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International Committee Blog

Upcoming International Summer School of Oral History in Prague – September 5 – 13, 2016

Instructors will include Rob Perks (UK), Alexander von Plato (Germany), David King Dunaway (USA), Monika Vrzgulová (Slovakia), Miroslav Vaněk (Czech Republic), Pavel Mücke (Czech Republic) and other teachers from our Department of Oral History – Contemporary History.

Registration due by April 30, 2016

For more information

See attachment for Call for Registrations. Summer School_Call for Applications [439593]

Scholarship Applications – Mark Your Calendars

Applications to the Oral History Association Annual Meeting Scholarships will be posted in March.  Check for updates.

XIXth International Oral History Conference, June 27-July 1, 2016, Bangalore, India

If you are planning to attend this conference, the following website has details on the conference scheduled, scholarships, registration, visas, accommodation and more:

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Throwback Thursday — Looking back at 1967

Follow our weekly series, Throwback Thursday, designed to help celebrate 50 years of OHA. We’ll profile a year in the life of the organization each week with photos, logos, and highlights taken from the Oral History Association Newsletter. We welcome your memories, photos, and comments at


OHA in 1967

Chairman: James V. Mink, UCLA
Site of the Annual Colloquium: Arden House, Harriman, New York
Newsletter editorial office:  Yale University, Forest History Society, Elwood Maunder, Editor
Annual individual membership: $7.50

Highlights of the year (excerpted from the OHA Newsletter, Volume 1, Numbers 1 and 2):

  • The Oral History Association, Inc. has just become legally incorporated in the State of New York. Dr. Louis Starr, director of Columbia University’s Oral Research Office, informs us that he has succeeded in wading through the red tape involved, and the Oral History Association is now registered as a non-profit corporation.
  • Another exciting Oral History Association Colloquium is in the planning stage. The program as planned by Dr. Starr promises to be as provocative as last year’s at Lake Arrowhead. Professor Allan Nevins will be moderating a panel of prominent historians who have used oral history interviews in writing books. Dr. Victor Witten will chair a session on equipment and its capabilities. Philip Crowl and Forrest Pogue will discuss the Dulles and Marshall projects.
  • Jim Mink wrote: I told the members of the Arrowhead Colloquium that I believed one of the most important objectives an oral history association could accomplish was the compilation of a union bibliography of oral history materials. While oral history is young, this is still a reasonable task…Think what a wonderful thing it would be if we now had at our disposal a 50 year accumulation of the National Union Catalog of Manuscripts

From the Newsletter section titled “Oral History Publicity”

  • Orchids for the oral history method from the December 12, 1966 issue of THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR. In his article, “Researchers Mine Oral-History Treasure,” Neal Stanford enthusiastically proclaimed, “Oral history is one of the fastest-growing phenomena in the United States. It ranks with photo copiers, computers, and radio-isotopes as hallmarks of this era…Oral history has added a whole new vehicle for historical investigation. Its possibilities are incalculable.”
  • Oral history made a special appearance in the weekly mag scene in a NEWSWEEK (September 18, 1967) profile of “the dean of all labor mediators,” Cyrus Stuart Ching. Scarcely inactive at 91, he is, among other things, currently engaged in an oral history project for Cornell University. To date, Ching has recorded some 1,800 pages of reminiscences which recall his arrival in Boston from Canada in 1900–and the $31 capital he brought in his pocket.
  • The San Francisco Maritime Museum reports: “We have just completed five miles of tape by Bert Werder, a gentleman in his 80’s who has been coming in every Wednesday to tell us about life in a small town on the shore of San Francisco bay.” If this interview were recorded at 15/16 inches per second, it would probably be the longest oral history memoir in existence.”

Who were we interviewing in 1967?

  • ROHO at Berkeley — oral history projects on fine printing, university housing and athletics, the Russian immigration to California, food and wine technology, and the Mexican Revolution
  • The North Texas State University (Denton) — living ex-Governors of Texas
  • U.S. Marine Corps Oral History Unit —  Marine Corps operations in “Viet Nam, the Lebanon Crisis, the Dominican Republic Intervention, and the Cuban Missile Crisis”
  • Memphis State University — already underway is a “series on the history of Memphis jazz, which includes samples of music and interview with some of the earlier musicians”
  • The Forest History Society at Yale University — leading foresters of the Pacific Northwest
  • Columbia University — recently received a grant from the NEH for a year-long project on the Eisenhower administration

Arden House, Harriman, NY (Photo from Columbia University)
Site of 1967 Annual Colloquium

Check back next Thursday for highlights of 1968…




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Throwback Thursday – Think 1966!

Join us as OHA kicks off a new weekly series, Throwback Thursday. We’ll profile a year in the life of OHA each week with photos, logos, and highlights taken from the Oral History Association newsletter. We welcome your memories, photos, and comments at

From Volume 1, No. 1, June 1967

Excerpts from “Meeting on High – The First National Colloquium”

The germ of the idea of founding a national association of oral historians took root high in the mountains above Los Angeles at the First National Colloquium on Oral History. Meetings were held September 25-28, 1966, at the California Conference Center at Lake Arrowhead. The colloquium, sponsored by UCLA Library’s Oral History Program and organized by James V. Mink, director of the UCLA program, convened to define the functions and objectives of oral history and to establish a permanent and productive relationship among oral historians. The result was a total success.

