Fate intervened this summer, giving me the opportunity to teach a History 201 class this fall at UW-Madison. Over the course of fifteen weeks I instructed 15 first-year undergraduates about oral history.
As is becoming tradition, we want to use this, our last blog post of the year, to look back over last 12 months and remember all the fun we’ve had together. We have been drawn in by the “seductive intimacy” of oral history, and inspired by the power of audio to move “oral history out of the archives and back into communities.”
This past October the Oral History Association conducted the Fiftieth Annual Meeting in Long Beach, California. The theme of the annual meeting was OHA@50: Traditions, Transitions and Technologies from the Field.
2016 has had far more than its share of horribleness. Many of us are ready to leave this year far behind, even as we’re terrified of what the coming years may bring. At a time when many people are being told that their voices and lives don’t matter, we think oral historians have a vital role to play in amplifying silenced voices and helping us all imagine a better future.
We may talk a lot of turkey during the holiday, but US Thanksgiving is really all about the sides. Yes, we pile our plates with mashed potatoes and green beans, but we also feast on the many other great sides the English language has to offer.
Crossing the train track from the predominantly white Anniston into the historically black Hobson City, Alabama, I immediately noticed the significant changes in environment and people. It was not until I exited my car and physically inserted myself into the Hobson City community that I learned that there was much more to this small town than what initially met my eyes.
The most recent issue of the OHR includes an article about the Australian Generations Oral History Project and the importance of “aurality” to oral history
As has become OHR tradition, we have enlisted the help of a local to serve as a guide to the upcoming OHA Annual meeting in beautiful Long Beach, California. Below, Mark Garcia shares some of the city’s fascinating history, as well as his personal recommendations for oral historians who want to venture out and see some of what the city has to offer.
Throughout 2016 we’ve featured oral history #OriginStories – tales of how people from all walks of life found their way into the world of oral history and what keeps them going. Most recently, Steven Sielaff explained how oral history has enabled him to connect his love of technology and his desire to create history.
We spend a lot of time in this space pointing to particular people or projects that we think are doing interesting things with oral history. In June we talked to Josh Burford, who is using oral history to start important conversations in North Carolina. In April, we heard from Shanna Farrell, who discussed Berkeley’s Oral History Summer Institute.
Podcasters P.J. Vogt, host of Reply All, and Starlee Kine, host of Mystery Show, addressed sold-out sessions at the Sydney Writers’ Festival last month, riding the wave of popularity engendered by Serial, the 2014 US true crime podcast series whose 100 million downloads galvanised the audio storytelling world.
Since this is an oral historian origin story, I feel I need to begin this post with a bit of a confession. Even though I earned a bachelor’s degree in History from Baylor University, it was not until the summer of 2011, the term before I was to begin my graduate work at Baylor in the Museum Studies program
As students in Columbia University’s OHMA program we are often urged to consider Oral History projects that not only serve to archive interviews for future use, but that “do something.”
For Manissa Maharawal, the struggle for housing justice is personal. When her own father got displaced from his apartment in Prospect Heights—his home since moving from India to the States some thirty years before, in which he raised his family—she was struck by his unstoppable urge to tell the story over and over again.
This year, we have focused on people and institutions using oral history in innovative ways, discussing the challenges they face and their motivations for using oral history to make positive changes in the world.
In their substantial essay from OHR 43.1 on the peculiarities of queer oral history, authors Kevin Murphy, Jennifer Pierce, and Jason Ruiz suggest some of the ways that queer methodologies are useful and important for oral history projects.