2016 Call for Papers

2016 Conference of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations

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Call for Papers

The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) invites proposals for its 2016 Annual Conference. The deadline for proposals was 1 December 2015.

Submit a Full Panel Proposal

Submit an Individual Paper Proposal

SHAFR is dedicated to the study of the history of the United States in the world, broadly conceived. This includes not only diplomacy, statecraft, and strategy but also other approaches to Americans’ relations with the wider world, including (but not limited to) global governance, transnational movements, religion, human rights, race, gender, trade and economics, immigration, borderlands, the environment, and empire. SHAFR welcomes those who study any time period from the colonial era to the present.

2016 Program

The conference program will include a Thursday afternoon plenary lecture by Mike Davis, Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside.  Professor Davis is the author of more than 20 books, from the award-winning City of Quartz to transnational studies of neoliberalism, immigration policy, and the politics of disease.

The 2016 keynote address will be delivered at the Saturday luncheon by Robin Kelley, Distinguished Professor of History and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in United States History at the University of California, Los Angeles, an acclaimed author of numerous books on U.S. social, political, cultural, and intellectual history and on the African diaspora. Professor Kelley will speak on the life and work of Grace Halsell, a white journalist and activist who sometimes assumed different racial and ethnic identities to highlight transnational inequities.

The 2016 program will also host SHAFR’s fourth annual Job Search Workshop to help prepare our graduate student members for the job market. Students will have the opportunity to receive individualized feedback on their cover letters and CVs from experienced faculty members. Those submitting proposals for the conference may indicate their interest in the job search workshop by checking a box on the online submission form. However, one does not have to be a panelist to participate. The Job Workshop is open to all current graduate students and newly minted PhDs. Priority will be given to first-time participants.


SHAFR is committed to holding as inclusive and diverse a conference as possible, and we encourage proposals from women, minorities, and historians residing outside of the United States, as well as scholars working in other disciplines (such as political science, American studies, sociology, anthropology, film studies, and literary criticism).

Graduate students, international scholars, and participants who expand the diversity of SHAFR are eligible to apply for fellowships to subsidize the cost of attending the conference. Please see below for links to the online application forms. The deadline to apply for these fellowships is December 1, 2015.

The Program Committee especially welcomes panels that transcend conventional chronologies, challenge received categories, or otherwise offer innovative approaches and fresh thinking.

Panel sessions for the 2016 meeting will run one hour and forty-five minutes. A complete panel usually involves three papers plus chair and commentator (with the possibility of one person fulfilling the latter two roles) or a roundtable discussion with a chair and three or four participants. The Program Committee is open to alternative formats, which should be described briefly in the proposal. Papers should be no longer than 20 minutes, and must be shorter in situations where there are more than three paper presentations.

Applicants should note that a roundtable discussion differs from a panel session in that the former necessarily involves an expansive approach, with contributors exploring the historiographical or conceptual dimensions of a broadly defined theme, rather than delving into the details of more narrowly defined subjects.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply as part of a panel rather than submit individual paper proposals. Since complete panels with coherent themes will be favored over single papers, those seeking to create or fill out a panel should consult the Panelists Seeking Panelists Forum or Tweet #SHAFR2016.


All proposals and funding applications should be submitted via the procedures outlined at shafr.org. Applicants requiring alternative means to submit the proposal should contact the program co-chairs via e-mail at [email protected].

Proposals should list the papers in the order in which participants will present, as they will be printed in that order in the conference program and presented in that order during their session.

Each participant may serve only once in each capacity. For example, each may serve only once as a chair, once as a commentator, and once as a panelist.

AV requests, along with a brief explanation of how the equipment will be used, must be made at the time of application.

Any special scheduling requests (e.g., that a panel not take place on a particular day) must be made at the time of application.

While membership in SHAFR is not required to submit panel or paper proposals, an annual membership for 2016 will be required for those who participate in the 2016 meeting. Enrollment instructions will be included with notification of accepted proposals.

SHAFR and the media occasionally record conference sessions for use in broadcast and electronic media. Presenters who do not wish for their session to be recorded may opt out when submitting a proposal to the Program Committee. An audience member who wishes to audiotape or videotape must obtain written permission of panelists. SHAFR is not responsible for unauthorized recording. SHAFR reserves the right to revoke the registration of anyone who records sessions without appropriate permissions.

For more details about the conference please visit the main conference web page.

We look forward to seeing you next June in San Diego!

SHAFR 2016 Program Committee

Melani McAlister (George Washington University) and Salim Yaqub (University of California, Santa Barbara), co-chairs

Divine Graduate Student Travel Grants


In 2016, SHAFR will offer several Robert A. and Barbara Divine Graduate Student Travel Grants to assist graduate students who present papers at the conference. The following stipulations apply: 1) no award will exceed $300 per student; 2) priority will be given to graduate students who receive no or limited funds from their home institutions; and 3) expenses will be reimbursed by the SHAFR Business Office upon submission of receipts. The Program Committee will make the decision regarding all awards. A graduate student requesting travel funds must make a request when submitting the paper/panel proposal. Applications should consist of a concise letter from the prospective participant requesting funds and an accompanying letter from the graduate advisor confirming the unavailability of departmental funds to cover travel to the conference. These two items should be submitted via the on-line interface at the time the panel or paper proposal is submitted. Funding requests will have no bearing on the Program Committee’s decisions on panels, but funds will not be awarded unless the applicant’s panel is accepted by the committee in a separate decision. Application deadline: December 1, 2015.

SHAFR Global Scholars and Diversity Grants


SHAFR also offers as many as 25 Global Scholars and Diversity Grants to help defray travel and lodging expenses for the 2016 annual meeting. These competitive awards are intended for scholars who represent groups historically under-represented at SHAFR meetings, scholars who offer intellectual approaches that may be fruitful to SHAFR but are under-represented at annual meetings, and scholars from outside the United States. Preference will be given to persons who have not previously presented at SHAFR annual meetings. “Scholars” includes faculty, graduate students, and independent researchers. To further acquaint the winners with SHAFR, they will also be awarded a one-year membership in the organization, which includes subscriptions to Diplomatic History and Passport. Applicants should submit a copy of their individual paper proposal along with a short CV (2-page maximum) and a brief (2-3-paragraph) essay addressing the fellowship criteria (and including information on previous SHAFR meetings attended and funding received from SHAFR). Please submit your application via the on-line interface. Funding requests will have no bearing on the Program Committee’s decisions on panels, but funds will not be awarded unless the applicant’s panel is accepted by the committee in a separate decision. Application deadline: December 1, 2015.