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2018 OAH Call for Proposals

SacramentoSubmissions will be accepted between December 12, 2016 and January 16, 2017


The 2018 Program Committee is excited to announce that the OAH Annual Meeting in Sacramento will begin on Thursday, April 12, and conclude on Saturday, April 14. Despite eliminating Sunday sessions, the schedule will now consist of more blocks of sessions allowing the Program Committee to accept 15% more sessions than in previous years.

Imagining a New Kind of Academic Annual Meeting: With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the OAH seeks to amplify the Annual Meeting to reach the public, teachers, students, and scholars interested in American history. The OAH Amplified Initiative will broaden our audience and continue our conversation beyond the walls of the conference meeting. The OAH and Mellon want the work presented at the Annual Meeting to become available to a broader audience, allowing instructors to engage with new ideas in their classrooms and researchers to access and cite the scholarship presented. The foundation for doing this will be the digital audio recordings of the sessions at the 2018 Annual Meeting. (Should any participant opt out of the audio recording, the entire session will be removed from the recording schedule.) Additionally, a video studio will be set up at the conference where select attendees will be interviewed.

The audio and video recordings captured at the 2018 Annual Meeting will be tagged so that they can be searched and combined in new ways—by topic, period, or type of presentation. These files will be made available to select groups who will curate, introduce, and interpret programs for particular audiences. Members will be able to listen to the audio files and participants will be able to download their own sessions.

The OAH is excited to provide this opportunity to amplify your work both inside the historical community and beyond it. We look forward to building community and sharing ideas between our members and those studying, teaching, and interpreting U.S. history.

Read the Press Release here

Call for Proposals

The OAH annual meeting of 2018 will foster conversation about the forms in which we represent the American past.

Encouraging proposals from all periods and subjects of American history, the program committee also encourages colleagues to address explicitly the form in which they conceive and present their work. Form embraces the medium, the narrative or analytical strategy, evidence, and intended audience for an interpretation. Bringing those decisions to the surface can generate productive questions and conversation.

Form works quite differently in different genres of history. The creation of new knowledge in monographs, journal articles, and conference papers, for example, inspires, enables, and limits other forms in ways it would be useful to consider.

Teaching at all levels is the most powerful and commonly practiced form of historical discussion. Paying closer attention to our means of instruction can help make teaching more engaging and enlightening.

Americans engage with the nation's past at historic sites, in novels and stories, in movies, on television, and in theater. They participate in genealogy and in online communities. Millions visit national parks and millions play electronic games in which history provides the setting and the drama.

History is one of the most popular genres of popular non-fiction, with biographies, overviews of major events, and analyses of the historical origins of current-day problems often on the bestseller lists.

History operates throughout the digital world, from transformed archives to innovative visualizations. Historians experiment to find digital forms that advance our understanding of the past and that share that understanding with broader audiences.

Interpretations of the history of politics, military events, and foreign relations shape policy, op-eds, political campaigns, trade policy, law, military strategy, and conflict resolution.

Whatever the context and purpose, form shapes the stories we tell and the way we understand the past. Addressing those forms more thoughtfully can improve all that historians do.

The meeting will also encourage experimentation with the form of the presentation of the meeting itself.

For decades, historians have complained about the structure of our sessions, in which we read papers to one another. This meeting will foster alternatives that feature the many and diverse forms of history, encouraging, for example, the distribution of materials beforehand electronically, the presentation of video or other performance, engagement with the audience from the outset, the creative use of social media, and so on. Please experiment.

Everyone is welcome.

PROPOSAL SUBMITTER RESPONSIBILITIES: Upon review of the submissions, the 2018 Program Committee will only announce a "pending acceptance" or a "rejection." If you receive a pending acceptance it is the proposal submitter's responsibility to ensure that each session participant, regardless of role, completes their speaker agreement within the requested deadline (typically July 1). Once all agreements have been completed, only then will the session be officially accepted. If the agreements are not received by the deadline, the pending acceptance is void.

The proposal submitter is also asked to inform the OAH at the close of the Annual Meeting if any session participants failed to appear without prior notification.

Please ensure each participant reads important notes prior to submission.


2018 OAH Annual Meeting Program Committee

Like Program Committees past, we encourage sessions in a variety of formats—traditional panels composed of three papers and a comment, but also sessions of a single paper of unusual significance with several commentators, round tables of several brief papers that explore a significant issue or assess the state of a field, workshops, and sessions devoted to teaching. A descriptive list of session formats is found below.

All sessions will be 90 minutes in length, with the exception of workshops, which may run longer.

Twenty-five minutes should be reserved for discussion.

If the proposed session takes the traditional form of a series of papers with a comment, proposers should take into account the 90-minute slot, with 25 minutes reserved for discussion, when developing the proposal.

Session Types

Please remember that all sessions except workshops are 90 minutes in length and that 25 minutes should be reserved for discussion.

Paper Session: The traditional session format, paper sessions feature a chair, three or four papers, and one or two commentators. A single paper can have one or more presenters.

Panel Discussion: Panel discussions include a group of people discussing one topic, such as a film, a new text, or a tribute to a well-known scholar. Each panelist speaks on a distinct topic relating to the session theme. These sessions include a chair, three to five panelists, and no commentator.

Roundtable Discussion: Roundtable discussions include a group of experts discussing a topic. A moderator leads the discussion, but all participants speak equally about the topic, with no distinct topic assigned to each participant. These sessions include a chair, three to five participants, and no commentator.

State of the Field: In these panels senior historians and new professionals discuss a subfield of American history in depth. These panels have one chair, two or three panelists, and no commentator.
Workshop: A workshop is a training session where the presenters work directly with participants to teach them a skill or concept. Workshops are usually small, so the group can participate in the learning and interact with the presenters. These sessions often have one or two chairs.

Workshop: A workshop is a training session where the presenters work directly with participants to teach them a new skill or concept. Workshops are usually small, so the group can participate in the learning and interact with the presenters.Please indicate the length needed for the workshop. These sessions often have one or two presenters.

Debate: A debate is a regulated discussion of an issue with two matched sides. Debates have one moderator, two or more panelists, and no commentators.

Single Paper: Single paper proposals include a paper that the presenter would like the program committee to join with other single paper proposals or small sessions. The committee can only place single papers if other papers pair well to create a complete session. We encourage you to utilize the OAH Online Member Directory to connect with other historians in your field to construct a full proposal for consideration. Single papers include one or two presenters and no chair or commentator.

Chat Seminar: 45-minute seminars that encourage discussion, debate, and conversation about topics trending in the field of American history. Each chat is led by 1-2 moderators who are not content providers, but instead direct and guide the conversation. Chats take place over the lunch period on the Saturday of the conference only. Chats include one or two moderators, and no commentators, panelists, or presenters.

Film Screening: Film screenings usually show all or a portion of a film and include a question-and-answer segment with the filmmaker and producers. Film screenings have a chair and one or more panelists.

Advance Text Session: Substantial papers are offered online three weeks prior to the convention to be discussed in detail during the meeting. These sessions include a chair, the paper author who will make introductory comments for 5 minutes only, and one or more commentators, with a minimum of 45 minutes reserved for audience discussion.