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Updates to the Program

Thursday, October 9

  • Session #13: Recovering Endangered Narratives- Session Canceled
  • Session #16: Oral History Recording tours as Visionary Journalism: The SoMove Social Movement Oral History Tour Reportback and Roundtable- Session Canceled
  • Session #18: A Holistic Partnership Approach to Oral Histories with Ethnic Minority Refugees from Burma- Keith Yanner will Chair this session.
  • Session #21: Showcasing Fringe Narratives: Grassroots Latina Activists in Southern California- Natalie Fouseskis will chair this session.
  • Session #25: Implementing OHMS: Multi-Institutional Perspectives- Session moved from Saturday to Thursday at 10;15.

Friday, October 10

  • Session #60: New Bottles for Old Wine: New Media, Oral History, and Digital Storytelling- Mike Lyons will not present his paper.
  • Session #61: Militaries and Civilians- Major Marico Bergo will not present his paper.  Tetiana Boriak will present her paper originally scheduled for Session #24.

Saturday. October 11

  • SATURDAY TEACHER WORKSHOP– the location has changed to the Madison Concourse Hotel, Capitol Ballroom B.
  • Session #89: Life Histories- Megan Gough will not present her paper.
  • Session #111: Healing History? Transforming Narratives in Post Conflict Settings- Natalie Fousekis will chair this session.
  • Session #112: Innovations in Education- Gwendolyn Etter-Lewis will present her paper previously scheduled for Session #123.

Sunday, October 12

  • Session #120: Refugee Memories- Session cancelled. Katherine Fobear will present her paper in Session #123.
  • Session #123: Activism and Memory- Kristen Delegard, Historyapolis Project, will chair this session. Katherine Fobear will present her paper originally scheduled for Session #120.  Gwendolyn Etter-Lewis will present her paper on Saturday in Session #112.


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Oral History Association Annual Meeting FAQs

How do I get to and from the airport?
There are several ways to get from the airport. The Concourse Hotel does offer a free shuttle. Taxi fare to downtown is between $15 and $20. A Madison Metro Transit bus runs from the airport to downtown every 30 minutes between 6:00 am and 10:30 pm for $2. Check for specific time and routes.

What if I have an A-V issue?
The OHA supports each session room with a digital projector and audio amplification. Participants must bring their own laptops. For the full OHA audio-visual policy, go to: In case of a problem, contact that registration desk, and the a-v technician on call will be summoned.

When is the authors’ signing event?
Friday from 3:15-3:45 in the Exhibit Hall. Only those authors who have been cleared in advance with the OHA office may participate.

Where is the business office?
On the first floor of the hotel, behind the stairs leading to the lobby.

What are OHA conference check-in and registration times?
You may pick up your registration materials or register onsite from 8:00-5:00 Wednesday through Friday, and from 8:00-4:30 on Saturday. Registration will be on the second floor at the top of the stairs.

When is the community showcase?
The community showcase, featuring oral history projects from Madison and the Upper Midwest, will be held 1:30-4:30 on Saturday, in Capitol Ballroom A.

How do I sign up for the dine-arounds?
There will be sign-up sheets for the dine-around dinner groups near the registration desk. The groups will gather at 5:45 on Friday in the hotel lobby.

What about food?
In addition to the hotel facilities, there are numerous and diverse eating establishments within block of the hotel, on State Street and around Capitol Square.

How will the University of Wisconsin football game effect the meeting?
There will be a home football game against Illinois, time still TBA. Parking may be hard to find, and restaurants may be crowded. You might make a reservation in advance.

When are the interest groups meeting?
The eight interest groups are meeting 4:30-5:30 on Thursday. See the online program for more details.

What is there to do in Madison?
Madison is a very vibrant community. Nearby attractions to the hotel include the state capitol, the Saturday farmer’s market on Capitol Square, the Wisconsin Veteran’s Museum, the Wisconsin Historical Museum, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and the Chazen Art Museum, as well as the renowned Wisconsin Historical Society library and archives. There is also a bike share program. For more information, go to: or

What if I want to purchase a ticket for a meal?
Additional meal tickets can be purchased at the registration desk.

