Moving OxEARS into an online format in the spring of 2020 had its drawbacks. It was a wrench to know that we could not meet in person, talk further about papers over an informal drink after the seminar, or show visitors around our home city of Oxford. As it turned out, though, our year of online seminars also brought unexpected advantages that in many ways made up for the extra screen time. The move to Zoom allowed us to invite speakers and attract audiences who might never have been able to join us under different circumstances. Not only did the remote format facilitate greater engagement with the scholarly community in the United States, but it also made it easier for historians in different parts of the United Kingdom to learn about each other’s work. Despite the huge setbacks of the pandemic year, OxEARS 2020-21 provided twelve fun and intellectually fruitful seminars, and a bigger audience than ever before.
As we approach the 2021-22 academic year, the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis has not abated, and the safety of meeting in person may continue to vary across time and place as we struggle to control the variants. For this reason, OxEARS will continue in an online format for the coming academic year, with the option of a hybrid format where speakers would prefer it and where circumstances permit. Since travel is no longer a barrier, we will be able to welcome scholars from around the world to participate in the seminar.
We 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, art 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.
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 recently, especially in privileged institutions like the University of Oxford. In an email sent out to subscribers in June 2020, we at OxEARS recognized our poor record on racial diversity among speakers, and in the last year, we have begun to put in the work necessary to make the seminar a more welcoming space for scholars of colour. We are committed to sharing our platform with members of underrepresented groups, including women and nonbinary people, 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 both to pre-circulated chapters and to conference-style presentations – proposals should indicate which format the presenter would prefer. Presenters should bear in mind that OxEARS meets on Wednesdays at 4pm GMT/BST (usually 11am EST/EDT). The available speaking slots for 2021-22 are:
- October 20
- November 3
- November 17
- December 1
- February 9
- May 18
- June 1
- June 15
Presenters should indicate which slot(s) might work for them.
The deadline for proposals will be Monday 6 September 2021 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.