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2019 OAH Call for Proposals

2019 OAH Annual Meeting | PhiladelphiaSubmissions will be accepted between November 27, 2017 and January 12, 2018

Call for Proposals

"The Work of Freedom"


From the historical profession's beginnings in the late 19th and early 20th century, freedom has been a dominant theme in research, writing, and public debates on the shape, content, and character of the American experience. Over a century of scholarship and popular discussions have illuminated topics such as the diverse struggles for freedom, the denial of freedom, the limits of freedom, the prospects of freedom, the sources of freedom, the obligations of freedom, the value of freedom, the geographies of freedom, and the meaning of freedom, to name several. Marking the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in British North America, the theme of this program shifts the lens to the "Work of Freedom." It aims to capture the labor(s) involved in identifying and securing freedom, from the colonial era and founding of the Republic through the recent election of Donald J. Trump President of the United States.

The program committee encourages proposals focusing on research, teaching, and public education that address our theme as creatively and as broadly as possible. Our theme opens up opportunities for scholars working across a variety of temporal, geographical, thematic, and topical areas in colonial North American and U.S. history. We are interested in proposals that probe the theme within the traditional fields of economic, political, diplomatic, intellectual, and cultural history; the established fields of urban, race, ethnic, labor, and women's/gender history as well as southern, Appalachian, and western history; and the rapidly expanding fields of sexuality, LBGT, and queer history; environmental and public history; carceral state studies; and transnational and global studies across all fields, topics, and thematic emphases.

Moreover, we hope to take advantage of our meeting in Philadelphia, an iconic setting for struggles and debates over the question of freedom, to encourage proposals that explore the interplay of freedom's work on behalf of African Americans, the poor, workers, and other disfranchised and structurally marginalized groups since people from Africa embarked upon their journey in Jamestown four centuries ago. The committee also welcomes panels, workshops, and roundtables that employ new methodologies, particularly digital humanities technology, that transcend traditional disciplinary and geographic boundaries. Finally, the 2019 Program Committee will reinforce the OAH's ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion along myriad lines of difference and historic inequality, including ethnic/racial, gender/sexuality, and institutional affiliation, research/teaching, among others.


PROPOSAL SUBMITTER RESPONSIBILITIES: Upon review of the submissions, the 2019 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.


2019 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.