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What makes a good abstract?

The paper abstracts, written by the individual scholars but submitted by the session organizer, should explain the presentation’s purpose, methodology, sources, argument and specific contribution to scholarship in the field. Sample abstracts can be found on the AJS website and tips for writing abstracts here.

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What is the role of a chair?

The chair is responsible for starting the session on time, briefly introducing the panelists/speakers (no more than one minute each), keeping them to their allotted time, and moderating the Q and A. Ensuring equal time for all presenters is essential, and chairs must be prepared to end a presentation that will clearly exceed the allotted time by several minutes. All panel, flipped panel, seminar and lightning session proposals must include a chairperson (who may also serve as respondent); paper presenters may not chair a session in which they are presenting.

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What is the role of a roundtable moderator?

The moderator will pose the questions and control the time given to each discussant to respond during a roundtable. In order to make for an informed and lively dialogue, moderators should email questions to discussants at least two weeks before the conference, and ask discussants to prepare short responses for each. All roundtable proposals must include a moderator.

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What is a Respondent?

A respondent addresses wider-ranging reflections of the issues raised in the papers, talking about what Linda K. Kerber describes as “how the strongest elements of the papers, or the relationship between them, add up to something greater than the sum of the parts. Perhaps the papers point to a new direction in research or suggest new issues demanding study.” In traditional panels, respondents will have about ten minutes for their comments.

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What is a Division Chair?

AJS Division Chairs are responsible for carefully examining each conference submission in their respective Division during the conference review process. There are typically one or two Division Chairs for each division, who act as chair on a three-year rotating basis. The current Division Chairs are listed here.

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What is the Program Committee?

The AJS Program Committee is a multi-disciplinary panel of experts in Jewish Studies that meets in late May/early June to review Division Chair recommendations and make final decisions for the entire conference program. The Program Committee takes into consideration topics covered by all the divisions, as well as the limitations of time and space. Taking into account the entire gamut of proposed papers and sessions across divisions, the Program Committee attempts to find a place for individual papers that the Division Chairs accepted but could not place into sessions. Program Committee members are appointed to a three-year term. The current Program Committee members can be found here.

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What if I am a scholar/professional outside of Jewish Studies?

The AJS welcomes scholars whose primary research is not within Jewish Studies but whose work has a direct impact on Jewish Studies and whose participation would enhance the annual meeting. The AJS will waive the membership fee requirement for a limited number of session participants who are not academics or individuals who would not otherwise become members of the AJS (e.g., journalists, authors, filmmakers, etc.), and whose participation is considered essential for the integrity of the session to which s/he was invited. Requests for a membership fee waiver must be submitted by the session organizer to the AJS by submitting this request form no later than April 25, 2018. Please put “Fee Waiver Request” in the subject line. In the text of your message, please explain the session that you are organizing, the role of the proposed participant, and why her/his role is important to the session. Membership dues waiver recipients are expected to register for the conference at the $165 rate. Unfortunately, AJS cannot accommodate refunds for membership fees for any reason, including a request in lieu of this fee waiver.

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Can my institution sponsor a session?

Session organizers may request to have an academic institution, research center/archive, learned society, or AJS caucus or working group listed in the program book as the sponsor of their session. Magazines, journals, websites, foundations, and other non-academic organizations/publications will not be listed as session sponsors in the conference program book.

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How will my proposal be evaluated?

Proposals will first be sent for review to the Division Chair/s. The Division Chairs, who are experts in their respective fields, are appointed by the Vice President for Program. Division Chairs evaluate proposals, for both individual presentations and pre-formed sessions, on the basis of several criteria, including contribution to the field, originality, methodology, and clarity of expression. When evaluating an individual proposal, chairs will recommend either acceptance or rejection. If recommending acceptance, they will then try to place the proposal in a session with other individual submissions. Division Chairs also evaluate session proposals and make recommendations for acceptance or rejection. If individual paper proposals in a session vary widely in quality, the Division Chair may only accept those of high quality.

Division Chairs then rank the sessions they have recommended accepting. This includes both pre-formed sessions and created sessions, formed by Division Chairs out of the individual papers submitted. The Program Committee, a multi-disciplinary panel of experts in Jewish Studies, meets in late May/early June to review these recommendations and make final decisions. Other senior scholars in the field may also assist in this final review process. The Program Committee takes into consideration topics covered by all the divisions, as well as the limitations of time and space. Taking into account the entire gamut of proposed papers and sessions across divisions, the Program Committee attempts to find a place for individual papers that the Division Chairs accepted but could not place into sessions.

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Can I use A/V and media in my session?

The AJS is able to provide one of the following pieces of equipment per presenter: CD player, TV/DVD player, and a limited number of LCD projectors. A maximum of two pieces of equipment will be provided to pre-formed sessions. The online proposal form will ask you to specify your audio-visual needs and to explain how the requested equipment will be used in your presentation or session. Given the high cost of audio-visual equipment rental (e.g., $800 for a LCD projector; $400 for a DVD player/monitor), the AJS cannot guarantee that all audio-visual requests will be accommodated. The best way to ensure accommodation of your request is to provide a detailed and compelling need for its use (e.g., why the material cannot be shared by handout). Using digital projectors to present outlines of talks or simple text displays does not constitute a compelling need. Please do not request a piece of equipment unless it is essential for your presentation; unnecessary equipment adds significantly to the cost of the conference and registration fees. Those using LCD projectors must provide their own laptops, and speakers are not included with LCD projectors. The AJS cannot accept audio-visual requests after May 3, 2018.

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How can I be sure that AJS has received my proposal?

Confirmation of your proposal’s receipt will be sent to the submitter’s email address. If you do not receive the submission confirmation, your proposal may not have reached the AJS office. In this case, please follow up with the AJS office to confirm receipt. Please submit your proposal in a timely fashion as the website for submitting proposals will close at 5:00 p.m. EST, on Thursday, May 3, 2018. If you don’t receive a notification, it is possible the email got caught in your spam folder. If you cannot locate it there, please contact the AJS office (917.606.8249; conference@associationforjewishstudies.org) before the submission deadline to confirm that your proposal was received. AJS cannot accept proposals submitted after the deadline.

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When will I find out if my proposal has been accepted?

The AJS office will notify you of decisions by email by mid-August. Other than the email acknowledgment at the end of the online proposal process, there will be no other acknowledgment of receipt before August.

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What Should I Expect to Bring With Me to My Presentation?

All presenting scholars are responsible for bringing their presentation notes for themselves, and providing any handout copies. For most sessions, a minimum of 15 paper handouts is suggested. Should the session space include A/V equipment (based on the session submission A/V request), each scholar connecting to this equipment is responsible for providing their own laptop and corresponding A/V cables/adaptors to connect with a projector or other player as needed. Seminar organizers and flipped panel chairs are also responsible for providing paper copies for any session attendee who has not already viewed the papers digitally. If you have any questions about this during the submission process or after a session has been accepted and scheduled into a space, please contact conference@associationforjewishstudies.org with any questions.

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