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2018 Call for Papers

 

Oral History in Our Challenging Times

The Oral History Association invites proposals for papers and presentations for its 2018 annual meeting and the second meeting outside the United States to be held October 10-14 at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

As oral historians we explore and analyze how our interviews are shaped by the current climate and context that surrounds us when we record our stories.  We also believe that contemporary conversations can and will shape our annual meeting.  Events in the past year have reaffirmed OHA’s commitment to actively cultivating our organization as a space to fight inequality.  As oral historians and as members of OHA we “remain committed to documenting personal narratives of complex and diverse histories” and have reaffirmed our fundamental values of respect, empowerment, diversity, engagement, and inclusion.  We continue our long-time commitment to the development of projects, the creation of annual meeting panels, published works, and artistic expressions that bring to the forefront global stories that “might not be included in the historical record.”  (for more see OHA’s Statement on Diversity and Inclusion). This has also led us to advocate for an ever broadening range of methods of storytelling and presentation. Social difference often emerges in the context of the interview itself: young interviewing old, women interviewing men, outsiders interviewing members of a community or culture, just to name a few. We imagine the 2018 annual meeting to harness the power of oral history these challenging times.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada provides an exciting location to focus on and highlight all the innovative and exciting oral history work taking place in the Americas and, especially, in Montreal itself.  Because Montreal is culturally and linguistically an international city it makes an ideal place to engage in oral history conversations about our role in a global context and build conversations between the United States, Latin America, and Canada. Our host institution, Concordia’s Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, has its strengths in the intersection of oral history and performance, place-based storytelling, visual arts, and participatory media.  We want conference presenters and attendees to see and experience the neighborhoods and communities where Montreal’s oral and public history work takes place.  We hope the site of the conference and the work of local oral historians will inspire our members and others to propose sessions that engage in oral history with a creative and artistic approach.

Moreover, it’s fitting that fifty years after “the year of protest” we should gather in a global city like Montreal.  Massive demonstrations took place in Paris, Poland, the United States, Mexico, and other major cities around the world in 1968.  Quebec too saw its own protests that year.  Students, workers, and young people worldwide spoke out against capitalism, consumerism, for free speech, against dictatorships, for student rights and affordable tuition, for civil rights, and against the Vietnam War. In the spirit of 1968, we encourage proposals that use oral history and storytelling to illuminate these protests or other movements for social change across the globe from the 1960s to today.

The Program Committee welcomes broad and creative interpretations of the conference theme.  We especially encourage presenters to think about innovative delivery models including dramatic performance, interactive sessions, and the use of digital media.  In addition, we welcome proposals from the diverse communities that carry out oral history work – academics, independent scholars, activists, librarians, museum curators, web designers, teachers, community historians, documentary film producers, artists, creative writers, ethnographers, public historians, and others whose work relates to this year’s conference theme.

We hope to have a significant international presence at the meeting and particularly welcome proposals that highlight oral history work in the Americas outside the United States. If accepted, international presenters may apply for partial scholarships, made available by OHA in support of international presentations. Small scholarships are also available for accepted presenters and others who attend the meeting.

 

Proposal format:

The online proposal site will open in November and submission information will be posted on the OHA website, www.oralhistory.org.

Proposal Queries may be directed to:

Steve Estes, 2018 Program Co-chair
Sonoma State University, email:  steve.estes@sonoma.edu

Amy Starecheski, 2018 Program Co-chair
Columbia University Oral History MA Program, email: aas39@columbia.edu

Natalie Fousekis, 2017-2018 OHA Vice-President
Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History, email: nfousekis@fullerton.edu

 

For more information, contact:

Gayle Knight, Program Associate
oha@gsu.edu
404-413-5751