George Mason University had a visible and engaged presence at the 128th American Historical Society Annual Meeting, which was held in Washington, D.C. on January 2-5, 2014. This year’s theme was “Disagreement, Debate, Discussion.”
During Thursday morning’s event entitled “How to Get Started with Digital History,” Professor Sharon Leon, Director of Public Projects at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and one of eighteen representatives from GMU, led sessions related to project management. Other presenters included Jennifer Serventi of the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities and “Tenured Radical” blogger Claire Potter.
One subject of debate was the continuing discussion regarding whether the practice of presenters reading from a paper was still appropriate and useful. Some attendees preferred a presentation format which encourages audience involvement. More than ten years after GMU’s Roy Rosenzweig advocated for more audience engagement, conversation among organizers and attendees was still ongoing at the 2014 meeting.
In keeping with the organization’s commitment to the digital world, the AHA provided a meeting app. Participants used the app to find their way around the large conference, which was spread out on multiple floors and three hotels, find out about exhibitors, plan their schedules, and get information about the local area.
Serving the AHA through my temporary position as Local Arrangements Committee (LAC) Assistant/Hourly Worker Supervisor gave me the opportunity to enjoy the meeting from the perspective of one involved. LAC workers were out on the front lines, keeping the signage updated, interacting with participants, and making sure the sessions ran as smoothly as possible. Many thanks to Benjamin Hurwitz, Zayna Bizri, Daniel Curry, Jacqueline Beatty, Timothy Bisulca, and Steven Harris-Scott for helping make the meeting a success.
Should you want to be involved in the 129th Annual Meeting, it will be held in New York City, January 2 – 5, 2015. The call for proposals is up on the AHA website. Deadline is February 15, 2014, so get involved quickly! Details are posted on the AHA website.
- Blyth McManus, 1/7/14