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Can I submit as part of more than one submission?

Yes, you can submit to participate in a maximum of two submissions, as long as they are not both paper submissions for a panel, or both paper submissions for a of lightning session. This means that you can submit to participate in a wide variety of ways (note: this is not an exhaustive list): a chair in two sessions, a chair and a respondent in one session (or a chair in one session and a respondent in another), a panel presenter and a roundtable participant, two seminar presentations, a lightning session participant and a seminar participant, or a lightning session participant and a traditional panel participant. You can also volunteer to be a chair in a session formed by the Division Chairs, but that cannot be in addition to two accepted roles elsewhere in the conference.

Please note: Even though seminar sessions meet twice, being listed as participant in a seminar submission counts as only one submission.

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What makes a good abstract?

The paper abstracts, written by the individual scholars but submitted by the session organizer, should explain the presentation’s purpose, methodology, sources, argument and specific contribution to scholarship in the field. Sample session abstractssample individual paper abstracts, and workshops on how to write abstracts can be found on the AJS website.

Note: Accepted abstracts will be made public on the conference program site. Please do not add any information to the abstract that you do not wish to be made public at a future date.

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What is the role of a chair?

The chair is responsible for starting the session on time, briefly introducing the panelists/speakers (no more than one minute each), keeping them to their allotted time, and moderating the Q and A. Ensuring equal time for all presenters is essential, and chairs must be prepared to end a presentation that will clearly exceed the allotted time by several minutes. All panel, seminar and lightning session proposals must include a chairperson (who may also serve as respondent); paper presenters may not chair a session in which they are presenting.

Please note: Seminar chairs are also required to take on the responsibility of ensuring that all seminar papers are prepared and submitted to the AJS by the November 20th deadline.

Guidance for Panel Chairs

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What is the role of a roundtable moderator?

The moderator will pose the questions and control the time given to each discussant to respond during a roundtable. In order to make for an informed and lively dialogue, moderators should email questions to discussants at least two weeks before the conference, and ask discussants to prepare short responses for each. All roundtable proposals must include a moderator.

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What is a respondent?

A respondent addresses wider-ranging reflections of the issues raised in the papers, talking about what Linda K. Kerber describes as “how the strongest elements of the papers, or the relationship between them, add up to something greater than the sum of the parts. Perhaps the papers point to a new direction in research or suggest new issues demanding study.” In traditional panels, respondents will have about ten minutes for their comments, and time for each of the three papers is strictly limited to 15 minutes.

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What is a Division Chair?

AJS Division Chairs are responsible for carefully examining each conference submission in their respective Division during the conference review process. There are typically one or two Division Chairs for each division, who act as chair on a three-year rotating basis. The current Division Chairs are listed here.

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What is the Program Committee?

The AJS Program Committee is a multi-disciplinary panel of experts in Jewish Studies that meets in late May/early June to review Division Chair recommendations and make final decisions for the entire conference program. The Program Committee takes into consideration topics covered by all the divisions, as well as the limitations of time and space. Taking into account the entire gamut of proposed papers and sessions across divisions, the Program Committee attempts to find a place for individual papers that the Division Chairs accepted but could not place into sessions. Program Committee members are appointed to a three-year term. The current Program Committee members can be found here.

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Can my institution sponsor a session?

Session organizers may request to have an academic institution, research center/archive, learned society, or AJS caucus or working group listed in the program book as the sponsor of their session. There is an area in the session proposal submission process to indicate the session sponsor, if applicable. These sessions must be accepted through the regular submission process.

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How will my proposal be evaluated?

Proposals will first be sent for review to the Division Chair/s. The Division Chairs, who are experts in their respective fields, are appointed by the Vice President for Program for a three-year rotating term. Division Chairs evaluate proposals, for both individual presentations and pre-formed sessions, on the basis of several criteria, including contribution to the field, originality, methodology, and clarity of expression. Division Chairs and the Program Committee are also looking for a diversity of participants in submitted session proposals and in organizing sessions out of individual proposals.

When evaluating an individual paper proposal, chairs will recommend either acceptance or rejection. If recommending acceptance, they will then try to place the proposal in a session with other individual submissions. Division Chairs also evaluate session proposals and make recommendations for acceptance or rejection. If individual paper proposals in a session vary widely in quality, the Division Chair may only accept those of high quality.

The Division Chairs for the primary division and secondary division will have the opportunity to evaluate the submission. Primary division chair(s) will have the chance to accept the submission first.

Division Chairs then rank the sessions they have recommended accepting. This includes both pre-formed sessions and created sessions, formed by Division Chairs out of the individual papers submitted. The Program Committee, a multi-disciplinary panel of experts in Jewish Studies, meets in late May/early June to review these recommendations and make final decisions. Other senior scholars in the field may also assist in this final review process. The Program Committee takes into consideration topics covered by all the divisions, as well as the limitations of time and space. Taking into account the entire gamut of proposed papers and sessions across divisions, the Program Committee attempts to find a place for individual papers that the Division Chairs accepted but could not place into sessions.

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When will I find out if my proposal has been accepted?

The AJS office will notify you of decisions by email by mid-August. Other than the email acknowledgment at the end of the online proposal process, there will be no other acknowledgment of receipt before this notice.

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What is the Secondary Division Option?

Based on feedback from members interested in promoting greater levels of integration between divisions, we have updated the proposal submission process to allow you to choose a primary and a secondary division to review your proposal. Please note that the primary division you choose will have the first opportunity to accept your paper and the second division may no longer have space to accept your division by the time the division chairs have the opportunity to review your proposal. So, you should still think carefully about your primary and secondary choices. At the same time, we do hope that this process will help place proposals in the best division possible.

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What should I expect to bring with me to my presentation?

All presenting scholars are responsible for bringing their presentation notes for themselves, and providing any handout copies. For most sessions, a minimum of 15 paper handouts is suggested. Should the session space include A/V equipment (based on the submission’s A/V request), each scholar connecting to this equipment is responsible for providing their own laptop and corresponding A/V cables/adaptors to connect with a projector or other player as needed. Seminar organizers are also responsible for providing paper copies for any session attendee who has not already viewed the papers digitally. If you have any questions about this during the submission process or after a session has been accepted and scheduled into a space, please contact

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Can an undergraduate student participate in the AJS Conference?

We invite undergraduate students nearing the end of their undergraduate studies and considering a career in Jewish Studies to join the Association for Jewish Studies and attend the Annual AJS Conference. Undergraduates are not allowed to submit for presentation.

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