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Meetings & Events


Plenary Session
New Schedule
OAH Amplified Initiative
OAH Awards Celebration
OAH Presidential Address
State of the Field Sessions
OAH Annual Meeting App
President's Reception


Plenary Session: California and the Nation–Past, Present, and Future

Thursday, April 12, 4:45 pm–6:15 pm

Vicki Ruiz, University of California, Irvine
Waldo E. Martin Jr., University of California, Berkeley
Timothy J. Stiles, Independent scholar

From the gold rush and the sectional crisis to railroad building, Chinese exclusion, Japanese internment, immigration, the free speech movement, and the rise of the modern Republican party, California has both served as a beacon for the nation's highest aspirations and a bellwether for its political, social, cultural, and economic changes. Three eminent historians will grapple with the historical forces that have shaped the relationship between California and the nation. They will examine not only how the state and the nation have responded to one another over time but also how their contested history has in turn shaped the choices we face today.

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New Schedule

The OAH is excited to offer a restructured schedule for the 2018 OAH Annual Meeting to benefit attendees and participants alike. By eliminating Sunday and reconstructing the Thursday-to-Saturday schedule, the conference opens additional opportunities for U.S. historians to present at the Annual Meeting, enables all participants to present during prime days without increasing the number of competing sessions, and allows the OAH to better spotlight the accomplishments of colleagues and friends at the Award Ceremony, while offering a clear celebratory conclusion.

Changes to note:

Thursday offers

  • Three consecutive sessions
  • One plenary session
  • Opening Reception

Friday offers

  • Four consecutive sessions
  • Pre-Awards Reception
  • Award Ceremony
  • Standard receptions

Saturday offers

  • Four consecutive sessions
  • Business Meeting
  • Presidential Address
  • Closing President’s Reception
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OAH Amplified Initiative

Edward L. Ayers, University of Richmond

The main activity of the Annual Meeting for historians has changed little since it was invented at the end of the nineteenth century. Now, as then, historians gather to read prepared papers to one another.

Over the years, people have tried to change this practice in ways large and small. Panels, roundtables, and plenary sessions now attract much of the interest and generate much of the energy at the meeting. Session chairs encourage presenters to be less constrained by the words on the page before them, to talk rather than read to the audience. Some presenters have turned to images and digital projects as ways to enliven their talks.

The Program Committee for the Sacramento meeting in April 2018 is trying a new strategy to enliven our gathering. The main innovation is what we are calling the Amplified Initiative. With the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the OAH will prepare digital audio recordings of every presentation and establish a video studio to interview people about their presentations and other topics of interest. Those recordings will be made available for OAH members and partner organizations, who will be able to select from the presentations, edit them in forms suitable for their constituencies, and use their channels to distribute what they consider most useful.

Those partners include:

  • American Association for State and Local History
  • Big Ten Academic Alliance
  • College Board
  • H-Net
  • National Council for History Education
  • National Council on Public History
  • National Humanities Center
  • National Park Service

The audio and video recordings will be tagged so that they can be searched and combined in new ways—by topic, period, or type of presentation. Social media will generate energy, ideas, and audience throughout the conference and will also be able to draw upon the recording to sustain the conversation after the meeting itself has ended. Digital humanities labs will explore and exploit the possibilities of the recordings for teaching and scholarship for higher education.

In short, this recording and remixing of the conference presents many exciting possibilities, turning a one-time event into a resource that can be used for many purposes.

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OAH Awards Celebration

Friday, April 13, 4:00 pm­­–6:00 pm

The OAH Awards Ceremony has moved from Saturday to Friday allowing the OAH to highlight the achievements of the award winners and honor our longtime members, while increasing its celebratory aspect.

OAH Pre-Award Reception

4:00 pm–4:45 pm

Commence the celebration by joining your peers for beverages and light snacks prior to the Award Ceremony. Meet with colleagues, award winners, and longtime members, and show your support for the achievements of the profession.

The OAH Award Ceremony

4:45 pm–6:00 pm

Celebrating the best in American history—writing, teaching, public presentation, research, support, and distinguished careers—the OAH Awards Ceremony recognizes colleagues and friends whose achievements advance our profession, bolstering deep, sophisticated understandings of America’s complex past and informed, historically relevant discussions of contemporary issues. Hard-working OAH members on over 25 committees examine nearly 1,000 nominations to select outstanding recipients each year. Their care, and the excellence of the individuals they have chosen, enlarges American history everywhere. Longtime members of the organization will also be honored.

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OAH Presidential Address

Saturday, April 14, 5:15 pm–6:45 pm

Sponsored by W.W. Norton

Edward L. Ayers
Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities
President Emeritus
University of Richmond

Edward Ayers has been named National Professor of the Year, received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama at the White House, won the Bancroft Prize and Beveridge Prize in American history, and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He has collaborated on major digital history projects, including the Valley of the Shadow, American Panorama, and Bunk, and is one of the cohosts for BackStory, a popular podcast about American history. He is Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and president emeritus at the University of Richmond as well as former Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia. His most recent book is The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America, published in 2017 by W. W. Norton.

OAH President’s Reception

You are cordially invited to the OAH President’s Closing Reception in honor of OAH President Edward L. Ayers. Please join us in thanking him for his service to the organization and the history profession following the OAH Presidential Address.

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State of the Field Sessions

These sessions are designed to present the historiography of a subfield and its evolution during the past ten to twenty years. Rather than focus on the cutting-edge developments that might be found in regular OAH meeting sessions, subject experts address how the field arrived where it is today. State of the Field sessions are aimed at scholars and teachers who are not already immersed in a particular field, those who would like to catch up with the scholarship, and those who wish to get up to speed in a new area. 

Topics include:

  • Queer History and Race
  • Chicana/o Movement History
  • American Indian History
  • Abolition and Emancipation
  • Western History
  • Nineteenth-Century Women’s Rights
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OAH Annual Meeting App

Want more in-depth information? The 2018 OAH Annual Meeting App lists complete session abstracts and speaker information! By creating a profile, you can build a personal daily schedule and utilize the messaging system that allows everyone registered to communicate. The OAH Annual Meeting App is a great way to plan, network, and stay informed. Download the Crowd Compass Directory from your app store in late March and search for the 2018 OAH Annual Meeting App. All registered attendees will receive an email after April 1 with quick login information.

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