The Organization of American Historians recently received a two-year, $150,000 grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation to increase the reach of the 2018 OAH Annual Meeting to the public, teachers, students, and scholars interested in American history. Presently, the meeting reaches primarily those teaching history within the university or college setting and is limited to those who attend the meeting in person. The 2018 meeting entitled “Forms of History” will be held April 12-14, in Sacramento, California.
The OAH Amplified Initiative will broaden the OAH’s audience and continue OAH’s conversation beyond the walls of the in-person conference meeting. The Mellon grant will allow the work presented at the OAH 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. Digital audio recordings of the sessions at the 2018 Annual Meeting will provide the foundation for this amplified meeting initiative. 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 the work of historians both inside the historical community and beyond it. According to OAH President Elect Edward Ayers, “This initiative will help with OAH’s effort to build community and share ideas between our members and those studying, teaching, and interpreting U.S. history. In short, this will allow the OAH to imagine a new kind of academic annual meeting and perhaps, serve as an example for other academic associations.”