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Claire Potter @TenuredRadical
, 30 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
Everybody getting ready for #AHA19? This is your @AHAhistorians program chair speaking, with some hints for how to have the best meeting ever. Some of you are old hands – for others this is your first meeting! Let’s get started.
First, we are going to Chicago, people: it’s going to be cold, but not legendary Chicago cold: mid 30s to low 40s, and I am seeing no precipitation until Tuesday. This is good news: no need for boots or extra layers. Put boots in your car in case there is snow when you return.
I am seeing some fashion anxiety on line. Anyone who knows me also knows I cannot help you with that. BUT: #1 rule, whether you are interviewing or not, is be as comfortable in your skin as you possibly can be. Because this is about yr. mind, not yr. appearance.
For some people, comfort means business. Many people feel better when they are dressed to the nines, but for others, business casual, or just dressing neatly is more their style. My fave: black tee shirt, jacket, jeans, decent shoes; layer w/ a sweater.
Shoes that are comfortable are the most important instruction. I have been to around 30 of these meetings alone, and there is lots of standing around, galloping from place to place, and heading out into the city. Treat your feet nice.
If you are interviewing: DO NOT FEEL COMPELLED TO PURCHASE CLOTHES YOU CANNOT AFFORD – I can’t emphasize this enough. How you look in your own classroom is more than good enough. Better, if you dress unremarkably, people will focus on you, not your clothes.
OK, enough about clothes. Let’s talk about *why* we are going to Chicago: history nerding! I always map out the sessions I want to go to in advance. Remember that the Palmer House and the Hilton are about eight blocks from each other, so build in travel time.
Someone asked yesterday: is it more important to see your friends give papers than to see a panel related to your scholarship? The answer is:
BOTH. If your friend is giving a paper for the first time, it’s awesome to go and be a friendly face. But figuring out who the people are in your field who are doing relevant work, and connecting w/ them is also important.
There are also a ton of interesting workshops for people at all stages of their careers, films and trips. Some of the trips may be booked up, but create a schedule for yourself that samples all the things the program has to offer.
In other words, change it up. And now – on to social life. Have fun! But take it from a 30-year conference vet, it’s also important to get enough sleep. I also make an effort to not, well, get drunk. Probably a good policy all the time, but…
This is a professional event -- not a par-tay. But there are parties. Lots. Whatever stage of your career you are at, having a good time, & being a good time, needs to be balanced with the fact that a conference is a fishbowl, and people will remember you for who you are to them.
Also, I am reminded that some colleagues are in recovery. Be sensitive to that, w/o being weird. Sure, they are responsible for themselves. But when inviting someone you don’t know for a sit-down offer “coffee or a drink?” -- not just a drink.
But back to booze: be best. I guaran-frickin’-tee you – no one is their best self when they are plastered. Booze may cause you to lose your inhibitions, & be less aware of danger, boundaries, and/or social feedback about yourself. Which leads me to:
Sensitivity. Feeling adventurous at conferences is great – but this needs to be focused on your intellect, making friends, introducing yourself to people you admire, nerding out, & other professional/collegial activities. Approaching folks sexually at conferences is so fraught.
In other words, context is key, people. Get to know someone before venturing into zones where someone might honestly receive your words as racist, sexist or homophobic, or harassing; don’t presume someone who looks like you *is* like you.
IMPORTANT: sexual harassment is prohibited at #AHA19 – and every other @AHAhistorians event. Last year we had a powerful session about this, and it became clear that academic conferences – probably true of all professions – can be a danger zone for sexual aggression.
Rather than summarize, I want to tweet the @ahahistorians sexual harassment policy, passed by the Council in August and updated in November. Read it, please. It includes definitions of sanctioned behaviour, reporting info, and more.…
This is not a fraternization ban. This is a no groping, no leering, no objectifying, no woo-woo w/o affirmative consent, directive. From me. Go out of your way not to hurt anyone, see yourself as others might see you, and don't presume attraction is reciprocated.
And while we are there, are you interviewing job candidates? Here are the best practices, from the @AHAhistorians site.… Read them.
Hiring highlights: asking about a person's gender, race, sexuality, marital or parenthood status, and any harassing behaviour, is prohibited by federal law. Asking about faith is not prohibited *if* it is a faith-based school.
But back to the fun part – I am attaching a picture of myself. Please come up and introduce yourself!! If you didn’t get onto the program, I would love to talk to you about how to submit next year.
Whoops! That's my dog (sadly, she is staying home, although she was totally psyched about several sessions.) This is me, with a copy of @ReneeRomano8's and my new #Hamilbook, available at the @RutgersUPress booth.
Pretty clever to get that plug in, #amIrite? Speaking of books: They all go on sale Sunday morning, and they are discounted throughout the convention. Some are free! (I’ve always thought the best thing about this profession is the free books). Tote bags are at registration.
Social media: it's on! Tweet sessions using the hashtag #AHA19, and if you want to keep your tweets together, use the app in the final tweet of this thread.
Are apologies in order? If I blocked you on twitter last year, come up and say hi, and let’s unblock each other and start again. I know we will like each other if we meet IRL.
AHA officers, and staff, will be identified on their badges: introduce yourself to them too. They work hard all year to make this happen, and they enjoy connecting with members. They are truly terrific people, & the program could not happen without them.
Also, there is a caftan meetup -- contact @LDBurnett for details. #AHA19
Looking forward to seeing all of you, starting Thursday! And thanks to my co-chair @brianogilvie, and to everyone whose hard work is making this happen.
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