Shireen Hyrapiet Oral History Interview 2017

Shireen Hyrapiet Oral History Interview 2017
Tami Gann
Note: this two part interview was combined into one audio file. In part one (the October 26 intreview), Dr. Hyrapiet discusses her studies in Kolkata, India and her journey into the field of geography. She then tells how she came to the United States to attend school in Pennsylvania. She arrived in the United States two weeks before 9-11. She talks about dealing with her own feelings over this tragedy, and the backlash toward her and other immigrants by the community. After her time in Pennsylvania, she briefly discusses her move to Alabama and then on to Oklahoma for graduate school. In the final part of the interview she returns us to Pennsylvania to discuss a racist comment made to her by her landlord, the aftermath of it and the “interesting and memorable” friendship that arose from it. In part two (the November 9 interview), Dr. Hyrapiet takes up where she left off in Pennsylvania, and her subsequent move to Alabama, which a place she said she felt very at home because of the large African American community she lived in. She then moves on to Oklahoma and her time there. At Oklahoma State University, she was the president of the Indian Student Association for two years and then was president of the International Student Organization for one year. It was during one her tenures as president that an ongoing discriminatory issue at a local restaurant frequented by international graduate students came to head. She discusses the evening it happened, and her role in the event and the events following. A link to her letter to the editor is included within her interview. She explains how her time in the United States made her more aware of her privileges at home. She reflects on her time in the southern United States and the effect of xenophobia has had on her, making her a “veteran” which makes her, in her eyes, more responsible for speaking up for those more vulnerable than her. Steered by a question from the interviewer, she returns to her time in Alabama and discusses what she liked about her time there. At this point, the main portion of the interview is concluded. As this was for my, the interviewers, class where I was to practice interviewing, I, at this point, asked her questions simply for the practice of asking questions. There was no particular direction, and while there are some interesting parts, the information gathered is more arbitrary. She briefly discusses living in Corvallis and her transition from India to the United States. She talks for some length on not fitting in within the Indian community and not feeling like she fits in within the American community, a kind of limbo and wonders if it will change when she becomes a citizen. She touches on her wish to address poverty within her own country and poverty within her new country. She speaks to an aspirational India, the influence of American, Australian and European culture on India, and reflects on the current political cycle. ~ Interview Audio: Oregon Multicultural Archives Oral History Collection (OH 18)
Dates: October 26 and November 9, 2017 Location: Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR Length: 00:59:09 Interviewee: Shireen Hyrapiet Interviewer: Tami Gann
October 26 and November 9, 2017
Rights Holder
Oregon Multicultural Archives, OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center
OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center
Primary Set
Oregon Multicultural Archives