Publication Date

February 11, 2014

Does your research project lend itself to strong visuals? Are you interested in getting one-to-one feedback on your work? Do you want to talk to rather than at other historians about your scholarship? Propose a poster for the 2015 annual meeting.

Posters at the annual meeting this year presented research on a wide range of topics, including rationing in Britain during the Second World War, African American sports stars in the early 20th century, and the memory of the Irish Famine in Philadelphia, as well as a poster on teaching critical thinking skills to undergraduates. The poster session at the meeting in New York City next January will be bigger and more visible than ever before, offering an opportunity for scholars to present their work in an arena that will enable real interaction with the audience. For scholarship that lends itself to being seen and discussed rather than merely heard, we encourage historians at all stages of their career to submit a proposal.

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Posters have a number of advantages over oral presentations:

  • Bigger audience: The poster session attracts more attendees than even the best attended sessions.
  • Better engagement: Historians who attend the poster session will stop and talk to you about your work, and you will have the opportunity to really refine how you explain your research.
  • More feedback: In a traditional session you might get one or two questions about your paper during the discussion period. During a poster session you will answer dozens of questions about the project and your scholarship.
  • Wider impact: You’ll have the opportunity to get your work noticed by people in different fields who might not have attended an oral presentation.

But what makes a good poster? A poster should not be a printout of your paper tacked to a board. It should be a concise visual representation of your research and scholarship that is both informative and eye-catching. We have created some guidelines and advice on the AHA website to help you create a great poster. There are also lots of sources for advice and ideas on the web. My favorite is the “Pimp My Poster” Flickr group that allows you to upload your draft poster and get some valuable feedback and exposure before you even arrive at the annual meeting.

If you want maximum impact, direct engagement with your audience, and invaluable criticism and exposure then a poster is an excellent medium for presenting your research. The deadline for submission of a poster proposal has been extended to March 17, so be sure to take advantage of this additional time and send us your proposal.


This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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