annual meeting of the Oral History Association (OHA) is going on this weekend at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel. I have never been to an OHA meeting before, but after conducting dozens of interviews for my currently stalled (but not forgotten) "Greenwich Tea Party Project," doing a dozen more for my forthcoming book on the American Bible Society, and teaching oral history in my Pennsylvania History course at Messiah College, I have a greater interest in attending this conference. Maybe next year. For now, I will read the tweets at #oha2015 and retweet some of them @johnfea1 (followers always welcome!)
This year those in attendance at the meeting are rejoicing in the wake of the September 2015 ruling by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that excluded oral history from the human subject regulations enforced by institutional review boards (IRB) on college campuses. Some of you may recall that we did a post on this back in September.
I know that the history department at Messiah is also happy. We waged a "battle" with the college's IRB board on this issue and managed to win it, but it was not easy trying to convince our colleagues in the sciences and social sciences why oral history should not fall under the board's jurisdiction.
Over at the Oxford University Press blog, Don Ritchie, the Historian Emeritus of the U.S. Senate and the author of Doing Oral History, the textbook I use to teach the subject, offers his thoughts on this recent decision.
Here is a taste: