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From the AHA Activities column in the January 2013 issue of Perspectives on History

Four Myths about Getting Your Annual Meeting Proposal Accepted

Debbie Ann Doyle, January 2013

Over the years, we have realized that there are some myths circulating about what the Program Committee looks for in a session proposal. Here are a few common misunderstandings.

Myth: Your proposal will be accepted if you line up a famous chair.

The Program Committee is much more interested in the quality of the proposal and the information that will be presented at the session than the name recognition of the chair. This is particularly true for sessions where there is a separate commentator and the chair will merely introduce the participants.

Myth: The proposal must always relate to the theme.

The Program Committee welcomes proposals unrelated to the theme of the meeting. (A title with a truly terrible pun on the theme may elicit appreciative groans from the committee.)

Myth: The Program Committee is not interested in proposals in certain fields.

The annual meeting covers all historical fields. Surveys reveal that most AHA members consider their particular interest underrepresented on the program. The Program Committee receives more proposals in some fields than others and seeks to balance program coverage as much as possible. Acceptance rates are therefore higher in fields where the number of proposals is limited. Above all, the committee looks for proposals that feature the kind of cross-disciplinary conversation that is only possible at an umbrella meeting like ours.

Myth: An individual cannot appear on the program two years in a row.

The AHA eliminated this rule in 2008. We want to encourage our most engaged and active members to participate—every year if they like.
Interested in submitting a proposal? Details are available online.

The submission deadline for the 2014 annual meeting in Washington, D.C., is February 15, 2013.

Debbie Doyle is the AHA's coordinator, committees and meetings.