How do I get to off-site sessions?
There are three off-site sessions. Two events will take place in the University of Wisconsin Memorial Union: the conference kick-off event on Wednesday evening, “Uncivil Disobedience,” an oral history-based performance about the 1970 bombing of the University of Wisconsin’s Sterling Hall; and the Thursday evening presidential reception and the concert afterwards by legendary jazz bassist Richard Davis.

Turn left out of the Madison Concourse and cross Carroll to State Street. Turn right on State and continue walking for about six blocks. When you see Memorial Library on your right, you may cross Library Mall to reach Memorial Union. If you want to stay on the street, walk until State ends at North Park Street. Turn right, pass the Wisconsin Historical Society building, and Memorial Union will be the next building on the right. It is approximately a 15 minute walk.

One event will be held in the Madison Central Library: the Friday evening screening of the film “Private Violence” concerning domestic abuse. To reach the library, turn left out of the Concourse, bear left on Fairchild St., and turn right on Mifflin. It is about a 4 minute walk.

If you have ambulatory issues, please contact the registration desk and a hotel shuttle will be arranged.

Where can I obtain sundries?
Sundries are available next to the hotel front desk. There are numerous retail establishments within a few blocks of the hotel.

How do I refer to the conference on Twitter?
Use #OHA2014. We encourage participants to tweet about the conference, share photographs, and so forth.

What about wifi?
There will be free wifi in all conference session rooms. Select “Madison Concourse” from the available networks on your device. When you reach the connection page, agree to the Terms, then connect. It may look as though you need to enter a password, but you do not. The code will be provided at the registration desk.

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OHA Annual Meeting: Spotlight on Academics as Activists

The Friday morning plenary session will explore the experiences of academics as activists. In several nationally significant political movements in recent years, including major showdowns in Wisconsin and North Carolina, academics have played crucial roles. The panel will feature oral historians who have taken an active role in local, national, and international movements

Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, Julia Cherry Spruill Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is past president of the Organization of American Historians, the Southern Historical Association, and the Labor and Working Class History Association and an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Hall’s research interests include women, labor, and the American South. Hall was an early pioneer with the nationally recognized ‘Moral Mondays’ campaign to protect North Carolina citizens from disfranchisement and other civil rights abuses.​ She was awarded a National Humanities Medal in 1999 for her efforts to deepen the nation’s understanding of and engagement with the humanities. In 2013, she received the Mary Turner Lane Award for outstanding contributions to the lives of women at UNC-Chapel Hill. In addition to her teaching and research, she served as the founding director of the Southern Oral History Program from 1973 to 2011.

Ian Lekus is an LGBT Thematic Specialist for Amnesty International USA and a Lecturer in LGBT Studies at the University of Maryland. Before moving to the Washington, D.C. area to pursue a career in human rights advocacy, he trained students in oral history at Harvard, Duke, Tufts, and the University of Georgia. His careers in advocacy and academia are both dedicated to exploring how we imagine and organize social transformation, and what are the limits and obstacles to that work. He is especially interested in the role storytelling plays in generating cultural and structural change.

Jeffrey W. Pickron is a lecturer in the history department at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh specializing in United States labor and urban history. He was the oral history coordinator for the Black Thursday Oral History Project and has worked on several oral history projects focused on labor and social movement history. In addition to his scholarly work, Pickron has worked as a labor organizer and led a campaign to achieve collective bargaining rights in the UW System and organize a campus union. He was also was active in efforts around Wisconsin to resist Governor Scott Walker’s bill to rescind public sector bargaining rights.Rachel F. Seidman is the Associate Director of the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. An historian of U. S. women’s activism, Seidman co-founded and co-directs The Moxie Project UNC: Women and Leadership for Social Change. The Moxie Project is an innovative curricular program that integrates coursework in women’s history, oral history research on women’s activism, and summer internships in local women’s organizations. Seidman serves as a Scholar Advisor to Women Advance NC, an independent nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of North Carolina’s women, and she helped launch the North Carolina Women’s Summit, which brings together feminist scholars and policy experts to share information with North Carolina women about the policy decisions affecting their lives. Students in Seidman’s course on Women in the Public Sphere at Duke University started the Who Needs Feminism social media campaign, which has spread around the world, building awareness and giving voice to the ongoing need for the feminist movement.

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OHA Annual Meeting: Spotlight on Documentary Film “Private Violence”

Private Violence, an HBO documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, intimately reveals the stories of two women: Deanna Walters and Kit Gruelle. This feature-length documentary film explores a simple, but deeply disturbing fact of American life: the most dangerous place for a woman in America can be her own home. Every day in the US, at least four women are murdered by abusive partners. This film follows Kit Gruelle, an advocate for victims of domestic violence and herself a survivor, as she assists Deanna Walters, a victim held hostage by her husband who lived through a horrific beating, in her pursuit for justice. Through multiple interviews with Gruelle and Walters as well as having a camera follow them as Walters takes legal action against her husband, the film grapples with a key question often asked of domestic violence victims, “Why Didn’t She Just Leave?”

Private Violence shatters the brutality of this logic. Through oral history we bear witness to the complicated and complex realities of intimate partner violence. As Deanna transforms from victim to survivor, Private Violence begins to shape powerful, new questions that hold the potential to change our society: “Why does he abuse?” “Why do we turn away?” “How do we begin to build a future without domestic violence?”

The film screening is co-sponsored by the Dept. of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Malinda Maynor Lowery, Director of the Southern Oral History Program and a producer on the film, will discuss the making of the film before the screening and facilitate a discussion with the audience afterward.

This session is funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is free and open to the public.

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OHA Annual Meeting: Spotlight on Richard Davis “My 80 Years with the Bass”

The Saturday night awards dinner will feature an oral history interview with Richard Davis, who was named a 2014 Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest honor that the United States bestows on jazz musicians. Davis is Professor of Bass, Jazz History, and Combo Improvisation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Regennia N. Williams, Associate Professor of History at Cleveland State University and OHA Council member, will conduct the interview.

A virtuoso musician and an award-winning educator, Davis brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his work. For more than fifty years, he has drawn enthusiastic audiences in Japan, Europe, Russia, South America, Puerto Rico, Cuba, The West Indies, Hong Kong, Israel and United States. One of his most recent CD releases, The Bassists: Homage to Diversity (King Records) was recorded in Japan. This recording was inspired by experiences related to diversity dialogue. His second CD with King Records So In Love was assembled with the idea of embracing the oneness of humankind and to commemorate the events of 9/11/2001. A new CD will present the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Davis has long been active in the development of programs for students at the pre-collegiate and post-secondary levels. Among other projects, in 1993 he founded the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists, Inc., which brings in masterful bass instructors/performers to teach young bassists ages 3-18. In 1998, he created the Retention Action Project (R.A.P.) to nurture multicultural understanding on campus by bringing together university representatives and social-change activists from around the country. In 2003, he added to his University curriculum a course in “Racism, Racial conditioning and the Oneness of Humankind” through the FIGS program (First Interest Groups) for first year students. Davis also takes his message beyond the university via his nonprofit Institute for the Healing of Racism.

In recognition of his accomplishments, Davis has received numerous awards and honors, including the University of Wisconsin’s Hilldale Award for distinguished teaching, research, and service; the Spencer Tracy Award for Distinction in the Performing Arts (Wisconsin Historical Society); and the City of Madison’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award.

