Back in March 2020, with events dropping like flies from university calendars everywhere in the face of the global pandemic, we at OxEARS decided to enter the brave new world of remote seminar participation. We hope it will not seem an exaggeration to say that our move online has been a roaring success. With the opportunity to welcome experts not just from Oxford, not just from the UK, but from all around the world, the seminar has gained a new lease of life as a forum for scholarly exchange. Going into the academic year 2020-21, therefore, we will be continuing with this approach amidst the ongoing uncertainty about the safety of face-to-face meetings. Although it is a shame not to be able to invite our presenters and guests to the Turf Tavern or the King’s Arms after a meeting, the advantage of being joined by participants in London, Edinburgh, Turin, or Charlottesville makes a pint seem a small price to pay.
The conversation around racial justice in the historical profession, the academy, and society at large is not a new conversation, but it is one that many of us had been tuning out until the events of this summer, especially in privileged institutions like the University of Oxford. In an email sent out to subscribers in June, we at OxEARS recognized our poor record on racial diversity among speakers, and since then, we have begun to put in the work necessary to make the seminar a more welcoming space for scholars of colour. One of the steps we have taken is to personally invite a small group of speakers to join the programme for this year, with a particular focus on scholars from underrepresented groups. We have also had to rearrange some presentations from speakers who were not able to join us in the academic year 2019-20 due to COVID-19.
Nonetheless, one of the special aspects of our seminar has been that it does not rely on an insiders’ network to find speakers. Every year, we have put out a call for papers, which has allowed scholars previously unknown to us to find us, share their work, and enrich our community. This year will be no different.
We therefore invite scholars whose work is on the early American republic – loosely defined as the period 1776-1861 – to submit proposals to present at this year’s seminar series. The seminar has no specific focus beyond this chronological bracket, and we would be glad to hear from historians, economic historians, literary scholars, political scientists, and practitioners in a variety of other academic fields. The specific mission of OxEARS is to provide a platform for graduate students and early career researchers, so we especially welcome submissions from scholars who find themselves between the milestones of beginning postgraduate study and publishing a first book. We have also, on occasion, accepted proposals from more senior academics.
Most importantly, we are committed to sharing our platform with members of underrepresented groups, including women, LGBTQ individuals, and people of colour. We strongly encourage members of those groups to submit proposals.
Submissions should consist of a paper title, a 250-word abstract of the proposed paper, and a 100-word bio. We are open to pre-circulated chapters and conference-style presentations – proposals should indicate which format the presenter would prefer. Presenters should bear in mind that OxEARS meets on Wednesdays at 4.30pm GMT/BST (usually 11.30am EST/EDT). The available speaking slots for 2020-21 are:
- October 21
- December 2
- February 10
- February 24
- May 19
- June 2
- June 16
Presenters should indicate which slot(s) might work for them.
The deadline for proposals will be Monday 14 September 2020 at 5pm BST. Submissions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone who submits a proposal will be notified within two weeks as to whether their proposal has been accepted.