[SIGCIS-Members] SHOT 2014, Dearborn, Michigan - CFP and SIGCIS panels

Andrew Russell arussell at stevens.edu
Sun Mar 2 05:22:17 PST 2014

Hello everyone - 

As many of you know, I’m taking over from Tom Haigh as SIGCIS Chair, effective October 2014.  As part of our transition, I am taking the lead this year in organizing the SIGCIS-sponsored panels at the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), our parent society.  This year, SHOT is meeting in Dearborn, Michigan from November 6-9.  The Call for Papers is posted at http://www.historyoftechnology.org/call_for_papers/.  ***The deadline for proposals is March 31, 2014.***

[Note: this is NOT the call for papers for the SIGCIS annual workshop, which usually takes place on the final Sunday of the SHOT conference (this year it will be November 9, 2014). The SIGCIS workshop call for papers will follow, and it will have a much later deadline.]

This year SIGCIS is, once again, offering to help assemble individual paper ideas into coherent panel proposals for the main SHOT conference.  SIGCIS (led by Tom) has been quite successful with this in the past, so I am going to follow his lead and paste below a lightly modified version of what Tom has distributed in previous years.  

The most important piece of information is this: if you would like to participate in a SIGCIS-sponsored panel at SHOT 2014, please send me an informal expression of interest no later than March 10.

Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from those of you who are interested!


SIGCIS generally organizes two or three panel proposals for the main SHOT conference, and individual members sometimes also use the email list to put together panel proposals with SIG sponsorship. These proposals are reviewed like any others by the SHOT program committee. Sponsorship doesn't guarantee acceptance, but working with the SIG raises the chance of your paper being part of a coherent, relevant, and polished proposal. We also work to match people at different career stages, of different genders, and in different countries which the CFP says will boost chances of acceptance.
If you are interested in being part of such a panel please send me (arussell at stevens.edu) an informal expression of interest with a brief description of your possible contribution. I would like this by March 10, well ahead of SHOT’s March 31 deadline, so that we have plenty of time to work on the panels.  I will then try to find common themes to develop in the topics that could tie them together into a coherent looking proposal, and work with the authors to refine the individual abstracts to meet the expectations of SHOT’s program committee.
SIGCIS members are also encouraged to develop their own panel proposals. These can also be sponsored by the SIG. Feel free to reply to the list (members at sigcis.org) to find additional panel members. For some years now SHOT has been calling for more diverse kinds of proposals, “unconventional sessions” (as the CFP indicates) such as roundtables or interactive sessions.
Certain things are normal for history conferences but can confuse those from other disciplines.  Here’s what you need to know:
·         Panels generally run for 90 minutes and consist of three panelists, a commentator, and a chair. Speakers get about 20 minutes each, with 10 for the commentator, 10-15 for questions, and the remaining few minutes lost in setup, handover, and late return of the audience from the coffee break. Some panels are proposed as a whole. Others are assembled by the program committee from papers submitted individually.
·         Most people now use PowerPoint, at least for images. Some people use bullet points. Many historians still read papers word for word, but in recent years this practice has been discouraged at SHOT.
·         Reviewing is based on a one page abstract and one page cv, and thus is obviously not double blind. Usually about 1/3 of submissions are rejected, but you will never know why as you do not receive comments from the reviewers. Selection is done by the program committee members themselves, with program balance and session coherence a concern. Therefore the odds of being accepted are generally higher as part of a coherent panel than as an individual paper.
·         The full paper is never reviewed or published, but you are still expected to write out some version of it for the commentator to read prior to the meeting.  The commentator is supposed to weave together useful common threads in the papers, add context where missing, and make suggestions on possible improvements. This role is known as a "discussant" in some disciplines. SHOT commentators generally err on the side of niceness, and SHOT takes great pride in welcoming young scholars and scholars from different disciplines.
·         All the chair does is to introduce the speakers, moderate the question period, and make sure that everything runs to time. It's a good way to get yourself onto the program if you don't have any new work to present.
·         Only one paper submission per person per year is allowed.  SHOT has a relatively new policy about consecutive presentations, which is that it now "allows paper presentations at consecutive meetings but rejects submissions of papers that are substantially the same as previous accepted submissions. Submissions covering the same fundamental topic should explain the difference(s) with the prior presentation."
·         SHOT usually has travel money from the NSF and other sources to help graduate student presenters and others who may need help funding conference travel. This is applied for separately after acceptance of your paper.

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