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President’s Letter

By Allison K. Tracy-Taylor

I’m excited to announce a new award structure for the Oral History Association.

Every year the OHA gives a number of awards to recognize outstanding work in various facets of the field. With feedback from members, awardees and award committee members, the Awards Task Force, led by Past President Todd Moye with Christa Whitney and Steve Estes, revised the structure of the Elizabeth B. Mason Project Award and the Oral History in a Nonprint Format Award. The new award is intended to be more flexible and responsive to the different types of projects and products oral history practitioners work on.

With the new Elizabeth B. Mason Multimedia Award, the OHA seeks to recognize outstanding oral history projects, collections, exhibits and multimedia presentations for the public. Up to three awards will be given each year. Qualifying projects may be any of the following:

  • Oral History Project or Collection (physical and/or virtual)
  • Exhibitions (physical and/or virtual)
  • Documentary or Performance (podcasts, films, theatrical productions, mobile applications, etc.)

The OHA welcomes nominations for projects with an institutional affiliation, including those undertaken by libraries, archives, colleges and universities, museum and historical organizations, community-based institutions, and others. And we also welcome nominations for projects undertaken by academic scholars, independent researchers and ad hoc groups. The awards will not be given to an ongoing project or oral history program, although they may be given to a distinct project or interview series within such a program. We encourage nominations from both large and small oral history projects. Entries are welcome from around the world but must be submitted in English.

The following awards will remain as they have before: the Article Award, the Book Award, the Martha Ross Teaching Award (awarded in odd-numbered years), the Post-Secondary Teaching Award (awarded in even-numbered years), and the Stetson Kennedy Vox Populi Award.

The deadline for submissions for these and the Elizabeth B. Mason Multimedia Award is June 1, 2020. Information about the awards and the application process can be found here. This page will be updated with information about the new award structure soon.

I thank those who provided feedback on the OHA’s award structure, particularly those who had recently served on award committees. Their feedback was especially helpful. I also want to thank Todd, Christa and Steve for their good work on the Awards Task Force. I look forward to congratulating the recipient of all our awards in Baltimore.

I’ve also been working to prepare for Council’s midwinter meeting. In addition to monthly conference calls, Council meets in person twice a year: during the OHA’s annual meeting in October and at some point in, well, midwinter.

This year’s meeting was at our conference hotel in Baltimore at the end of February. The meeting agenda included additional work on the OHA’s new strategic plan, as well as updates on the work of the association’s committees and task forces, a review of the association’s standing resolutions and a number of other topics. We also met with members of the 2020 Local Arrangements Committee. I look forward to talking more about the midwinter meeting in my next letter.

 Preparing for midwinter has me thinking about transparency in the OHA. We need to work on this in a number of ways, but one question I’ve heard recently is how do members of the association interface with Council?

Unfortunately, I don’t have a clear answer. Not because Council doesn’t want to be available, but because we don’t have set procedures in place. So much of the association’s work is done informally, which can be a benefit in some ways, but it also means when members have a question or feedback for the OHA’s leadership, they often don’t know where to start.

First, you can find contact information for all of the OHA’s leadership here, and you can contact us directly. If you do reach out to one of us, please understand that we do all have day jobs, so we may not be able to follow up immediately, but we will be happy to hear from you.      

Besides reaching out to the leadership, participating in the occasional surveys we put out is always helpful and a good way to provide directed feedback. You can also attend the business meeting at our annual meetings in October. This is a great way to learn more about the association’s current work, but there are also multiple opportunities for attendees to participate in the discussion and even raise new business. If you’re a committee or task force member, the reports submitted to Council twice a year are a great place to include questions for or raise issues with Council.

Finally, you can always reach out to the Executive Office at gro.y1620396966rotsi1620396966hlaro1620396966@aho1620396966. Our Co-Executive Directors Louis Kyriakoudes and Kris McCusker and Program Associate Faith Bagley are knowledgeable and happy to help.

 As my letter might indicate, 2020 has already been a busy year for the OHA, and I’m looking forward to connecting with you all in one way or another in the coming months!

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The Call for Papers for OHA 2020 has been extended!

“The Quest for Democracy: One Hundred Years of Struggle

2020 OHA Annual Meeting
October 21-24, 2020
Hyatt Regency
Baltimore, Maryland

The submission portal for conference proposals is closed.

The new deadline is February 17, 2020. Please note that you will have to create a new account, even if you have submitted conference proposals in the past or are a member of the organization.

Remember to refer to our the Call for Papers and our Submission Guidelines pages for more information.

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Letter to the IOHA

In October, 2019, a member of the Oral History Society (OHS) shared with the OHA Council a letter written by the OHS’s LGBTQ Special Interest Group regarding the International Oral History Association’s (IOHA) 2020 conference in Singapore. This letter brings up important issues regarding locations for any association’s annual meeting, and how the sites selected impact who reasonably can attend. In particular, the letter highlights Singapore’s history of criminalizing same-sex relationships and the dilemma LGBTQ people, and their allies, face in deciding whether to travel to Singapore for the meeting.

Choosing conference locations is indeed a challenge. Issues like labor disputes at conference hotels require associations to be careful, forward thinking, and empathetic when deciding where an annual meeting is held. Additionally, in the United States, discriminatory laws in multiple states prompted the California State Legislature to enact Assembly Bill 1887, which prohibits state-funded or state-sponsored travel to states which discriminate “against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.” Currently eleven states are on this list, and the OHA chooses not to hold annual meetings in any of these locations. From an international perspective, given this landscape, it would be reasonable for people to decline to travel to the U.S.

Which is to say, though currently there may not exist a perfect location for an annual meeting, we must do good-faith work to choose meeting locations that welcome all those who make up the oral history community. The OHA supports the OHS’s LGBTQ Special Interest Group in asking the IOHA to make clear to potential attendees Singapore’s laws around same-sex relationships, as well as to be more thorough in its future site selection.

We respect OHA member’s individual decisions to attend, or not attend, the IOHA’s meeting in Singapore. In support of LGBTQ people and their allies who do choose to attend, the OHA will reach out to LGBTQ organizations in Singapore working to make the country safer for LGBTQ people to offer our support. Looking forward to the next IOHA meeting, the OHA will also request its 2022 contribution to the IOHA be used for LGBTQ programming.

Finally, we thank the Oral History Society’s LGBTQ Special Interest Group for their leadership and guidance on this issue.

OHA Council

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Executive Director’s Report

By Kristine McCusker

            Why does the OHA choose a specific conference site? What’s a food and beverage budget? Why can’t we hold our conference in Tennessee (or Alabama or Mississippi or Iowa)? 

            After each conference, we get suggestions regarding where to hold our next conference, and I thought it might be useful for the Executive Office to describe how we go about choosing our conference sites. 

            First, we work with a meetings procurement organization called Helms Briscoe. Our representative, Katherine, knows our organization well and works hard to find us places that we can both afford and that we might enjoy visiting. 

            Second, we look for hotel/conference spaces that have food and beverage (F/B) budgets within our budget. The Council recently approved an increase in the amount we are required to spend on food and beverage from $20,000 to $30,000. To give you some comparison, the Organization of American Historians’ F/B budget is anywhere from $65,000 to $85,000 for a Tier 1 city like San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia or New York City.

            Third, this minimum F/B then waives any room fees the hotel might charge for the various social spaces and breakout rooms for presentations. We are also required to sell a certain number of hotel rooms, and so we appreciate it when members stay at the conference hotel whenever possible.

            Third, we look for spaces that are interesting and are walkable. Our membership likes to walk, so we look for cities that are fun to walk around and have lots of local restaurants.

            Fourth, we cannot hold conferences in 11 states that have passed absurd bathroom bills or similar anti-LGBTQ laws. Beyond being an offense to our members and potentially dangerous to LGBTQ scholars (the most important consideration here), several states, including California, will not reimburse state employees who travel to conferences in these states. Together, the states with such travel bans constitute more than 20% of our membership. The banned states include the ones mentioned above as well as South Dakota, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Texas and Kansas.

            Have other questions about conference site selection? Have ideas for us to consider when searching sites? Feel free to contact me at ude.u1620396966stm@r1620396966eksuc1620396966cM.en1620396966itsir1620396966K1620396966 or my co-Executive Director, Louis Kyriakoudes at ude.u1620396966stm@s1620396966eduok1620396966airyK1620396966.siuo1620396966L1620396966. We’d love to hear from you.

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President’s Letter

By Allison K. Tracy-Taylor

As 2019 comes to an end, I’m happy to reflect on a very busy fall for the Oral History Association. In October we met in Salt Lake City for our annual meeting, and what a meeting it was. We held concurrent meetings with the Southwest Oral History Association, and it was a wonderful opportunity to connect and reconnect with our colleagues in the Southwest.

            One major highlight of the meeting was keynote speaker Isabel Wilkerson. Prior to joining us in Salt Lake City, Ms. Wilkerson read our recently updated Principles and Best Practices. She was so engaged by it, she wanted a chance to talk more with those who had worked on the 2018 update. Fortunately, Sarah Milligan and Troy Reeves were close by, and they, along with a handful of attendees, were able to talk with Ms. Wilkerson during the keynote lunch about oral history, her work and our own. Along with her compelling talk and book signing afterwards, our whole afternoon with Ms. Wilkerson is something I’ll not soon forget.

            Speaking of Principles and Best Practices, if you haven’t had a chance to read the newly added Archives document (approved at this year’s business meeting), you can check it out here. We are working to add another document to the Principles and Best Practices suite: one on social justice and oral history. While the core best practices documents serve as a general guide for all practitioners, the social justice document will cover the special needs and considerations for practitioners working with or in areas of social justice work or movements. If you’d like to offer feedback or share your own experiences around oral history and social justice work, please contact the office.

            I’ve also convened two task forces, the first being the Independent Practitioners Task Force. Having worked independently for three years now, I have experienced some of the many challenges independent practitioners face and the lack of resources available. With the Independent Practitioners Task Force, it is my intention to better chart the often-difficult landscape independent people navigate and to provide meaningful support and advocacy to help them establish, maintain and build careers. Sarah Dziedzic and Jess Lamar Reece Holler have generously agreed to co-chair, and I’m excited to see the great things they accomplish.

            The second is the Financial Stability and Growth Task Force. Past President Natalie Fousekis is leading this task force, and I am grateful to her for doing so. Recognizing the need for this task force arose from the strategic planning process. As the Association’s short- and long-term financial well-being are integral to everything we hope to achieve, focused work in this area is essential.

            I wish you all the best during the upcoming winter holidays. I hope it is a peaceful and restorative time. And may we all hit the ground running in 2020.

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It’s OHA Membership Renewal Time – Stay Connected in 2020

We want you to continue your connection to the OHA network of oral historians!  It’s never been easier to renew your membership:

  • Current members will receive a renewal reminder email with instructions
  • You can visit our Membership Site, and click the blue “Join or Renew Now” Button
  • Or you can fill out and mail in this PDF Membership Form

Reminder to New and Renewing Members:

Starting in January 2020, the Oral History Review will be published by Routledge. As part of the transition to the new publisher, OHA members will have the chance to determine how they would like to receive the journal. All members will still have digital access to past and current issues of the OHR through Memberclicks. However, members will need to opt in to receive a print version of the journal, which will be sent twice a year.

To opt in to receive the print version of the journal, please update your membership profile:

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2019 OHA Conference

Southwest Oral History Association


Event Sponsors
Baylor University Institute for Oral History
Center for Oral History and Oral History MA Program, Columbia University
Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton
Chao Center for Asian Studies, Rice University
Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Department of History, University of Utah
Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History California State University, Fullerton
Oral History Center of The Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley
Oxford University Press
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, University of Florida
UNT Oral History Program
Utah State Historical Society

Audio Transcription Center
Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
Center for Learning in Action, Williams College
Oral History Program, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
The Oklahoma Oral History Research Program at Oklahoma State University Library
Three First Names
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah
Springer Nature
UCLA Center for Oral History Research
Utah Humanities
Utah State University Libraries

American West Center, University of Utah
Oral History Center, Archives & Special Collections, University of Louisville
Stewart Library, Weber State University
Texas Oral History Association
T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History, Louisiana State University
The Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Brigham Young University
The Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
UMass Oral History Lab
University of Wisconsin-Madison Oral History Program

Audio Transcription Center
AVP: Aviary Platform Voice of Witness
National Council on Public History
Oral History Review
Oxford University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Randforce Associates/ Talking Pictures LLC

OHA Partner Members
Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum
American Institute of Physics, Center for History of Physics
American University, Department of Public History
Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training
Baylor University Institute for Oral History
Center for Oral History and Oral History MA Program, Columbia University
Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso
Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky
MA in Cultural Sustainability, Welch Center for Graduate and Professional Studies, Goucher College
Minnesota Historical Society
Oral History Center of The Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley
Pennsylvania State University
Pryor Center
The Museum of Flight
The Orange County Regional History Center
The Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
University of Kentucky, Institutional Diversity
University of Wisconsin-Madison Oral History Program
UNT Oral History Program
Wisconsin Veterans Museum

