Michigan Oral History Association Flipped Conference

The Michigan Oral History Association (MOHA)  held a Flipped Conference (and Workshop) from October 9-16, 2021.  The University of Michigan-Dearborn Digital Initiatives Program in the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters hosted this virtual event. 

Below you will find the presentations and recorded live Q&A and workshop sessions. (Eventually, this content will be hosted on a MOHA site.) Or you can click on the presentation title below and go to that presentation's page:


Also, MOHA’s Flipped Conference was a “satellite event” in conjunction with the 2021 Oral History Association Annual Meeting.  Several members of the MOHA Board participated in an OHA Roundtable entitled, “‘Flipping’ Oral History in Michigan,” on October 12.

For more information, please contact Prof. Cam Amin.

Presentation I: Bilingualisms, Regimes of Im/mobility, and Identity in the Oral Histories of Iranian Americans in Michigan

Abstract: A noticeable feature of some interviews of Iranian Americans for the Michigan Iranian American Oral History Project is that the conversation can shift not just between Persian and English, but between versions of both languages.  These shifts often conjure a cultural space that is neither Iranian, nor American nor statically “liminal.” Rather, it seems to signal an assertion of agency to travel freely between these identities and the imagined and real boundaries that separate them.

Presentation II: The Settlement and Integration of Latinos in Michigan

Abstract: This session focuses on the experiences of Latinos settling down in Michigan and on how they integrated into their larger communities. The papers in the panel examine the lives of Latinos who left the migrant stream to stay in Michigan and those who promoted and maintained their culture through music. Through interviews with Latinos 50 years and older we provide a comprehensive view on their reasons for settling in Michigan. These oral history interviews provide the reasons some of Latinos settled in Michigan and shed light on the processes of community integration and what these experiences were like for them and other Latinos at the time. This session also examines the role of Latino music in promoting community integration in Michigan. Music was a tool for creating cultural spaces that facilitated a sense of community among new residents. It not only brought people together at dance halls and community events, it promoted a sense of belonging among them. In sum, this session examines the settlement of the Latino population in Michigan and the processes that facilitated their integration into their new communities of residence.

Presentation III: Support Your Scene: Socioeconomic Context and Competing Authenticities in Detroit Rock from Early Punk to the Garage Revival

Abstract: My research focuses on the underground Detroit rock scenes beginning with the early punk scene of the late 1970s run out of a gay bar and former disco club called Bookies on 6 mile just west of Woodward Avenue, followed by the hardcore punk scene in the 1980s made up mostly of teenagers from the surrounding suburbs of Metro Detroit, based out of run-down storefronts, bars, and clubs in Cass Corridor. This small angst fueled group founded Touch and Go Records, an influential indie-rock label of the 1990s, and were instrumental in inspiring the garage rock scene of the 1990s and early 2000s, which birthed the White Stripes. Using oral history, fanzines, and documentaries I explore how musicians and fans were driven by a politics of authenticity to create alternative culture producing systems, and how their music and organizing was influenced by the changing social and economic context of Southeastern Michigan.

Presentation IV:  Romani Voices Defy Stereotyping

Abstract: To help dispel prejudice and racial profiling in the United States, I will share stories from Hungarian Slovak Romanies in Michigan in the greater social/historical context. As an ‘under-represented’ marginalized community, Romanies have been silenced, censored and/or disrespected in communities throughout the world and specifically Michigan. Once we establish trust with the ‘other,’ he/she is no longer a member of a group but is a human just like each of us with a unique personality, social identity and history. Romanies who shared their own stories, not filtered through other voices, provide a different narrative and defy stereotypes from newspapers, police reports and laws dating back to the nineteenth century. The Hungarian Slovak Romanies, whose ancestors immigrated to the United States in the late 19th and up to the mid-20th century, have a long history as musicians who performed their traditional music and then jazz to adapt to the changing demands.

Roundtable Discussion: The Michigan PBB Oral History Project: Four Perspectives on the Benefits (and Challenges) of Collaborating to Make History from Memories 

Roundtable Abstract: In 1973 one of the largest episodes of food contamination in U.S. history began to unfold in Michigan. The Michigan Chemical Company (owned by Velsicol Chemical Corporation) in St. Louis, Michigan, accidentally shipped a fire retardant (polybrominated biphenyl or PBB) in place of a livestock-feed additive to state feed mills. Thereafter, PBB entered into the human food chain via contaminated farm products and exposed millions of Michiganders. The Michigan PBB Oral History Project* documents the history of the PBB mix-up through interviews with community members—farmers, chemical workers, Pine River residents, consumers, public officials, researchers, and activists. This roundtable presentation will explore the multifaceted and collaborative components of the Michigan PBB Oral History Project from the perspectives of an oral historian, archivist, graduate student assistant, and graduate researcher to highlight the opportunities and challenges of collaborating to document, preserve, and interpret community memories.


  • “‘These stories, they stick with you’: The Michigan PBB Oral History Project”
  • “Preserving PBB Community Stories: A Graduate Student Assistant’s Perspective of the Michigan PBB Oral History Project”
  •  “Contaminated Consumption: The Forgotten History of PBB in Michigan, 1973-2019”
  • “PBB in the Archives: Challenges and Advantages in Building a Manuscript Collection to Support the Michigan PBB Oral History Project”

Brown Bag Presentation: The Importance of Using Indigenous Methodologies with Oral History Projects

Abstract: This presentation is a contribution to the MOHA “Brown Bag” session on 10/16 and  will be a short overview of different Indigenous methodologies used in academia, and how they can be implemented in oral history projects.


MOHA 2021 Workshops

This early conference workshop features a welcome message from the President of MOHA and an introductory-level workshop to set a foundation for the field going into the conference, which will be useful for new practitioners and MOHA members.

MOHA 2021 Conference Opening
  • Brittany Fremion (moderator), Associate Professor of History, Central Michigan University, MOHA Workshop Committee Chair
  • Jim Cameron, MOHA President: “Welcome to MOHA”
  • Camron Amin, MOHA conference co-organizer: Conference Welcome
  • Dan Clark, Professor of History, Oakland University: “Introduction to Oral History”


MOHA 2021 Lightening Round

This mid-conference lightning round event features MOHA Board Members who will touch on more intermediate topics related to their experience with connections to emerging themes in the field and conference panels. Each presenter will have a few minutes to provide a tour of their topic, followed by discussion.

  • Brittany Fremion (moderator), Associate Professor of History, Central Michigan University, Workshop Committee Chair
  • Sherry Tuffin, Lawrence Technological University Library : “Active Listening” 
  • Kim Schroeder, Archival Program Coordinator and Lecturer, Wayne State University: “Oral History in Student Research”
  • Camron Amin, Professor of History, University of Michigan: “(Mis)Managing a Real Oral History Project for an Online Course”  
  • Russ Magnaghi, Professor of History Emeritus and Research Associate, Northern Michigan University: “Ethnic Oral Histories”

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