Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943

Call for Papers
24th Annual OI Conference

Williamsburg, Virginia: June 14–17, 2018



In 2018 our annual conference will celebrate the Omohundro Institute’s 75th anniversary and will assess the past, present, and potential futures for the practices of early American History.

Chaired by Alan Taylor (University of Virginia), the program committee also includes Christian Ayne Crouch (Bard College), Philip Gould (Brown University), Eric Hinderaker (University of Utah), Simon P. Newman (University of Glasgow), and Carla Gardina Pestana (University of California, Los Angeles).

We welcome proposals considering all aspects of early American history, which we imagine includes the adjoining oceans and seas and both continents of the Americas and all of the peoples who lived on or traveled across those waters and territories. Given the OI’s Lapidus Initiative, we also welcome proposals that highlight digital tools, methods, and scholarly projects. And we seek to diversify participation in every possible way to encourage wide-ranging conversations about approaches, methods, theories, and topics.

The 2018 conference will innovate in format. Please see below for details of four different options. We seek to maximize audience participation at panels by shrinking the time for each “paper” and by adding more panels. Each panel will be capped at 75 minutes (rather than the traditional 90 minutes). And each panel should have four participants.

An organizer should submit a proposed panel with a title, a one-paragraph description; one-page summaries of each presentation; and a c.v. of no more than two pages for each participant. That c.v. should include mailing and email addresses and telephone numbers. An author of an individual paper proposal should include a working title, a one-page summary and a c.v. of no more than two pages. That c.v. should include mailing and email addresses and telephone numbers.

Session format options:

  • We seek Research Panels comprised of four participants each, preferably three presenters of research and one person in the dual role of chair/commentator. To encourage group discussion, each presenter should take no more than 10 minutes. Each presenter should concisely introduce the argument and key evidence, with a minimum of quotations. And the comment should also take no more than 10 minutes. This will leave at least another thirty minutes for a more free-flowing discussion of questions and comments from all attending. Individual paper proposals are also welcome.
  • Each presenter should submit a fuller, written version (up to 30 pages) of the paper to the commentator. To invite well-informed participation by the audience at the panel, every presenter may also post on the OI website that fuller paper, which will only be accessible to those who register for the conference.
  • We also welcome Roundtables to consider broad matters of interest to the field. In these roundtables the four participants should include one moderator to pose and facilitate questions. That moderator should reserve 30 minutes for questions and comments from everyone attending.
  • We also seek proposals for a Poster Session. Posters provide an excellent opportunity to present new research in an informal yet effective way to all conference attendees, rather than just those who attend a particular panel. We welcome poster proposals from senior, midcareer, and early career scholars and from graduate students.
  • Proposals for Workshops are also welcome, particularly those focused on primary source research and teaching materials.

The program committee may modify proposed panels to fit one of the formats.

For questions regarding the proposal process please contact Martha Howard at or 757-221-1115.

All proposals are due by Wednesday, October 4, 2017.