American Political History Conference:

The Past, Present, and Future of American Democracy

June 10-11, 2022
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana


Call for Proposals

At a moment when democracy is under assault in the U.S. and abroad, and when grassroots activism is rapidly and radically altering the terms of political debate, U.S. political history has been thriving, both inside the academy and in the wider world of activism, journalism, and politics. This conference aims to bring together cutting-edge scholarship with new forms of public engagement to use historical research and thinking to understand and address twenty-first century political challenges. This event will bring political historians into conversation with one another and the broader public and grapple with the idea of what it means to study American political history.  It will create opportunities to build networks, share new research, debate ideas, think about the implications of this research in our contemporary setting, and discuss strategies for public engagement.  This conference aims to encourage expansive reassessments of the parameters of American political history and the ways in which we disseminate historical scholarship within and outside the academy. 

This conference encourages a diversity of approaches and perspectives while cultivating opportunities for robust dialogue that will continue to expand the field in new ways.  By also including new media formats and individuals who serve as bridges between scholars and the broader public, this conference will address the question of how historians adjust to the abundance of digital opportunities for scholarship, publication, and engagement while confronting the reality of collapsing academic support.

We invite panel and paper submissions that reflect the diversity of the field of American political history, from the Early Republic to recent history, and that will generate debates and discussions over how to define and pursue political history.  As such, we invite historians in a range of subfields and disciplines—legal history, urban history, policy history, diplomatic and transnational history, history of capitalism, history of science, medicine and technology, media studies, and political science—to think about how we write and discuss political history.

We also welcome scholars from different arenas—including academia, public history, public policy, journalism, documentary film, television, and radio—to launch conversations about the contemporary meaning and uses of history.  More than just sharing specific historical insights, this conference aims to bring together an intellectual community of historians within and beyond academia to inspire conversations about the uses of history, the public responsibilities of historians to engage a broader audience and the skills needed to do this.  As such, we especially welcome proposals for sessions that move beyond the traditional panel structure and encourage roundtable debates, collaborative think sessions in which participants grapple with certain themes and map out new approaches to them, forums on methodology, and workshops in which participants discuss and develop skills (writing for different genres, political history for the digital age, for example). The program committee is deeply committed to inclusion and diversity. We request session proposals with attention to gendered, racial, and career diversity and will have limited funds available to support graduate students and contingent faculty.  We plan to hold the conference in-person but will also consider proposals for virtual sessions.


Proposal Deadlines: December 15, 2021 

Submission Details: Submissions should be up to 500 words with proposals for individual papers or panel, roundtable, or workshop sessions. Each proposal should also include a biographical statement for each participant of up to 150 words that includes contact information. Please submit proposals in one Word or PDF document to Kathryn Cramer Brownell (


Program Committee:

Kathryn Cramer Brownell, Purdue University, Co-chair
Nicole Hemmer, Columbia University, Co-chair
Leah Wright Rigueur, Co-chair
Brent Cebul, University of Pennsylvania
Lindsay Chervinsky, Center for Presidential History, Southern Methodist University
Elizabeth Hinton, Yale University
John S. Huntington, Houston Community College
Kellie Carter Jackson, Wellesley College
Michael Koncewicz, Tamiment Library, New York University
Rachel Shelden, Penn State University

Support for this conference is generously provided by:

Office of the Provost, Purdue University
Department of History, Purdue University
Jack Miller Center


Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

© 2021 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by CLA

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact the College of Liberal Arts Webmaster.

Some content on this site may require the use of a special plug-in or application. Please visit our plug-ins page for links to download these applications.