Join | Contact Us | FAQ | Print Page | Sign In
AMS/SMT Virtual 2020 Seminar FAQ

Why seminars?

The seminar format offers the opportunity for more extended discussion and deeper intellectual engagement by a larger group of participants than does the standard paper session. A seminar is an interactive discussion-oriented session in which participants can learn from each other in addition to presenting their knowledge. Seminars have been adopted by an increasing number of scholarly societies in their annual meetings, including the Society for American Music, German Studies Association, and the American Comparative Literature Association.

How do seminars work?

The sessions emphasize group discussion rather than formal papers. There are one or two conveners for each topic, and an additional three to six active participants who submit papers. Topics are chosen at stage one, participants at stage two. Approximately one month before the 2020 Annual Meeting, seminar papers will be posted on the AMS web site so that they can be read by seminar participants and attendees. At the seminars themselves, participants present only five-minute summaries of their papers. In addition to the selected active participants, the seminars are open to auditors, as space allows. Each of the three seminars will meet once for ninety minutes, and will be scheduled during the regular daytime sessions.

What kinds of topics are suitable for seminars?

Seminar topics may address any themes of great interest and wide relevance to the Society, for example, current hot-button issues in the field, interdisciplinary topics, music in public life, or new fields of research.

Who may submit proposals for seminar topics?

Anyone with a strong interest and expertise in a topic or field, or who wishes to develop a new field of inquiry or explore a multidisciplinary perspective. A Study Group or a scholarly society may also submit a proposal, although participation in the seminar is open to all.

Who may not submit proposals for seminar topics?

If you were a Formal Session, Evening Panel, Alternative Format Session, or Seminar organizer in 2019, or if you read a paper at the 2019 meeting, you are restricted from submitting a Seminar Topic proposal.

Can Seminar organizers (conveners) also submit a regular paper proposal for their seminar? On another topic?

Yes; no. If the seminar topic is selected for presentation (they are announced 2 November), the organizer(s) may submit a proposal for their own seminar, but for nothing else (submission deadline: 15 February).

How are the topics and abstracts chosen?

The Program Committee selects the topics, based on scholarly quality and relevance. The proposer(s) of topic(s) that are accepted become the convener(s). The Program Committee and the conveners select the abstracts for the seminar papers, based on the quality of the proposals as well as their relevance to the seminar topic.

How are seminars different from Roundtables?

Seminars are solely discussion-based, with no papers read. Since papers are circulated in advance to all participants and auditors, they permit greater in-depth discussion than Roundtables. Seminars are also designed more openly rather than Roundtables: whereas the conveners design and propose an entire Roundtable, including participants, topics for seminars are chosen in a separate process from the selection of participants. Anyone can apply to participate in a seminar.

How are seminar papers different from regular papers?

Seminar papers are circulated in advance in order to facilitate group discussion at the session. Because they are not read aloud, they can be more substantial than orally delivered papers.

Does a seminar paper “count” the same as a regular paper?

Yes; seminar participants write papers, just like other presenters. The rules regarding multiple appearances at the Annual Meeting equally apply to seminar participants.

Don’t seminars just take up slots that would be better used for formal papers?

Seminars are ninety-minute sessions that feature up to six participants, each of whom has written and pre-circulated a substantial paper, so a seminar can provide a platform for more participants than does a regular paper session.

How large are the seminars, including auditors?

Based on the experience of other societies, seminars will vary in size. Some may take place in smaller rooms, with participants seated around a central table and auditors seated around them; others may attract larger audiences, for which a seating arrangement resembling a panel discussion would be more appropriate. In all cases, however, the seminar participants, moderated by the convener(s), will carry out most of the discussion, since they have read the pre-circulated materials. At the convener’s discretion, the discussion may be opened up to the larger group.

How many seminar sessions are planned for the 2020 meeting?

It will depend on the number of proposed seminar topics that the program committee accepts and that receive sufficient proposals.

When is the deadline for submitting abstracts for the seminars?

18 February 2019

How do I submit?

Read the Call for Proposals carefully, and follow the submission link located at the bottom of the Call for Proposals page.