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.
By Jason Steinhauer What is the role of a regional oral history organization? The Board of Officers of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region (OHMAR) recently wrestled with this question over the course of a year-long strategic planning process. Our organization had reached an inflection point. New technologies, shifting member expectations and changing demographics compelled […]
By Caitlin Tyler-Richards
It’s been awhile, but the Oral History Review on OUPblog podcast is back! Today’s episode features OHR contributors Drs. Linda Crane and Tracy McDonough answering OHR Managing Editor Troy Reeves’s questions about the Schizophrenia Oral History Project and their article, “Living with Schizophrenia: Coping, Resilience, and Purpose,” which appears in the most recent Oral History Review.
It was late in the day when a nondescript package arrived at my office. After carefully opening the box and lifting off the lid, there it was: Google Glass. And yes, it was awesome. Initially, the technology geek in me was overjoyed, but the oral historian soon took over as I raced through potential uses for this wearable technology in my daily work.
Issues concerning Imperial Japan’s wartime “comfort women” have ignited international debates in the past two decades, and a number of personal accounts of “comfort women” have been published in English since the 1990s. Until recently, however, there has been a notable lack of information about the women drafted from Mainland China. Chinese Comfort Women is the first book in English to record the first-hand experiences of twelve Chinese women who were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese Imperial forces during the Asia-Pacific War (1931-1945).
By Caitlin Tyler-Richards
This summer, our editor-in-chief Kathy Nasstrom is taking a well-deserved break, and leaving the Oral History Review and related cat-herding in the hands of the extremely capable Stephanie Gilmore. As some may have read in the Oral History Association’s most recent newsletter, Stephanie is a multitalented historian who works to combat sexual assault on university campuses.
On 25 April, we shared an excerpt from the conversation between OHR 41.1 contributor Alexander Freund and OHR board member Erin Jessee regarding Freund’s article, “Confessing Animals: Towards a Longue Durée History of the Oral History Interview”. Below, Freund and Jessee continue their exchange, tackling storytelling in non-Western arenas.