Oral History Annual Meeting: an enriching experience

View Post on OUP Blog

By Mark T Garcia

Before we give up on 2016, we’re taking one last look back at one of our favorite events from the year – the OHA Annual Meeting. We’ve already talked about why oral historians love the connectionsthey make at the Annual Meeting, and how it serves as a yearly dose of sanity. Today we bring you some final reflections from Mark Garcia, who served as our local guide during the meeting and managed social media throughout the conference. Enjoy his summary, and make sure to get your proposal for #OHA2017 in soon. The conference, entitled “Engaging Audiences: Oral History and the Public” will be held in Minneapolis, and the deadline for submissions is 31 January. We look forward to seeing you there.

This past October the Oral History Association conducted the Fiftieth Annual Meeting in Long Beach, California. The theme of the annual meeting was OHA@50: Traditions, Transitions and Technologies from the Field. Many of my fellow classmates and I attended the Annual Meeting. I had a unique role as the Oral History Review Editorial Assistant roaming the floor, attending panel discussions, providing updates via the Oral History Reviews social media accounts, and writing on the Oxford University Press’s blog about local Long Beach insights for the Annual Meeting. In addition, I attended the Oral History Review editorial meeting and took meeting notes. The meeting was an enriching experience as I was able to sit among the editorial staff while they strategized on topics for future issues, book and peer review updates, article submissions, and upcoming projects.

The heart of the Annual Meeting was the many panel discussions. One of the of panels I attended was Centennial Voices: Using Oral history to Document Traditions and Guide Transitions where National Park Service Staff Historian Lu Ann Jones discussed the various Oral History projects of the National Park Service. Another powerful panel was Activist Women Within: Re-thinking Red, Yellow, Brown and Black Power through Oral History. Special guest and commentator of the Warrior Women’s Film Project Madonna Thunder Hawk provided oral history accounts of the Standing Rock protest in North Dakota. Our very own Dr Natalie Fousekis, Director of the Center for Oral and Public History, was a speaker for the Oral History, Now (and Tomorrow) plenary session. Dr Fousekis provided insights on the current status of oral history, plus ideas, opinions, and discussion for future oral history projects. These are just a few highlights of the many engaging panels from fellow oral historians.

This enriching experience provided me affirmation on why I am studying to be an oral historian. It was exciting to hear and discuss many of the same practice’s I have learned at Cal State Fullerton and beneficial too learn new innovative ways to conduct oral histories. For more insight on the Oral History Association Annual Meeting listen to Outspoken: A COPH Podcast Episode Five and hear from other conference participant’s experiences.

Let us know what you loved about #OHA2016, or what you’re looking forward to about #OHA2017 in the comments below or on TwitterFacebookTumblr, or Google+.

Featured image credit: courtesy of the Oral History Association.