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Excited About the Online Conference? I Am

by Matt Follett on

As the 2015 AASLH Annual Meeting Intern, one of my duties is coordinating the online conference for those who are unable to attend the onsite conference in Louisville. Over the course of email and phone correspondence, I have noticed how excited the speakers are about sharing their knowledge with their colleagues.

Lindsey Baker, Beth Maloney, and Linda Norris will be presenting their session Don’t Be a Runaway Bride: Building a Long Term Relationship with Your Community on Thursday, September 17. They have creatively compared connecting historical organizations and their communities with dating terminology, starting from the blind date to the golden anniversary. I’m wondering if some of the online dating apps such as Tinder or Bumble (my friend uses them . . .) will make it into their presentation. I think all organizations, ranging from small to large, will benefit from suggestions on who to partner with, as well as the logistics of starting and maintaining those mutually valuable relationships.

I am also looking forward to hearing Kim Fortney, Anita Durel, Conny Graft, and Tim Grove talk about the importance of history in If History Matters, Do Something About It. Representing the History Relevance Campaign, this session will explain the seven key values of historical thinking and practice that affect individual practitioners, their communities, and the discipline’s future.

Personally, I find the second key value, critical thinking, to be one of the biggest assets from historical training. It amazes me how many people regurgitate what they hear from news organizations without questioning and evaluating the source of information. This session will also delve into the value of historical profession, and how our training should be connected to contemporary controversial topics. The current “heritage or hate” debate over the Confederate flag is an example where historians need to apply their critical thinking and contextualization skills to a public audience.

These are just two of the six sessions scheduled from September 17-18, and a full schedule with session descriptions and a speakers’ list can be accessed here.

In addition to the six live webinars, online conference registrants can listen to sixteen recorded sessions from the onsite annual meeting. While you may not be able to physically join us in Louisville, the online conference is a way to stay informed about the great work your AASLH colleagues do every day. For registration information go here.

Matt Follett is the Annual Meeting Intern for AASLH for 2015. He can be reached at follett@aaslh.org.

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