2020 has been a year marked by rapid and continuous change. From the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has cast academic, professional, and personal plans into disarray, to the global and national responses to state oppression, police brutality, and political action, this year has already witnessed the making of a great deal of history. In response to the disruptive nature of these events, the AskHistorians public history forum is hosting our first-ever conference as an online event open to all. The theme, “Business as Unusual”, reflects how human history is filled with examples of people struggling to make do under difficult and quickly changing circumstances. It also describes the conference itself: digital in  origin, unrestricted, and open to anyone around the world with a passion for history.

This is a huge new step for AskHistorians. Due to covid-19, quarantine, and social-distancing rules, in-person gatherings like academic conferences have been cancelled or moved online. Amidst these disruptions, we realized that /r/AskHistorians has something unique to offer: a whole digital platform already dedicated to sharing historical knowledge, home to one of the largest and best-informed groups of history fans in the world! Our community is a natural home for historians to share their research and ideas online in these strange circumstances.It is also (to our knowledge) the first time that a scholarly conference will use Reddit as a platform. We are uniquely equipped to integrate video and text, presentations and Q&A sessions, live events and networking spaces, all taking place in a space used every day by many thousands of avid history fans. And above all, the conference will be free and as accessible as we can possibly make it.

“Business as Unusual” will feature a keynote presentation by Dr. Alex Wellerstein of the Stevens Institute of Technology. Additional speakers and presenters will be added to the agenda as they are confirmed. If you are interested in learning more about being on a panel, please see our Call for Papers below, or email askhistorians@gmail.com

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