In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Editor’s Introduction
  • Kathryn L. Nasstrom

The current issue of the Oral History Review opens with Amy Starecheski’s “Squatting History: The Power of Oral History as a History-Making Practice,” in which she places oral history on a continuum of storytelling practices and thereby encourages us to consider both what is unique about our practice and what we share with less formal means of conveying knowledge about the past. For the community she documents (squatters in present day New York City), oral history and these related practices are also a means by which an activist community aims to harness the authority of history for political purposes. The article features numerous embedded audio excerpts as part of the Review’s ongoing multimedia initiative. Once again, the editorial staff encourages readers to gravitate to the online journal for the fullest reading—and listening—experience. We remind readers that “Instructions for Multimedia Reading of the OHR” explains how to activate an online subscription, whether individual or institutional. (See vol. 39, n. 2, pp. v–vi; also available online at

This issue of the Review also features a number of short-form articles (averaging 4000–5000 words in length) that came about through the journal’s current short-form article initiative. The editorial staff launched the initiative to provide a publishing avenue for presenting work-in-progress, work that constitutes a “thought piece” about some aspect of oral history, work that is suggestive rather than definitive, and work that raises important questions without fully answering them. The nine “shorties” (as one of these authors dubbed the form) assembled for this issue come from experienced oral history practitioners who responded enthusiastically to the initial call from the editorial staff. Here, briefly, is what lies within:

  1. •. Michael Honey poses a question—Can we use songs and oral poetry as oral history?—and suggests his answer in part by providing us with some music and oral poetry.

  2. •. Henry Greenspan reflects on the range of reasons that Holocaust survivors remain silent about their experiences, other than the oft-invoked explanation of psychic trauma.

  3. •. Sherna Gluck raises some reservations about the personal and political ramifications of the easy access to oral history interviews that the digital revolution allows.

  4. •. Linda Shopes considers some of the limitations of the two ways we have commonly viewed the oral history interview: as a document and as a text. [End Page i]

  5. •. Michael Frisch reintroduces us to Studs Terkel, not as an oral historian but as, first, a historian.

  6. •. Paul Ortiz undertakes the opposite reintroduction for Stetson Kennedy, whose astute oral history methods have been too little considered.

  7. •. Jeff Friedman deploys concepts from the “new” hermeneutics to suggest ways that our oral history practice can better account for kinesthetic expression and the embodied experience of narrators.

  8. •. Kim Lacy Rogers, in a piece published here posthumously, uses the concept of “being present” to draw parallels between Buddhist meditative practices and oral history interviewing.

  9. •. Alexander Freund and Erin Jessee continue a conversation about Alex’s article in the last issue of the Review, “‘Confessing Animals’: Toward a Longue Durée History of the Oral History Interview,” a conversation they began in the Review’s social media channels. We invite readers to “listen in” on the page here and then familiarize themselves with the Review in social media channels: podcasts, blog entries, and online postings in various forms that allow for more nimble, timely, and ongoing engagement with the ideas presented on the pages of the journal. We pointed readers toward those channels with “Coda: Reading beyond the Pages of the OHR,” which appeared in vol. 40, n. 2, pp. 480–81 (and can be accessed online at

The last two articles in this issue comprise the third annual pedagogy section. Katie Kuszmar’s “From Boat to Throat: How Oral Histories Immerse Students in Ecoliteracy and Community Building” describes a combined oral history immersion trip, service learning experience, and advocacy project. Her argument unfolds partly in the form of embedded audio and video excerpts that allow readers to see and hear the project’s narrators wrestle with the...