The Program Committee would like to encourage all AHA members to seriously consider the new session formats developed over the past two years. At this past annual meeting, many members of the committee heard great praise for the new formats, which invite extensive discussion and greater interaction among historians.
We particularly wish to emphasize the poster session, as it is our feeling that many members (including some of us on the Program Committee) do not yet entirely understand or appreciate this format. Those individuals with whom we talked universally praised the poster session. The posters encouraged extensive, focused discussions between presenters and individuals walking up to the posters. One senior scholar who presented a poster observed that, “The informal structure encourages genuine scholarly conversation, well beyond what the academic panel provides. I received some EXCELLENT suggestions for my work, and lots of valuable feedback.” We want to point out that the poster does not have to be a traditional poster on a board. Rather, many individuals brought their laptops and presented images and analysis on the screen (note that the AHA can provide a table or standing board and access to an electrical outlet, but cannot provide computer or audio-visual equipment). One presenter brought in the Game of Life that she used in her classroom. Individuals passing by could play the game, watch others, or simply ask questions. Posters may be as simple as a rolled poster that can be packed in your luggage, or a more elaborate combination of images, objects, teaching materials, and text.
The poster session environment allows presenters to interact with large numbers of people on issues related to research or teaching. We believe that this type of session is particularly suited to those using visual material or statistical analysis or those who wish to present on pedagogical issues. If you have questions or concerns regarding poster sessions, you may contact Pete Sigal, firstname.lastname@example.org or Liz Shesko, email@example.com.
While this e-mail is meant to focus particular attention on the poster sessions, we also want to emphasize our support for all of the other new formats. The members of the Program Committee believe that the roundtables have encouraged greater levels of interaction between panelists and audience members. The multi-session workshops have allowed meeting participants to gain further in-depth knowledge related to the latest research on one set of linked issues. The experimental sessions have encouraged greater creativity in format. The precirculated paper sessions have permitted more detailed analysis of each paper presented.
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