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Thursday at OAH 2017

“On behalf of the Local Resources Committee for OAH 2017, welcome!” write co-chairs Mary Niall Mitchell and Rosanne Adderley. “You’ve arrived in New Orleans at the start of our festival season, when tourists from around the world arrive in New Orleans to fill up on music and food. In fact, this is the time of year when the city’s reputation as a place to party is most well deserved. But New Orleans is also a city that celebrates history, so visiting historians can expect to receive a warm welcome in the midst of all this activity.”

Image from the “Historians in Court” plenary.

The OAH was pleased to present “Historians in Court” as the opening plenary. Chaired by Kenneth W. Mack of Harvard University, the plenary featured Linda Gordon, New York University, Richard White, Stanford University, George Chauncey, Yale University, and Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Harvard University, discussing the ins and out of testifying in court as subject matter experts and providing courts with historical context upon which to base their decisions through amicus briefs. Both C-SPAN and the OAH recorded the session and once the videos are available to the public, announcements will be made on OAH social media.

Check out the tweets from this plenary session in Storify here.

Now in its fourth year, the OAH’s mentorship program connects graduate students, recent graduates, or those in the early stages of their career with established scholars to discuss their research and professional aspirations or simply to get acquainted. Eighteen mentors and twenty mentees are expected to participate during this year’s meeting.

“I participate not only because I’m happy to help younger scholars where I can, but also because it is so exciting for me to see the new approaches and topics they are undertaking, and to start to get to know the next generation of historians in my field. I have been so impressed with each person I’ve met, and feel grateful if I have helped them move forward in any way. It’s a tough time to be a young historian, but such an exciting time for the field, with so many excellent scholars joining us!”

–Mentor Cheryl Greenberg, Trinity College, who met with five mentees at last year’s meeting.

“I have been a mentor for the ‘Hey, I Know Your Work’ program for the last several years. It is always a highlight of the OAH meeting for me.  Having the chance to talk with a young scholar who is interested in my work but more important developing new and engaging directions for their own research is one of the reasons we all stay in the academic world. I look forward to my next such conversation in New Orleans.”

–Mentor James W. Fraser, New York University

“I was thrilled to see Prof. Patty Limerick’s name listed as one of the participants in the ‘Hey, I Know Your Work’ program. The program’s title exactly expresses my reaction—hey, I know her work—and I jumped at the chance to be able to meet her in person. For a junior scholar, this represents an enormous opportunity, and I am really grateful that it exists.”

–Lukas Rieppel, David and Michelle Ebersman Assistant Professor of History, Brown University

“I am very excited to participate in the OAH ‘Hey, I Know Your Work’ program. While conferences offer opportunities to approach scholars, it is not always easy when so many others are trying to do so as well. This program is giving me the opportunity to meet Dr. Jon Butler, whose work on religion is informing my own work, and discuss my work with him. This is truly a priceless opportunity and I am grateful to the leadership of OAH that helped to put this together.” 

–Idolina Hernandez, doctoral student and diversity fellow, Saint Louis University

The OAH Happy Hour Opening Night Reception gave attendees and exhibitors a chance to mingle over drinks and snacks. The hall was full as attendees explored recently published books and new digital humanities presentations. Immediately following the end of the opening reception, OAH attendees were invited to a special event at the Ogden.

Thursday night marked the opening of States of Incarceration: A National Dialogue of Local Histories at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, with free admission for OAH conference attendees, courtesy of the University of New Orleans history department. “States of Incarceration, a project of the Humanities Action Lab at the New School for Social Research, is the first national traveling multi-media exhibition and coordinated public dialogue to explore the history and future of mass incarceration in the United States,” local resource co-chairs Mitchell and Adderley explain. “Students at the University of New Orleans contributed work to this traveling exhibition alongside their counterparts at 19 other partner universities. The opening at the Ogden is an opportunity for OAH attendees and the local community to see how students and faculty from across the nation have addressed this ongoing social crisis. The exhibit’s arrival is especially significant in Louisiana, the state that leads the nation and the world in its rates of incarceration. For their contribution, UNO students focused on the history of the state penitentiary at Angola and engaged in a postcard exchange with men currently incarcerated there.”

Take part in the conversation! Use the meeting hashtag #OAH17 to engage with attendees in a wide variety of sessions.

Check out our blog coverage of New Orleans and OAH 2017: