Walking Through the Fire: Human Perseverance in Times of Turmoil
Oral History Association
2022 Annual Meeting
October 19-22, Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles
Submission deadline has been extended to March 4!
The Oral History Association invites proposals for papers and presentations for its 2021 annual meeting to be held October 13-17, 2021.
The Oral History Association invites your critical and creative contributions to our October 2022 conference theme—human perseverance in times of turmoil. How do people “walk through the fire” of their times and emerge from the other side? How do they remember and narrate those travails, whether personal or societal? How do they make meaning of crisis and struggle? By its very nature, oral history communicates human perseverance, for the ability to tell one’s story “after the fact” is a record of the most basic level of survival. Yet the spectrum of human experiences and meaning-making processes comprises stories of resilience and closure as easily as those of pain and the traumatic persistence of the past. We welcome human stories in all their diversity toward framing our exploration of this theme.
We also invite engagements with how our present helps us consider oral history as practice. Times like these shine a particularly critical spotlight on those of us concerned with preserving a record of the past. Oral historians, archivists, and other practitioners are adept at documenting crises—often while in crisis—to engage in discussions of memory, healing and atonement, and justice. How do these moments challenge our understanding of the oral historical project? How do they compel us to rethink how we record, preserve, interpret, and memorialize? How do they stress the ethical concerns undergirding our field? In an unprecedented moment constraining our ability to physically connect yet providing new modes to do so virtually, how do we envision the future of our field?
Los Angeles is a fitting locale for our first in-person conference in three years. Home of the Tongva people—who first named this land Tovaangar—Los Angeles is a site of indigenous fortitude and survivance amid the settler colonial projects of three powers—Spanish, Mexican, and the United States. A cultural and economic hub of the Pacific, immigration has long animated Los Angeles with a unique dynamism all its own. Home to Hollywood and its visions of myth and fantasy, it is also the second largest city in the United States shaped by the material realities of our 21st century world. While disasters have plagued L.A.—earthquakes, fires, and the oppressive thumb of white supremacy—the city has also given birth to innumerable movements enacting the hope of a better world. As we gather together to reconnect, reflect, and envision a future that nurtures the dignity of all people, Los Angeles will provide an engaging foundation for our collective inquiry.
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