June 25, 2020
Dear AJS Members,
I am writing with an important update about our 2020 Annual Conference.
As you know, we hoped we would be able to welcome everyone to an in-person conference as planned in Washington, DC in December of 2020. After reviewing updated guidelines from the CDC, the District of Columbia’s four-stage COVID-19 reopening plan, and various contingency options, however, the board has voted unanimously to shift the 2020 AJS conference to a virtual gathering.
This is not a decision we have taken lightly. We will all miss gathering together in person to share our scholarship and to connect with colleagues and friends. For many of us, attending the yearly conference has become a fruitful and enjoyable part of our professional and social lives. Obviously, a virtual gathering cannot fully replace the value and impact of meeting in person.
Nevertheless, as we all know, we are still in the midst of a completely unprecedented global pandemic. Given the situation, we are fortunate to have a viable contingency plan. As many of us have experienced over the last few months, video technology provides a practical alternative tool for engaging with colleagues when in-person conversations are not possible.
We are confident that we will be able to achieve the goal we set for ourselves every year: “to highlight cutting-edge scholarship, promote scholarly collaboration, network with diverse colleagues, and mentor future scholars.” By preserving the core goals of our annual conference and utilizing opportunities enabled by digital media, we anticipate an exciting, innovative, and professionally productive annual conference, one that could provoke new modes of engagement and interaction among members.
Many more details to come soon. For now, please note that this year’s virtual conference will take place from Sunday December 13 to Thursday December 17. To accommodate participants spread across many time zones, we will limit sessions and other conference-related programming to late morning/afternoon Eastern Standard Time.
I am sure you have many questions. We have done our best to anticipate some questions in the FAQ. We will be providing regular updates as we move forward with our planning.