Call for Papers

Creating the Past and Its Futures: Historians at Work

The Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association

108th Annual Meeting, August 06th08th 2015

Sacramento, California

Deadline for Submissions: January 15, 2015

Research, teaching, writing, and public outreach are interconnected components of the historical enterprise. If the past does not change, the way we share it does. As novel strategies for locating, analyzing, interpreting, and presenting the past allow us to imagine anew its future, this dynamism continues. Innovative approaches to identity, society, economy, science, and the state have invigorated scholarly and public engagement in historical questions; while new media and the digital humanities have created new venues for historians to share their stories. Meanwhile, as more diverse individuals and groups enter the profession, we are invited to reconsider not just what we think but also how we convey ideas to others who may not share our basic assumptions. As scholars and educators, we gather to exchange work and explore how to engage specialists, generalists, students and the public.

The program committee solicits panel proposals and individual submissions encompassing new research, pedagogy, research methods, public history, and civic engagement. We invite proposals from all walks and developmental stages of the historical profession and related disciplinary and disciplinary fields. We encourage those proposing panels to remember that conversations are more interesting when they include people who represent diverse racial, ethnic, and gender identities, sexual orientations, and dis/abilities.

While we welcome traditional sessions of research papers amplified by learned commentary, we also encourage individuals and groups to consider other presentation formats. We hope that by expanding to new session types and being mindful that academics, like our students, acquire information in different ways, we can enrich conversation among all members of the historical profession.

Session Types

All sessions are 90 minutes in length. In all sessions, regardless of format 15 minutes should be reserved for discussion with the audience.

Paper Session
The traditional session format at the Pacific Coast Branch meeting and most other historical conferences. This format includes introductions by a chair, three papers, each no longer than 20 minutes, and comments either by the chair or by another commentator.
Panel Discussion
In a panel discussion, several people discuss a single topic, such as an important new work or the work of a distinguished scholar. Each panelist speaks on a distinct topic relating to the session theme. Each panel discussion is moderated by a chair. Three to five panelists participate in the discussion, and there is no commentator.
Round Table Discussion
In a round table discussion, a group of experts discuss a single topic. No distinct topic is assigned to each participants. Each round table discussion is moderated by a chair. Three to five panelists participate in the discussion, and there is no commentator.
In a workshop, presenters work directly with participants to teach them a skill or concept. Workshops are usually small, so the group can participate in the learning and interact with the presenters.
Interactive Short Paper Session
The interactive short paper session is a larger group of very short presentations summarizing research or studies in process in a particular field. It provides the audience with rapid and intensive overview of research and also allows for more in-depth discussion among presenters and the audience. Interactive Short Paper Sessions should have 8–12 presenters each, who talk for no more than 5 minutes and show no more than 10 images/slides. A 30–45 minute interactive discussion among presenters and the audience should follow. Proposals should include an abstract from each presenter and should be presented during the session.
Individual Papers
Scholars who would like to present at the meeting are welcome to propose individual papers drawn from their research. The Program Committee will generally try to place three individual papers together to form a traditional paper session. Scholars proposing individual papers do not need to identify a chair or commentator.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

People who attend the Pacific Coast Branch meeting come from a wide range of backgrounds and have different experiences and learning styles. Therefore, presenters should use plain English and work to make their presentations accessible to all audience members.

In the spirit of offering new ways of thinking about how we present history and accommodating a wide range of attendees, the Pacific Coast Branch urges presenters to follow these guidelines:

  • Bring a few print copies of their papers for audience members who would like to follow along, including one large–print. (17-pt. or larger) of their presentations and handouts. (The following disclaimer can be included with the presenter’s name and contact information: “Please do not distribute without the expressed permission of the author.”)
  • Less is more! Reading at a slower pace and not trying to cram too much in will accommodate everyone from non–native speakers of English to captioners and sign language interpreters to people new to you and your ideas. Remember that listening to a talk is different than reading a book.
  • Avoid using jargon.
  • Spell proper names and uncommon terms.
  • Provide description of key elements of visual images, charts and video/DVDs,

NOTE that while incorporating access features will reduce your presentation time, practices such as these open up new ways of thinking, presenting, and ultimately they will promote conversations.

Last but not least: to accommodate attendees with chemical sensitivities (and those who don’t love your perfume/cologne/hairspray as much as you do) please avoid all scented products while at the conference.

Submission Guidelines

All submissions should be sent by email, with attachments in Word or RTF format; please writeProposed PCB Session (or Paper)” in the subject line.

When submitting a panel proposal:
  • include an abstract that outlines the panel’s theme
  • designate one panelist as contact person
  • include all contact information for each panelists and a short biography of each person
Each paper proposal, whether individual or part of a panel, should include, for each participant:
  • one–page abstract
  • one–page c.v.
  • address, phone number, and email.

The Program Committee assumes all members of proposed panels have agreed to participate. The deadline for submissions is Thursday, January 15, 2014.

Please email submissions to both program chairs:
David Torres–Rouff
University of California, Merced
John Williams
Colorado College

Please direct questions to the program committee co–chairs, to Anne Hyde, Colorado College, President of the Pacific Coast Branch (, or to Kevin Leonard, Executive Director (