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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Oral history and childhood memories

During my second semester at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I took an oral history seminar with Dr. Jacquelyn Dowd Hall. It was an eye-opening experience, not only because of what I learned, but how I learned.

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Getting to the core of StoryCorps, and other audio puns

In two weeks, as students across the United States are enjoying their Thanksgiving break, StoryCorps wants to give us all a bit of homework. Calling it the Great Thanksgiving Listen, they are asking high school students to use their mobile app (available in iTunes or Google Play) to “preserve the voices and stories of an entire generation of Americans over a single holiday weekend.”

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What were Tampa’s top Twitter debates at #OHA2015?

Some of you open a can of soup and tweet about it, others of us would never know about your tweet since we don’t use Twitter. Others at this year’s Oral History Association annual meeting put their phones away for a second to do what they do best: listen.

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“Hotwash,” oral history, and wartime reflection

The military is a total institution and army chaplains are embedded deeply within it. They wear the uniforms and the rank, they salute and are saluted. I was reminded how deeply embedded we are, when I arrived at the US Army Chaplain Center and School at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina about two weeks ago.

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Landscapes of meaning

This week, we’re bringing you another exciting edition of the Oral History Review podcast, in which Troy Reeves talks to OHR contributor Jessica Taylor.

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Should we ‘consent’ to oral history?

All of those presidential candidates who promise to change the world on “my first day in office” have a lot to learn about the federal government’s glacial pace. The government does tend to do the right thing, so long as you have the patience to wait a few years (or decades).

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When everywhere is a grave: remembering WWII casualties in Belarus

On 22 June 2015, the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko opened a new memorial complex at the site of the former extermination camp Maly Trostenets near Minsk. Between 1941 and 1944, German occupants and their helpers interned and killed up to 206,500 people in this camp and in the nearby forest of Blagovshchina.

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Bringing the Digital Humanities into the classroom

I spent four days last month with my colleague and friend, Doug Boyd, as he and I (mainly he) gave oral history workshops in Milwaukee and Madison. While the idea to bring Boyd to Wisconsin for these trainings began with Ann Hanlon, Digital Humanities Lab head at UW-Milwaukee, I jumped at the chance to find groups to sponsor his time in Madison.

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Back to the “stove front”: an oral history project about Cuban housewives

We recently asked you to tell us to send us your reflections, stories, and the difficulties you’ve faced while doing oral history. This week, we bring you another post in this series, focusing on an oral history project from Carmen Doncel and Henry Eric Hernández. We encourage you to to chime into the discussion, comment below or on our Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and G+ pages.

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Ghosts of Katrina

Ten years have passed since Katrina. New Orleans is in the midst of celebrating a remarkable renewal. I still live in the same apartment that I lived in before the storm. It looks the same, perhaps a bit more cluttered, but the neighborhood has certainly changed.

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Off the beaten path: An insider’s guide to Tampa history for #OHA2015

There are less than two months left before we converge on Tampa for the Oral History Association’s annual meeting! This week, we asked Jessica Taylor of the University of Florida’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, who authored “We’re on Fire: Oral History and the Preservation, Commemoration, and Rebirth of Mississippi’s Civil Rights Sites” in the most recent Oral History Review.

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On spatial strategies of narration

Tim Cole’s article “(Re)Placing the Past: Spatial Strategies of Retelling Difficult Stories” in the most recent Oral History Review raises some really intriguing questions about the function of space and distance in oral history interviews. Cole graciously agreed to answer some of our questions over email, which we’ve reproduced here for your enjoyment.

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What’s your story? Calling all oral history bloggers

Over the last few months, we’ve had the pleasure of publishing thoughtful reflections, compelling narratives, and deep engagements with what it means to do oral history. Each post was written by a member of the oral history community who was willing to share their thoughts and experiences with all of us. We received an incredible response from our last call for submissions, so we’re coming back again to ask for more.

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Uniqueness lost

“When I went to the Iv’ry Coast, about thirty years ago, I remember coming off the plane and just being assaulted with not only the heat but the color.” These were the first words of the most moving story I have ever heard—but it wasn’t the story I was there to collect. For me, the best oral histories are the ones that sound a human chord, stories that blur the spaces between historically significant narrative and personal development.

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