Welcome to the first blog post of 2021!
Hopefully we will have our registration information up soon so those who don’t want to give talks at the conference can register to participate and listen to what will be fascinating and cutting-edge talks on Crisis.
I am writing to you in the middle of our own crisis. The new strain of COVID-19 from the UK has put us all on edge. What happens next will be a test of strength, endurance and optimism. I know there has been a lot to put us down, with COVID and the never ending stream of racial crises that demonstrate the problems within our institutions. Yet, I want to remind everyone that it’s good to take time for yourself, go to a conference, network with colleagues and talk about the things that most interest you. Take a break from doomscrolling (a word I just learned yesterday). Whether you’re reworking a traditional branch of historical study or paving the path for something completely new, we are all colleagues who are willing to lend a ear and discuss the future of our discipline (and the future of the world) with each other.
I think this is part of what is making Convergences such a fun conference to plan. Bridging the institutional barriers of two universities, we are hoping to truly make this a symposium of Southern Ontario and the wider world. Our weekly Zoom meetings are full of brilliant ideas. To see the passion reflected in our team makes me understand how much everyone is on board with sharing our knowledge and expertise in our field. Gone is the lonely genius scholar. In 2021 we are collaborating and working together for the historical past and the academic future.
We don’t want a Zoom conference where everyone gives their bit and goes home. We hope to have social events at our conference, whatever that shape takes. We want to make lifelong friends and allies that will help each other better our work and the discipline in the future. Stay tuned for more information on that as we are still learning how to use Zoom to make the best experience for us all.
History is a discipline of passion. We are not in it because our parents thought it would lead to the best career or expecting a large paycheck at the end of our graduate studies. We are all in history because we love it, and to have a group of people together who share a passion strong enough to dedicate years of our lives (and our finances) to it is a rare thing in this capitalist world.
Because we love history, we also want to change it for the better. To let everyone access this discipline and to share it with the world – not just the Western world, but globally. We recognize that collaboration, mutual learning and different perspectives not only enriches our own discipline, but will make us stronger in the long run.
You can follow Angela on Twitter at @AngieYZ or on her personal website at angelayrzhang.wordpress.com