Dr. Regennia N. Williams is an Associate Professor of History at Cleveland State University. She is also and the founder and director of “Praying: African American Faith Communities: A Documentary and Oral History” project and the Initiative for the Study of Religion and Spirituality in the History of Africa and the Diaspora (RASHAD). In 2013, she conceived and directed “Come Sunday @ 70: The Place of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Jazz in World History and Culture, c. 1943-2013,” a project that included scholarly presentations and performing arts activities. Her current oral history research is related to the Civil Rights Movement and school desegregation in Cleveland, Ohio.

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OHA Annual Meeting: Spotlight on “Uncivil Disobedience”

The opening special session for OHA 2014 will showcase our Madison host site by featuring a staged reading of the innovative documentary theater piece, “Uncivil Disobedience.”  This performance, held in the newly renovated Memorial Union Theater, will highlight oral histories of a thunderous event in the Vietnam-era anti-war movement, the 1970 Sterling Hall bomb explosion on the campus of the University of Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin Story Project, in partnership with the Oral History Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, developed the performance after years of collecting oral histories from people who experienced the bombing firsthand and from people whose lives were profoundly affected by the event and its aftermath.  The bomb, intended to destroy the Army Mathematics Research center, killed physics researcher Robert Fassnacht, injured three other people, caused tremendous damage to the building, and sent aftershocks through both pro- and anti-war America.

The original documentary theater piece played to sold-out audiences in its 2012 Wisconsin premiere.  It has been enhanced for this conference by multi-media additions developed by the UW-Madison Oral History Program.  As professional actors speak their parts, primary source documentation will appear on a screen above them.  This kick-off special session will introduce both the OHA 2014 conference theme, “Oral History in Motion: Movements, Transformations, and the Power of Story,” and the local conference setting.  Funding from the Wisconsin Humanities Council and Friends of the UW-Madison Library System makes possible this unique special event, which will be free and open to the public.

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OHA Annual Meeting: Spotlight on “The Sharecroppers’ Troubadour” Plenary Session

The Sharecroppers’ Troubadour: African American Songs and Oral Poetry as Oral History

In the Thursday plenary session at the OHA annual meeting, historian Michael Honey and music educator Pat Krueger will present a mix of oral history analysis, songs, and oral poetry performed by themselves and, through short digital presentations, by John Handcox (1904-1992). Deemed the “poet laureate” of the interracial Southern Tenant Farmers Union, Handcox was hailed by Pete Seeger as a “people’s songwriter,” influential in African-American and labor struggles from the 1930s onward. By singing songs such as “Roll the Union On” and “There Is Mean Things Happening in this Land,” Handcox became one of the most beloved folk singers of the prewar labor movement. Sharecroppers’ Troubadour links generations of struggle in the South through African American song and oral poetry traditions. This session will give new meaning to oral history as freedom songs and oral poetry.

Michael Honey is currently the Haley Professor of Humanities and American History at the University of Washington Tacoma. Honey’s new oral history-based work, Sharecroppers’ Troubadour: John L. Handcox, the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union, and the African American Song Tradition (Palgrave Macmillan Oral History Series, 2013) links generations of struggle in the South through African American song and oral poetry traditions. He has written five acclaimed books on labor and civil rights history, many grounded in oral history, including Black Workers Remember: An Oral History of Segregation, Unionism, and the Freedom Struggle. He has won numerous awards for his publications, and is also the recipient of the Weyerhaueser Foundation’s Martin Luther King Award for community leadership and service.

Pat Krueger chairs the music education program at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, and teaches courses in music education. She maintains an active commitment to urban and multicultural arts education, and her research focuses on socialization of beginning music teachers in public schooling. Dr. Krueger previously taught K-12 music in Wisconsin public schools. She earned her BME from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, and her MM and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Her publications include chapters in The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research in Music Education (Oxford, 2014), Great Beginnings for Music Teachers: Mentoring and Supporting New Teachers, and articles in Journal of Research in Music Education, Music Educator’s Journal, Update, Journal of Music Teacher Education, and Arts Education Policy Review.

