CFP: Extended Deadline for Virginia Tech Graduate History Conference

Jonathan MacDonald's picture
Call for Papers
February 1, 2017
Virginia, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, European History / Studies, Historic Preservation, Public History, Social History / Studies
Call for Papers

The History Graduate Student Association at Virginia Tech invites proposals for papers to be presented at the 20th Annual Brian Bertoti Innovative Perspectives in History Graduate Conference. This interdisciplinary conference will be held at the Virginia Tech Squires Student Center in Blacksburg, VA on March 17-18, 2017.

The extended deadline for paper proposals is Wednesday, Febrarury 1, 2017Please submit a one-page abstract and a short vita to: Jonathan MacDonald at


Our conference is an opportunity to share graduate research projects in a supportive, professional environment, and a chance to network with your future colleagues. Our conference values interdisciplinary approaches to the past, and we invite proposals from historians and graduate students in related disciplines whose work represents “innovative perspectives in history.” Papers on any aspect of history, time period, or world region are welcome; this year we especially want to encourage proposals from graduate students with an interest in material culture and public history.

Each year, HGSA acknowledges the best paper presented at the conference with the Brian Bertoti Award for Outstanding Historical Scholarship. To be considered for this award, participants must submit their paper at presentation length (roughly 10 pages) to the Awards Committee by February 27, 2017. The paper selected for the best paper prize will represent exemplary scholarship, innovative methods, and unique perspectives in the historical discipline.

Conference Speakers

Jackson Lears, the Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of History at Rutgers University, will deliver the keynote address Friday evening following the conference welcome reception. Dr. Lears is one of the most strikingly original voices in American cultural and intellectual history. His most recent book, Rebirth of A Nation: the Making of Modern America, 1877-1920 (Harper Perennial, 2009) was called one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The tentative title of Dr. Lears talk is “Beyond Creative Destruction: Animal Spirits and the Emotional History of Capitalism.”

Jeffrey Reznick, the Chief of the History of Medicine Division at the National Library of Medicine, will open the conference Friday afternoon with a public history talk informed by his years of service in the national nonprofit sector. Dr. Reznick has had an extensive and accomplished career in the intersection of the public humanities and medical history at numerous institutions, including the NLM, the American Occupational Therapy Foundation, and the National Museum of Health and Medicine. Dr. Reznick publishes widely as both academic historian and an expert in the public humanities.

Wendy Woloson, Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University–Camden, will be our Saturday lunch speaker. Dr. Woloson’s research interests include the history of consumer culture, material culture, and underground economies. She is the co-editor of the recently published collection Capitalism by Gaslight: Illuminating the Economy of 19th-Century America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015). Dr. Woloson worked for over a decade as the Curator of Printed Books at the Library Company of Philadelphia and has consulted on numerous digital archives projects. Her lunch presentation, “Talking Crap: What We Can Learn from Cheap Goods,” will explore the surprisingly long history of poorly-made, shoddy, disposable products and what they can tell us about the material, social, and emotional lives of Americans through time.


For more information about the conference, speakers, or schedule please visit the conference website at:

Contact Info: 


Jonathan MacDonald
Virginia Tech
History Graduate Student Association, President

Contact Email: