Oral History Association CFP for Long Beach, 2016

OHA@50: Traditions, Transitions, and Technologies from the Field

2016 OHA Annual Meeting

October 12-16, 2016

Long Beach, California

Renaissance Hotel

The Oral History Association invites proposals for papers and presentations for its 50th anniversary meeting in 2016 to be held October 12-16, 2016 at the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach, California.  The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2016. (http://bit.ly/1Oprc1P)

The fiftieth anniversary meeting offers at once an opportunity to reflect back on the evolution of this interdisciplinary field, gauge its current trends, and look ahead into the ever shifting oral history landscape of the future. As always, the Program Committee invites proposals on a variety of topics, but in keeping with this year’s theme we especially encourage proposals which address key developments in the field, as well as the challenges and possibilities for oral history in the future.

OHA welcomes proposals from independent scholars, archivists, librarians, museum curators, web designers, public historians, educators, media artists, filmmakers, journalists, social justice activists, community organizers, playwrights, performers, storytellers, and all people working in oral history’s continuum of practice.

We also hope to have a significant international presence at the meeting.  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.


In 1966, the First National Colloquium on Oral History took place in Lake Arrowhead, California, leading to the founding of the Oral History Association.  Over the past half century the OHA has played a leadership role in the emergence, and evolution of oral history as a distinct methodology and practice. In 2016, we return to Southern California to reflect upon and honor our past, actively engage with the major issues and developments of the present, and imagine the future of oral history as the OHA moves into its second half century.

The past fifty years have seen enormous transformations in oral history, from a more sophisticated consideration of the interview process itself and of how people remember, to the extension of oral history practice into multiple disciplines and settings.  The internationalization of the field has helped raise in high relief a host of theoretical, methodological, and ethical issues.  The idea of shared interpretative authority among narrators, interviewers and others has gained currency, with an increase in recent years of oral history-related collaborative activities.  And oral history in the digital age has demanded a reconsideration of all aspects of the oral history process, from field work to curation to the representation of interviews.

At the same time, much remains constant.  The concerns of those who gathered at the first colloquium in 1966 – what makes a good interview, sound ethical guidelines, the relationship between specific technology and historical practice, issues of access – remain lively today.  The participants at Lake Arrowhead would have concurred with OHA’s current stated values of democracy, inclusivity, and quality. As it has since its inception, the OHA remains committed to fostering best practices in every aspect of the oral history process, in all the diverse places where it is done.

The Program Committee welcomes broad and diverse interpretations of the conference theme. We especially encourage presenters to think about innovative delivery models including dramatic performance, interactive sessions, and use of digital media. We welcome proposals from a variety of fields, including, but not limited to, history, folklore, music, literature, sociology, anthropology, American and ethnic studies, cultural studies, women’s and gender studies, political science, information science and technology, business, communications, and urban studies.

Why Long Beach?

Long Beach is a fitting site for this fiftieth anniversary meeting.  Since the initial colloquium, Southern California has been the site of a great deal of cutting-edge oral history work and southern Californians have played important leadership roles within OHA.  In its diversity and creativity, Southern California embodies many of the possibilities and challenges of oral history practice today.

Program Co-Chairs:

Sady Sullivan, Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University, sas2358@columbia.edu
Sarah Milligan, Oklahoma Oral History Research Program, Oklahoma State University Library, sarah.milligan@okstate.edu

For more information, contact:

Oral History Associationa
Georgia State University
Telephone (404) 413-5751
E-mail: oha@gsu.edu