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Home About the SSHA Lore & Practices

Lore & Practices

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I. Annual Meeting

A. Meeting Date

1. Held in the fall, usually in October or November.

2. We try to avoid conflicting dates with the Southern Historical Association, Southern Political Science Association, and International Studies Association which usually meet the first week of November, and with the American Anthropological Association, which typically meets late in November.

B. Site Selection:

The Executive Director in conjunction with the Indiana University Conferences investigate possible sites for meetings.

1. Since Chicago is our biggest draw, the Executive Committee agreed to meet there every three years. The East coast should be site every third year as well, with the site for the third year of the cycle being “somewhere else” (non-Chicago, non-East).

2. The Executive Committee gives final consent to the sites of the meetings.

C. Local Arrangements.

1. IU Conferences handles all negotiations with hotel, conference registration, etc.

2. Local arrangements committee may or may not exist. If it does, it looks after extra amenities such as restaurant guide, special sessions or entertainment, receptions, guest speakers, etc.



II. Committees

A. Executive Committee

1. Consists of nine members with three-year terms (see amendment to Constitution). Voting members of the committee include nine elected members,

2. Elected from ballot proposed by Nominating Committee. Membership should represent a balance of disciplines, gender, race, and geographical location.

3. Attend as voting members the two executive committee meetings at annual meeting. Be available for consultation during the rest of the year.

B. Publications Committee

1. Six members serving three-year terms (see amendment to Constitution)

2. Responsible for overseeing publications of Association: SOCIAL SCIENCE HISTORY (current contract with Duke University Press), and Newsletter.

3. Responsible for selecting editors of Journal and Newsletter, and members of President's Book Award Committee.

4. Consult with Executive Director, President, and Treasurer on new contracts.

5. Report to the officers and Executive Committee at annual meeting.

6. Vice President selects a chair, normally one of the two members entering the third and final year of service.

C. President's Book Award Committee

1. Three members selected by the Publications Committee for three-year, staggered terms. Member serving third year of term chairs the committee. Fourth member of committee serves one year term and is usually the previous year's Award winner.

2. Prepare announcement of President's Book Award, solicit and read manuscripts for Award. Award is intended for first manuscript from a beginning scholar. A manuscript under consideration by a press is eligible for the competition, but work cannot be published by time of SSHA’s Annual Meeting (letter from Press to that effect is required).

3. Send name of winner(s) for annual award to Executive Director before annual meeting. Committee chair makes announcement of winner at annual meeting.

D. Nominating Committee

1. Selected by the Vice President (a chair and four members) for a one-year term.

2. Meet at the annual meeting and draw up a slate for elections including Vice President, Executive Director or Treasurer (if respective four-year terms are up), three members of Executive Committee, and two members of the Publications Committee. Sole candidates are to be put forward for Vice President, Executive Director and Treasurer; and pairs of candidates for slots on the Executive and Publications committees. Ask all candidates if they will run and agree to serve if elected, and to provide a bio-sketch for ballot.

3. Timing: During the summer and early fall the committee should decide which disciplines, genders, etc. are needed for each slot and generate names for the slots. It is wise to have more names than needed since some people will refuse.

4. Aid for process: obtain copies of List of Past Officers and Committee Members from the Executive Director.

5. Inform President of final candidates selected. Send list of candidates (with names, disciplines and institutional affiliations) to Executive Director for ballot. Ballots mailed in Spring.

6. Chair of Nominating Committee receives and counts ballots and reports results to Executive Director and President.

7. N.B. All offices should represent a balance of disciplines, gender, race, and geographical locations. Presidency usually alternates between an historian and a scholar from another discipline.

E. Alan Sharlin Memorial Award Committee

1. Four members selected for two-year, staggered terms. Two members selected each year by the Vice President, Vice President selects committee chair, usually from cohort serving second year on committee.

2. Write announcement for the annual award, honoring the best book in social science history published in the previous year.

3. Read submissions and agree on a book for award.

4. Report name, address, etc. of winner to Executive Director.

5. Committee chair announces winner of award at the annual meeting.




III. Officers

A. President

1. For election see Constitution.

2. Duties:

  • Represent Association for year of presidency.
  • Aid program chairs.Preside at Executive Committee business meetings.
  • Consult with Executive Committee or other appropriate committees and ExecutiveDirector as problems arise during year of presidency.
  • Deliver Presidential Address at annual meeting.

3. Occupies the complimentary "Presidential Suite" provided to the Association, at the meeting in which this person's presidential address is given (2-bedroom suite has traditionally been shared with the Executive Director).

