Smith Fellow for Applied Public History at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Her research interests include Black LGBTQ histories, Black women’s resistance movements, and African American spiritual traditions and practices. A lover of history since childhood, Orilonise’s start in the field came through her curatorial work with Black in Space, a collective of Black creatives based in D.C. who held the first virtual Black Pride festival in 2020. Orilonise has worked with institutions such as the Hirshhorn Museum, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture at Duke University, and the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice. As a creative and curator, she seeks to use historical research in creative and refreshing ways, engaging in historical interpretation with the communities she calls home. In the spirit of Zora Neale Hurston, she sees the practice of historical research as “poking and prying with a purpose,” allowing curiosity, creativity and connection to community to guide her curatorial exploration.

Admission is free. Please join this event online via Webex.




October 25, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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