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President’s Column

By Allison K. Tracy-Taylor

            I’m writing to keep you updated on the various ways the OHA is responding to the COVID-19 epidemic. This is an evolving situation requiring work in a number of areas. By beginning work now, we hope to get ahead of and mitigate negative impacts on the Association and our membership.

            First, let me say I hope you all are staying safe. The seriousness of COVID-19 cannot be overstated. Further, state and federal guidelines on social distancing have impacted many of us in profound ways, the full extent of which we won’t understand for weeks or months, even years. The health and well-being of you and your communities is of the highest priority. I ask you to follow all local and national orders on sheltering in place and social distancing, and I encourage you, as you are able, to prioritize self-care and care for your families and communities.

            Second, we are continuing with planning for our 2020 Annual Meeting in Baltimore. It is our sincere hope the current crisis will resolve enough to allow us to move forward with the meeting as planned. It is shaping up to be an exciting and dynamic meeting.

            The Program Committee has been hard at work reviewing session proposals, and acceptance notifications will go out soon. The Call for Posters is now open, and scholarship applications are also available. We have pushed back the scholarship application deadline to June 10, 2020, and notifications will go out in July. We encourage you to plan for the meeting as you would in any other year, though please review and follow the CDC’s guidelines on travel. It’s also best to not make nonrefundable travel arrangements at this time.

            Understanding there are many unknowns in this situation, we have also begun a risk assessment of COVID-19 and the economic implications stemming from it for the Association. For the annual meeting, there are a number of scenarios being considered, including the possibility, if meeting face to face is not safe or feasible, of holding a virtual meeting. These discussions are in early stages, and we are committed to communicating with the membership and meeting attendees about these discussions often and in a timely manner.

            We are also developing a longer-term emergency plan for the Association. This plan will cover a number of scenarios, and I imagine by the end of 2020 our section on how to respond to pandemics will be particularly robust.

            As oral historians, in these times of social distancing, we’ve had to reevaluate the how and why of face-to-face interviewing. A number of resources around this issue have been developed that I’d like to share with you.

            First, the Association was fortunate to partner with Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History to hold a webinar on remote interviewing. If you were unable to attend, we’ve made available the recording of the webinar, the slides, and additional resources pulled from the webinar chat, as well as a summary of the webinar’s recommendations.

            The Vermont Folklife Center has also put out helpful tips on remote interviewing, and this week the Oral History Society released substantive advice on remote interviewing. Finally, Sarah Dziedzic (who has worn many hats in the Association, including currently serving as co-chair for the Independent Practitioners Task Force) has written an essay on oral history, immunodeficiency and disability justice. I hope you’ll take a moment to read it.

            The Association is also working to develop further guidelines and resources around remote interviewing and we hope to distribute these soon. As resources in other areas impacting our community become available, the Association will work to highlight and connect our membership to them. If there are resources you find particularly useful or topics on which you’d like to see more resources, please reach out to the office. If you’re interested and available to help us curate resources in a particular area, please let us know.

            I’ll be in touch soon and regularly. Please stay safe and take care.

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Webinar: Fieldwork and Digital Audio Technology: What to Know before You Go

The Oral History Association and the American Folklore Society present the next in their series of webinar:

Fieldwork and Digital Audio Technology: What to Know before You Go

May 1, 2020
1:00pm-2:30pm EST

Leaders: John Fenn (American Folklife Center) and Andy Kolovos (Vermont Folklife Center)

This interactive webinar will provide beginning and seasoned fieldworkers alike with strategies and approaches for integrating digital audio capture technologies into their cultural documentation efforts. Given the rapid rate at which digital technologies and equipment change in the consumer world, it can be challenging to figure out what you want versus what you need. From complex jargon to varying definitions of “quality” and “resolution,” there can be a lot to know—and it is easy to get lost in the world of audio recording options.The webinar leaders will emphasize some of the key factors to be aware of when planning for the use of digital fieldwork equipment, and will offer a range of tips and questions to consider. We hope to demystify the process of choosing and using digital audio equipment for ethnographic fieldwork and oral history interviewing, so in addition to discussing some of the basic technological aspects we will discuss a few recording scenarios common to this type of work. 

