2023 OAH Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals: 

The 2023 OAH Conference on American History: "Confronting Crises: History for Uncertain Times"

In-person: March 30-April 2
Virtual Series: April 13-May 4

The submission system is now closed. Decisions wil be posted in May, 2022.

Visit the Call for Proposals: Collaboration Group to find session participants

We live in uncertain times. Authoritarian rule, border walls, immigration bans, children  in cages, police killings, a global pandemic, hate crimes, and global warming are just some of the crises we’ve faced in recent years. They point to the possibility that we’re living in a state of permanent crisis as the new normal. Or, maybe constant crises have always shaped the lives of all but the fraction of people whose social status has offered them comforts and reprieve? Perhaps the only difference now is that COVID-19 has made even the privileged feel vulnerable. If or when the pandemic recedes, we’ll all re-enter a world that will be different than the one we lived in on the eve of the shutdown. It is difficult to imagine, though, that the world to come will be rid of the precarity, instability, and inequities--in short, crises--that have plagued the past. 

Los Angeles, the site of the 2023 in-person conference, is the perfect setting for our conversation about crises and how we might overcome them together. A settler city, sited on Tongva territory, Los Angeles is today home to the largest urban Indian population. It is also home to some of the largest immigrant, Latinx, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the country. The city is being devastated by climate change. Yet it is also the site of a dynamic environmental justice movement. Los Angeles has always been a key site of Black activism. Yet Los Angeles authorities have worked to impede Black social, economic, and political progress, building the largest jail system in the United States. Local activists are now engaged in one of the nation’s most active prison abolition movements. As it has been for more than a century, Los Angeles represents both the American crisis and the site of unusual creativity for people trying to create a more just and equal society.

The OAH Program Committee invites both virtual and in-person proposals from historians who can help us understand the roots of the many crises we face today, and how history can offer ways of thinking to help us move beyond them. Virtual sessions should not be considered substitutes for in-person sessions. Rather, we encourage panel organizers to choose the digital platform because it is is necessary for experimentation, innovation, and expanded accessibility, and because it provides opportunities to reach out to audiences—K-12 teachers, public historians, adjunct faculty and community college instructors, those with limits on their ability to travel, and even a general public—who otherwise might not be able to join in the activities of the OAH Conference on American History. 

We also welcome proposals from all areas and eras of American and U.S. transnational history, broadly conceived, in order to encourage conversation across subfields. While we believe that the theme of “crisis” connects to virtually every subject historians study and teach - including our explicit invitation to address the history of the present - the committee does not expect all papers and sessions to adhere to the conference theme. The OAH Conference on American History will continue to be a site for wide-ranging conversation, a place to talk across subfields, to experiment with methods, topics, and presentation, and especially to learn from one another. We especially encourage proposals for panels, workshops, roundtables, and teaching sessions that transcend traditional disciplinary and geographic boundaries, explore new presentation formats, such as active audience participation, and engage with new and broader public audiences. 

As in the past, the program will aim to reflect the full diversity of the OAH membership in the United States and abroad. We especially hope to include public historians, archivists, curators, and independent scholars as well as those teaching at universities, colleges, community colleges, and secondary schools. Whenever possible, proposals should include presenters of different genders, different racial and ethnic backgrounds, and different levels of seniority in the profession. We prefer to receive proposals for complete sessions but will consider individual paper proposals as well.

The OAH Virtual Conference Series on American History is the online continuation of the in-person OAH Conference on American History in Los Angeles. The Virtual Conference Series begins two weeks after the live event offering weekly webinars, sessions, and workshops to virtual registrants. The Virtual Conference Series content is selected by the 2023 program committee to complement the in-person event with made-for-virtual programming and aims to provide the latest trends and scholarship to an extended audience via a more accessible medium. All recorded sessions from the in-person conference and virtual series will be available to registrants of both events.

Considerations: 

  • All session types will be considered for the Virtual Conference Series 
     
  • Paper presentations and lightning rounds will be presented as "pre-circulated sessions." These session types will be pre-recorded and made available to registrants before the live event. Participants will lead conversation on the presentation with audience members during the live event.
     
  • State of the Fields, Lightning Rounds, and panels with "show-me" content, like digital public history projects, teaching, documentary film discussions, are particularly popular in the virtual format

As a participant you will be asked to:

  • Present on a Thursday between April 13 and May 4
  • Use Zoom meetings or webinars
  • Agree to be recorded for the purpose of later viewing by registered attendees only

As a participant you may be asked to:

  • Present a pre-circulated session which includes pre-recording your presentation and taking part in live discussion during the series
  • Provide copies of supplemental materials (such as powerpoints or videos) for editing purposes if needed.

2023 Program Committee

  • Cochair: Keisha N. Blain, University of Pittsburgh
  • Cochair: Geraldo Cadava, Northwestern University
  • Cochair: Kelly Lytle-Hernández, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Kathleen Belew, University of Chicago
  • Tsekani Browne, Mt. San Antonio College
  • Julio Capó, Florida International University
  • Carly Goodman, Independent scholar
  • Monica Muñoz Martinez, University of Texas, Austin
  • Jean O'Brien, University of Minnesota
  • Carl Suddler, Emory University

PROPOSAL SUBMITTER RESPONSIBILITIES: Upon review of the submissions, the 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 OAH Conference on American History if any session participants failed to appear without prior notification.

Please ensure each participant reads important notes prior to submission.


Session Types

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

NEW: Lightning Rounds: 6-10 presenters and 1-2 chairs. Each participant is given 5-8 minutes to present an elevator pitch on their topic in quick succession (50 minutes). The chair(s) act as timekeeper and moderate 40 minutes of question and answer. Virtually this option is presented as a live webinar. Questions will be submitted
via a Q&A box. Questions will be submitted via a Q&A box. These sessions will be recorded.

Paper Presentation: (in-person only) 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.

Pre-circulated Paper Session: (Virtual Only) 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. Participants are asked to record their paper presentation as a group ahead of time. Registrants may access the recordings 2 weeks prior to the scheduled event. The scheduled live event consists of comment followed by Q&A and discussion between the commentator, participants, and attendees. Discussions are not recorded.

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. This is not a paper presentation. Virtually, this option will be presented as a live webinar. Questions will be submitted via a Q&A box. These sessions will be recorded.

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. This is not a paper presentation. Virtually this option is presented as a live webinar. Questions will be submitted via a Q&A box. These sessions will be recorded.

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. These in-person sessions will be recorded. Virtually, this option is presented as a live webinar. Questions will be submitted via a Q&A box. These sessions will be recorded.

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. Virtually, this option is presented as an interactive Zoom Meeting and will not be recorded.

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. Virtually, this option is presented as a live webinar. Questions will be submitted via a Q&A box. These sessions will be recorded.

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 or use the Call for Proposals: Collaboration Group to connect with other historians in your field to construct a full proposal for consideration.

Chat Seminar: (in-person only) 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.

Discussion Groups: (virtual only) Online 60-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. Participants will take part in discussion over Zoom Meetings. This type will not be recorded.

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. FILMS MUST BE CLOSED CAPTIONED to be accepted. Virtually, all films will be made available to registered attendees for at least one month following the live event. Presentations will take place as a live webinar. Questions will be submitted via a Q&A box. These sessions will be recorded.

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. Virtually, this option will be presented as a live webinar. Questions will be submitted via a Q&A box. Paper will be posted for registrants 2 weeks in advance. These sessions will be recorded.