By Fiona Eustace with assistance from Kelly Besser.
Gail Jefferson (1938-2002), a leading scholar of Conversation Analysis, developed transcription standards for use in this field. Jefferson earned her BA in Dance at UCLA and PhD in Social Sciences at UC Irvine. Inspired by Harold Garfinkel’s Ethnomethodology, Conversation Analysis was developed by UCLA Sociologist Harvey Sacks along with Jefferson and UCLA Sociology Professor Emanuel Schegloff as co-founders.
Conversation Analysis is an approach to the study of social interaction, embracing both verbal and non-verbal conduct of mundane interactions. Jefferson’s work specifically examines overlapping exchanges, laughter, and other interactional phenomena in daily conversation.
When Jefferson died in February 2008, her husband, Albert Stuulen, created an archive of her extensive research—a wide range of working notes, draft and published papers, annotated transcripts, and correspondence.
The Jefferson collection distinguishes her research of interaction as endlessly contingent, focusing on the machineries through which interaction is constructed and how they are deployed in the moment-by-moment shaping and re-shaping of interaction.
This flash exhibit includes insight into Jefferson’s annotative transcription methods, individual developments in Conversation Analysis, and collaborative work with Harvey Sacks. As seen in this exhibit, she applied her transcript methods and research in transcriptions of the O.J. Simpson Case, Richard Nixon’s Watergate Tapes, and the RFK assassination.
The Gail Jefferson Papers (Collection 2319) will be available soon for research.