The 2023 OAH Conference on American History
"Confronting Crises: History for Uncertain Times" -- A Hybrid Event
Submissions will be accepted from December 1, 2021 to February 1, 2022
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 faced in recent years. They point to the possibility that we 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, weall 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.
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Organization of American Historians
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