Program Committee
Co-Chair: Adrienne Cain
Co-Chair: Carlos Lopez

Natalie Marine-Street
Sarah-Jane Poindexter
Sara Wood
Sarah Dziedzic
Erica Fugger
Juliana Nykolaiszyn
Steven Sielaff
Marcia Gallo
Rachael Cassidy
Abra Schnur
Priscilla Martinez

Workshops Coordinators:
Christa Whitney
Jeff Corrigan

Local Arrangements Committee
Co-Chair: Farina King
Co-Chair: Jed Rogers

Gregory Smoak
Randy Williams
Brian Cannon
Jessie Embry
Sarah Singh
Forrest Cuch

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OHA Webinar: Finding Common Ground at the Intersection of Cultural Sustainability and Oral History

In partnership with the American Folklore Society, the Oral History Association is hosting a webinar on“Finding Common Ground at the Intersection of Cultural Sustainability and Oral History,” December 11, 2019, 1:00-2:30 pm EST.

Amy Skillman, director of the Goucher College Master of Arts in Cultural Sustainability program, and former OHA President Linda Shopes will present a webinar on the intersections between oral history practice and theoretical developments in the field of cultural studies. What can we learn from paying attention to each other?  How do complementary approaches strengthen our work?  Like the classic Venn diagram, what might happen in the middle when two allied disciplines, bring their methods, sensibilities, and theoretical frameworks to the same issue? 

Toward the end of their conversation, they will be joined by Heidi Lucero and Jasmin Temblador, graduates of the Goucher MA in Cultural Sustainability program who have drawn upon oral history to address sustainability concerns in their respective communities.  They will share specific case studies of their work: specifically, leadership empowerment among Latinx youth in South Central Los Angeles and the revitalization of traditional chin tattoos among California’s native communities.  We will reserve time at the end for further questions and comments.

Free to OHA and AFS members. Nonmember fee is $75.

Seating is limited so sign up soon! Register Here:

Email gro.y1620396966rotsi1620396966hlaro1620396966@aho1620396966 with any questions

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Meet our New President

Allison Tracy-Taylor is an independent oral historian based in Sacramento, California. She began her work in oral history in 2002 at the University of Nevada Oral History Program (UNOHP), eventually interviewing for a multi-year project on the history of women’s athletics at the University of Nevada. Returning to the UNOHP as its coordinator in 2009, Allison served as one of the editors for the resulting book We Were All Athletes: Title IX and Women’s Athletics at the University of Nevada.

In 2008 Allison joined the first cohort of students at Columbia University’s Oral History Master of Arts Program. Her research culminated in her masters thesis “I began marching: Reclaiming Narrative with the Voices of Women Organizing Project”.

In 2012 Allison became the oral historian for the Stanford Historical Society, working to document Stanford University’s history through the stories of prominent faculty members and administrators. In addition to interviewing, she managed a corps of volunteers and served as the program’s senior oral history mentor.

In 2015, Allison joined the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) as the oral history administrator. In this position she administered the Kentucky Oral History Commission (KOHC), the only commission of its kind in the United States. She provided outreach, education, and technical support to oral history projects throughout Kentucky, managed the KOHC’s grant program, and collaborated to manage KHS’s extensive oral history collections.

In 2017, Allison left the KOHC and now works independently on a variety of projects. She is currently working with the California State Library to develop a website, Voices of the Golden State, which will feature oral histories about the California’s history and heritage, particularly highlighting the diversity of the state.

For the Oral History Association, Allison has served on Council from 2015-2018, the Education Committee, and the Program Committee for multiple annual meetings. Allison is also a member of the Southwest Oral History Association. In addition to an M.A. in Oral History from Columbia University, Allison holds a B.A. in English Literature and Sociology from the University of Nevada. In her free time, Allison participates in roller derby, is an avid crafter and cat lady, podcasts with her husband, and enjoys the occasional sunrise.

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2019 Day of Giving

Invest in the OHA’s future! Please donate on the OHA’s 2019 Day of Giving.

Donations will support a range of projects such as travel scholarships, webinars, regional organizations, conference events & speakers, and the expansion of OHA initiatives.

Donate Online Here:

Or, fill out this Donation Form and mail your check to:

Oral History Association,
Middle Tennessee State University,
1301 East Main Street,
Murfreesboro, TN 37132.

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