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Sessions by special interest

State of the Field Sessions
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Thursday, April 16

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm 

Making the Most of the OAH
Sponsored by the OAH Membership Committee
Panelists:
Cary D. Wintz, Texas Southern University
• Stephen Kneeshaw, College of the Ozarks
• Rebecca Noel, Plymouth State University
• Michael Green, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
• William D. Carrigan, Rowan University
• Elisabeth Marsh, Organization of American Historians
The OAH Membership Committee and staff invite new members, first-time attendees, and graduate students to discuss the benefits of membership in the organization and attendance at the annual
meeting. Meet with members of the OAH Membership Committee and learn how the OAH can help you in your history career. Regardless of whether you are a graduate student, public historian,
history educator, faculty member, or independent historian, the OAH can help you accomplish your career goals. Light refreshments will be provided.

The Best Careers for You—Articulating Your Strengths
Presenter: Kate Duttro, Career Change for Academics
Focusing on the strengths and the skill sets that historians develop, rather than solely the content knowledge of history, we'll look at how to translate your skills, abilities, and strengths into language any employer can understand and value. Broaden your opportunities by learning how your strengths and skills can bring value to any organization, whether inside or outside academe.

1:45 pm - 3:15 pm 

NEW: Media Training for Historians

Moderator:Christian Purdy, Director of Publicity for Oxford University Press USA
Panelists:
Tony Messenger, Editor-St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial page
• Sarah Russo, Social Media Consultant-Sarah Russo Public Relations
• St. Louis area radio/TV producer TBD

Are you looking to increase your media profile? Do your articles and op-eds get ignored or rejected by editors at mainstream periodicals? Do you panic and mumble into the mic when doing radio interviews, or fumble and flail when in front of a camera? Do you have, or need to have, a social media platform to get noticed by major media today?

For helpful tips in crafting articles and op-eds that don't get rejected, participating in radio and TV interviews and navigating social media platforms that will highlight your research and establish you as producers' go-to historian, then join Tony Messenger of the St Louis Post-Dispatch on what makes a good op-ed or article, Sarah Russo-freelance publicist and social media consultant to understand a few simple insights on how to get editors to say "yes" to your pitch, and radio/TV producers on what they are looking for to get you in their address books and book you onto their radio/TV shows.

Stephen A. Douglas and the Fate of American Democracy (Film Screening)
Chair:
Graham Peck, Saint Xavier University
Panelists:
Graham Peck, Saint Xavier University
• Robert May, Purdue University
• Nathan Peck, Saint Xavier University
• Adam Smith, University College London
This session, which will screen a 50-minute film biography of Stephen A. Douglas, confronts some of the profession's most potent taboos. First, it puts a profoundly racist American political figure front and center, posing questions about the significance of his career for understanding the failure of American democracy prior to the Civil War. Secondly, it reflects a Douglas scholar's decision to depart sharply from academic practice by directing his work to a public audience in a visual medium. Thirdly, and most consequentially, it asks historians to consider whether we need to reconceptualize aspects of our professional training, scholarly work, and public role to function more effectively in a digital age.
The film vividly portrays the interrelationships between democracy, expansionism, racism, and Unionism in Douglas's politics, and also illuminates his personal connection to slaveholding through his first wife's inheritance. Meanwhile, it portrays Douglas as the historical record suggests he perceived himself. Indeed, by framing his politics in the context of both Republicans and southerners, it compels viewers to interpret the complex philosophy and history of American democracy through the prism of Douglas's life. In this sense, it is truly a historian's film, shaped by a historian's sensibilities.
By probing how historians should mediate public understanding about taboo figures such as Douglas, the session will also spur a conversation about how historians do history. It asks whether we ought to reconceptualize our understanding of professional history in a digital age, when visual representations of history are becoming increasingly influential. This question asks not so much whether historians should popularize our work, but whether the entire taboo concept of popularization is profoundly misguided, limiting our creativity, our prospects for collaboration and employment, and our influence.

Online Networking
Presenter: Kate Duttro, Career Change for Academics
What people see of you online has an enormous effect on the way they think of you. Use this to your advantage and begin building your online reputation when you start grad school. Spending as little as five minutes a day while a student can pay huge dividends when you enter the job market.

Saturday, April 18

10:50 am - 12:20 pm

Tenured and Contingent Historians Together? Why It Matters
Sponsored by the OAH Committee on Part-Time, Adjunct, and Contingent Employment
Chair and Commentator:
Donald W. Rogers, Central Connecticut State University
Panelists:
• Elizabeth Hohl, Fairfield University
• Robert Johnston, University of Illinois at Chicago
• Howard Smead, University of Maryland
• Lillian Taiz, California State University, Los Angeles

1:50 pm - 3:20 pm 

You Make Me Feel: A Roundtable on the Hidden Passions of Historians for Their Subjects
Chair and Commentator:
Kelly Anderson, Smith College
Panelists:
• Lana Dee Povitz, New York University
• Annelise Orleck, Dartmouth College
• Françoise Hamlin, Brown University
• Beatrice Wayne, New York University
• Kelly Anderson, Smith College
What happens when historians develop feelings for their research subjects? How do we allow (or not allow) these relationships to feature into the insights we produce? No longer will we relegate our emotions to the acknowledgments page! At this roundtable, historians at various stages of their careers—ranging from graduate students to senior professors—will grapple with the various relationships they have had with their research subjects. Particularly for those of us who study living people, countless taboos surround the way we relate to and identify with the people who make our histories. This roundtable will examine the role of affinity, serendipity, friendship, and even love, and the place of conflict, projection, and distance in the production of politically motivated historical work.