Now is the time of year that historians and history graduate students begin planning to attend the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association. The 2012 meeting, which meets in Chicago January 5th - 8th, will be the 126th. Also meeting in Chicago at the same time will be several dozen affiliated societies. Altogether, this cavalcade of history will include 257 sessions of the AHA proper, countless sessions of the affiliated societies, over 1500 scholars presenting their work, and who knows how many search committees and interviewees. I would estimate the Annual Meeting will attract over well over 2000 people.
I was excited by this year's theme, Communities and Networks, as it fits so closely with my own research interests. But I've just gone through the preliminary program and while I did find many interesting panels, I didn't find many that sounded like what I do. Translation - no papers on Scottish emigrants (heck, there aren't even any papers about Scotland that I could see*) or even emigrants from the Britain. But, of course, if someone were doing a paper on British emigrant networks in the late 18th century, I would have totally been upset and felt like they were encroaching on my territory; which is completely nuts because there are more than enough 18th century emigrants to go around.
I did find four panels relating to networks, identity or migration that might be of interest to readers of this blog; but with so many sessions, I probably missed some. There are also several panels about trade networks and communities, World History, digital history and teaching.
- Rethinking the Model Migrant: New Perspectives on Jewish Migration (Session 18)
- Avenues of Influence: Discourse Networks in Britain During the Age of Revolution (Session 20)
- Alien Natives?: Internal Migration and Dilemmas of Belonging in the United States and Europe (Session 123)
- Marriage, Communities and Boundaries: French and Indians in the Illinois Country (Session 240)
The AHA is an experience not to be missed. I've gone three or four times and have always learned something and met interesting people.
*Update 30 Oct: There is one Scottish Session: Scottish Engagement with the British Empire in the Twentieth Century : From Celebration to Critique? (National History Center Session 5). with thanks to @BritishScholar