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The Oral History Review at the OHA Midwinter Meeting

By Troy Reeves

I had the pleasure of participating in certain parts of the Oral History Association’s Midwinter Meeting, held 14-16 February 2014 in Madison, Wisconsin. Let’s get this question answered right off the bat: Why Wisconsin in February? Because the organization meets in the winter (or early spring) at the location of the upcoming meeting. Since the OHA’s 48th Annual Meeting will be held in Madison (8-12 October), the group’s leadership met in Madison this month. It seems everyone in attendance embraced the Wisconsin winter, including marveling at the ice fishing “shacks” on Madison’s lakes and watching the cross-country skiers take over Capitol Square during Madison’s Winter Festival.

I served as a tour guide for the organization’s executive director Cliff Kuhn. Fresh off his appearance in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s article (and video chat) about the Belfast Project, Cliff came into Madison ready to talk about all things oral history. Cliff thought both the article and the chat went well. “I was pleased that the Chronicle reporter addressed a complex subject in considerable depth,” he said. “With the chat we were able to discuss at some length a number of important issues the Belfast Project/Boston College case raised which are of interest to oral historians and archivists.”

Cliff Kuhn, Gayle Knight, Amy Starecheski, Jeff Freidman, Anne Valk, Paul Ortiz, Dan Kerr, Stephen Sloan
The OHA Council (L-R): Gayle Knight, Cliff Kuhn, Amy Starecheski, Jeff Friedman, Anne Valk, Paul Ortiz, Dan Kerr, Stephen Sloan (not pictured, Regennia Williams)

As I took Cliff around to some possible off-hotel sites for the upcoming conference, and meetings with representatives from the Wisconsin Humanities Council and Wisconsin Historical Society, we chatted about the relationship between the OHA and the Oral History Review. Particularly, we both lauded the work our Editor-in-Chief Kathy Nasstrom has done to in her two-plus years in charge. “Kathy has really raised the bar, and it’s getting noticed,” Cliff enthused. “At a session at the AHA on journal editing, the OHR was singled out for its inclusion of digital content.” Cliff also felt an upcoming addition to the OHR’s editorial team, Stephanie Gilmore, will bring a great deal to the journal. (Gilmore will be featured in a future podcast; yes, this is a blogpost tease!)

Saturday morning, I attended the portion of the meeting regarding Oral History Review. Cliff and I briefed the OHA Council on a few important topics. Specifically, we both noted the great reception we have received in regards to the OHR’s short-form initiative. We joked to Council that the topic (almost) “trended on Twitter.” Overall, I felt what I already knew: All of OHA’s leadership who attended the midwinter meeting respect and appreciate the work we have done. And it’s always nice to be appreciated.

Troy Reeves is the Oral History Review’s Managing Editor (though, thus far, no one has been as impressed with that title as Reeves thinks they should.) He also oversees the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s oral history program, which is housed in the UW-Madison Archives. In his spare time, he tries — quite unsuccessfully — to teach the OHR’s Social Media Coordinator about 1970s and 1980s Americana.

The Oral History Review, published by the Oral History Association, is the U.S. journal of record for the theory and practice of oral history. Its primary mission is to explore the nature and significance of oral history and advance understanding of the field among scholars, educators, practitioners, and the general public. Follow them on Twitter at @oralhistreview, like them on Facebook, add them to your circles on Google Plus, follow them on Tumblr, listen to them on Soundcloud, or follow the latest Oral History Review posts on the OUPblog posts via email or RSS to preview, learn, connect, discover, and study oral history.

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