Social distancing complicates face-to-face interviewing and fieldwork activity that involves audio recording, so in light of the risks posed by the coronavirus/COVID-19 to fieldworkers and participants alike we will explore options for remote audio capture. We will try to account for smartphone-based options as well as those available via personal computers, including both asynchronous and real-time interviewing.​


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

AFS Members can get the discount code and registration instructions here.

Seating is limited so sign up soon! Register Here: oha.memberclicks.net/fieldworkdigitaltechnology-webinar

Please email gro.y1620397365rotsi1620397365hlaro1620397365@aho1620397365 with any questions.

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COVID- 19 Updates for OHA

Conference Update from the OHA President (6-25-2020)

Update from the OHA President (5-15-2020)

Letter from the OHA President (4-10-2020)


The OHA Office is working Remotely (3-20-2020):

Starting Monday, March 20 the OHA’s Executive Office will be working remotely.

Please bear with us during this time as our responses to any inquiries may be slowed down. We will not have access to our office phone, though we will be able to check and return voicemails. We ask that people please contact us through email, gro.y1620397365rotsi1620397365hlaro1620397365@aho1620397365, as that will be our most reliable method of communication.

Thank you!
OHA Staff


OHR Update: Resuming Book Reviews (6-25-2020):

Books are available again for review (http://oralhistoryreview.org/books/), though through summer 2020, the OHR will mail books to reviewers twice a month, so expect some delays in receiving books.

OHR Update: Pause on Book Reviews (3-19-2020):

Update from the Staff at the Oral History Review:

The Oral History Review is not able to mail books out for review at this time because our offices at the Science History Institute are closed during the pandemic. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

View All News Articles.

Letter from the President

I’m writing to keep you updated on the various ways the OHA is responding to the COVID-19 epidemic. This is an evolving situation requiring work in a number of areas. By beginning work now, we hope to get ahead of and mitigate negative impacts on the Association and our membership.

First, let me say I hope you all are staying safe. The seriousness of COVID-19 cannot be overstated. Further, state and federal guidelines on social distancing have impacted many of us in profound ways, the full extent of which we won’t understand for weeks or months, even years. The health and well-being of you and your communities is of the highest priority. I ask you to follow all local and national orders on sheltering in place and social distancing, and I encourage you, as you are able, to prioritize self-care and care for your families and communities.

Second, we are continuing with planning for our 2020 Annual Meeting in Baltimore. It is our sincere hope the current crisis will resolve enough to allow us to move forward with the meeting as planned. I will say it is shaping up to be an exciting and dynamic meeting. The Program Committee has been hard at work reviewing session proposals, and acceptance notifications will go out soon. The Call for Posters is now open, and scholarship applications are also available. We have pushed back the scholarship application deadline to June 10, 2020, and notifications will go out in July. We encourage you to plan for the meeting as you would in any other year, though please review and follow the CDC’s guidelines on travel. It’s also best to not make nonrefundable travel arrangements at this time.

Understanding there are many unknowns in this situation, we have also begun a risk assessment of COVID-19 and the economic implications stemming from it for the Association. For the annual meeting, there are a number of scenarios being considered, including the possibility, if meeting face to face is not safe or feasible, of holding a virtual meeting. These discussions are in early stages, and we are committed to communicating with the membership and meeting attendees about these discussions often and in a timely manner. We are also developing a longer-term emergency plan for the Association. This plan will cover a number of scenarios, and I imagine by the end of 2020 our section on how to respond to pandemics will be particularly robust.

As oral historians, in these times of social distancing, we’ve had to reevaluate the how and why of face-to-face interviewing. A number of resources around this issue have been developed that I’d like to share with you. First, the Association was fortunate to partner with Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History to hold a webinar on remote interviewing. If you were unable to attend, we’ve made available the recording of the webinar, the slides, and additional resources pulled from the webinar chat, as well as a summary of the webinar’s recommendations. The Vermont Folklife Center has also put out helpful tips on remote interviewing, and this week the Oral History Society released substantive advice on remote interviewing. Finally, Sarah Dziedzic (who has worn many hats in the Association, including currently serving as co-chair for the Independent Practitioners Task Force) has written an essay on oral history, immunodeficiency, and disability justice. I hope you’ll take a moment to read it. The Association is also working to develop further guidelines and resources around remote interviewing and we hope to distribute these soon. As resources in other areas impacting our community become available, the Association will work to highlight and connect our membership to them. If there are resources you find particularly useful or areas you’d like to see more resources in, please reach out to the office. If you’re interested and available to help us curate resources in a particular area, please let us know.

