Below are frequently asked questions for preparing your proposal.

  1. Do I have to be a member to submit a proposal?
  2. Where can I connect with other members to collaborate on a session proposal?
  3. How many scholarly sessions may I participate in?
  4. What happens if my name appears on more than one scholarly proposal?
  5. What are professional development panels? Do they count toward a member’s one scholarly session?
  6. What are the responsibilities of session organizers and participants?
  7. What guidelines are in place for chairing or commenting on a session?
  8. What alternative formats will be accepted for the 2017 Annual Meeting?
  9. Who makes the decision to accept proposals?
  10. What criteria are used in reviewing and accepting proposals?
  11. How are individual paper proposals integrated into the program?
  12. What general tips help in putting together a session panel that gets accepted?
  13. When will I be notified whether my proposal was accepted?
  14. If my proposal is not accepted, can I still be involved in the annual meeting?
  15. If my proposal is not accepted, can I withdraw my membership?
  16. Whom should I contact if I have further questions?

1. Do I have to be a member to submit a proposal?

Yes, everyone who submits a proposal as the session organizer must be a current member of the ASA (or an affiliated international American studies association). Additionally, all participants listed in your proposal must likewise be current members of the ASA (or an affiliated international American studies association).

At the discretion of the executive director, waivers of the membership requirement may be granted for non-scholars (e.g., medical doctors, visual artists, activists, etc.) and scholars who work in disciplines other than the humanities and social sciences. The request for a waiver of membership must be made by the session organizer and must be submitted to the Office of the Executive Director by the February 1 membership deadline to participate in the session.

If you are a member of an affiliated international American studies association, you may contact the Office of the Executive Director by January 27th to receive a guest membership account that will allow you to log in and submit a proposal.

Read more about the benefits of membership in the ASA, including income-based annual dues.

back to top

2. Where can I connect with other members to collaborate on a session proposal?

The ASA website hosts working topics for collaboration and coordination among members. To read abstracts that have been posted for the upcoming annual meeting, visit the Collaborate page. To post an abstract that you'd like to share and develop with other members, select "submit a topic" on the Collaborate page. Please note: you will need to be logged into the site to submit your topic. 

back to top

3. How many scholarly sessions may I participate in?

You may participate in only one scholarly session on the program, no matter the role. The rationale behind this rule is to allow for as many members as possible to participate as presenters in the annual meeting. 

Scholarly sessions are distinguished from professional development sessions, which are organized by caucuses and committees. These panels are considered distinct from scholarly sessions. As such, a member may serve on one professional development panel and one scholarly panel.

Members may also appear on presidential sessions, or, at the discretion of the program committee, on sessions organized outside of the regular timeline of programming, e.g., to address emergent issues or conditions, or in relation to site-specific events.  Participation in these kinds of sessions are considered exempt from the usual appearance rules.

back to top

4. What happens if my name appears on more than one scholarly proposal?

Your proposals will be eliminated from consideration if your name appears on more than one scholarly proposal. As such, failure to comply with the "one scholarly proposal" rule will adversely impact other members listed on each proposal.

back to top

5. What are professional development panels? Do they count toward a member’s one scholarly session?

The National Council has charged caucuses and committees with organizing professional development panels. These panels are considered distinct from scholarly sessions.

In addition to one professional development panel, a caucus or standing committee may officially sponsor two scholarly sessions. These sponsored sessions are often a good way for members to become involved in the association, as caucuses and committees in particular may publish an open call for proposals before deciding on sponsored sessions.

back to top 

6. What are the responsibilities of session organizers and participants?

All participants share a professional responsibility to support the organization with their membership dues and conference registration fees.

Once accepted to the annual meeting program, each participant also has a professional and ethical obligation to appear, or locate suitable replacements in the event of an unavoidable withdraw. If participants who withdrawal do not communicate their absence or make alternative arrangements, they will be considered "no-shows," a designation that will make it difficult for the panelist to participate at future meetings.

Session organizers should inform their proposal’s participants of these requirements before submitting a proposal. The session organizer is also responsible for ensuring that their panelists promptly comply with these requirements.

back to top

7. What guidelines are in place for chairing or commenting on a session?

Every session proposal should be submitted with a chair. If a proposal is submitted “without” a pre-designated chair, that does not automatically disqualify it. Members who are not submitting individual proposals or do not appear on panel proposals may also indicate their willingness to act as chair or commentator on a session that may be constructed from individual proposal submissions.

The following guidelines apply to chairs and commentators:

  • You (or a fellow participant) may chair and comment on the same session, if your proposal is for a session type without traditional papers—for example, a workshop or dialogue.
  • However, if your proposal is for a traditional panel with papers, you may not chair or comment in addition to presenting your paper.
  • Lastly, if a panel has a commentator, he or she should not be the dissertation adviser of any member of the panel.

back to top

8. What alternative formats will be accepted for the 2017 Annual Meeting?

Drawing upon the conference theme of “Pedagogies of Dissent,” the 2017 Program Committee believes we cannot think about new, powerful connections between the academy and the world if we use only conventional academic forms. The Committee has proposed, therefore, several different formats that disrupt the conventional "three people reading papers" format. The Program Committee invites proposals in two broad categories of non-traditional formats that fall under: a) sessions with papers, and b) sessions without papers.

A. Sessions with Papers

Although these resemble conventional sessions in having a chair, presentation of papers to an audience, and commentary, papers in these sessions will not be read aloud, allowing more time for informed, informal, and engaged discussion. These sessions require an abstract.

