Graduate History Conference

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 Allen Priest and Bryan McClure
Conference Co-Chairs
History Graduate Students Association
Department of History
The University of Western Ontario

Call For Papers

Western University - Graduate History Conference

April 26 and 27, 2019

     As the 21st century nears the end of its second decade, historians find themselves grappling with a paradoxical reality: the rise of digital technologies and a growing trend towards anti-intellectualism has led to historical inquiry being portrayed as part of an elitist culture that is out of touch with the "average" person. At the same time, the rise of global extremism and the influence of the digital age on factual analysis has sent many searching for historical examples to explain, understand, or just make sense of current events. Both sides are now leveraging history to advance political agendas, often without a strong understanding of historical inquiry. Online encyclopedias and forums allow for the rapid transfer of information to billions of people in a manner that often is unreliable and overtly subjective. The place of interpreters of the past, who can delve into the nuances of historical events, people, and places, while delivering the information with trained objectivity, is under siege. Rather than run from such a challenge, scholars must now confront the demands of the modern world and adapt if they are to ensure an educated society learns from the dangers of the past.

     This graduate student conference, hosted by the Department of History at The University of Western Ontario, seeks to examine the place future scholars have in ensuring that history remains a relevant topic in not just academia, but in society as a whole. The conference desires to try and answer the question: "What is the future of historical inquiry in the twenty-first century?" Our aim is to put a spotlight on how history is being researched, presented, and taught by the next generation of scholars. To that end, this conference desires to examine and witness the research of graduate students and teachers as they build the future foundations of their respective fields. Papers for the conference can explore a range of topics from any time period or geographic specialty. Presenters from other fields such as sociology, anthropology, philosophy, gender studies, political science, and any language or literary analysis that focuses on a historical topic will be more than welcome. Any paper presented for the conference should display a unique or new way of exploring an historical subject. Analysis of an understudied or older historical topics will also be welcome as the conference wishes to know how new analysis will impact previous historical inquiry. Potential topics for papers include but are not limited to:

  • Digital History: papers could include discussions use of software on historical inquiry, the use of mapping technology, 3D printing, or virtual reality, etc.
  • Medical History: papers could include examinations of mental health in historical inquiry, the role of disease, drugs, and/or hospitals in history, or an examination of the impact of colonialism on indigenous health.
  • Public History: papers could include discussions on exhibit design, DNA and its impact on genealogical research, graveyard studies, and the use of social media in modern-day museums.
  • Indigenous Studies: papers could include topics on truth and reconciliation, challenging the legacies of historical individuals and their impact on indigenous peoples, or the importance of mandatory indigenous history at the university level.
  • Gender and Sexuality: papers could include topics on the place of masculinity in historical inquiry, incorporating LGBTQ+ narratives into history, & the place of #MeToo in the history of Western feminism.
  • Theoretical, Sociocultural, and Methodological Analysis: papers could include topics on the future of the cultural turn, the role of history in examining ideological movements, and the return of the culture wars.

Please submit an abstract of 200 words and a brief biography of no more than 50 words to by February 24, 2019. Additionally, panels of three presenters will be accepted for consideration. If you wish to do so, please submit all three abstracts together along with a brief description of the panel topic. A conference fee of $30 will be charged to all those accepted and registering for the conference.