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International Scholarship recipients to present at OHA annual meeting

This is our last blog highlighting abstracts of papers to be given at this year’s OHA Annual Meeting in Tampa by the International Committee Scholarship recipients.

Christin Quirk:

Panel: Life Stages and Identity

Presenting Author on individual submission: Single and Lesbian Mothers: Narratives of Resistance and Change

While it is widely accepted that political activism by lesbian and gay groups, and the women’s movement in the early 1970s was central to changing social attitudes in Australia, the contributions of single and lesbian mothers is less evident and more problematic. Dominant discourses of motherhood were at odds with feminist ideals; ‘the mother’ with child was to be revered only within the framework of a specifically defined nuclear family structure: any variation from this model family has been subject to negative social pressure(s). Presenting an exaggerated threat to heteronormative patriarchal structures of family, single and/or lesbian mothers have challenged ‘traditional’ notions of family with a fluidity and diversity of family structures. More importantly, these ‘alternative’ families have prompted a host of research that has consistently shown that it is family processes (such as the quality of parenting and relationships within the family) that contribute to determining children’s well-being and ‘outcomes’, rather than family structures. This paper will examine interviews with single and/or lesbian mothers who raised their children over the last forty years to locate narratives of resistance and change.

Hope to see you all at the OHA Annual Meeting in October.

Leslie McCartney

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Oral history recommended to be excluded from IRB review!

On September 8, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a set of recommended revisions to the regulations concerning human subject research. Specifically, it recommended that oral history be explicitly excluded from review by institutional review boards, or IRBs, and alluded to the fact that oral history already has its own code of ethics, including the principle of informed consent. Read more

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Annual Meeting Spotlight: TRASH DANCE by Andrew Garrison

The OHA annual meeting will open with a screening of the documentary film TRASH DANCE. In the film, choreographer Allison Orr finds beauty and grace in garbage trucks, and in the unseen men and women who pick up our trash. Filmmaker Andrew Garrison follows Orr as she rides along with Austin, Texas sanitation workers on their daily routes to observe and later convince them to perform a most unlikely spectacle. On an abandoned airport runway, two dozen trash collectors and their trucks deliver—for one night only—a stunningly beautiful and moving performance, in front of an audience of thousands, who are awed to discover how in the world a garbage truck can “dance.”

Andrew Garrison will speak and show the film on Wednesday evening, October 14. Garrison is an independent filmmaker based in Austin who works in both documentary and fiction. His most recent film is TRASH DANCE (2012), winner of several festival awards including Special Jury Recognition at its premiere at SXSW, and the unprecedented winner of the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary at both the AFI Silverdocs Film Festival and the Full Frame Film Festival. His previous films include the documentary THIRD WARD TX (2007), and the narrative triptych THE WILGUS STORIES (2000), both of which premiered at SXSW and aired on PBS, and the award-winning shorts, FAT MONROE (1990) and NIGHT RIDE (1994). Garrison’s work has earned him Guggenheim, Rockefeller, NEA and AFI Fellowships. His films have screened at Sundance, SXSW, Berlin International Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival and the New York Film Festival. He is an Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media Production at The University of Texas at Austin. Garrison is the founder of the East Austin Stories documentary project, an ongoing documentary collaboration between U.T. student filmmakers and residents and businesses in communities in East Austin.

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2015 Emerging Crises oral history grant winner

The 2015 Emerging Crises Oral History Research Fund grant was awarded to Groundswell: Oral History in Movements to End Police Brutality, a collaborative oral history partnership between Groundswell and three partner organizations: The Forced Trajectory Project, the Book of Healing, and Freedom Summer 2015. Groundswell is a network of oral historians, activists, cultural workers, community organizers, and documentary artists that use oral history to further movement building and transformative social change. Each of the partner organizations are recording candid interviews that explore individuals’ subjective experiences and personal reflections on the history (and present) of police violence and its ramifications in their lives and the life of their communities. Through the proposed collaboration with each other and with Groundswell, these projects look to further and deepen their grounding in an oral history approach and will contribute to conversations about what more traditional oral historians might learn from other documentary and narrative forms, particularly when working in crisis situations. The Emerging Crises Oral History research fund grant will assist this group of oral historians and documentary artists in their efforts to preserve the stories of communities impacted by police brutality and contribute to the national conversation on police violence. The OHA Emerging Crises award committee commends this year’s grant recipient for the timeliness and professionalism of their project, representing crisis oral history at its best.

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