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AJS Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Mar 19, 2020, 13:04 PM

From President Noam Pianko & Executive Director Warren Hoffman

Dear AJS Members,

During this unprecedented time, we wanted to reach out with an AJS update regarding the current Coronavirus situation.

As we are all increasingly aware, the efforts implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19 will have a significant impact on our professional lives as academics and scholars. Many of us are scrambling to figure out how we can shift our teaching online, support our students and colleagues at a time of great anxiety, and, especially in the case of contingent faculty, figure out how this situation could impact our careers. All this while trying to contribute in whatever small ways we can to ameliorate the devastating global medical, social, and economic impact of this pandemic.

As an organization, the AJS will closely monitor the situation and respond accordingly. Fortunately, the AJS does not have events scheduled for the next several weeks that require any modifications to meet social distancing guidelines. Nevertheless, with things changing very rapidly, we wanted to share some updates with our membership.

  • AJS Office Working Remotely: The AJS office, along with the entire Center for Jewish History building, has been closed. Our incredible staff will be working remotely for the next few weeks. Please continue to reach out to our staff (including via the main office number) if you need anything, but just be patient if response times are longer than usual.

  • 2020 Conference Proposal Submissions: As a reminder, the submission deadline for the 2020 Annual conference is April 30. With six weeks until this deadline, we encourage all members to submit a proposal to us! To help streamline efforts for those with individual paper ideas to create joint sessions, we have created this form to help with assembling panels on specific topics.

  • 2020 Conference: We are still planning to hold our 2020 Conference as scheduled in Washington, DC. However, we have revised our cancellation policy for this year. Registration can be cancelled until September 11 with no penalty; from September 12 - November 13, registrations can be cancelled with a modest cancellation fee. Should world events continue to impact our conference plans, we will be in touch later in the year with an update to this policy if need be.

We are also aware that many of our members are working to move courses online and to create new digital/virtual content. While the AJS has limited resources in place at this time to help with course development and new content creation, there are a few ways the AJS can help. Our website has several resources that might be helpful as many of us work to move our courses to new online formats, and we encourage AJS members to collaborate across institutions and support one another in these efforts as well.

  • Webinars

  • Podcast

  • Teaching Resources

  • Virtual Op-Ed Writing Workshops: As part of its new slate of professional development opportunities, the AJS is offering partial subventions for The Op-Ed Project's "Write to Change the World" workshops. These online workshops will be offered throughout April and May. AJS members pay just $50 for the $335 workshops. Applications are currently being accepted on a rolling basis. Apply now.

Sharing New Resources: If you develop new content (e.g. syllabi, YouTube, lectures, multi-media course resources) you would like to share with the broader AJS community, please upload that information to this Google form. This form will dynamically create a resource bank for our members to share these materials with one another, which can be accessed here.

Wishing you good health, and maximal success in navigating the new challenges our field faces. We are glad to be in this together with all of you, and look forward to continued collaboration.


Warren Hoffman
Executive Director

Noam Pianko