AGORA Speaker Series: The Department of Communication, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences Summer Research Fellows

February 24, 2017 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

“Media Accessibility: Narratives from People with Disabilities”

Ethics have long been a concern for oral historians, but most documented concerns about ethics have dealt primarily with the interaction that occurs during the oral history interview, with little discussion of ethics when one belongs to the community one is studying.  To fill this gap, I ask: When I conduct oral history interviews in a community where I belong, such as the disability community, what are my obligations as both community member and researcher? How can I both accurately represent the words of my people and conduct effective scholarly analysis? Based on my experience in conducting oral history interviews with people with disabilities this summer, I define an ethics based on relationships, in which my pre-existing or resulting relationships with the narrators determine ethical ways in which I can use their words. In the nine oral history interviews I conducted this summer, the theme ethics as relational emerged in three ways: a critique of normative research as dehumanizing and distant; a call for community members to do research work themselves; and an emphasis on making visible one’s relationship to the community.

Location and Address

208A Cathedral of Learning


Schedule of Events

“Make Your Own Adventure: The Materiality and Circulation of Noncommercial Games for the Early Home Computing Environment”


Logan Blizzard
“‘Don’t be mad at me because I don't trust you’: Community Engagement in Neighborhood Redevelopment”

The communicative turn in urban planning emerged from the work of planners drawing on communication theory to argue for the importance of deliberative discussion and consensus building in planning projects. Public engagement initiatives and community meetings are now a staple of the development process and a standard practice expected of developers and planners. This project examines contemporary community engagement practices in neighborhood redevelopment through an analysis of the Almono development in Pittsburgh. Located on a former industrial site in the Hazelwood neighborhood, the $1 billion investment is the most expensive redevelopment project in the city’s history. The Almono developers utilized community meetings from early on, and as the project progressed participants expressed ambivalence about the plans and the nature of the engagement. This study draws on analysis of planning documents, review of planning meeting sessions, and interviews with community engagement professionals and neighborhood organization members directly involved with the Almono development. Through this research I seek to understand the rationale and execution of these public engagement practices, as well as how the various stakeholders make sense of the salient concepts of community, engagement, and the public.


Curry Chandler



Street and garage parking


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