Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Historiann on Conference Themes

The theme of the 2014 annual meeting of the American Historical Association is "Disagreement, Debate, Discussion."  The theme of the 2014 annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians is "Crossing Borders."  What do these conference themes mean?  Are they useful?  Historiann weighs in:

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about conference themes, specifically organizing themes for some of the really big conferences like the AHA, the OAH, the Berks, etc., as opposed to smaller conferences focused on more specific subfields. He wondered why historians bother with coming up with themes, when the themes tend to be so broad that pretty much anyone with a brain can figure out a way of making their research fit the chosen theme, which ends up making the conference about everything and no specific theme in the end

As is the case with all of Historiann's posts, the comments are worth reading.