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CFP: "Oral History in Our Challenging Times" Conference

Tuesday, January 9, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rosalind Rini Larson
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The Oral History Association (OHA) invites proposals for papers and presentations for its 2018 annual meeting on the theme "Oral History in Our Challenging Times," co-hosted by Concordia University. The meeting will be held October 10–13 on Concordia's campus in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The annual meeting seeks to explore and analyze how oral history interviews are shaped by the current climate and the context of their recording. The Program Committee believes that contemporary conversations can and will shape the annual meeting. Events in the past year have reaffirmed OHA’s commitment to actively cultivating the organization as a space to fight inequality. As oral historians and as members of OHA, the Program Committee “remain committed to documenting personal narratives of complex and diverse histories” and have reaffirmed the fundamental values of respect, empowerment, diversity, engagement, and inclusion. OHA continues its long-time commitment to the development of projects, the creation of annual meeting panels, published works, and artistic expressions that bring to the forefront global stories that “might not be included in the historical record.” (For more see OHA’s Statement on Diversity and Inclusion). This has also led OHA to advocate for an ever-broadening range of methods of storytelling and presentation. Social difference often emerges in the context of the interview itself: young interviewing old, women interviewing men, outsiders interviewing members of a community or culture, just to name a few. The conference organizers imagine the 2018 annual meeting to harness the power of oral history these challenging times.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada provides an exciting location to focus on and highlight all the innovative and exciting oral history work taking place in the Americas and, especially, in Montreal itself. Because Montreal is culturally and linguistically an international city, it makes an ideal place to engage in oral history conversations about the role of oral historians in a global context and build conversations between the United States, Latin America, and Canada. OHA’s host institution, Concordia’s Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, has its strengths in the intersection of oral history and performance, place-based storytelling, visual arts, and participatory media. The Program Committee wants conference presenters and attendees to see and experience the neighborhoods and communities where Montreal’s oral and public history work takes place. They hope the site of the conference and the work of local oral historians will inspire OHA members and others to propose sessions that engage in oral history with a creative and artistic approach.

Moreover, it’s fitting that fifty years after “the year of protest” OHA should gather in a global city like Montreal. Massive demonstrations took place in Paris, Poland, the United States, Mexico, and other major cities around the world in 1968. Quebec too saw its own protests that year. Students, workers, and young people worldwide spoke out against capitalism, consumerism, for free speech, against dictatorships, for student rights and affordable tuition, for civil rights, and against the Vietnam War. In the spirit of 1968, the Program Committee encourages proposals that use oral history and storytelling to illuminate these protests or other movements for social change across the globe from the 1960s to today.

The Program Committee welcomes broad and creative interpretations of the conference theme. They especially encourage presenters to think about innovative delivery models including dramatic performance, interactive sessions, and the use of digital media. In addition, they welcome proposals from the diverse communities that carry out oral history work—academics, independent scholars, activists, librarians, museum curators, web designers, teachers, community historians, documentary film producers, artists, creative writers, ethnographers, public historians, and others whose work relates to this year’s conference theme.

The Program Committee hopes to have a significant international presence at the meeting and particularly welcomes proposals that highlight oral history work in the Americas outside the United States. If accepted, international presenters may apply for partial scholarships, made available by OHA in support of international presentations. Small scholarships are also available for accepted presenters and others who attend the meeting.

 Concordia University is one of two Anglophone universities in Montreal and, as such, English is the primary language of instruction and communication. English will be the primary language of OHA 2018. To honor Montreal's bi-cultural heritage, however, and to give a space for oral history scholars from across the Americas, the Program Committee is happy to take some proposals in French, Spanish and Portuguese. Either consecutive or simultaneous interpretation will be provided for a limited number of presentations.

 

The deadline for proposal submissions is January 31, 2018. Submit proposals online at OHA 2018.

 

Proposal Queries may be directed to:

Steve Estes, 2018 Program Co-chair
Sonoma State University, steve.estes@sonoma.edu

Amy Starecheski, 2018 Program Co-chair
Columbia University Oral History MA Program, aas39@columbia.edu

Natalie Fousekis, 2017-2018 OHA Vice-President
Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History, nfousekis@fullerton.edu

 

To view this call for proposals, visit:
http://www.oralhistory.org/2018-call-for-papers/.



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