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AJS 2012 Conference Platinum & Gold Level Sponsors
Center for Jewish History

Jewish Book Council

Indiana University Press

Jewish Theological Seminary

New York University Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies

Yale University
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  Call for Papers  
 
 

AJS 45th Annual Conference
December 15-17, 2013 • Boston, Massachusetts
Sheraton Boston

 
     
  The deadline for submissions has passed.  
   
 
I. Message from the Program Chair
II. Instructions for Submitting a Proposal
  A.   General Considerations
  B.  Do's and Don'ts
  C. Session Sponsorship
  D. New! Session Formats
  E.  Online Submission of Proposals
  F.  Graduate Student Presentations
  G.  New! Proposals from Scholars/Professionals Outside of Jewish Studies
  H. Session Chairs
  I. Sessions Seeking Participants/Papers Seeking Sessions
  J. The Evaluation Process
III. Special Events
  A.  Films
  B.  AJS Honors Its Authors
  C. Digital Media Workshop
  D. THATCamp Jewish Studies
IV. Pre-Registration, Badges, and Program Books
V. Hotel, Meals, and Travel
VI. Cancellation Policy
VII. Conference Standards
VIII. Travel Grants and Awards
IX. Division Chairs and Suggested Themes
X. Program Committee
XI. Important Dates and Deadlines
 
     

I. Message from Program Chair

Dear Colleagues:

As Vice President for Program, I am delighted to issue the Call for Papers for the 45th Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, to be held December 15-17, 2013 at the Sheraton Boston in Boston, Massachusetts. We welcome proposals for panels, seminars, roundtables, meetings, individual papers, digital media presentations, and a lightning session for graduate students. Please note that the AJS has also changed the guidelines regarding graduate student participation in the conference: graduate students at all levels of their programs are now eligible to submit paper and session proposals, and are no longer required to submit a letter of recommendation from their advisor. Graduate students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisor regarding when in their training to submit a proposal for presentation at the conference and what is the most suitable format for presenting their research.

The deadline for submission of proposals is Wednesday, May 8, 2013. All proposals must be submitted electronically via the AJS website. This site will be available for submissions from Wednesday, March 20, 2013 through Wednesday, May 8, 2013. As part of the submission process, you will be asked to select the division, or subject area, in which you would like your proposal considered. Your proposal will then be forwarded to the appropriate Division Chair. You will find detailed instructions for submission below. You will also find more detailed information about the conference (FAQs, travel information, the proposal evaluation process) on the AJS website. If you have any questions about the program that are not covered in this Call for Papers, please feel free to be in touch with me. The AJS staff (ajs@ajs.cjh.org) will be happy to respond to any questions regarding membership, payment, and other organizational matters.

The AJS has arranged for extraordinary rates at the Sheraton Boston and is currently raising funds to offer an extensive Conference Travel Grant Program. Please check the AJS website regularly for up to date information to assist you in your travel plans.

I am looking forward to an exciting and intellectually stimulating conference in Boston.

Sincerely,
Reuven Firestone (rfirestone@huc.edu)
Vice President for Program

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II. Instructions for Submitting a Proposal

A. General Considerations

We invite proposals for critical analyses of themes, topics, problems, or issues arising from original scholarly research. There are three ways to submit a proposal:

1) as part of a pre-formed session (panel, roundtable, meeting, seminar);

2) individually (if accepted, to be placed in a panel or seminar by trhe Division Chair or, if a digital media presentation, in the Digital Media Workshop); or

3) for inclusion in the Graduate Student Lightning Session, an opportunity for MA and PhD candidates to give 5-minute presentations on some aspect of their research in an interdisciplinary forum and receive feedback from more senior scholars as well as other graduate students.

AJS members who are interested in organizing a session, or joining a session that others are forming, may post announcements to the Sessions Seeking Participants/Papers Seeking Sessions page on the AJS website.

A list of suggested themes and topics for select subject areas appears in Part IX, under the heading “Division Chairs and Suggested Themes.” Prospective presenters and session organizers are encouraged to consider these suggestions in crafting their proposals.

B. Do's and Don'ts

In order to give as many members as possible the opportunity to participate in the conference, no one may submit or present more than one paper, nor chair the session in which they are presenting. Likewise, scholars may not agree to serve as chair, respondent, or discussant in more than one session. Individuals may, however, serve on up to three sessions in three different capacities (e.g., present a paper in one panel, chair another, etc.).

Paper and session proposals that will not be considered for presentation include: papers that have been published or presented in whole or in part elsewhere and sessions that summarize the proceedings of another conference. Sessions may not be organized around recently published books, although they may be structured around arguments and/or methods found in recent scholarly publications. Members interested in promoting their books published in 2013 are encouraged to participate in AJS Honors Its Authors, a special event to celebrate AJS members' publications.

The Program Committee strongly encourages session organizers to create panels with diverse institutional, gender, and professional representation (i.e. no more than two participants from the same institution, mix of junior and senior scholars whenever possible, no all student panels).  Graduate students organizing sessions must invite at least one senior scholar—defined as a tenured professor, an independent scholar with equivalent accomplishments in the field, or an academic professional, i.e. curator, archivist, librarian—to participate, either as a paper presenter, discussant, or respondent. Please be aware, though, that senior scholars may not sit on a panel with more than two of her/his current or former students. For further information, see section ''Graduate Student Presentations."

C. Session Sponsorship

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 (e.g., if the institution has provided funding for the research being presented, is subsidizing the participation of presenters, etc.). Magazines, journals, websites, foundations, and other non-academic organizations/publications will not be listed as sponsors in the conference program book.

D. Session Formats

New! Seminars

Session Submission Checklist

AJS is pleased to launch a new seminar format, aimed at bringing together eight to twelve scholars for two to three meetings over the course of the conference. The goal of this format is to allow for sustained discussion of a question or problem, and to take advantage of the presence of a diverse range of scholars at the meeting. Participants WILL NOT read papers in the seminars; rather, the AJS will post papers on its website in advance, for discussion in Boston. Each meeting will be 1.5 – 2 hours long. Seminars of eight participants will meet on Monday and Tuesday of the conference; seminars of twelve participants will meet on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday of the conference. Seminar organizers may invite individuals personally to participate in the seminar, as well as issue a call for participants on the Session Seeking Participants page of the AJS website. The call for participants should state the issue to be explored in the seminar, and examples of questions that seminar papers may address. The seminar proposal should include a 350-word session abstract which describes the question or problem to be explored, as well as the names and brief, one-sentence description of the topic each participant will address. Session organizers do not need to have all 8 or 12 participants lined up by the May 8 submission deadline. Any spaces remaining in the seminar may be filled with papers submitted by individual members and placed in the seminar by the Program Committee. All seminar proposals must also include a chairperson. Seminar paper(s) must be available for posting on the AJS website by December 1, 2013.

New! Performance/Analysis

Session Submission Checklist

AJS welcomes proposals of dramatic and musical performances, readings, and artistic presentations, to be followed by scholarly discussion with the performer/artist. The purpose of these sessions is to integrate the arts into the AJS conference daytime program, and build connections between performers and the scholars studying their work. The AJS will waive all registration and membership fee requirements for the performers/authors/artists. Scholars in dialogue with the artists will need to pay dues and registration fees, and follow the same procedure as for other session proposals. Session organizers should submit a roundtable proposal; the first part of the abstract should describe the performance, and include a brief bio of the artist(s). The second part of the abstract should detail the commentators, and the perspective they will bring to the discussion. We welcome musical or theatrical performances, poetry readings, and the like. The performance/reading should last no longer than 40 minutes, with the remainder of the time dedicated to discussion. Please note that the AJS can provide basic audio-visual equipment for these sessions (microphone, LCD projector, etc.) but cannot provide lighting, extra sound systems, or exhibit space.

Panels

Session Submission Checklist

In the traditional panel format, three or four participants present papers of a maximum of 20 minutes in length. Alternatively, panels may also consist of three papers and a respondent. A question and answer period generally will follow all of the papers, but an 8–10 minute question and answer period may follow each paper at the session chair’s discretion. All panel proposals must include a chairperson (who may also serve as respondent); paper presenters may not chair the session in which they are presenting.

Panel organizers must submit a 350-word session abstract that describes the overall questions and goals of the session, as well as abstracts for each paper in the session. 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 abstracts and tips for writing abstracts can be found on the AJS website.

The Program Committee reserves the right to make adjustments to pre-arranged sessions (i.e., add or remove a paper, change the chair, discussant, or respondent position) in response to program needs. The Committee will make every effort to notify the session organizer regarding such changes.

Roundtables

Session Submission Checklist

Roundtables are structured discussions revolving around  pre-circulated  questions; the session consists of three to five discussants and a moderator, who takes a more active role in the session than a traditional panel chair. The roundtable is not a forum for the presentation of short papers; discussants may not read papers and may prepare no more than 3-5 minute responses to the questions being discussed.  The purpose of this format is discussion and interchange among a group of scholars about a debate, question, or issue in the field.  Participants will speak to each other rather than from a podium.  The moderator will pose the questions and control the time given to each discussant to respond.

Those submitting a roundtable proposal must submit a session abstract that describes the overall goals of the session; the questions (usually three or four) that the discussants will address; and the perspective that each discussant will represent  (i.e., a two-three sentence description of each participant’s role, including that of the moderator). Sample abstracts and tips for writing abstracts can be found on the AJS website. Roundtable proposals that do not adequately detail the session’s guiding questions, and each participant’s role/contribution will not be accepted. All roundtable proposals must include a moderator.

Graduate Student Lightning Session

Lightning Session Proposal Submission Checklist

The Graduate Student Lightning Session is an opportunity for graduate students to give 5-minute presentations about their work in an interdisciplinary forum and receive feedback from more senior scholars as well as from other students. Lightning Session presentations — which should offer a brief summary of research, a specific case-study, or a methodological problem — will be grouped into rubrics, each of which reaches across time periods, geography, and disciplines. These rubrics wil be organized based upon the topics of the lightning session proposal. Each rubric will be chaired by a senior scholar, with questions and discussion following each collection of presentations.

Graduate students should submit a short abstract (150 word max.) describing their proposed presentation, and identifying the rubric in which it fits. Graduate students should also email a CV to the AJS office (ajs@ajs.cjh.org), with "Graduate Student CV – Lightning Session" in the subject line. Please also include the following information in the email text: your name, institution, and proposal title. Please note that lightning session proposals cannot be accepted from graduate students who are also submitting a proposal for a traditional session panel.

Digital Media Workshop

Digital Media Workshop Submission Checklist

The Digital Media Workshop, an expansion of the digital media presentations at previous conferences, is a hands-on, interactive session in which individual scholars or teams of scholars can demonstrate their digital Jewish Studies projects and interact informally with conference attendees. Projects may include research and teaching tools, or born-digital scholarly works of particular interest to Jewish studies professors and students. The Digital Media Workshop will take place during a regular conference time slot. Presenters will be provided a monitor to display their work, and conference attendees will circulate from presentation to presentation. Digital Media Workshop Proposals follow the same format as for other individual presentations, i.e.: a 350-word abstract describing the purpose of the presentation, its use of the digital medium, and its specific contribution to Jewish Studies scholarship, research, or pedagogy. Please note that only open-access and non-profit digital research projects and tools will be considered for the Digital Media Workshop. Click here for samples of the 2012 Digital Media Workshop presentations.

Meetings

A limited number of meetings or workshops grouped around a variety of purposes—for example, exploring issues in the field or discussing an ongoing project—are meant to provide a more informal setting for conversations. Such meetings, which usually take place during a breakfast or lunch, might feature a short opening presentation, followed by attendee discussion. Members may contact the Vice President for Program (Reuven Firestone at rfirestone@huc.edu) or AJS Executive Director (Rona Sheramy at ajs@ajs.cjh.org) to discuss ideas for such gatherings.

E. Online Submission of Proposals

Submission

All proposals must be submitted online via the AJS website no later than Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. EST. There are no exceptions to this procedure, and it applies to individual paper proposals, full session proposals, and proposals for other formats. You must use the self-contained, complete, and secure process directly linked to the AJS website. Proposals submitted by any other means or emailed directly to Division Chairs will not be evaluated.

The first step in the submission process is payment of dues for the 2013–2014 membership year (September 1, 2013 to August 31, 2014) together with the appropriate conference registration fee via our online secure server. The AJS is unable to consider individual or session proposals submitted without these fees, and you will not be able to access the submission site, nor have your name added to a session proposal, if you have not completed payment for these items. Pre-payment of both membership and conference registration fees is meant to ensure the highest level of commitment to presenting at the conference if your proposal is accepted. If your proposal is accepted and you then cancel your participation, you eliminate a spot in the program that could have been taken by another scholar. If your proposal is not accepted and you do not plan to attend the conference, please notify the AJS office by November 15, 2013 and your conference registration fee will be refunded in full; membership dues are not refundable. See Section VI, Cancellation and Refund Policy for further information.

Divisions

When submitting your online proposal, you will need to identify the subject area division (see part IX, “Division Chairs and Suggested Themes”) in which you choose to have your proposal considered. You may submit your proposal to one division only. However, Division Chairs will work to place worthy proposals in appropriate divisions if such proposals cannot be placed in the division to which they were submitted. Please contact Division Chairs or the Vice President for Program with any preliminary questions regarding the best placement of your proposal.

Abstract

The core of the proposal is a 350-word abstract, which is to be entered directly on the web. Please exercise great care in formulating and editing your abstract, following the University of Chicago Manual of Style or MLA Style Sheet guidelines. Sample abstracts are available on the AJS website. All abstracts of accepted proposals will be made available online. Submitters may not change the paper title or abstract after the submission deadline.

Individual Paper Proposal

Individual Paper Submission Checklist

Those who are submitting a paper individually (not as part of pre-formed sessions) are required to submit a 350-word abstract, in addition to their contact information, division, and A.V. request. The abstract for an individual paper must explain the presentation’s purpose, methodology, sources, argument and specific contribution to scholarship in the field. In composing your abstract please bear in mind the time allotted for your presentation (20 minutes for a paper in a standard panel). The Division Chairs and the Program Committee will assign accepted proposals to a session.

Digital Media Workshop Proposal

Digital Media Workshop Submission Checklist

Those who are submitting a proposal for inclusion in the Digital Media Workshop are required to submit a 350-word abstract, in addition to their contact information. The abstract should describe the purpose of the presentation, its use of the digital medium, and its specific contribution to Jewish Studies scholarship, research, or pedagogy. Presenters will automatically be assigned a digital monitor. Click here for samples of the 2012 Digital Media Workshop presentations.

Graduate Student Lightning Session Proposal

Lightning Session Proposal Submission Checklist

Those who are submitting a proposal for inclusion in the Lightning Session should submit a 150-word abstract describing their proposed presentation (a summary of research, a specific case-study, or a methodological problem). Please note that proposals cannot be accepted from graduate students who are submitting a proposal for a traditional panel session.

Session Proposal

Session Submission Checklist

For those proposing full panels, roundtables, seminars, and meetings, the organizer must create a session proposal with a 350-word abstract that explains the session's rationale and scholarly significance, and also lists the names and, in brief, contributions of each participant. Session organizers are responsible for submitting all other relevant information—paper titles, abstracts, AV requests, etc.—for each session participant. The abstract for each paper in a session, written by the individual scholar but submitted by the session organizer, should explain the presentation's purpose, methodology, sources, argument and specific contribution to scholarship in the field. Session organizers must make sure that each participant has paid his/her respective membership dues and conference registration fee, or else they will not be able to add that person to their session. Session organizers should also direct graduate student participants to submit their CV to the AJS office (ajs@ajs.cjh.org), with "Graduate Student CV" in the subject line. Graduate students should include the following information in the email text: name, institution, proposal title, session title, and division to which it was submitted. Session organizers should be aware that the Program Committee reserves the right to make adjustments to pre-arranged sessions (i.e., add or remove a paper, change the chair, discussant, or respondent position) in response to program needs. The Committee will make every effort to notify the session organizer regarding such changes.

Audio-Visual Equipment

The AJS is able to provide one of the following pieces of equipment per presenter: CD player, TV/DVD player, and a limited number of LCD projectors. A maximum of two pieces of equipment will be provided to pre-formed sessions. The online proposal form will ask you to specify your audio-visual needs and to explain how the requested equipment will be used in your presentation or session. Given the high cost of audio-visual equipment rental (e.g., $800 for a LCD projector; $400 for a DVD player/monitor), the AJS cannot guarantee that all audio-visual requests will be accommodated. The best way to ensure accommodation of your request is to provide a detailed and compelling need for its use (e.g., why the material cannot be shared by handout). Using digital projectors to present outlines of talks or simple text displays does not constitute a compelling need. Those using LCD projectors must provide their own laptops. The AJS cannot accept audio-visual requests after May 8, 2013. Do not request a piece of equipment unless it is essential for your presentation; unnecessary equipment adds significantly to the cost of the conference and registration fees, and limits the resources the AJS can allocate to other conference programs (i.e., travel grants ).

Confirmation

You must complete the entire online sequence in order for the AJS office to receive your proposal. Confirmation of your proposal’s receipt will be sent to your email address (this is different from the email confirming online payment). If you do not receive the submission confirmation, your proposal may not have reached the AJS office. In this case, please follow up with the AJS office to confirm receipt. Please submit your proposal in a timely fashion as the website for submitting proposals will close at 5:00 p.m. EST, on Wednesday, May 8, 2013.

Notification

The AJS office will notify you of decisions by email in July. Other than the email acknowledgment at the end of the online proposal process, there will be no other acknowledgment of receipt before July. If your proposal is not accepted and you do not plan to attend the conference, the AJS will refund your conference registration fee upon request until November 15, 2013. Membership dues are not refundable.

F. Graduate Student Presentations

The AJS welcomes graduate students to submit proposals for all conference formats: papers, sessions, digital media presentations, and the Lightning Session.

