THATCamp. Rumor has it that THATCamp was awesome this year, but since I was trapped for five extra hours in the air due to the storm, I missed it. Topics included pedagogy, Omeka, and new methods.
Debates about the Future of Gender Studies. I did make it, however, to a fabulous discussion about the state of Jewish Women's and Gender Studies that included presentations by Chava Weissler (Lehigh), Americanist Joyce Antler (Brandeis), and Marsha Rozenblit (U. Maryland). The panel and audience members widely debated the advantages of having a separate division on women and gender versus having papers on gender and women integrated across the conference. The conversation was sparked by a sea change: the division on women and gender was disbanded this year due in part to the lack of submissions of abstracts to this division. (As you will notice below, there were still some papers and panels that dealt with gender, but they were submitted to divisions that reflected people's eras or sub-disciplines.). I am curious how this experience reflects that at other conferences.
An Americanist President! AJS also welcomed tonight Jonathan Sarna (Brandeis University) as the society's second illustrious Americanist in a row as President (outgoing President was Jeffrey Shandler of Rutgers). Sarna is the author or editor of thirty books on Jewish American history and is best known for his critically-acclaimed and award-wining masterpiece, American Judaism: A History. His most recent work has been on Jews and the Civil War, including a superb book on Grant and the Jews. The presence of scholars of Jewish American history in leadership positions in AJS reflects some changes in the configuration of Jewish Studies and the ongoing recognition of American subject matter for the field overall.
American Panels and Papers. This is the largest AJS conference to date, and the wealth of Americanist panels and papers reflects the new pool of participants. Here is a brief list of some of the Americanist topics that will be (or have been) presented (my apologies to any that got left off):
PANELS WITH AMERICANIST THEMES: