2021 OAH Annual Meeting

2021 OAH Annual Meeting | Conference on American History
Pathways to Democracy

Decisions will be announced early June

At this long portal moment, our role as historians serving public needs has never been more important. Since the beginning of American history, some residents of the United States have thought of themselves as living in a “democracy,” even when vast numbers of their fellow residents were excluded from voting and full citizenship by virtue of race, gender, or lack of property. Yet, the influences from classical Greece to Haudenosaunee as expressed in the founding documents of the nation often inspired those left out of full citizenship to fight for rights that would allow them to claim the power to be full members of the civic society. In addition, discussions of modern democracy often disavow how it was built on systems of inequality and extraction: settler colonialism, indigenous dispossession, slavery, imperialism.

In our own times, it is clear that democratic principles need to be living and to be protected, and the quest for civil and human rights never can be taken for granted. How has democratic practice informed American politics and culture, including the ways historians have written about the changing contours of democracy? How have the boundaries of full citizenship been reshaped by social movements and political transformation, at national, regional and local levels? What responsibility do we have as historians to inform public debate about democracy and citizenship in our teaching, research, publications, and exhibitions? How might we reimagine and reorganize our colleges and universities to respond to the immanent cascading crises of climate justice, for example, in participatory democratic ways? In the aftermath of the 2020 Presidential election and the COVID-19 pandemic, has civic engagement by historians been renewed or diminished? The 2021 OAH Annual Meeting will address the theme of “pathways to democracy” in our past and present.


Each spring, the Organization of American Historians brings together up to 2,000 of your closest peers to explore, connect, and learn at the largest conference for American historians in the nation!

The conference highlights the latests trends, perspectives and scholarship with over 190 sessions, workshops, and discussions by some of the most nationally renowned speakers and emerging scholars. It offers you an opportunity to network with colleagues at various free events and introduces you to publishers, research and teaching resource providers, associations, and agencies.

We welcome all practitioners of American history to atend the 2021 OAH Annual Meeting | Conference on American History!

Program Committee

  • Cochair: Natalia Molina, University of Southern California, 
  • Cochair: Jack Tchen, Rutgers University-Newark
  • Elizabeth Ellis, New York University, Department of History
  • Virginia Espino, UCLA NTT, Chicano Studies, filmmaker & public historian
  • Max Krochmal, Texas Christian University, 
  • Jessica Lovaas, Harvest Collegiate HS, New York City
  • Bethany Moreton, Dartmouth University, Department of History
  • Kate Masur, Northwestern University, Department of History
  • Jennifer Scott, Director/Curator, Jane Addams Hull House Museum
  • Christopher West, Social Sciences, Pasadena City College

Local Resource Committee

  • Cochair: Kathleen Belew, University of Chicago
  • Cochair: Geraldo Cadava, Northwestern University
  • Fernando Diaz, Editor and Publisher, The Chicago Reporter
  • Kate Masur, Northwestern University, Department of History 
  • Robert Morrissey, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Liesl Olson, Newberry Library, “Chicago Studies Program”
  • Antonio Ramirez, Elgin Community College
  • Jaclyn Rodriguez, Benito Juarez
  • Elizabeth Todd-Breland, University of Illinois, Chicago


April 15 to April 18, 2021

Breakout sessions:
Thursday, April 15 to Saturday, April 17, 2021

Workshops and Half Day Tours:
Sunday, April 18


301 E North Water St,
Chicago, IL 60611


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