Graduate students at all stages of their training are now eligible to submit proposals. While graduate students no longer need to submit a letter of recommendation from their advisor, they are required to submit a CV as part of the application process. The AJS strongly encourages graduate students to consult with their advisor about the best time in the course of their studies to submit a proposal (e.g., after a certain amount of coursework, while engaged in dissertation research, or when on the job market), and which format would be most appropriate (e.g., a twenty-minute paper or a five-minute lightning session presentation). Graduate students submitting proposals must email their CV to the AJS office (ajs@ajs.cjh.org), with "Graduate Student CV" in the subject line. Please also include the following information in the email text: your name, institution, proposal title, session title, and division to which it was submitted.

Please note that the Program Committee will not accept panel sessions in which all presenters are students; graduate students organizing sessions must invite at least one senior scholar—defined as a tenured professor, an independent scholar with equivalent accomplishments in the field, or an academic professional, i.e. curator, archivist, librarian—to participate, either as a paper presenter, discussant, or respondent. Please note that senior scholars may not sit on a panel with more than two of her/his current or former students. Several special travel grants are available to graduate students on a competitive basis (see part VIII, “Travel Grants”).

G. Proposals from Scholars/Professionals Outside of Jewish Studies

The AJS welcomes scholars whose primary research is not within Jewish Studies but whose work has a direct impact on Jewish Studies and whose participation would enhance the annual meeting. A reminder: in order to submit a proposal and present at the conference, scholars outside the field must be or become AJS members.

New! The AJS will waive the membership fee requirement for a limited number of session participants who are not academics, would not otherwise become members of the AJS (journalists, authors, filmmakers, etc.), and whose participation is considered essential for the integrity of the session to which s/he was invited. Requests for fee waiver should be submitted by the session organizer to the AJS  at ajs@ajs.cjh.org no later than April 19, 2013. Please put “Fee Waiver Request” in the subject line. In the text of your message, please explain the session that you are organizing, the role of the proposed participant, and why their role is so important to the session. Anyone receiving a membership dues waiver will still be required to pay the conference registration fee (at the member rate).

H. Session Chairs

The AJS seeks volunteers to serve as chairs of panels in their fields. If you are interested in serving as a session chair, please register yourself as a chair volunteer in the online conference submission site. You will be contacted if an appropriate spot becomes available. If you require a chair position for institutional funding, make sure to identify yourself as a volunteer by the submission deadline. Graduate students may not serve as session chairs. Further chair guidelines are available on the AJS website.

I. Sessions Seeking Participants / Papers Seeking Sessions

Session organizers seeking participants for their proposed panels, roundtables, meetings, or seminars may list their proposed session topics on the AJS website, along with their contact information. Those interested in joining one of the sessions may contact the organizer directly about submitting a proposal. Likewise, papers seeking sessions may list their proposed topic and contact information. Those interested in organizing a session around one of the paper proposals may contact the author. For more information, go to www.ajsnet.org/ideas.htm. The page includes instructions on how to submit a proposed topic and contact a session organizer/paper author.

J. The Evaluation Process

Proposals will first be sent for review to the Division Chair, who is an expert in the field and has been appointed by the Vice-President for Program. Division Chairs evaluate proposals, for both individual presentations and pre-formed panels, on the basis of several criteria, including contribution to the field, originality, methodology, and clarity of expression. When evaluating an individual 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.

Division Chairs then rank all the sessions (both those submitted as panels and those the chairs have created) that it has recommended accepting. The Program Committee, a multi-disciplinary panel of experts in Jewish Studies, meet in early June to review the recommendations of Division Chairs and make final decisions. Other senior scholars in the field may also assist in this final review process. Their names will be posted online once they have been selected. 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.

Please Note: The AJS office staff does not make acceptance/rejection decisions regarding proposals but serves as the liaison between the Program Committee and applicants regarding the status of their proposals, and ensures that all application requirements (e.g. payment of dues and fees) have been met.

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III. Special Conference Events

A. Films

The AJS will screen a select number of short and feature-length films at the conference. If you would like to suggest a film for screening or submit a film for consideration, please contact Professor Lawrence Baron (San Diego State University), chair of the Conference Film Committee, at lbaron@mail.sdsu.edu.

B. AJS Honors Its Authors

The AJS invites its members who have published books in Jewish Studies and related fields in 2013 to submit their book information for listing in a special brochure, to be shared with conference attendees at a coffee reception in honor of AJS authors on Monday, December 16, 2013. Authors, who must be AJS members, should submit information about their book into the online submission form.

Members may also provide a copy of their book for a special display during the reception. For further details about the event, please click here.

C. Digital Media Workshop

The AJS will host a digital media workshop at the conference, where scholars may present research projects, research tools, teaching tools, and other born-digital projects. The workshop will be informal and interactive, with several digital monitors stationed in one room, allowing presenters to share their projects with small groups as people circulate from station to station. This workshop is intended to share innovative work in the digital humanities conducted by AJS members, as well as to encourage Jewish Studies scholars to mentor eachother in the incorporation of digital media into their teaching and research. Members interested in participating in the Digital Media Workshop should submit a proposal through the online submission form. Please note that only open-access and non-profit digital research projects and tools will be considered for the Digital Media Workshop.

D. THATCamp Jewish Studies

AJS is pleased to present for a second year THATCamp Jewish Studies from 9:00 am – 12:30 pm on Sunday, December 15, 2013. THATCamp Jewish Studies is an open, informal gathering where scholars, students, librarians, archivists, museum professionals, and technologists of all skill levels can explore issues of their choice related to Jewish Studies, technology, and digital media. Session topics and break-out groups are created on the spot, and led by participants. Click here for more information and to register.

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IV. Pre-Registration, Badges, and Program Books

For presenters, chairs, moderators, discussants, and respondents, full payment of both membership dues and the advance conference registration fee is part of the submission process. This requirement is to ensure the highest level of commitment to presenting at the conference if your proposal is accepted. Click here for the AJS Refund policy. Other attendees may pre-register until 5:00 p.m., November 15, 2013 via the AJS website. Thereafter registration will take place on-site at the Sheraton Boston. Attendees must display badges at all times for admission to conference sessions and the book exhibit. Program books will be distributed on site at the conference hotel to all participants. A downloadable pdf of the program book will be available on the AJS website in early November. Those wishing to have the program book mailed to them first-class in advance of the conference may order one for $10.00 on the AJS website.

