This month I was working hard as host committee chair fielding an incredible amount of panel proposals. We received many more panel suggestions than we have slots, so our committee meeting this coming Tuesday will be one of blood, sweat and tears. Shortly after that, moderators should be getting letters, though some on-topic panels have already been accepted. If you have not heard that your panel is accepted by April 5, do contact me, as you should have heard by then.
The panels arriving this year are incredibly varied, interesting and even entertaining. The list will be published in the upcoming April newsletter, and I encourage you to read through them and see how remarkable the variation is. Many proposals have come from folks who have not yet attended an ALTA conference.
SOOOOO, for those not yet in the know,
there are NO PAPERS READ on the panels. TALKS ONLY. Which means talks.
Those of you who have never attended an ALTA conference before may be surprised at this, especially as academics in the humanities are known for reading papers at other conferences, such as the MLA. Luckily, no one at ALTA is trying to impress (ok, maybe we are, but secondary literature is put aside for the weekend anyway). I know for a fact that those who were reading papers last year had to brave the not-so-subtle muttering at the back of the room for breaking this rule. And remember, many ALTA members, such as your humble host committee chair, are recovering academics, ie, freelancers, and so have gravitated to speaking Human again. (Humor, tenured folks, humor!)
And for first-timers, there is an early morning presentation prior to the official start of panels, in order to break you in gently to the ways of ALTA. I recommend you attend. The big mucky mucks are quite friendly and helpful.
Really and truly.
Since this is such an important tradition in ALTA, and since the moderators who have not received letters will be getting them very soon, do help your moderator out by not having that sheaf of paper to shuffle. (A notecard or two is fine.)