  • "Talk" format. Presenters will write papers, as usual, and distribute them to the chair, commentator, and other panelists by the deadline. But in the session they will "talk" their paper from notes, speaking directly to the audience rather than reading line-by-line.
  • Online format. Presenters will post their papers on the Internet one month before the meeting. These sessions will be prominently marked in the program as intended primarily for an audience that has read the papers in advance and followed whatever online discussion they may have generated. The session will be devoted to formal commentary and group discussion. The panel will set up the website on their own server, post the online papers, and provide the forum for discussion. The ASA will publicize the online sessions and include links in the online program to the panel's website and discussion blog.
  • Exhibit format. Presenters will post their materials on a large bulletin board that can accommodate text pages in large type, graphics, primary source extracts, etc. Video and audio clips can also be used. These sessions will feature three or four such presentations grouped around a common theme. The first half of the session gives the audience time to read and discuss each exhibit with the presenters. The second half encourages group discussion, facilitated by a chair and commentators.

B. Sessions without Papers

In past meetings, the ASA has already sponsored many kinds of alternative sessions: roundtables, conversations, performances, multi-media presentations, readings of creative work, workshops involving audience participation, and presentations linked to the community outside the hotel (community centers, museums, secondary schools, prisons, etc.). These formats will experiment with creative forms of expression, performance, and dialogue that represent a significant departure to conventional presentations of papers. These sessions require an abstract.

  • Performative format. Presenters will perform their work. This could range from artistic performing arts (dance, music, drama, spoken word, performance art) to multi-media presentations (video, film, audio, digital media) and readings of creative fiction and non-fiction.
  • Dialogue format (Roundtables). Presenters will engage in dialogues with each other and the audience. Possible formats could include roundtables of academics; forums with scholars, community activists, mass or alternative media-makers and public officials; conversations between performing and/or visual artists, curators, and educators about aesthetic and expressive innovations or the challenges of developing public cultures in diverse communities. This format might be particularly well suited to creating linkages with the communities outside the hotel (community centers, performing arts centers, museums, secondary schools, prisons, libraries, and other public sites).
  • Workshop format. Presenters will create venues to verbally and physically interact with the audience. Educators, artists, and curators, for example, could lead these workshops or teach-ins to emphasize the interactive challenges and possibilities of interdisciplinarity and American studies.

We are excited about the possibilities for Chicago, 2017. We hope you will join us in making this a stimulating, conversational, and useful conference for the American Studies Association and its members.

back to top

9. Who makes the decision to accept proposals?

The Program Committee reviews all proposals and selects the sessions to be held at the upcoming annual meeting. The committee consists of 12 members appointed by the president-elect with approval of the Executive Committee. These 12 members are divided into three subcommittees: two subcommittees are responsible for evaluating session proposals; the third subcommittee is responsible for evaluating and constructing panels out of individual submissions .

back to top

10. What criteria are used in reviewing and accepting proposals?

The Program Committee approves proposals on the basis of their quality in relation to the others submitted.

The committee will also: attempt to include sessions on a wide variety of subjects and approaches, including scholarly, pedagogical, and professional subjects; consciously support the inclusion of panels focused on topics of concern to different minority groups; strive to balance its selections between topics of continuing interest and new topics to which little or no attention has been paid; look for sessions in which scholars in different fields engage one another on a common topic; and try to span different time periods and subject matters in sessions constructed from individual papers. Room will be given for specialized sessions on particular subjects.

The committee makes every effort to assure diverse representation through the inclusion of minorities, women, graduate students, and international colleagues, and will seek to reflect the regional and disciplinary diversity of the association's membership.

back to top

11. How are individual paper proposals integrated into the program?

The Program Committee organizes sessions from accepted individual paper proposals and, on occasion, will combine individual papers with proposed full sessions. Individuals are also invited to work with ASA caucuses and committees who often organize professional development panels or sessions with a special focus.

back to top

12. What general tips help in putting together a session that gets accepted?

Session organizers are advised to diversify their panel. They should seek a mix of junior and senior panelists, as well as a mix of institutions represented by faculty and graduate student panelists.

This approach to institutional and professional diversity is reflected through the prescription that the Program Committee avoid favoritism by not overloading sessions with faculty and graduate students from institutions represented by members of the committee. This does not, however, disallow members of the Committee from presenting papers.

back to top

13. When will I be notified whether my proposal was accepted?

Session organizers will be notified by email and the online submission site’s message center by March 31st. Session organizers are responsible for notifying the members of the proposed panel of the Program Committee's decision. If you do not receive an official e-mail by April 15th, it may be because you did not complete the submission process properly, your email address may be listed incorrectly, or your email may have blocked the automated message. Please e-mail the conference director at annualmeeting@theasa.net.

back to top

14. If my proposal is not accepted, can I still be involved in the annual meeting?

The ASA welcomes all participants to the annual meeting, whether they are presenters or not. If your paper or panel is not accepted, the Program Committee may call upon you to play an alternative role at the meeting as a chair or commentator.

back to top

15. If my proposal is not accepted, can I withdraw my membership?

If, after hearing that your proposal was not accepted, you wish to withdraw your membership (which was required for proposal submission), you may contact the ASA’s dedicated customer service representative at ASASupport@press.jhu.edu to request a refund.

back to top

16. Whom should I contact if I have further questions?

For further information, you may contact the president-elect, Kandice Chuh (kchuhASA@gmail.com), the program chairs Laura Kang (laurakangasa2017@gmail.com), Siobhan Somerville (sbs@illinois.edu), and Alexandra Vazquez (atv202@nyu.edu), or the ASA's executive director annualmeeting@theasa.net.

We also invite you to read more on using the proposal submission site or planning for your panel

back to top