Organization of American Historians (OAH) Annual Meeting

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January 24, 2014 - 10:00 pm CFP Deadline

Organization of American Historians (OAH) 2015 Annual Meeting

2015 OAH Call for Proposals

“Taboos” 

St. Louis Arch

St. Louis, Missouri | April 16-19, 2015
America's Center and Renaissance St. Louis Grand

Proposals will be accepted between December 2, 2013 and January 24, 2014. 

Click here to submit your proposal

Link for submission below

During recent decades, historians have approached history from a wide range of perspectives and developed innovative methodologies that have opened up new fields of historical inquiry and understanding. In all fields of history, however, certain topics remain taboo. The courage to challenge such taboos, to offer fresh interpretations and to ask original kinds of questions marks the historical work that most inspires us and often signals important turns in historiographical approach. In the judgment of the program committee members, challenging taboos does not reduce the significance of familiar topics, but deepens and enriches their meaning by enlivening the conversation they inspire.

In that spirit, we invite proposals that critically and directly probe unexamined areas of history. We welcome submissions that identify themes or elements in history that have been muted or avoided over time because of concerns rooted in social, political, or cultural taboos; language barriers; or for other reasons. What explains our reluctance to place certain topics under critical examination, and what do we miss when we avoid subjects that have come to be regarded as taboo? How is our understanding of seemingly familiar histories complicated, enriched or transformed when we address issues that have been silenced or avoided? What taboos have been broken in the past, what silences remain, and what new orthodoxies have emerged over time? Are there topics we do not address because we believe that we will be penalized in some way for doing so? Conversely, are there taboos that we should continue to respect and defend?

Recognizing the rich diversity of subject matters and perspectives in American history, the program committee encourages submissions that reevaluate and stretch the bounds of conventional narratives in the broad range of fields in which we work. We welcome conversations that explore taboo topics across institutions, professional levels, and about the profession as a whole.

We welcome participation by historians at all levels of their career, regardless of institutional affiliation. In particular, we encourage history educators who work in the media, government, film, museums, and other occupations outside of the academy to participate in the annual meeting. Scholars residing outside the United States and working primarily in languages other than English are valued members of the community of American historians, and we urge them to submit proposals. In short, we encourage the continued development of an ever-broader umbrella of historical thought, including the reexamination of orthodox paradigms, the practice of history outside the academy, and the inclusion of perspectives on American history offered by scholars working outside the United States. Accepting the prospect of controversy, we welcome considerations of the question: Do historians who depart from familiar academic practice and purposefully direct their work to public audiences thereby venture into the taboo territory of popularization?

The program committee hopes for a wide variety of forms of conversation at the 2015 Annual Meeting. We welcome teaching sessions, particularly those involving the audience as active participants or those that reflect collaborative partnerships among history educators at all levels.

Multimedia approaches that encourage greater audience participation, as well as proposals for workshops and round table discussions that harvest the audience's experiences and insights, are particularly welcome. We prefer to receive proposals for complete sessions but will also consider a small number of individual paper proposals.

The program should reflect the full diversity of OAH membership both in the United States and abroad. Wherever possible, panel proposals should include presenters of both sexes and members of ethnic and racial minorities. Panels should also represent a range of historians and history professions wherever they are employed and at all levels of seniority in the profession. We welcome debate on challenging and controversial issues.

Important Notes about Submitting a Proposal for the 2015 Annual Meeting 

Please read all of the following information before submitting your proposal.

Registration and Membership Requirements
All participants, whether solicited or not, are required to register for the Annual Meeting. Participants who specialize in American history and support themselves as American historians are also required to be members of the OAH. Participants representing other disciplines are not required to be members of the OAH.

Repeat Participation
OAH policy prohibits individuals from participating in two consecutive annual meetings in the same role and limits individuals to appearing only once on the program in a given year. If you have questions about this policy, e-mail the OAH meetings department.

Submission Procedure
Complete session proposals include a chair, participants, and, if applicable, a commentator (chairs may double as commentators, and commentators may be omitted if the audience is to serve in that role). The Program Committee encourages alternative formats that maximize audience participation, such as sessions with no formal comment.

All Proposals Must Include the Following Information

  • a complete mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, and affiliation for each participant
  • an abstract of no more than 500 words for the session as a whole
  • a prospectus of no more than 250 words for each paper presentation
  • a brief 100 word synopsis of all non-paper presentations to be included in the print program upon acceptance
  • a biography of no more than 500 words for each participant

Available Session Types

  • 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.
  • Exhibit or Poster Session: Exhibit or poster sessions include several presenters and their posters or other visual presentations of their scholarship. Posters are displayed in a meeting room, and attendees are invited to attend the session during certain hours to discuss the scholarship with the presenters. The posters may be available at all times during a convention, depending on the layout of the venue. Poster sessions have one or more panelists and no chair or commentator.
  • 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.
  • Gerstle-style: Papers written by senior scholars are offered online three weeks prior to the convention and then discussed in detail during the meeting. These sessions include a chair, one paper presenter, and one or more commentators.
  • 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.
  • Paper Session: Paper sessions are the traditional session format. These sessions include a chair, one or two commentators, and two, three, or four paper presentations. A single paper can have one or more presenters.
  • Round Table Discussion: Round table 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.
  • 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 will generally try to place single papers together to form a traditional paper session. Single papers include one more presenters and no chair or comment.
  • 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.
  • Workshop: A workshop is a training session where the presenters work directly with participants to teach them a skill or concept. Workshops are usually small, so the group can participate in the learning and interact with the presenters. These sessions often have one or two chairs.

Submissions will be accepted between December 2, 2013 and January 24, 2014

2015 OAH Annual Meeting Program Committee

  • Lincoln Bramwell (Cochair), USDA Forest Service
  • Andrea Geiger (Cochair), Simon Fraser University
  • William Bauer, University of Nevada
  • Cheryll Ann Cody, Houston Community College - West Loop Campus
  • Lilia Fernandez, The Ohio State University
  • Beverly Gage, Yale University
  • Peter C. Mancall, University of Southern California
  • Debra Michlewitz, Townsend Harris High School at Queens College and Master Teacher/Coordinator, Gilder Lehrman Institute
  • Donna Murch, Rutgers University
  • John Kuo Wei Tchen, New York University