I sat down with Samantha Snyder, a Student Assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives, to talk about her work. From time to time, the UW Archives has students test various voice recognition programs, and for the last few months Samantha has been testing the software program Dragon NaturallySpeaking. This is an innovative way of processing oral histories, so we were excited to hear how it was going.
Tan Yuhua was sixteen when the Imperial Japanese Army raided her hometown in Hunan Province in 1944. Her father, unable to move quickly because of a disabled leg, was easy prey. Forcing him to kneel, the soldiers threatened to kill him with a sword. Tan Yuhua couldn’t help crying out from her hiding place, so she too was caught.
Last April, we asked you to help us out with ideas for the Oral History Review’s blog. We got some great responses, and now we’re back to beg for more! We want to use our social media platforms to encourage discussion within the broad community oral historians, from professional historians to hobbyists.
You may have seen representatives of the University of Florida’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) at the OHA Annual Meeting this year. We rumbled down hallways in a pack six strong, all twenty-five years old and younger, all smiles, all ears, and all left feet.
Since we’re still recovering from eating way too much yesterday, Managing Editor Troy Reeves and I would like to sit back and just share a few of the things we’re thankful for.
This week, we bring you an interview with activist and historian Jeffrey W. Pickron. He and three other scholars spoke about their experiences as academics and activists on a riveting panel at the recent Oral History Association Annual Meeting. In this podcast, Pickron talks to managing editor Troy Reeves about his introduction to both oral history and activism, and the risks and rewards of speaking out.
The 2014 Oral History Association Annual Meeting featured an exciting musical plenary session led by Michael Honey and Pat Krueger. They presented the songs and stories of John Handcox, the “poet laureate” of the interracial Southern Tenant Farmers Union, linking generations of struggle in the South through African American song and oral poetry traditions.
Like many this past week, our attention has been fixated on the media coverage of the Ebola outbreak: images of experts showing off the proper way to put on and take off protective gloves to avoid exposure to the virus; political pundits quarrelling over the appropriateness of travel restrictions; reassuring press conferences by the director of the Centers for Disease Control. It is an event that has received immediate and intense attention and generated compelling journalism, for sure, but does it really give us an emotional understanding of the impact of the event?
Preparing a new edition of an oral history manual, a decade after the last appeared, highlighted dramatic changes that have swept through the field. Technological development made previous references to equipment sound quaint. The use of oral history for exhibits and heritage touring, for instance, leaped from cassettes and compact disks to QR codes and smartphone apps. As oral historians grew more comfortable with new equipment, they expanded into video and discovered the endless possibilities of posting interviews, transcripts, and recordings on the Internet.
Last weekend we were thrilled to see so many of you at the 2014 Oral History Association (OHA) Annual Meeting, “Oral History in Motion: Movements, Transformations, and the Power of Story.” The panels and roundtables were full of lively discussions, and the social gatherings provided a great chance to meet fellow oral historians.
Recently, a journalist asked me how I convinced the Poor Clare Colettine nuns, back in 2005, to let me write a book about their lives, and how I convinced them to help me in that endeavor. I explained that was not my approach. I asked the Mother Abbess if I could undertake a long-term project about their lives; I said that although I did not know the outcome, I would keep the community apprised.
This week, we have a special podcast with managing editor Troy Reeves and Oral History Review 41.2 contributor Amy Starecheski. Her article, “Squatting History: The Power of Oral History as a History-Making Practice,” explores the ways in which an in intergenerational group of activists have used oral history to pass on knowledge through public discussions about the past
Dearest readers, I am sorry to say that the time has come for me to say goodbye. I have had a wonderful time meeting you all, not to mention learning more than I ever thought I would know about the fantastic field of oral history.
It is hard to believe that it has been nearly one year now since I was approached with a very unique opportunity. I was working as a newly appointed staff member of the Baylor University Institute for Oral History (BUIOH) when then-Senior Editor Elinor Maze asked if I would be interested in joining the ranks of H-OralHist and guiding the listserv’s transition to a new web-based format, the H-Net Commons.
In a few months, Troy and I hope to welcome you all to the 2014 Oral History Association (OHA) Annual Meeting, “Oral History in Motion: Movements, Transformations, and the Power of Story.” This year’s meeting will take place in our lovely, often frozen hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, from 8-12 October 2014.
There are many exciting things coming down the Oral History Review pipeline, including OHR volume 41, issue 2, the Oral History Association annual meeting and a new staff member.