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Blog: International Committee reflections on 2013 Annual Meeting

By Leslie McCartney, International Committee Web Liaison

Over the next couple of months we will feature comments from recipients of this year’s OHA scholarships as designated by the Oral History Association’s International Committee.  This month we feature comments by:

Peili Yin, China (Peking University, China)

Paper Title: Review on Mainland China Research of Oral History in Libraries

Abstract:  As far as Mainland China is concerned, the research of oral history in libraries is still at its beginning stage. Until now, there still have not been any books published, while the number of published articles is also relatively less, only 41.
In the year 2000, the first article was published in the Library Journal Shanghai Library.  Compared to America, it’s more than 30 years later must be noted that a large amount of articles (take the percentage of 43.9%) were written by librarians of Shantou University Library, which is the first library in Mainland China carry out oral history with the support of Li Ka Shing Foundation.
The most important is that the research theme is also very narrow.  Almost half of the articles were on the importance and feasibility of oral history in libraries.  The oral history management problems especially cataloging, digitizing, laws and ethics were little discussed.  Researchers and librarians should pay more and more attention to them.

Peili’s Comments:
It’s really a pleasant experience for a student from China to attend the OHA. Even today, I still feel unrealistic for having made such a successful presentation. It should be a dream, but it really came true.
I’m happy to see that through my presentation, oral history in libraries of Mainland China was introduced which also aroused the interest of foreign scholars and practitioners. It was indeed a good chance to exchange and interact from a global view.
The colorful kinds of workshops, roundtables and sessions enriched my knowledge of oral history, especially in the law issue and cataloguing which is still very weak in Mainland China.
For a beginner in oral history, it’s so lucky to meet so many outstanding scholars, such as Donald Ritchie, John A. Neuenschwander and Nancy Mackay. Their books are very popular in China.   After all, I enjoy the journey. And now I’m a member of OHA.

Haweiya Egeh, (Wood Green Community Services, Toronto, Canada)

Paper Title:  Forced Migration and Settlement:  A History of the Somali community in Toronto, Canada

Abstract:  The Somali community is one that is maturing within Canada and the city of Toronto.  After about 20 years in Canada, I believe the time is right to document the immigration and settlement experience of the 1st generation, as well as the different yet similar experiences of the youth (2nd generation Canadians).  This is especially important in Toronto given that there has been a glut of violent incidents with young Somali men which have cast a negative light on the community and has led to questions as to why this is happening.  Is it connected to the initial settlement of these youth’s family 20+ years ago?  Is it related to various systemic failures (i.e. schools, prison system, family, etc.)?  Is there an intergenerational culture clash occurring (“back home” values vs. “Western” values)?  Can it be related to religion and the Islamaphobia that many Somali-Canadians, young and old, feel stigmatized and alienated by?  These are all questions that this project can begin to answer and I believe these answers are of interest to all Somali communities, Muslim communities and African/Caribbean communities around the globe.

Haweiya’s Comments:
At the most recent Oral History Association Conference, I had the honour of presenting my project on the Somali-Canadian community in Toronto.  The main focus of this project is the first generation of Somali Canadians in Toronto and their migration and settlement experience.  What makes this documenting unique is the fact that this cohort of Somali newcomers was the first in Toronto and indeed Canada.  Understanding their experience and history is akin to understanding the beginnings of the Somali-Canadian community, which has grown significantly in the last over 20 years.
Another component of this project will be to document the experiences of young Somali-Canadians, or the second generation, and compare their Canadian experience to their parents’.  Presenting this project to participants of the conference was a great experience.  Listeners were engaged during the presentation and very insightful during the question and answer period.
Generally, as a first time attendant of the Oral History Conference, I was impressed by the quality of the projects and studies being presented as well as the variety.  I particularly enjoyed connecting with other researchers at the conference as well as visiting the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.  It was a pleasure attending and learning at the conference and I hope to attend again very soon!  Thank you to the Oral History Association for their generosity and making it possible for me to continue to learn more about the discipline and enhance my work in the future as a result.

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