OHR Call for Submissions for Upcoming Special Issue on Ethics

The Oral History Review invites submissions with a special focus on ethics in oral history, broadly conceived. Submit full articles by June 1, 2020.

Core to our work as oral historians are the relationships we establish with our narrators, asking them to trust us with their stories so we can learn and broaden our understanding of history. This engagement with our narrators and the dissemination of their stories, experiences, knowledge, and memories is highly complex, from the questions we choose to ask and how we phrase them, to potential power differentials between interviewee and interviewer, to the presentation and preservation of those stories for generations to come, just to name a few. As our methodologies have grown and changed, so have our ethical responsibilities to our narrators, our colleagues, our sponsors, and ourselves. As interviewers, researchers, and preservers of oral history, we cannot ignore the significant role of ethics to our practice.

The editors of the OHR are interested in essays and articles that address the ethical considerations and complications that practitioners have experienced and/or foresee for our future. What must we consider, for example, when we plan to interview at-risk populations or victims of crime and violence? What are the implications of oral history’s exemption from Institutional Review Boards’ review in the United States? How do we handle transnational and international oral history projects when our narrators have different views on ownership of their histories and their use in publications? How do we handle issues of harassment or the legacies of cultural and social hegemony? How does our broadening profession consider our methodologies when anyone with access to a smartphone can claim to conduct oral history? When does de-centering the interview become a key exploratory process of ethical responsibility in oral history research? And what might this decentering look like? This list of questions is in no way comprehensive and should not be taken as limiting; instead we intend to spark ideas that authors should be considering for their submission.

We ask that all completed article manuscripts be submitted to the Oral History Review no later than 1 June 2020 through Routledge’s ScholarOne system. Please include “(Special Focus on Ethics)” at the end of the title of your piece. Should you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.


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