"Bearing Public Witness:
Documenting Memories of Struggle and Resistance"
The Regal Riverfront Hotel
St. Louis, Missouri
October 16-21, 2001
The Oral History Association recognizes that documenting historical and cultural memory brings with it questions, debates and responsibilities regarding process, standards and ethics. In focusing on these themes, the Association welcomes presentations that consider the challenges of collecting and documenting memories and histories that reflect trauma, genocide, violence, or social/political disorder. Specifically, what are the philosophical and practical strategies for documenting individual and collective memories: especially those that are in danger of being ignored, erased, or forgotten because of silence or denial? How might we document stories of action and reaction, survival and loss, perseverance and endurance, dislocation and migration, advocacy and justice, perpetrators and victims? Can public discourse and personal experience be transformed by the collective memory of struggle, once made visible? What role should oral historians play in these processes?
The rapidly changing worlds of media and technology bring another set of questions for historians. Do historians face new or different sets of ethical issues in new environments when confronting stories and memories of trauma, violence, or disorder? How might oral history and oral historians participate in setting standards for the collection and dissemination of narratives of trauma, oppression and genocide in digital environments? What kinds of distinctions should be drawn between public and private narratives? What is the role of visual oral history, including still and moving photography, in performing documentary work in the 21st century? Finally, how should oral historians respond to the new challenges of accessibility, collection, and cataloguing brought by a digital age? How will dissemination be affected by understanding the users and their needs? How will the uses of oral history change with new forms dissemination?
To facilitate a broad discussion of these important issues, the Oral History Association encourages students and faculty from the arts, the humanities and the social sciences - along with independent scholars, activists, museum professionals, filmmakers, radio documentarians, photographers and journalists - to submit proposals for panels, plenaries, workshops, roundtables and media- and performance-oriented sessions. We encourage participants to focus on ethical and methodological issues in collecting, producing, disseminating and using this genre of work. We particularly encourage presentations and panels that cross disciplines, cultures, nationalities and institutions. We welcome proposals from other professional organizations, particularly those dealing with the themes of the meeting.
Please submit five copies of proposals. For full sessions, submit an abstract of no more than two pages and a one page vitae for each participant. For individual proposals, submit a one page abstract and a one-page vitae or resume of the presenter. In all cases, please include the full name, mailing address, institutional affiliation, phone number and e-mail address for each session participant.
For queries contact co-chairs: Leslie Brown (address below).
Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
The Survivors of the Shoah
Visual History Foundation
Send proposals by December 15, 2000 to the Oral History Association Program Committee (address below).
Oral History Association Program Committee
c/o Professor Leslie Brown
Program in African and Afro-American Studies
One Brookings Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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