December 14, 2009
By Elisabeth Grant and Andrea Stanton
The 125th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association will be held January 6–9, 2011, in Boston. The Program Committee welcomes proposals from all members of the Association (academic and nonacademic), from affiliated societies, from historians working outside the United States, and from scholars in related disciplines. The theme for the meeting, described in greater detail here is “History, Society, and the Sacred.” The deadline to submit proposals is February 15, 2010. For more information, see the “Call for Proposals” article from the September issue of Perspectives on History.
A poster gives you the opportunity to present your research in a visual format, and to interact with your audience in less formal and more engaging ways. Does your work involve images, objects, or events that can be represented visually, through paintings, diagrams, or photographs? Does your work involve statistical analysis that can be represented through tables or charts? Does it lay out a trajectory that can be represented graphically? Any of these elements can be used to create a visually compelling, intellectually stimulating poster.
Creating a poster offers several rewards. First, it provides you with an opportunity to rethink how to communicate a scholarly argument, or to tell an unknown historical narrative. Second, it provides the audience with more time to digest images and charts than in a traditional panel session – in which this information might be presented as a series of overheads or slides, resulting in deeper engagement with your work and more thoughtful questions. Third, the one-on-one interaction it enables provides immediate feedback that can help refine your argument, speeding the transition from poster to article or chapter.
Interested in submitting a poster, but not sure how to create one? Historically, poster sessions were primarily found in science fields – but over the past decade, scholars in the social sciences and humanities have recognized poster sessions’ great potential for encouraging scholarly interaction and for broadening the ways in which we communicate the fruits of our research. You may find the following links helpful:
- The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s career development web site offers several useful links. While many of these appear at first glance to be focused on the sciences, many of the tips are relevant for all types of poster sessions.
- Colorado State’s Writing Guides includes a section on poster sessions that includes a definition, an explanation of their purpose and intended audience, and practical tips, as well as examples.
- SUNY Buffalo’s Libraries web site includes a page of suggestions for "designing effective poster presentations" that includes links to other resources as well.