Finally, we’ve planned a virtual check-in for Wednesday, April 15 at 10am PDT (11am MDT, 12pm CDT, 1pm EDT). The meeting will be held via Zoom, and you can register to participate here (You can log in using your membership login information). In these times it’s challenging to anticipate our members’ needs. One thing that has helped me is to connect with colleagues virtually and talk through issues I’m dealing with. So, this virtual check-in is a bit of an experiment, and an informal time for folks to connect and talk through issues they are facing. If this proves helpful, I can see us holding check-ins regularly. If not, we’ll continue to look into other ways to support our membership.

I’ll be in touch soon and regularly. Please stay safe and take care.

Best,

Allison K. Tracy-Taylor
OHA President

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Webinar Recording: Oral History at a Distance: Conducting Remote Interviews

Sponsored by Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History and the Oral History Association

The Full Recording of the webinar, as well as the Q&A Session afterwards, are now available.

The slides from the webinar, a summary, and a digest of additional resources mentioned in the webinar chat and Q&A, are also available.


Tuesday, March 31, 1pm to 3pm CDT
Followed by an extended Q&A session

This webinar is free for the public, and requires no pre-registration. A recording of the webinar will be posted on the OHA website.

This timely webinar will address the dynamics of conducting remote oral history interviews. It will begin with an analysis of the pros and cons of conducting distance oral history interviews. Stephen Sloan will then address aspects of interviewing in a distance environment, breaking down the interviewer and narrator experience in these exchanges, and offer direction on best approaches for interviewing at a distance. In recording remote interviews, Steven Sielaff will cover best practices for recording archival-quality oral history interviews, then discuss in depth the tools and techniques available to enable the user to follow best practices in a remote setting. Physical equipment and software used for landline, cellular, and web-based video conferencing recording solutions will be discussed. Adrienne Cain will cover the legal and ethical considerations and implications of oral histories conducted via distance interviewing. The information included in this section abides by OHA’s Principles and Best Practices, John Neuenschwander’s Oral History and the Law, as well as other resources applicable to distance interviewing.

Facilitators:

Adrienne Cain
Steven Sielaff
Stephen Sloan

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The OHA Executive Office is Going Remote

Starting Monday, March 20 the OHA’s Executive Office will be working remotely.

Please bear with us during this time as our responses to any inquiries may be slowed down. We will not have access to our office phone, though we will be able to check and return voicemails. We ask that people please contact us through email, gro.y1620397365rotsi1620397365hlaro1620397365@aho1620397365, as that will be our most reliable method of communication.

Thank you!
OHA Staff

View All News Articles.

OHR Update: Pause on Book Reviews

Update from the Staff at the Oral History Review:

The Oral History Review is not able to mail books out for review at this time because our offices at the Science History Institute are closed during the pandemic. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

View All News Articles.

Upcoming Deadline: Emerging Crises Oral History Research Fund

The Oral History Association provides funding of up to $4,000 to undertake oral history research in situations of crisis in the United States and internationally. These funds may be applied to travel, per diem, or transcription costs for research in places and situations in which a longer application time schedule may be problematic. Such crisis situations include but are not limited to wars, natural disasters, political and or economic/ethnic repression, or other currently emerging events of crisis proportions.

The Deadline is April 15, 2020.

Click for more information

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2020 Call for Posters Now Available!

“The Quest for Democracy: One Hundred Years of Struggle

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

The Poster Submission Portal is open. See the full Call for Posters.

We invite submissions for a poster session and project bazaar that will be held at the Oral History Association Conference on October 21-24, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor in Baltimore, MD. The session will take place on Saturday, October 24, from 10:00am to 12pm. Proposals addressing the meeting theme, “The Quest for Democracy: One Hundred Years of Struggle” are especially welcome, but any timely subject of interest to oral history will be considered. 

