Sunday, May 31, 2009

General Reflections on the CHA Conference

Overall the conference was an interesting and valuable experience. I listened to a number of interesting papers and talked with various people who are conducting research I am greatly intrigued by. The CHA provided a good environment for grad students as well, there were many students who presented papers and many more who attended sessions and used the conference for networking.

One of the thoughts I had while at the conference was that making the presentations available by podcast or the papers available online would be greatly beneficial. A few younger presenters did record their presentations, and plan to upload them to youtube. However, the CHA as a whole seems behind on current technology and online publishing. Though this is lack of technological advancement is something that plagues the history profession as a whole, not just the CHA.

I was also encouraged by the use of 'unconventional' sources by many researchers. There were papers which were based on oral history, photos, films, cookbooks, songs, and many other non traditional textual documents. Similarly, many papers had an appeal outside of traditional academia and would be interesting to the general public. Perhaps this is a sign of the profession looking outwards more frequently.

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