The best part about planning a conference is watching submissions roll in. We received over 60 submissions to the first annual Convergences conference and we couldn’t be more chuffed at the traction our newly minted conference has already gained. Here are some interesting statistics about the submissions we received:

We received submissions from 11 Canadian universities, 8 American universities, and 8 international universities. We received submissions from Turkey, Italy, England, Iran, California, New York, South Dakota, and from both the easternmost and westernmost universities in the country, the University of Victoria and Memorial University Newfoundland.

64.9% of our submissions were from PhD students and candidates, and 29.8% from MA students. We received one undergraduate submission and 2 from post-doctoral researchers.

The pandemic has created the unique opportunity for people from all over the world to participate on panels together in a way that would not have been feasible in the “before times.” Limited student funding, time constraints, and distance all used to mean that both York and U of T’s graduate history conferences were dominated (mostly, but not entirely) by local, or local-ish presenters. Not so in the pandemic era. We are so thrilled to have been able to make panels from the best papers we received, and we can’t wait to see what kind of discussions they generate.

On the whole, the submissions tackled the idea of crisis in myriad ways. From 16th century duels to sex robots, from the crisis of “Western civilization” to grocery shopping during a pandemic, we were floored at the variety of ways the applicants explored the conference theme. Making panels is no small task, and the formation of 3-paper themes required the diligent work and lengthy deliberation of our committee one afternoon during reading week. Ideally we would have tackled this task over a few cold pints at a dive bar somewhere in the city, but this year, zoom sufficed. We can’t wait to share the conference schedule with you once it’s confirmed!

Until then, stay well and stay safe. The planning committee looks forward to seeing your [digital] faces soon!

Warmly,

Kate Bauer, University of Toronto

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