More than 80 interested participants, including librarians, archivists, professors, and men of medicine from all over the country and as far away as Beirut, Lebanon, entangled themselves in complex considerations of terminology, techniques, goals, and standards. In the keynote address, Jim Mink emphasized his expectation of active participation by those attending, and participate they did. Dr. Philip C. Brooks, Wayland Hand, and Louis Starr led a divided and unresolved discussion of appropriate oral history terminology. Is the individual who agrees to submit to an interview a “respondent,” an “interviewee,” a “subject,” or a “victim”? Professor Allan Nevins, “the father of modern oral history,” generated a lively response with his exploration of the uses and abuses of oral history…

At the final session the groundwork was laid for the establishment of an international organization of oral historians. Jim Mink was elected chairman of a steering committee to get things under way.

Check back next Thursday for highlights of 1967 and the first OHA logo…

Lake Arrowhead, California


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International Committee Blog

Many thanks to International Committee member Mirek Vaněk for writing the following blog this month:

New Release:

Velvet Revolutions.  An Oral History of Czech Society

Miroslav Vaněk

Pavel Mücke

The Velvet Revolution in November 1989 brought about the collapse of the authoritarian communist regime in what was then Czechoslovakia. It also marks the beginning of the country’s journey towards democracy. This book examines what the values in so-called real socialism were, as well as how citizens’ values changed after the 1989 collapse. In Velvet Revolutions, Miroslav Vaněk and Pavel Mücke analyze and interpret 300 interviews on citizens’ experience of freedom and its absence, the value of work, family and friends, education, relations to public sphere and politics, the experience of free time, and perception of foreigners and foreign countries. The interviewees are drawn from a wide range of professions, including manual workers, service workers, farmers, members of the armed forces, managers, and marketing personnel. All of the interviewees were at working age during the last twenty years of the communist regime and during the post-revolutionary transformation. From this rich foundation, the book builds a multi-layered view of Czech history before 1989 and during the subsequent period of democratic transformation.

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Nominations due for OHA awards

In 1993, the Oral History Association established a series of awards to recognize outstanding achievement in oral history. The awards highlight exemplary oral history work completed in the past year. OHA will present awards at the 2016 annual meeting in Long Beach for outstanding use of oral history in several categories. Nominations for the awards are due April 18. For information on award criteria and details on how to submit a nomination, see the Grants and Awards page.

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OHA Remembers Horacio Roque Ramirez

I am deeply saddened to announce the passing of Dr. Horacio Roque Ramirez, a groundbreaking scholar-activist in queer and Latino/a oral history, who gave over a decade of devoted service to the Oral History Association. I first met Roque Ramirez in 1998 at the Annual Meeting in Buffalo, New York, where his presentation “Between Sex and Race: Queer Latina and Latino Narratives of Identity” sparked me. At the time few queer oral historians were part of the OHA; Horacio and I quickly bonded and became close colleagues. I had the honor of serving with him on OHA Council in the late 2000s. Earlier that decade, Roque Ramirez co-chaired the Oral History Association’s Committee on Diversity.

Horacio Roque Ramirez and Norma Smith became the visionary and energetic co-chairs of the dynamic, diverse, and fabulously well attended 41st Annual Meeting held in Oakland, California in 2007, the theme of which was The Revolutionary Ideal: Transforming Community Through Oral History. Roque Ramirez and Smith wrote in their introduction to the program, “We take seriously the challenge to transform the OHA annual meeting program into a model for future organizational labor that accounts for difference, diversity, and (in)equality in profound ways.” I think many members of OHA would agree that the Oakland meeting moved the Association in this direction.

Horacio was a dynamic and inspiring speaker at many annual meetings. His presentations included “Sexual Imperialism: Emerging “Queer” Communities in El Salvador, and the Politics of Transnational Identities,” “Narratives of Community Destruction: CURAS and San Francisco Queer Latina and Latino Struggle for AIDS Prevention,” and “Y vos, de donde sos? Transnational Gay Salvadoran Identities in Los Angeles.” He won the 2004 OHA article award for his article “‘That’s MY Place!’: Negotiating Racial, Sexual, and Gender Politics in San Francisco’s Gay Latino Alliance, 1975-1983,” Journal of the History of Sexuality (April 2003): 224-58.

Roque Ramirez was a child survivor of the Salvadorean Civil War. He and his family immigrated to the United States when Horacio was twelve and settled in Los Angeles, California. His activism dated back at least as far as his undergraduate years as a psychology major at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he co-founded the Latin American Students Association and received the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Senior Award in 1992. He went on to earn an MA in history from UCLA in 1994 and then a PhD in Comparative Ethnic Studies, Women, Gender, and Sexuality from UC Berkeley in 2001. He held a postdoc at UCLA, where he focused on  Latino immigrant and refugee LGBT communities. Roque Ramirez then joined UC Santa Barbara as part of the core faculty in the first Ph.D. program in Chican@ Studies, where he received tenure and became one of the only Central American professors in the entire UC system. He was an incredible mentor and role model for many, many students at UC Santa Barbara, especially queer students of color.

Horacio co-edited an anthology with Professor Nan Alamilla Boyd, Bodies of Evidence: The Practice of Queer Oral History (Oxford: Oxford University Press), the first book to provide serious scholarly insight into the methodological practices that shape lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer oral histories. At the time of his passing he was working on Queer Latino San Francisco: An Oral History, 1960s-1990s, an ethnographic historical study of the formation and partial destruction of queer Latina and Latino community life in San Francisco over the past forty years. He was also working as an expert witness on political asylum and immigration, gender identity, sexuality, and HIV Status, domestic and gang violence.

May Horacio Roque Ramirez’s activist scholarship, courage, generous spirit, humor, and vision endure and continue to inspire transformative and revolutionary oral history. I hope other members of OHA will share remembrances of our extraordinary oral historian and colleague.

–Irene Reti, Director, Regional History Project, University of California, Santa Cruz Library


Share your memories of Horacio on the OHA Facebook page.




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