2014 Annual Meeting Session Logistics

2014 MeetingTo: All participants in sessions at the American Historical Association annual meeting, Washington, D.C., Jan. 2–5, 2014

Thank you for your help in putting together the Program for the 2014 meeting of the American Historical Association.  I take this opportunity to bring to your attention certain guidelines for the conduct of individual sessions.  These guidelines are designed to eliminate or minimize problems that have reduced the effectiveness of sessions at past meetings.  The person chairing each session is primarily responsible for ensuring that the sessions run efficiently and effectively in accordance with the guidelines below, but the chair can do so only with the cooperation of all the participants in the session.  On behalf of the Program Committee, I ask your cooperation in observing these guidelines:

I. Time Limits

The usual AHA practice is:

  1. Most sessions last for two hours. Sessions on Friday morning last for 90 minutes. Chairs should be sure to leave at least 30 minutes for discussion.  It is important that verbose participants do not cut into the time of other participants or into the time reserved for floor discussion.
  2. The chair should be concise in introducing the speakers in the session. If the chair does not know enough about some of the speakers or commentators to introduce them effectively, he or she should write to the participants and request curriculum vitae.
  3. Presenters and commentators should make sure that their presentations can be done in the time allotted. Many speakers do mistakenly think they can deliver a presentation more rapidly than others. Presenters should practice and time their presentations in advance. The chair should be very firm on this point.
  4. It is important that all sessions end on time—3:00 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. for sessions on Thursday, January 2nd; 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. for sessions on Friday, January 3rd; 11:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. for sessions on Saturday, January 4th; and 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday, January 5th—particularly when the hotel staff has to come in to rearrange the room for a luncheon or other meeting to follow shortly. Chairs may wish to check with the AHA Headquarters staff to find out whether another meeting is scheduled to follow immediately in their respective rooms. Only when no other meeting is to follow may chairs without impropriety allow the discussion to continue for a few minutes beyond the announced time limit.

II. Deadlines 

All presenters must get copies of their papers or presentations to commentators and their chair by December 1.  A month's leeway is needed to give commentators sufficient time to do their jobs well, and thus this is a crucial deadline.  If an author fails to meet the deadline, the chair should immediately contact him or her to make sure that the paper is supplied at the earliest possible date.  Furthermore, if a paper comes in that obviously exceeds the time allotted to it, the chair should write the author at once and insist that a shorter version be prepared.

For poster sessions, general information can be found here.  AHA staff will provide additional information this fall on relevant deadlines and requirements.

III. Equipment

Session organizers were required to indicate if audiovisual equipment would be needed when submitting the session.  AHA staff will contact organizers in the fall to confirm a.v. orders.  At the meeting, if anything is missing or defective, please report it immediately to the AHA Headquarters Office.

As indicated by the Annual Meeting Guidelines, a.v. equipment cannot be ordered through the AHA after June 1. Presenters may order equipment directly from the hotel at their own expense.

IV. Last Minute Changes at the Meeting

If a participant is unexpectedly obliged to withdraw from the session for any reason, the chair should handle the problem or enlist the Program Committee chair's or co-chair's aid.  Changes received by October 15 will be included in the supplement to the Program distributed at the meeting. In addition, an announcement of the change should be made at the beginning of the session.

If you run into problems or have questions prior to the meeting, please write, call (202-544-2422, ext. 101) or e-mail me

Sharon K. Tune
Convention Director