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Meetings & Events

2017 OAH Call for Proposals

New Orleans


Proposals will be accepted between December 7, 2015 and  January 23, 2016.

New Orleans | April 6 - 9, 2017
New Orleans Marriott

Please ensure each participant reads important notes prior to submission.

Circulation, the theme of the 2017 OAH Annual Meeting, is everywhere evident in the historical record. Ideas, goods, information, laborers, water, currency, disease, highways, and much more, circulate. Circulation suggests movement, but also connection between points and places. It suggests movement that gives definition. From the scale of the human body to the scale of the global, from the material to the ideological, circulation characterizes many of the subjects historians study, whether migrations, pilgrimages, economies, networks, ideas, culture, conflicts, plagues or demography. Circulations link, but also separate; they populate and depopulate; and they transport and return.

The program committee seeks proposals addressing the theme of circulation in history. We are eager to consider economic, intellectual, demographic, political, legal, technological, military, environmental, cultural, industrial and scientific modes and patterns of circulation and their roles in shaping people, societies, natural environments, institutions and polities. What are important patterns of circulation over time? How have they been reproduced and modified, or not? What enables and what constrains circulation? Are there currents of circulation that transcend local social and political formations? Conversely, are there specific modes of circulation called into being by the nation-state, capitalism, institutionalized racism, revolution, or industrialization? Did modernity produce new currents in circulation? What kinds of circulation have been critical inside American societies, cultures, institutions, environments and polities, and what kinds have created, destroyed or changed external connections and relationships?

We seek a program that embraces the full chronological sweep of the American past, from the pre-Columbian era to the twenty-first century, and the rich thematic diversity that has come to characterize contemporary history writing and teaching. The program aims to include those teaching at universities, colleges, community colleges, and secondary schools, public historians, curators, archeologists and independent scholars. We welcome teaching sessions, particularly those that involve the audience as active participants, or those that reflect collaborative partnerships among teachers, historians, and history educators at all levels. We urge presenters to continue the ongoing transition from simply reading papers to more actively "teaching" the topic of their sessions. We prefer to receive proposals for complete sessions, but will consider individual paper proposals as well.

The program will reflect the full diversity of the OAH membership in the United States and abroad. Wherever possible, proposals should include presenters of different genders and different racial and ethnic backgrounds. The program should also represent a variety of public and academic historians and history professionals, wherever they are employed and at varying levels of seniority in the profession. We encourage senior historians to present their own research. We welcome debate on challenging and controversial issues.

BLOG: Read more from the co-chairs here!

Important Notes about Submitting a Proposal for the 2017 Annual Meeting

Please read all the following information before submitting your proposal.

*Upon acceptance, each participant will be required to submit an agreement acknowledging their acceptance and agreeing to the terms outlined below. If the agreement is not submitted by the deadline (July 1) then it will be assumed that the participant is not intending to participate*

Registration and Membership Requirements
All participants are required to register for the Annual Meeting. Participants who specialize in American history and support themselves as American historians are also required to be members of the OAH. Participants representing other disciplines are not required to be members of the OAH.

Repeat Participation
OAH policy prohibits individuals from participating in two consecutive annual meetings in the same role and limits individuals to appearing only once on the program in a given year. If you have questions about this policy, e-mail the OAH meetings department <meetings@oah.org>.

Please note that the conference takes place from Thursday through Sunday. Though OAH committee and affiliate conflicts will be taken into consideration during the scheduling process, you must be available to present during this four day period.

Submission Procedure
Complete session proposals include a chair, participants, and, if applicable, a commentator (chairs may double as commentators, and commentators may be omitted if the audience is to serve in that role). The Program Committee encourages alternative formats that maximize audience participation, such as sessions with no formal comment.
All proposals must include the following information:
• a complete mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, and affiliation for each participant
• an abstract of no more than 500 words for the session as a whole
• a prospectus of no more than 250 words for each paper presentation - this only applies to paper sessions
• a biography of no more than 500 words for each participant

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.
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.
Digital Humanities Demonstration: Digital Humanities demonstrations may include one to several presenters and their digital projects. Projects are displayed in a digital alley in or outside the exhibit hall. Conference attendees are invited to view the projects during certain hours and to explore and discuss the scholarship with the presenters. Depending on the layout of the venue, the projects may be available at all times during the convention. Monitors are provided.
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.
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.
Round Table Discussion: Round table 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.
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 will generally try to place single papers together to form a traditional paper session. Single papers include one more presenters and no chair or comment.
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.


We strongly encourage presenters to deliver ideas and arguments without reading directly from papers. We likewise recognize that informal presentations and new technologies tempt us all to exceed the time allowed for papers and presentations. Talks that run long reduce the time for the discussions that make OAH meetings particularly lively, vital, and interesting. When overlong papers, presentations, and comments eliminate the opportunity for meaningful discussion, the results are dispiriting for everyone.

Whatever form a session takes, we propose that all papers given at the OAH Annual Meeting  adhere to the "words per minute" formula outlined below. It tracks most speakers as reading 100 words comfortably in 1 minute. If this seems minuscule, please consider that it accommodates "asides" commonly made as many speakers present their papers, asides that also take time. Speakers do read at different rates, but experience suggests most speakers and listeners find this rate comfortable.

The formula is simple:

10-minute papers = 1000 words
12-minute papers = 1200 words
15-minute papers = 1500 words
20-minute papers = 2000 words
25-minute papers = 2500 words

Speakers and session chairs will be informed of the time allotted for each paper or comment, so the number of words suggested for each paper or comment will be clear to everyone.

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.

2017 OAH Annual Meeting Program Committee