B. Vice President

1. For election see Constitution.

2. Committee selections:

  • Co-chairs of Program Committee.
  • Five-member Nominating Committee (including one person designated as chair).
  • Two members of the Alan Sharlin Memorial Award Committee.
  • Chair of Publications Committee.
  • Timetable for selections: Chair and co-chair of Program Committee in mid-summer (i.e., sixteen months before the date of the program for which they are responsible.) Nominating Committee should be appointed by the Spring before the annual meeting. (Both Program and Nominating Committees meet during the annual meeting just preceding their ascension to office. Committee chair(s) and members should be aware of that when selected. Appointment could even be earlier so that these committee members could plan to give a paper at the meeting). Sharlin Committee members also by late summer preceding the annual meeting which initiates first year of two- year term. At same time, appoints chair of Sharlin Committee for the following year/usually chosen from cohort about to serve second year of term on committee.(Full Sharlin Committee may meet at annual meeting, so appointment of replacement member is best done before start of that meeting). Chair of Publications Committee should be appointed by time of annual meeting.
  • It is best to telephone possible appointees as mail is too slow and it is easier to be persuasive by telephone.
  • Inform Executive Director of Program co-chairs and Nominating Committee appointments by July 15 so that names of appointees can go into that year's Program. Send full addresses of nominees when communicating names to Executive Director.

3. Chairs annual business meeting at plenary session from "head table" that also seats outgoing President, Executive Director, Treasurer, incoming Vice President, co-chairs of following year's Program Committee, editor(s) of SOCIAL SCIENCE HISTORY, chair of SSHA - Rockefeller Travel Award selection committee, and the two Book Award Committee chairs. Agenda includes thanking the program chairs and committee for current meeting, thanking local arrangements and other committees, report from Executive Director, reports from President's Book Award and Sharlin Award committee chairs (in which winners are announced and awards presented), awarding of SSHA Rockefeller Graduate Student Travel awards, other reports, awards, or business, and introduction of outgoing President for the Presidential Address.

4. Accedes to presidency after predecessor's Presidential Address.

C. Treasurer

1. For election see Constitution.

2. Oversight of Association finances. Receives copies of checks written by Executive Director.

3. Reports on Association finances to Executive Committee. Provides recommendations on financial matters to Executive Committee.

D. Executive Director

1. For election see Constitution.

2. Arranges site for annual meeting in cooperation with Indiana University Conferences.

3. In charge of all mailings to membership.

4. Sends out ballot, announces election results at Annual Business meeting

5. Responsible for providing the Executive Committee with all needed papers, documents, and information for official committee actions, being present at all Executive Committee meetings, and keeping minutes of those meetings.

6. Responsible for operating budget of Association: day-to-day management of accounts receivable and disbursements, preparation of annual budget report.

7. Represents Association with Duke University Press for publication of SOCIAL SCIENCE HISTORY Journal.

8. Compensation from Association currently $4000 per year.


1. Selected by the Publications Committee for term of five years, if possible. Selects associate editor if there is to be one.

2. Responsible for selection of articles (including refereeing process), preparation for publication, and sending manuscripts to Duke University Press.

3. Editor’s expenses, including editorial assistant, time compensation for editor, postage and telephone are borne jointly by the association, Duke University Press, and the editor’s home institution. Currently the association and Duke each pay ca. $4,200 per annum to the editor’s home institution to help defray expenses of the editorial office.

4. Special issue editors are encouraged.



IV. Program Committee

A. Committee Chairs

The Vice President persuades a Program chair and co-chair to undertake this arduous task. The co-chairs should be balanced by gender and by discipline.

B. Committee Members

1. Selected by the co-chairs, usually in consultation with co-chairs and network representatives of the previous year’s program committee.

2. The fields of the committee members reflect the networks of the Association, although Program chairs may add new areas or additional members (e.g., for local arrangements) as they wish. Current networks represented on the Program are Criminal Justice/Legal, Culture, Economics, Education, Family/Demography, Health/Medicine/Body, Historical Geography, Labor, Macrohistorical Dynamics, Migration/Immigration, Politics, Race/Ethnicity, Rural, States/Society, Urban, and Women/Gender.

3. Co-chairs should strive for discipline and gender balance in selecting the Program Committee.

C. Call For Papers

1. Chairs draw up the Call for Papers, including date and place of meeting, deadline for submission of papers and panels, committee members with addresses and telephone numbers, and other pertinent instructions.

2. Program chairs, President and Program Committee may decide on a particular emphasis or theme for special sessions.

D. Call For Papers Distribution

1. The Call for Papers is sent to the Executive Director who mails it to membership, and posts it on the Association’s website.

E. Chairs’ Responsibilities

1. Chairs should meet with committee members during the annual meeting preceding their year of service and encourage committee members to go to network meetings to get panel suggestions.

2. Program Committee members frequently chair network meetings, discuss panel suggestions, and create a mailing list for future network communications.

F. Deadline for Submission of Panels

Is usually early-mid February.

