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2021 Symposium—Washington, DC
AHAA Biennial Symposium Rescheduled to 2021
Posted June 7, 2020


AHAA is celebrating its fortieth anniversary in 2020, and the Association is proud to be one of the oldest membership organizations devoted to elevating American art. We had looked forward to welcoming all of you to the Washington D.C. area this October for our Association of Historians of American Art Biennial Symposium. The two-day conference is a well-established event that draws together our vast membership from across the United States. However, after careful consideration and for the safety of our members in light of COVID-19, the AHAA Board has decided to postpone this year’s edition of the symposium. Instead, the symposium will take place oOctober 15-16, 2021 in the Washington, D.C. area. There will be optional lectures, keynote, and reception on October 14. We made this decision with heavy hearts but with the knowledge that our community is resilient. The 2021 symposium will be a time to meet again at last, to remember and honor those we have lost in our art historical community, and to reflect upon the role of American art and the American art community in our society.

We will share further details about the 2021 edition of the symposium in the coming months, but for now, please stay well. The AHAA Board and Symposium Organizers from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the University of Maryland look forward to seeing you in the Washington D.C. area next fall! 


The Association of Historians of American Art Sixth Biennial Symposium
Washington, DC

Posted December 19, 2019


The Sixth Biennial Symposium of the Association of Historians of American Art (AHAA) will be held in Washington, DC, jointly hosted by the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) and the University of Maryland at College Park. Join us in celebrating 40 years of AHAA and 50 years of the SAAM Fellowship Program!  


AHAA invites proposals for presentations on any aspect of North American art, visual, and material culture, broadly construed. The goal of this biennial symposium is to represent the most innovative, creative, and rigorous scholarship currently shaping the field. To this end, we encourage a broad range of proposals, reflecting a diversity of topics, geographies, and methodological approaches.  
We are interested in attracting a diversity of presentational styles. In addition to proposals for individual, 20-minute papers, we also welcome alternative-format presentations (e.g. pecha kucha and graduate student lightning talks) and/or complete workshops and roundtables. Scholars at any stage of their career are welcome to submit proposals for any presentation format. To encourage variety, applicants may submit up to 2 proposals, provided that one is in an alternative format. Each proposal will be evaluated, and accepted, separately.
Conference sessions will be organized around accepted submissions, rather than prescribed themes. Organizers especially encourage papers examining: 

  • An expansive history of American art, including work by and about indigenous, immigrant, and diasporic populations
  • Art as civic innovation and community engagement, including public monuments, art, and architecture 
  • Curatorial and pedagogical practice in institutions (e.g. university art galleries, archives, and Smithsonian museums)
  • Artistic engagement with U.S. politics and elections
  • American art in the nation’s capital and on the global stage 
  • New parameters for the teaching and study of “American” art  
  • Digital humanities projects   
  • Research across disciplines and fields 

Please send: (1) a 250-word abstract, (2) a clear indication of format, and (3) a short c.v. of no more than two pages by Wednesday, April 15, 2020 to the AHAA Symposium organizing committee: Amelia Goerlitz, Jordana Saggese, Tess Korobkin, and Robin Veder at


Inquiries are welcome. For pre-submission feedback, send proposals to the email address given above by Friday, March 6, 2020.

Note: All are welcome to apply. Accepted presenters must be AHAA members in good standing at the time of the symposium. Annual membership is $35. Please visit AHAA’s website ( for more information about how to join.