We real cool.

I’m in wet and humid Miami, closing out a wonderful half-week of conferencing.  If you don’t already know, the Social Science History Association yearly conference draws together an interdisciplinary crowd of superior scholars.  The cast of characters is truly an embarrassment of riches–Andy Abbott, Priscilla Ferguson, Robin Wagner-Pacifici, Dave Grazian, Fred Wherry, Sarah Igo, Julia Adams, Mabel Berezin, Andrew Beveridge, Donna Gabaccia, Isaac Martin, Rachel Sherman, and a whole bunch of other awesome folks.  Like other conferences, people present works in progress, discuss finished manuscripts and monographs, present posters, sell books, and sponsor cocktail parties.  Unlike other conferences, it is possible to fill every meeting slot with an interesting panel of excellent work, able commenters, and productive discussion.  Also unlike other conferences, you will see everyone you wish to see, and be relaxed while doing so.

Next year (and for several thereafter), I have the great honor of serving with Fred Wherry and Sarah Igo as co-chairs of the “culture network”…the SSHA equivalent of the Sociology of Culture section of the ASA with the important caveat that we are interdisciplinary scholars of culture.  We three have the very great pleasure of organizing the ten culture network sessions for next year’s meeting.

The theme?  “Agency and Action.”

The place? Long Beach, California.  Specifically, the Queen Mary.  Launched in 1934, this ship served as a personnel carrier in World War II and when retired from military service, operated as a passenger ship until 1967, when it was permanently anchored on the California coast.  It is twice the size of the Titanic.  The Titanic before, that is.

I am herewith inviting all of you to submit ideas for panels and papers to the 2009 conference.  Your abstracts and session submissions are due by February 1, 2009 (and formal submission via the website starts in early December).

I, for one, will fight for and defend brave ideas, interesting innovations on the traditional conference format and all manner of performance-based art, especially that which analyzes or is designed for an audience of pirates.*

I promise…it will be the most fun you ever have at a conference.

* I swar to god that I didn’t know this had happened when I developed the joke.  The joke is two days old, promise.  ARGH.

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