The American Historical Association cancels its annual meeting

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No, it is really cancelled, as in “not taking place.” 🙂  It looks like I am not going to Seattle in January.

Here is the AHA letter sent today to its affiliate societies:

Dear Colleagues

After careful deliberation, the American Historical Association has determined that it will be impossible to hold the annual meeting in Seattle from January 7–10, 2021, as originally planned. The best available information from public health authorities and medical experts, including the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and state and local authorities, suggests that the global health crisis will not be sufficiently resolved by January. It is likely that travel restrictions will remain in place and a large gathering of people from around the country and the world will pose a health risk. Given the likely risks involved in meeting in person, as well as financial constraints facing many of our members, we believe that if a meeting were held the attendance would be sparse at best. With regret, the Association has concluded that canceling the face-to-face meeting is necessary to maintain the health and safety of our members, our staff, and the public.

We do not make this decision lightly, as we know how important the annual meeting is to the discipline. Members rely on the opportunity to meet in person to build professional relationships, share their scholarship, and engage in professional development. While we will not be able to connect in person, the AHA staff is preparing a variety of web-based programming over the next 10 months to continue to bring together our communities of historians to further advance our mission. We welcome your ideas and will keep in touch as our plans evolve.

A PDF program, documenting all sessions accepted by the AHA Program Committee and the affiliated societies, will be posted on the AHA website in the fall so that participants can document their expected participation for their CVs. Anyone who was expecting to read a prepared presentation will have the opportunity to post written remarks on the AHA website.

We appreciate your patience and continued work on your plans for the annual meeting program. We are disappointed that we will be unable to meet face to face.

Information for Affiliates

If you are interested in developing virtual programming, we will be happy to publicize your sessions and events, and to share what we learn from our experience with webinars and other online events. We also welcome any creative ideas you have—feel free to contact us at annualmeeting@historians.org if you have any ideas to share or questions that we can answer.

We will be sharing this news widely over the next few days. However, we will not email participants on affiliated society sessions directly about their sessions, in case you need time to think through how you would like to proceed. You may contact them after today if you would like.

You should notify participants that canceled conference presentations should be included on their CVs as “scheduled for the 2021 AHA annual meeting.”

Please let us know if you plan to develop virtual programming so we can keep in touch during the planning process.

We know you will have many questions; please see our FAQs for further information. The FAQs will be updated regularly as our planning continues.

With Thanks

The Council and staff also want to express our deep gratitude for the hard work already done by the Program Committee, chaired by Jared Poley and Lisa Brady, our affiliated societies, and those who organized and submitted sessions. While we can’t be together in Seattle, we will find ways to take advantage of the exciting program they have developed.

We hope that you stay safe and healthy in these difficult times, and look forward to sharing more information in the coming weeks.

Debbie Ann Doyle

Meetings Manager