OAH Home Donate to OAH Join the OAH

Meetings & Events


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


Thursday, April 12, 4:45 pm–6:15 pm

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

Vicki Ruiz, University of California, Irvine
Waldo E. Martin Jr., University of California, Berkeley
T. 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.

Friday, April 13, 8:00 pm–9:30 pm

Evening Plenary Session: Confederate Monuments: What to Do?

Chair: Edward L. Ayers, Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities President Emeritus University of Richmond
John Kuo Wei Tchen, New York University
Christy Coleman, American Civil War Museum, CEO
Turkiya Lowe, National Park Service, Chief Historian

What are the roles and responsibilities of historians after Charlottesville? After Charleston? After Ferguson? Recent events tragically underscore the need for a revitalized democratic citizenry to address and redress our nation’s enduring wounds of racial, social, and political inequity. Professional scholars long have shaped and influenced the language and concepts through which we think about the past and, thus, imagine our individual and collective futures. The violence surrounding the removal of Confederate monuments suggests that we are not merely fighting old battles over the presence and interpretation of a contested past, but also struggling to envision, articulate and realize new accounts of democratic relationships in an environment of unprecedented social heterogeneity. How can and will historians catalyze and join constructive conversations about our past in the midst of deep partisan divides, confirmation bias, and resurgent racism?

Join OAH President Ed Ayers in a town-hall style conversation about how historians participating in the debates over Confederate monuments and other divisive representations of the past can contribute to a firm foundation for trust in our shared future.

*Image: AgnosticPreachersKid, “Robert Edward Lee Sculpture Covered in Tarp,” Aug. 28, 2017, Wikimedia Commons

Back to top

OAH Business Meeting

Saturday, April 14, 4:45 pm–5:15 pm
All OAH members are encouraged to attend and participate in the governance of the organization. Proposals for action shall be made in the form of ordinary motions or resolutions. All such motions or resolutions must be signed by fifty members in good standing and submitted at least forty-five days
prior to the meeting to OAH Executive Director Katherine M. Finley and OAH Parliamentarian Jonathan Lurie, c/o OAH, 112 North Bryan Ave., Bloomington, IN 47408. Should a motion or resolution be submitted in this manner, OAH membership will be notified via electronic communication at least 30 days in
advance of the Annual Business Meeting. The OAH Business Meeting will immediately precede the Presidential Address.

Back to top

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
Back to top

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.

Back to top 

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.

Back to top

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.

Back to top

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 - Historians have long noted the whiteness of queer history and the degree to which whiteness has itself often gone unremarked, making it the de facto norm in scholarship about queer life in the United States. In recent years, however, scholars have produced groundbreaking work on queer people of color and centered intersectional analyses. This panel is a state-of-the-field roundtable that focuses on how different racial categories—African American, Asian American, Latinx, Native American, white—inform and transform queer history, and in turn how queerness is (or is not) incorporated into analyses of racial identity.
  • Chicana/o Movement History - This spring marks the fiftieth anniversary of many critical Chicana/o Movement actions including the East L.A. “Blowouts.” In this roundtable, the panelists will reconsider 1968 alongside the rise of Chicana/o Movement historiography. Since the first calls for raza studies, scholars have worked diligently to recuperate these histories and build a body of scholarship that explains that significance of Chicana/o experience. This panel will assess this work, its revelations about the movement, the emergence of its foundational scholars who have documented and theorized its relevance, and the future of the field.
  • American Indian History - This state of the field panel will investigate new scholarship and debates in the field of American Indian history. A panel of leading historians in the field will lead this round table discussion about the methodologies, theories, and historiography that define the field. Scholars will also feature an analysis of their own scholarship and how it advances the field of American Indian history. A talented pool of historians will guide discussion about a range of topics, periods, and schools of thought.
  • Abolition and Emancipation - There has been a proliferation of new work on the movement to abolish slavery in the United States, the process of the emancipation of enslaved people, and the meaning of those changes through the Civil War and beyond. This panel brings together leading scholars to consider these new historiographies, their significance for understanding the history of the nineteenth century, and their lessons for our contemporary politics.
  • Western History - This state of the field roundtable will consider the past, present and future of the field of Western history. The panelists will discuss, among other topics, recent trends in indigenous history, memory studies and public history, the history of the Southwest and other borderlands, Chicano/a history, and environmental history. They will explore a region whose shifting landscapes – both in terms of historiography and book publishing – seem to have placed it, once again, at the center of a number of important disciplinary debates.
  • Nineteenth-Century Women’s Rights - This roundtable reconsiders the narrative of women's rights across the nineteenth century. The common “struggle-for-suffrage” narratives dominated the discussions of Clinton’s presidential candidacy and will only be amplified as we approach the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment. Meanwhile, within the profession, so much stellar work has come out demolishing such a narrative. But little of it has come together to produce a new synthesis. One—or several—that can begin to edge out suffrage-centric narratives in popular discourse, college surveys, and historiographical discussions.
Back to top

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.

Back to top