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V. Hotel, Meals, and Travel

The Sheraton Boston has extended the AJS an extraordinary rate of $129.00 per room, single and double occupancy, not including taxes, with a limited number of rooms for students at $119.00. Reservations can be made by calling the Sheraton reservations line at 1-800-233-4100; it is very important for your reservation to be included in the AJS room block, so please make sure to ask for the Association for Jewish Studies rate.

To make reservations online, please click here for the AJS rate. Students only: please click here for the student room rate. Please do not use the regular Sheraton.com website or other hotel booking sites to make your reservation; the only way to access the special AJS reduced rate is through our group's special reservations links.

Kosher meals will be catered by Catering by Andrew, under the supervision of  the Vaad Harabonim of Massachusetts. We look forward to having many attendees dining together throughout the conference, and especially at the Gala Banquet on Sunday, December 15, 2013. All meal reservations must be made by November 15, 2013.

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VI. Cancellation and Refund Policy

Once a paper or session is submitted, it is expected that the author(s) will present their paper at the conference if the proposal is accepted. Participation in the conference is highly competitive, and a cancelled presentation eliminates a spot that could have accommodated another scholar. As a courtesy to AJS members, conference presenters, and attendees, the AJS strongly discourages presenters from canceling their participation in the conference. Please notify the AJS directly by September 16, 2013 if you are scheduled to participate in the conference program in any capacity and have a compelling need to cancel. No-shows (those who cancel without prior notification) will not be allowed to submit a proposal for the 2014 conference.

The refund policy is as follows: For program participants (chairs, presenters, discussants, etc.): requests for refunds of conference registration fees and meal payments must be received by September 16, 2013. No refunds will be issued after that date. For non-participants, requests for refunds of conference registration fees and meal payments must be received by November 15, 2013. No refunds will be issued after that date. All refunds will be charged a $20.00 processing fee ($10.00 for students), with the exception of refunds requested by those whose papers were not accepted. Membership dues are not refundable.

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VII. Conference Standards

In order to maintain a professional and comfortable environment for its members, conference registrants, and staff, the Association requires certain standards of behavior. These standards include, without limitation, courtesy of discourse, respect for the diversity of AJS members and conference attendees, and the ability to conduct business and participate in the AJS conference in a non-threatening, collegial atmosphere. AJS members and conference participants who do not uphold these standards may jeopardize their membership or conference participation.

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VIII. Travel Grants and Awards

Since 2009, the AJS has awarded more than $95,000 in travel grant funding to its members. The AJS remains committed to supporting wide participation in the conference. In particular, the AJS seeks to support untenured faculty, graduate students, unemployed scholars, and international scholars who receive little to no institutional support for conference travel. The deadline has passed for all travel grants except for the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Rosalie Katchen Travel Grant. Awards will be announced by early November. If you wish to contribute to the AJS Conference Travel Grant Fund, please click here.

A. Travel Grants for Faculty, Graduate Students, and Independent Scholars

1. AJS Graduate Student Travel Grants. The AJS will offer a limited number of travel grants to graduate students presenting papers, lightning session presentations, or digital media presentations at the conference. Priority will go to graduate students receiving little to no institutional support for conference travel.

2. Center for Jewish History Travel Grants. Center for Jewish History Travel Grants, awarded on a competitive basis, will fund travel stipends up to $500 to scholars presenting work based upon research conducted at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan. Only scholars who have been accepted to present a paper or digital media presentation, or serve as a discussant, and who receive little to no institutional support for conference travel are eligible to apply. Priority will go to untenured faculty (tenure-track or adjunct), independent scholars without full-time employment, and graduate students. Funded by the Center for Jewish History, a partnership of the American Jewish Historical Society, the American Sephardi Federation, the Leo Baeck Institute, the Yeshiva University Museum, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

3. Jewish Music Forum Travel Grants. These travel grants will provide travel stipends to scholars presenting research on Jewish music at the AJS Conference. Preference will be given to graduate students and early career/pre-tenure scholars whose proposals have been accepted for presentation and who do not have institutional travel support. Only scholars who have been accepted to present papers, digital media presentations, or serve as a discussant, and who receive little to no institutional support for conference travel are eligible to apply.

4. Lucius N. Littauer Foundation Travel Grants. These travel grants will provide travel stipends up to $400 to untenured faculty (tenure-track or adjunct) and independent scholars without full-time employment whose proposals have been accepted for presentation and who do not have institutional travel support. Only scholars who have been accepted to present papers, digital media presentations, or serve as a discussant, and who receive little to no institutional support for conference travel are eligible to apply.

5. Maurice Amado Foundation Travel Grants. Maurice Amado Foundation Travel Grants, awarded on a competitive basis, will fund travel stipends up to $500 to scholars presenting research on Sephardic studies at the AJS Conference. Only scholars who have been accepted to present a paper or digital media presentation, or serve as a discussant, and who receive little to no institutional support for conference travel are eligible to apply. Priority will go to untenured faculty (tenure-track or adjunct), independent scholars without full-time employment, and graduate students. Funded by the Maurice Amado Foundation.

6. Rosalie Katchen Travel Grant sponsored by the HBI (Hadassah-Brandeis Institute) The Rosalie Katchen Travel Award is available to junior scholars presenting papers at the AJS annual meeting which deal with Jewish women and gender issues. Scholars who completed their dissertation within the past five years are invited to apply. Four travel grants of up to $250 each are awarded each year. Grants are paid to awardees following the AJS meeting. Grant guidelines are available on the HBI website: www.brandeis.edu/hbi/grants/katchen.htm
Deadline: October 24, 2013

B. Other Travel Grants and Awards

1. AJS Women’s Caucus Travel Grant. The AJS Women's Caucus awards travel grants to graduate students and independent scholars whose papers contribute to the study of women, feminism, and gender in Jewish studies and have been accepted for presentation at the 2013 conference. Graduate students in all areas of Jewish studies who have not previously received a Women's Caucus Travel Grant are encouraged to apply.  The travel grants can be applied towards any conference-related costs (hotel, conference registration, childcare costs, etc.).   The application consists of: the AJS abstract/paper proposal; a paragraph explicitly stating how the paper broadens the current understanding of Jews and gender; a copy of the letter of acceptance from the AJS; a CV; and a proposed budget that includes other potential sources of financial support.

Application documents should be electronically submitted as email attachments by September 13, 2013 to ajswomenscaucus@gmail.com. The Travel Grant Committee will notify applicants prior to the conference. Winners will also be announced at the Women's Caucus Breakfast, to which they are invited at no cost, and should therefore plan to attend.

2. AJS Women's Caucus Prize for Innovative Scholarship in Gender and Jewish Studies. The AJS Women's Caucus awards travel grants to graduate students and independent scholars whose papers contribute to the study of women, feminism, and gender in Jewish Studies and have been accepted for presentation at the 2013 conference. Graduate students in all areas of Jewish studies who have not previously received a Women's Caucus Travel Grant are encouraged to apply. The travel grants can be applied towards any conference-related costs (hotel, conference registration, childcare costs, etc.). The application consists of: the AJS abstract/paper proposal; a paragraph explicitly stating how the paper broadens the current understanding of Jews and gender; a copy of the letter of acceptance from the AJS; a CV; and a proposed budget that includes other potential sources of financial support. Application documents may be electronically submitted as email attachments by Monday, September 30, 2013 to AJSWomensCaucus@gmail.com. The Travel Grant Committee will notify applicants prior to the conference. Winners will also be announced at the Women's Caucus Breakfast, to which they are invited at no cost, and may therefore plan to attend.

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IX. Division Chairs and Suggested Themes

From those listed below, please identify the subject area in which you wish to have your proposal considered. Note: Several divisions include suggested themes for exploration. These suggestions do not preclude proposals on other topics.

An important message about the Gender Studies Division: Over the past half a dozen years, the number of submissions to the Gender Division has declined, despite efforts by the Coordinator of the Division to recruit proposals.  During the same period, the number of submissions using gender as a category of analysis in other Divisions has increased.  This marks an increased integration of Gender Studies into the field of Jewish Studies as a whole. For this reason, and after much discussion in a variety of forums, it was agreed at the Program Committee/Division Coordinator meeting in December, 2012, to fold up the Gender Division and encourage scholars working in gender to submit paper and panel proposals to the Division appropriate to the field of the paper. However, the Committee recognizes that some panels on gender, especially those that take gender theory as a central focus, will treat the topic from a variety of disciplinary approaches. Such papers and panels should now be submitted to the Interdisciplinary, Theoretical, and New Approaches Division. The Division Chair will, when relevant, turn to scholars with expertise in gender theory to assist in the evaluation.

1. Bible and the History of Biblical Interpretation

Literature of the Bible; world of the Bible; early post-Biblical literature (Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls); interpretation of the Bible from antiquity to modern times. Sessions and papers related to any of these areas are welcomed. For 2013, we are receptive to panels or papers dealing with the interplay between traditional and critical Bible study or approaching a poetic biblical text or group of texts from one or more vantage points. Papers focusing on classical parshanut and literary readings are also welcome.

Division Chair: Moshe Bernstein (Yeshiva University)*
mjbrnstn@yu.edu | (212) 960-5302
*Bible sub-committee: Alan Cooper (JTS) and Yitzhak Berger (Hunter College)

2. Rabbinic Literature and Culture

Talmudic law and literature; Midrash; Rabbinic texts from the end of the Second Temple period up through the Geonim. Please note: this division is historically delineated. It recognizes that some proposals may touch on aspects of the Second Temple period and/or medieval Jewry, but submissions that focus primarily on the Second Temple period or the medieval era or later should be submitted to other divisions. Please contact the Division Chairs for recommendations of appropriate placement.

2013 Suggested Themes:

  1. Cross-Reading Material Culture with Literary Texts
  2. Early Christianity and the Rabbis
  3. Sensory Studies
  4. Mysticism

In addition to these topic areas, we would especially value proposals or panels that consider the relationship between digital media and rabbinic Texts.

Division Chairs:

Beth Berkowitz (Barnard College)
bberkowi@barnard.edu

Aaron Panken (HUC-JIR)
apanken@huc.edu

3. Yiddish Studies

Yiddish literature and its history.

2013 Suggested Themes:

  1. Yiddish: the Effacement of Yiddish Language in Contemporary Yiddish Studies
  2. Division of Labor and Play of Gender in Yiddish Culture
  3. Yiddish Literature and the "New Philology"
  4. Internationalism, Secularization, and the Extremes of Yiddish Politics
Division Chair: Marc Caplan (The Johns Hopkins University)
acaplan4@jhu.edu

4. Modern Jewish Literature and Culture

American Jewish literature; European Jewish literature; modern Sephardic literature; and their cultural contexts.

2013 Suggested Themes:

  1. Modern Jewish Writers Among the Nations: How have modern Jewish writers positioned themselves in relation to other (non-Jewish) national literary traditions? Have Jews who write in languages such as English, German, French, Russian, etc… understood themselves to be necessarily part of these national traditions? To what extent and under what conditions have they seen their Jewishness as placing limits upon this sort of belonging? How have they drawn upon and reconfigured the forms and rhetorical modes of canonical writers? Is it possible to detect patterns of borrowing among Jewish writers in a given linguistic tradition that differ from those of non-Jewish writers? And what can be said about writers working in "Jewish" languages? How can a Jewish writer be considered part of a non-Jewish national literary tradition if he or she writes in Yiddish or Hebrew?

  2. Political Ideology and Modern Jewish Literature: How have Jewish texts mediated modern political ideologies -- such as Communism, Anarchism, Bundism, Zionism, and non-Jewish forms of nationalism? When and how have modern Jewish writers used literature for overtly propagandistic purposes? When and how have the complexities of literary representation subverted and/or problematized political ideologies? What genres have been used to endorse or critique political ideologies? Does writing in a Jewish language exert any kind of limiting or distorting force on genres reserved for specific ideological purposes? What differences, for example, can be identified between a work of Social Realism written in Russian and one written in Yiddish?

