2020 Virtual Issue: The Quest for Democracy

Since 2016 the OHR editorial team has produced virtual issues to complement the theme of the Oral History Association’s annual meeting, selecting articles from the OHR archive that shed light on the topic of today’s cutting edge oral history scholarship. This year, we explore “The Quest for Democracy: One Hundred Years of Struggle.”

From the editors and interns

We are pleased to announce the 2020 OHR virtual issue: “The Quest for Democracy: One Hundred Years of Struggle.”

For the celebration of the Oral History Association’s fiftieth anniversary in 2016, the Oral History Review published its first-ever virtual issue, which reintroduced conversations that have been captivating oral historians for decades. That issue, and the virtual issues that have followed, have brought together articles drawn from nearly a half century of oral history scholarship published in the pages of OHR, offering scholars around the world access to curated collections of essays, temporarily freed from their paywalls. These virtual issues enable the oral history community to assess the continuing relevance of articles published in the flagship international journal, connecting them to questions the field is wrestling with today. By putting these articles in conversation with one another, we are able to reflect on the historiography of our field and consider with fresh eyes what, to quote Alessandro Portelli, “makes oral history different.” 

Produced in tandem with the 2020 Oral History Association annual meeting by OHR interns Lauren Connors (Kean University) and Sydney Davies (West Chester University), this virtual issue explores the annual meeting theme, “The Quest for Democracy: One Hundred Years of Struggle,”  selected to mark the centennial celebration of the passage of the 19th Amendment in the United States. This virtual issue discusses the opportunities and limitations of democracy, including the role that oral history has had as a democratizing force. 

OHR 2020 summer interns were Lauren Connors (History major, Kean University) and Sydney Davies (History major, West Chester University). The editorial team is grateful for their many contributions to not only this virtual issue, but to the ongoing work of the journal and its blog.  

Featured image: A broadside created in 1915 by the North Dakota Votes for Women League. Special Collections at Johns Hopkins University. Used courtesy of a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license