G. Program Materials

1. Co-chairs set deadlines for committee members’ submissions of completed program materials to them, ca. March 15.

2. Co-chairs create an electronic list to facilitate communication among members of the Program Committee during the planning process.

3. Co-chairs should make initial decisions about the starting and ending times of the program and the number of time slots, and thus total number of panels, to be included. (In the past, ca. 120-170 panels were scheduled, with ca. 150-170 panels in 1999 - 2001; starting times have been earlier and later Thursday afternoon, with program concluding shortly after noon on Sunday.) This means 9-12 panels per network.

H. Proposals

Committee members receive proposals for papers and panels, complete incomplete panels (in consultation with co-chairs and with each other), rank completed panels, and send to Program chairs complete information about panels and participants.

I. Program Database

Program co-chairs use the program database created by the University of Minnesota/IPUMS group, arrange with the Conference Bureau to construct the program, arrange with the Conference Bureau to notify participants, provide information about housing and conference-registration, and prepare both preliminary and published versions of the final program. In recent years the program database is used to generate mailings and printed programs.

1. Care should be taken in scheduling panels in time slots to avoid

overlapping subject matter or participants. As program size has increased in recent years, networks may be represented by as many as three panels in each time slot.

2. Times for network meetings (two slots of one hour each) must be accommodated in the Program.

3. Nothing should be scheduled in competition with the Annual

Business Meeting /Lunch/Presidential Address which is usually held Saturday at noon. Additionally, officers, editors, and elected Executive Committee members hold a business meeting Thursday afternoon and Sunday morning and so should not be scheduled for a panel in the last time slot on Thursday or the first time slot Sunday morning.

4. The Program co-chairs will consult regularly with the IU Conferences over such matters as number of meeting rooms available, hotel registration procedures, scheduling of panels into hotel meeting rooms of various sizes, provision of audiovisual and computer equipment, and pre-registration of participants for the conference. The Program co-chairs should also reach agreement with the Executive Director about an approximate budget for audiovisual and computer equipment; the costs for this support have risen rapidly in recent years.

J. Registration for Program

1. In order for a panel member to be on the Program, she/he must register in advance and become a member of SSHA.

2. Program chairs work with the Conference Bureau to send acceptance letters to all participants, accompanied by conference and hotel registration forms.

3. Non-attending co-authors of multi-authored papers, invited speakers on plenary sessions, and chairs/commentators recruited from nearby campuses may be exempted from the pre-registration requirement. All other paper-givers, chairs and commentators must register without exception.

4. Follow-up letters, phone calls and E-mail messages to non-registrants may be necessary. Participants who fail to register will be removed from the printed program, normally in early Fall. Those who subsequently register will be listed in an addendum to the published program. While an annoyance to the co-chairs, this kind of follow-up and then purging of non-registrants is necessary to meet the Association’s requirement that Program participants MUST be registered. Prior to the imposition (by the Executive Committee) of this rule, no-shows and non-registrants caused the Association to lose money on its yearly conference.

K. Preparing the Program

1. The Program co-chairs generate the program from their database, and provide a copy to Indiana University Conferences (IUC).

2. Preliminary program is produced as an online document.

3. Deadline for delivering the final program to IUC is late August. IUC handles the printing and delivery (at the conference site) of the final program.

L. Funding

1. The Program co-chairs receive **$2,000** from the Association to cover many of the costs of Program committee work.

2. Program co-chairs will also need financial support from their departments, either in the form of student or secretarial assistance or as phone, mail and FAX support.

3. It is important to consult early and regularly about budgetary matters with previous co-chairs (who can give some indication of costs in previous years) and with the SSHA Executive Director, who oversees the financial status of the annual conference as well as of the Association as a whole.



V. Membership Information:

1. The Executive Director sends out membership information, but Duke University Press receives the checks and keeps the membership list.

2. Membership entitles one to vote for officers and committee members, receive SOCIAL SCIENCE HISTORY and the newsletter, vote at the Annual Business Meeting, and receive a reduced conference registration rate.

3. Membership lists can be obtained through the Executive Director.

4. The SSHA List of Past Officers and Committee Members, revised annually, provides a record of all positions held and of all program participations for those individuals who have been elected or appointed to any position in the Association. The list is useful to Nominating Committee, Program Committee, and officers. At this time the Executive Director updates the list.


VI. Prizes

1. President's Book Award for a first monograph. The President’s Book Award Committee solicits manuscripts and reads them to make a decision. The award gives the author $1000.00.

2. Alan Sharlin Memorial Prize for best book published in proceeding year. Sharlin Committee determines award. $500 given annually.

3. Charles and Louise Tilly Prize for Best Graduate Paper in Social Science History. Tilly Commitee determines award $500 given annually.


"Lore" is currently kept by Bill Block, Executive Director. Please send revisions to him so that that it can be updated.


[Revised 12/2009]