Thursday, December 10, 2009

CFP: Times of Crisis, Times of Change: Human Stories on the Edge of Transformation

Oral History Association Annual Meeting, October 27-31, 2010
Sheraton Hotel Downtown
Atlanta, Georgia
Times of great crisis may offer the prospect and promise of great change. The economic, political and environmental tensions of the present moment are powerfully reshaping our world. People find themselves trapped within global forces, whether economic collapse, war and genocide, forced displacement and relocation, or the threat of environmental disaster. These forces often appear to act upon people in ways beyond their control. At the same time, moments of great crisis engender powerful new visions of change and transformation. Whether as involuntary subjects or active agents, leaders or witnesses, people live and embody these changes. Their memories are critical windows on human struggles, resilience, myth-making, and the political power of stories, forcing a reckoning with the past as well as a reconsideration of the future. Such stories speak to both collective and contested understandings of life on the edge of transformation.
The theme of the 2010 annual meeting of the Oral History Association is inspired by the times in which we are living and the setting for our conference. Atlanta, Georgia is an historic city, one defined by a vibrant and sometimes contested history of activism for civil and human rights. Moreover, it is also a city which has been transformed by waves of rural to urban migration, immigration, urbanization, and changes in the global economy, all of which have produced crisis, real or imagined, in Atlanta’s complex network of local communities. Taking a cue from this dynamic setting, and focusing on the use of oral history to reconstruct stories of/in crisis and change, we ask: How have people struggled and survived in times of crisis? How do people create change and bear witness to it? How do they construct their stories of these moments? In what ways have stories of crisis and change shaped public memories of pivotal historical eras? How do we reconcile contradictory stories of crisis and change?
The Program Committee welcomes broad and diverse interpretations of the conference theme as reflected in proposals for panels, individual papers, performances, exhibits and roundtables. We especially encourage presenters to think about non-traditional delivery models, such as interactive sessions, dialogic formats that engage audience, and use of digital media. Presenters are reminded to incorporate voice and image in their presentations. OHA is open to proposals from the variety of fields traditionally represented in our meetings, including history, folklore, literature, sociology, anthropology, American & ethnic studies, cultural studies, political science, information science and technology, communications, and urban studies. In recognition of the important work taking place outside the United States, we also hope to have a significant international presence at the meeting. Limited partial funding is available for International presenters. And, as always, OHA welcomes proposals from independent scholars, community activists and organizers, archivists, librarians, museum curators, web designers, documentary producers, media artists, ethnographers, public historians, and all practitioners whose work is relevant to this meeting’s interest in narratives of crisis and change.
Proposal format: For full sessions, submit a title, a session abstract of not more than two pages, and a one-page vita or resume for each participant. For individual proposals, submit a one-page abstract and a one-page vita or resume of the presenter. Each submission must be accompanied by a cover sheet, which can be downloaded.
The deadline for submission of all proposals is Friday, January 15, 2010. All proposals should be submitted via email to, or if available, through the online submission page on the OHA website, at The Cover Sheet and all proposal documents must be combined into one attachment in Microsoft WORD format. Please do not send the documents as separate attachments. If you do not receive email confirmation by January 29, 2010, please contact the OHA office to make sure your submission has been received.
Proposal queries may be directed to:
David A. Reichard, California State University Monterey Bay, 2010 Program Co-Chair:
Tomás F. Summers Sandoval, Pomona College, 2010 Program Co-Chair:
Rina Benmayor, California State University Monterey Bay, 2010-11 OHA President:
For submission queries or more information, contact:
Madelyn Campbell, Executive SecretaryOral History AssociationDickinson College, P. O. Box 1773Carlisle, PA 17013Telephone (717) 245-1036 Fax: (717) 245-1046Email: