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Frequently Asked Questions

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

  1. I can’t log in to the submission system. What should I do?
  2. Why do I need to pay membership dues and conference fees before I submit a proposal?
  3. What is the difference between a session and a division?
  4. How do I submit a proposal for a roundtable?
  5. Are LCD projectors available for presenters?
  6. I want to organize a session but don't have enough panelists. What should I do?
  7. I am a graduate student and want to either submit a paper proposal or organize a session. What are the requirements for graduate student submission?
  8. I may need to cancel my conference participation. What should I do?
  9. I am concerned that I won't have travel funding from my institution to attend the conference. What should I do?
  10. I didn't receive a message confirming my online submission. Does this matter?
  11. I want to organize a session (panel, roundtable, seminar, meeting). Can I get the proposal started and have the participants enter their own information?
  12. I'm not sure what AV equipment I will need for my paper/session? Can I estimate and change the request later?
  13. I want to submit a proposal but am new to the field and don't know of anyone organizing a session. What should I do?
  14. What is the evaluation process?
  15. What can hold up my proposal and prevent its consideration by the Division Coordinator and Program Committee?
  16. May I participate in more than one session at the conference?
  17. Why do I need to pay extra if I want the Program Book mailed to me in advance?
  18. What is the AJSís policy regarding audio-visual equipment requests?
  19. Why will my membership begin in September if I am paying my dues now?
  20. My AJS membership is current. Do I still need to pay dues now?

1. I can’t access the submission system. What should I do?
The submission system automatically checks your record in the AJS database to make sure the required payments have been made before allowing users to submit a proposal. If you are denied access to the submission system it may be because you have not completed the payments required for conference participation. Please check your transaction record in MyAJS to make sure you have paid both the conference registration fee and membership dues for the 2013-2014 academic year. Joint members who do not hold the primary membership, please contact Karen Terry, Program and Membership Coordinator, for access to the submission system.

Eastern European scholars who are submitting a proposal and applying for the AJS Eastern European Scholar Travel Grant do not need to register for the conference or pay membership dues in advance. If you plan to apply for this grant, please contact Karen Terry, Program and Membership Coordinator, at kterry@ajs.cjh.org, for access to the submission system.

2. Why do I need to pay membership dues and conference fees before I submit a proposal?
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.

3. What is the difference between a session and a division?
A session refers to a panel, roundtable, seminar or meeting. A division refers to one of the twenty subject areas listed in the Call for Papers within which your proposal will be considered.

4. How do I submit a proposal for a roundtable?
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 should not read papers and should 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 be seated in a semi-circle, and 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.

5. Are LCD projectors available for presenters?
The AJS will make available a limited number of LCD projectors for use at the conference.† All presenters who request LCDs must include in their abstracts an explanation as to why LCD usage is critical to their presentation (and why the material cannot be presented through handouts).† The AJS will not provide LCD projectors for those who request only to project an outline of their talk.† Those using the AJS's LCD projectors will be required to provide their own laptop computers.† The AJS will not be able to accommodate all LCD projector requests.

6. I want to organize a session but don't have enough panelists. What should I do?
There are several ways to solicit contributors to your panel. Most importantly, you should post an announcement on the Sessions Seeking Participants page of the AJS website. You should also post an announcement on the H-Judaic Listerv and on the listserv for your division, if there is one. Lastly, you should email your division chair and let them know of your interest in organizing a session. Click here for a list of divisions and division chair contact information.

7. I am a graduate student and want to either submit a paper proposal or organize a session. What are the requirements for graduate student submission?

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

New this year: graduate students at all stages of their training are now eligible to submit proposals. In addition, graduate students no longer need to submit a letter of recommendation from their advisor, but will need 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 all-student sessions; 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. Several special travel grants are available to graduate students on a competitive basis (see part VIII, "Travel Grants").

8. I may need to cancel my conference participation. What should I do?
Once a paper or session is submitted, it is expected that the author(s) will present their paper if accepted. Participation in the conference is highly competitive, and a cancelled presentation wastes 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 if you are scheduled to participate in the conference program in any capacity and need to cancel. No-shows (those who cancel without prior notification) will not be allowed to submit a proposal for the 2013 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 15, 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 October 31, 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.