Submission requirements: Proposals should include a title and a description of how the poster or project relates to the theme. Abstracts can be up to 250 words.  Posters and projects are a visual medium, so please provide some information about how the display will convey information visually. Because OHA evaluates only the abstract in its decision, be sure that it clearly conveys the purpose of your presentation. The deadline for submissions is July 13, 2020 but submitters will be notified on a rolling basis.

Notification:  For proposals submitted by May 11, the primary contact on the proposal will be notified if the proposal has been accepted by June 1, 2020. For proposals submitted by the deadline of July 13, submitters will be contacted no later than July 27, 2020.

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Co-Executive Directors Report

By Louis Kyridakoudes

This past December, I led a delegation of 14 people from the Oral History Association on a week-long tour of Cuba. Despite recent changes by the current administration intended to make it more difficult to travel to Cuba, American citizens can still travel to the Caribbean’s largest island. Traveling with OHA colleagues and friends made for a week of deep engagement with the people, culture, art, music and history of Cuba.

Sixty years after the revolution, Cuba is at a crossroads. The Cuban people face the challenges of preserving the revolution’s gains in face of a global economy and a still-hostile U.S. policy shaped by the viciously punitive U.S. embargo and the 1995 Helms-Burton Act. We traveled to Cuba under the U.S. Treasury Department’s “Support for the Cuban People” designation.

We worked closely with Charles Bittner to organize a week’s visit of deep engagement with contemporary Cuba that allowed us to avoid what the eminent historian Louis A. Pérez, Jr. has criticized as “selling Cuba” to American tourists. Bittner, a sociologist who has taught at Southern Methodist and St. John’s (N.Y.) Universities has been organizing cultural and scholarly tours of Cuba for more than 20 years, first in partnership with The Nation magazine and now with the Intercultural Travel Group.

For our trip, he organized an itinerary that connected our travelers with activists, artists, musicians, public historians and scholars who spoke to what Cuba is today and to what it is becoming.

We explored Havana’s thriving art and music scene. Visits to Taller Experimental de Gráfica, an art cooperative focused on the practice of 19th century printmaking techniques, and other gallery and artist workshop tours allowed us to meet Cuban artists and learn about their work.

An evening with Frank Delgado, Cuba’s leading folk musician and troubadour gave us a unique insight into the connections between the revival of Cuba’s traditional musical forms and contemporary activism. A visit to the home of the Afro-Cuban rapper and activist duo, La Reina y la Real, led to an impromptu performance in their living room.

Rappers and Activists La Reina y La Real perform in their home.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Eveleigh

We explored contemporary Cuban issues with leading experts and intellectuals. A tour with an architectural historian allowed us to learn of Havana’s rich architectural history and the challenges of historic preservation. Seminar meetings with the eminent University of Havana sociologist Marta Núñez gave us a deep insight into gender and sexuality issues in contemporary Cuba.

Literary critic and author Susan Haus shed light on Cuba’s contemporary literary culture. Our visit to ELAM, the Latin American Medical School, displayed Cuba’s strong commitment to training the next generation of medical doctors. ELAM draws students from across the Americas and United States. We met with four of the nearly four dozen American students enrolled at ELAM to discuss their commitment to social justice through the practice of medicine.

We also traveled to Cuba’s southern coast, visiting the cities of Cienfuegos and Trinidad. In Trinidad, a United Nations World Heritage site, we met with city historian and historical preservationist, Nancy Benitez, who shared her knowledge of the city’s history and contemporary efforts to restore its historic city center. Trinidad’s thriving folk art and traditional musical culture was captivating.

OHA members meeting with American medical students at ELAM.
Photo courtesy of Charles Bittner

Cuba now has a dynamic private sector of restaurants, small inns, small shops and galleries, jazz clubs and contemporary music venues. All of this amid the beauty of Havana, city that has just celebrated its 500th anniversary of its founding, and the Cuban countryside made for a memorable week.

We are working with Charles Bittner to plan another OHA-sponsored trip, Jan. 3-10, 2021. You can learn more about the details and costs at the Association’s website http://www.oralhistory.org.

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