At the Anglo-American Conference!

I am at the Anglo-American conference, which is the annual conference at the Institute of Historical Research (which is where I work). http://www.history.ac.uk/aac2009/ The conference has been going since the 1920s, and it’s fun to look at the posters for the past years and see the big names giving the keynotes addresses.
This year the theme is cities! So there are urban historians everywhere. Swarming.
One interesting thing is that the conference has a twitter hashtag, #aac_2009, which is something I would like to see other history conferences adopt. The AHA, for instance... You can follow the feed, at http://www.history.ac.uk/aac/twitter.html

All sessions will also be recorded, and I believe the plan is to release them as podcasts.

Last weekend I was at the World History Association conference, which was fun! I enjoyed visiting the town, and the National Parks Service really stepped up providing guided tours and plenty of information about the local area.

There were some great papers (mine, of course ;) and opium and Jesuits came out as particular themes (not in the same paper though, at least not that I heard!). Marion Diamond gave a fascinating paper about the 18th century reception of Opium, on a panel with a paper from Frances Karttunen about the opium addicted women of Nantucket, and I loved the keynote address by Dane Morrison about Salem and the China trade, from the perspective of expatriate Salemite communities through East and Southeast Asia in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Some elements could have been better organised, one comment I heard from a number of people (and with which I agreed) was the apparent lack of awareness of people coming from outside the US to attend (it’s called the WORLD history association, people!). The information on transport was limited, and distances were all given in times, e.g. “X is only five minutes away” - meaning the time it takes to travel there BY CAR. Nobody seemed to know the timetable for the shuttle bus, or how long it would take (I was given estimates anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes), and not enough time was allowed to get between the conference sites at the Peabody Essex Museum and Salem State College by bus between panels.

Nonetheless, it was a fun experience, and I’m interested in the theme for next year’s WHA, ‘The Pacific in World History’.