9. I am concerned that I won't have travel funding from my institution to attend the conference. What should I do?
The AJS recognizes that many colleges and universities are restricting their support for conference travel. The AJS has thus taken several steps to reduce the travel expenses associated with attending the AJS 45th Annual Conference in Boston. It is also raising funds to expand its Conference Travel Grant Program. Please see Special Travel Discounts and Travel Grants for further information.

10. I didn't receive a message confirming my online submission. Does this matter?
It is possible the email got caught in your spam filter. If you cannot locate there, please contact the AJS office (917.606.8249; ajs@ajs.cjh.org) before the submission deadline to confirm that your proposal was received. The AJS cannot accept proposals submitted after the deadline.

11. I want to organize a session (panel, roundtable, seminar, meeting). Can I get the proposal started and have the participants enter their own information?
No, the session organizer must enter each participant's information (contact information, paper titles, abstracts, a.v. requests, payment codes, etc.) for each session participant her/himself. Session organizers must make sure that each participant has paid his/her respective membership dues and conference registration fee so that the organizer can add all participants to the panel. Without these fees, participant names will not be available in the submission system. Session organizers may start the submission process, save their work, and then complete later, though.

12. I'm not sure what AV equipment I will need for my paper/session? Can I estimate and change the request later?
The AJS cannot accept audio-visual requests after the deadline to submit a proposal. Please 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.

13. I want to submit a proposal but am new to the field and don't know of anyone organizing a session. What should I do?
You should refer to the "Sessions Seeking Participants" section of the AJS website, as well sign up for the list-serv H-Judaic; both include postings about sessions organizers seeking participants. You can also propose to organize a session around your topic, and invite applicants to submit proposals to you for inclusion. Alternatively, you can submit your proposal as an individual paper or poster topic and, if accepted, the Division Coordinator will place it in a session.

14. What is the evaluation process?

Proposals will first be sent for review to the Division Coordinator, who is an expert in the field and has been appointed by the Vice-President for Program. Division Coordinators 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, coordinators 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 Coordinators also evaluate session proposals and make recommendations for acceptance or rejection.

Division Coordinators then rank all the sessions (both those submitted as panels and those the coordinators 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 Coordinators 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 Coordinators 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 liason 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.

15. What can hold up my proposal and prevent its consideration by the Division Coordinator and Program Committee?
Any of the following factors can prevent your paper from being considered for the AJS conference: missing payments for 2013-2014 dues and 2013 conference registration fees or emailing your proposal to the AJS office or Division Coordinator (rather than submitting through the website).

16. May I participate in more than one session at the conference?
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 should not agree to serve as chair, respondent, or discussant in more than one session. Individuals can, however, serve multiple roles in up to three different sessions (e.g. give a paper, act as respondent on another panel, etc).

17. Why do I need to pay extra if I want the Program Book mailed to me in advance?
The AJS is deeply concerned about untenured faculty's and graduate students' ability to afford the annual meeting, and we are allocating as much money as we can into an expanded Travel Grant program. Savings on first-class mailing (which runs into several thousand dollars) will be a great help in this area. The Conference Program will still be available on the AJS website (for free) well in advance of the meeting: the schedule goes online the end of August, and a complete PDF of the program will be available to download and print by early November. Thus, conference participants will have several means of accessing the information they need to plan for the meeting.

18. What is the AJSís policy regarding audio-visual equipment requests?
The AJS is able to provide one of the following pieces of equipment per presenter: CD player, TV/DVD, 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/LCD projector; $400 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). Outlines of talks or simple text displays do not constitute a compelling need. Those using LCD projectors must provide their own laptops. The AJS cannot accept audio-visual requests after the deadline to submit a proposal. 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.

19. Why will my membership begin in September if I am paying my dues now?
We require that those submitting proposals for the 2013 conference become members for the membership year in which the conference takes place (September 1, 2013 Ė August 31, 2014). While your membership will officially begin September 1, you will have access to the members-only pages of the AJS website immediately after paying your membership dues.

20. My AJS membership is current. Do I still need to pay dues now?
Yes. AJS memberships for the current membership year will expire on August 31, 2013. In order to submit a session proposal for the 2013 conference, you must take out a membership for the membership year beginning September 1, 2013 (this is the membership year in which the conference will take place). If you are not sure if you have already renewed for the 2013-2014 membership year, please contact Karen Terry at ajs@ajs.cjh.org.