  3. Postmodernism and the Jews: If "the Jew" has been a central symbolic figure in literary modernism, what can be said about "the Jew" in relation to postmodernism? Have postmodernist writers evoked Jews in ways that recall their modernist forebears (T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, etc…) or have they developed new approaches? What symbolic "work" is performed by the Jew in postmodern texts? How have Jewish writers themselves made use of postmodern literary genres, techniques, and representational strategies? How has Jewish identity been reconfigured by texts that use the techniques of postmodernism (the use of pastiche, the blending of "high" and "popular" genres, the reinvention of history, etc…)? If postmodernism is often associated with the critique of "grand narratives," how has this cultural tendency transformed the imagination of such narratives in the Jewish past (i.e. "grand narratives" concerning the Zionist movement, assimilation, German Jewish history, etc…)?

  4. Revisiting Nostalgia: "Nostalgia" is typically denigrated as a pernicious tendency to falsify the past. But where, exactly, is the line between nostalgia and "genuine" memory? Are there characteristically Jewish versions or structures of nostalgia? How can we tell if a given representation of "home" or the past is nostalgic? How is nostalgia represented within works of modern Jewish literature?

Division Chair: Julian Levinson (University of Michigan)
jlevinso@umich.edu

5. Modern Hebrew Literature

Hebrew literature from the Haskalah on, including contemporary Israeli literature.

2013 Suggested Themes:

  1. The Multilingual Ethos of Modern Hebrew Literature 
  2. New Trends in Contemporary Israeli Literature 
  3. Gender and Modern Hebrew Literature
  4. Uri Nissan Gnessin’s Life and Work (1879–1913)

Division Chair: Shachar Pinsker (University of Michigan)
spinsker@umich.edu

6. Medieval Jewish Philosophy

Jewish philosophy and its history in medieval and late medieval times.

2013 Suggested Themes:

  1. Jewish Averroism
  2. Luck, Providence, and Astrology
  3. Philosophy and Gender
  4. Philosophy and Halakhah

Division Chair: Aaron Hughes (University of Rochester)
ahugh12@z.rochester.edu

7. Jewish Mysticism

Literature, history, and phenomenology of Jewish mysticism in all periods.

The Jewish Mysticism division is looking for proposals on a wide array of topics. It is especially interested in papers or panel proposals relating to the below themes.

2013 Suggested Themes:

  1. The Academic Study of Kabbalah in the Israeli and American Academy: Is there is divide between these two centers of Kabbalah research? What is the state of Kabbalah research in both centers?
  2. Myth, Symbol and Vision in Kabbalah: paper proposals on the use of myth, visual experience, and symbolic interpretation on Kabbalah and Hasidism.
  3. Kabbalah and Ritual Studies.
  4. Gershom Scholem: paper proposals on rethinking the contribution of Scholem as a scholar of Kabbalah and his influence in the 21st century.

Division Chair: Shaul Magid (Indiana University)
smagid@indiana.edu

To join the list serve for the Jewish Mysticism division, send an email to mysticism-ajs+subscribe@googlegroups.com.

8. Modern Jewish Thought and Theology

Jewish philosophy and thought in modern times; modern Jewish religious movements

2013 Suggested Themes:

  1. Jewish Philosophy and Science
  2. Constructive Jewish Theology
  3. New Approaches to Modern Jewish Intellectual History
  4. Jewish Social or Medical Ethics

Division Chair: Steven Kepnes (Colgate University)
skepnes@colgate.edu

9. Jewish History and Culture in Antiquity

History of the Jews and Judaism in the Persian, Greco-Roman, and Byzantine periods. This division particularly encourages submissions related to secular Jewish history in antiquity, encompassing such topics as agricultural or administrative histories, economics, including labor and trades, etc.

2013 Suggested Themes:

  1. Digital Media and Ancient Judaism (digital media workshop): Recent years have seen the continued expansion of digital data sources for work on Judaism in late antiquity. For the most part, however, these have been limited to the publication of transcribed text or of images of manuscripts or objects. We invite proposals for a digital media workshop on innovative new approaches that utilize this data in significant ways or that build new research tools. Proposals might include digital critical editions and text analysis tools, network analysis (e.g. of named persons in a corpus), or data- and text-mining of large datasets.

  2. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Zoroastrianism: Interactions in an Age of Transition, 600-800: The Roman and Sasanian Near East and the Arabian Peninsula saw important political, religious, demographic, and cultural changes in the early Islamic period. Throughout this period, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Zoroastrians interacted with one another in various ways depending on time and region. We invite proposals for papers that explore these interactions. Papers might include (but are certainly not limited to) Christian or Jewish tradition in early Islamic literature; mutual influences of legal content or theory, or of ritual practices; intergroup competition or cooperation in newly conquered lands; changes in group self-definition; or conversion.

  3. Material Culture in Ancient Judaism: The study of ancient Judaism has frequently been textually focused. Even non-literary documents such as inscriptions, papyri, or magical amulets are generally utilized primarily as carriers of texts. Perhaps the only late-antique material remains that have received wide study beyond archaeologists and art historians are those of synagogues. We invite proposals that contextualize the material culture of Jews in Late Antiquity, broadly conceived. Topics might include studies of the built environment, magical bowls or amulets, clothing and textiles, or hygiene.

Division Chair: Hayim Lapin (University of Maryland)
hlapin@umd.edu

10. Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History, Literature, and Culture

Jewish history in Muslim and Christian realms; Jewish literatures including but not limited to belles lettres, piyyut, and exegesis; medieval and early modern Jewish art, artifacts, and architecture.

2013 Suggested Themes:

  1. Jews as Mediterranean Figures: In recent decades, renewed interest in the Mediterranean region has stressed cultural and intellectual continuities across Islamic and Christian domains. What perspectives are introduced or challenged by focusing on Jews as "Mediterranean" figures who traversed (either literally or metaphorically) Islamic and Christian territories (political or intellectual)?

  2. Intellectual Production as Social History: A general tendency in Jewish Studies scholarship (not without good reason) has been to focus on intellectual production (literary, exegetic, philosophical, scientific) as a series of competing and complimentary ideas produced by great minds. Yet the texts produced by illustrious and less-than-illustrious figures also played particular social functions pertaining to the relations between authors and intended audiences, means of dissemination and circulation, structures of patronage and consumption.

  3. Reading Ritual: Numerous studies, both for the Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi communities, have turned to anthropological methods in order to decode medieval and early-modern Jewish rituals. We invite papers that continue this direction of inquiry that also reflect broadly on its successes and limitations.
Division Chair: Jonathan Decter (Brandeis University)
decter@brandeis.edu

11. Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies

The Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies division seeks submissions that are area specific and interdisciplinary on the history and culture of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewry. The division also encourages scholars to propose sessions that bring together junior and senior faculty.

2013 Suggested Themes:

  1. Gendering Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies
  2. Expanding the Boundaries of Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies
  3. Contemporary Sephardi/Mizrahi cultures
  4. Sephardim and the Holocaust

Division Chair: Adriana Brodsky (St. Mary's College of Maryland)
ambrodsky@smcm.edu

To contact other scholars working on Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies, please see the website of the AJS Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies Caucus: http://www.sephardimizrahistudies.org/

12. Modern Jewish History in Europe, Asia, Israel, and Other Communities

The Modern Jewish History in Europe, Asia, Israel, and Other Communities division welcomes papers and panels that present case studies of individual Jewish communities in these regions, or that adopt comparative approaches to shed new light on methodological or theoretical themes.

Division Chair: Jeffrey Veidlinger (Indiana University)
jveidlin@indiana.edu | (812) 856-6013

To join the list serve for the Modern Jewish History in Europe, Asia, Israel, and Other Communities division, send an email to modhist-world-ajs+subscribe@googlegroups.com.

13. Modern Jewish History in the Americas

This division seeks proposals that deal with some aspect of Jewish history in the Americas.

2013 Suggested Themes:

  1. Urbanism, Especially in Comparative Contexts
  2. The Formation of Internally Jewish and External Power Relationships
  3. Historiography, Including Mediations on Major Shifts and Debates in the Field
  4. Interdisciplinary Approaches to Historical Texts, Including Literary, Cultural, Filmic, and Artistic

Division Chair: Lila Corwin Berman (Temple University) 
lcberman@temple.edu

14. Israel Studies

Multi- and interdisciplinary studies of Israeli society, culture, and politics.

2013 Suggested Themes:

  1. New Trends in Scholarship on Israel
  2. Israel Studies and Jewish Studies: Connections and Divergences
  3. Integration and Distinctiveness: The Impact of Israel on Modern Jewish Dilemmas
  4. Heavenly and Earthly Jerusalems: Statehood and The Place of the Land of Israel in Jewish Life

Division Chair: Arieh Saposnik (UCLA)
asaposnik@humnet.ucla.edu

To join the list serve for the Israel Studies division, send an email to subscribe+israelstudies-ajs@googlegroups.com.

15. Holocaust Studies

The Holocaust Division considers individual paper and organized panel proposals on any area of Holocaust Studies.

2013 Suggested Themes:

  1. Children
  2. Ghettos
  3. Jews and Non Jewish Resistance Movements
  4. Holocaust Memory

Division Chair: Samuel Kassow (Trinity College)
samuel.kassow@trincoll.edu | (860) 297-2390

16. Jews, Film, and the Arts

Representation of Judaism and Jews in visual art, music, theater, and dance; the role of the arts in Jewish history and civilization. The following themes serve as suggestions and are to be interpreted broadly. Submissions need not be limited to these themes.

2013 Suggested Themes:

  1. New Approaches to Artistic Analysis
  2. The Ethnography of Creativity
  3. Curating Judaism Through the Arts

Division Chair: Judah Cohen (Indiana University)
cohenjm@indiana.edu | (812) 855-0141

To join the list serve for the Jews and the Arts division, send an email to
arts-ajs+subscribe@googlegroups.com.

17. Social Science and Contemporary Jewry

Sociology, anthropology, folklore, political science, and social psychology as applied to Jewish communities.

2013 Suggested Themes:

  1. Jews in a Multicultural Society
  2. Gender in Social Spaces
  3. Jews in the City
  4. Judaism outside the Synagogue

Division Chair: Shelly Tenenbaum (Clark University) 
stenenbaum@clarku.edu

18. Linguistics, Semiotics, and Philology

Linguistic, semiotic, or philological studies of Hebrew, Yiddish, and other Jewish languages; language instruction in Hebrew, Yiddish, other Jewish languages.

2013 Suggested Themes

  1. The Politics of Jewish Languages
  2. Issues in Biblical Hebrew
  3. Hebrew Elements in Jewish Languages
  4. The Languages of "Mizrahi/Sephardi" Jews
Division Chair: Benjamin Hary (Emory University)
bhary@emory.edu | (404) 727-7942

To join the list serve for the Linguistics, Semiotics, and Philology division, send an email to linguistics-ajs+subscribe@googlegroups.com.

19. Interdisciplinary, Theoretical, and New Approaches

This division welcomes proposals that cross geographical, chronological, and disciplinary boundaries; considers theoretical and pedagogical approaches; and new methodologies in Jewish Studies.

Division Chair: Ari Kelman (Stanford University)
aykelman@stanford.edu

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X. Program Committee*

*Committee for 2013 in formation. Below are current members:

Reuven Firestone (HUC-JIR, Los Angeles), chair
Jay Berkovitz (UMass, Amherst)
Shaul Kelner (Vanderbilt University)
Lisa Leff (American University)
Laurence Roth (Susquehanna University)
Adam Teller (Brown University)

Yedida Eisenstat (JTS), student representative
Jeffrey Shandler (Rutgers), ex officio
Rona Sheramy (AJS), ex officio

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XI. Important Dates and Deadlines

March 20, 2013:

Proposal submission site available

May 8, 2013:

Deadline for submission of conference proposals

July 2013:

E-mail notification of conference proposal status

November 15, 2013:

Deadline for meal requests and pre-conference registration

November 15, 2013:   

Deadline for securing hotel room at Sheraton Boston at reduced conference rate

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