Please review our 2021 Annual Meeting Policies before registering.

These policies are subject to further revision before the meeting. We will ask all participants to review them again before attending the meeting if significant changes are made.

Questions? Check our FAQs, or email us at [email protected].

Updates Specific to 2021

Meeting dates

We will convene October 18-23, 2021.

Virtual sessions will take place October 18-20, and in-person sessions will occur in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, October 21-23. Some of the events from the in-person meeting will be live-streamed and/or recorded to be available to all participants.

Registration

Registering for the 2021 Annual Meeting makes you eligible to attend all virtual events and all events held in Harrisburg in 2021, and will give you access to all recordings of conference events for a number of weeks afterwards. A few special events may require ticket sales to cover their specific costs. 

As of July 6, we ask you to complete an RSVP form for the Harrisburg portion; the link is shared by email with all registered attendees. If you can’t find the RSVP link, contact [email protected]

We will monitor in-person confirmations in order to determine whether capacity limits will be required to safeguard public health. If social distancing is required in October, we may use the RSVP data as a de facto first-come/first-served sign-up mechanism to ensure that we do not exceed a safe capacity in the conference venue. Information about any and all events that require an additional sign-up will be emailed to all registrants and posted to the 2021 Annual Meeting page.

We ask you not to sign up for limited-capacity gatherings if you are not confident that you will in fact attend. 

To make the meeting widely accessible, AFS is offering scholarships to reduce or eliminate the cost of meeting registration fees for those who can’t afford them. Complete this form to apply for financial support.

Individuals who would like to submit a proposal but who require financial assistance to cover registration fees should apply for the scholarship funds. You may choose “bill me” at registration to proceed with your proposal while you wait to hear about financial support. You may withdraw your proposal without penalty if you apply for support but do not receive it.

Proposals

Virtual and in-person components of the meeting will be consecutive, not simultaneous.

You will be prompted in the proposal form to indicate your preferences for virtual or in-person presentation, including the option for 1) virtual only, 2) in-person only, or 3) either. Note that we may not be able to change your mode of presentation once you have been assigned a place.

We will not require you to present in either mode contrary to your stated preferences, though capacity in each mode may add an additional limitation in our selection of proposals.

If a public health emergency requires a pivot from in-person to virtual presentation, we will try to accommodate those who are willing to do so.

Panels with virtual presenters should plan to present virtually, since it is unlikely that we can accommodate truly hybrid panels in Harrisburg.

Proposals for the Harrisburg meeting should emphasize the benefit of in-person interaction.

If you chose to defer your 2020 presentation until this year, you must register for this year’s meeting and confirm your intention to present in 2021. AFS staff will communicate directly with you by email to share your past proposal data and provide instructions about how to confirm or update your proposal; if you don’t receive that email by April 1, contact us at [email protected].

New this year: by default, sessions will be limited to 90 minutes. In Harrisburg, these shorter sessions will allow time for ventilation and cleaning in-between sessions; in the virtual meeting, shorter sessions help avoid Zoom fatigue and leave time for breaks. Contact us at [email protected] if you have plans that warrant an exception.

Scheduling

The preliminary program will be posted by July 10. Presenters will have until July 18 to request corrections or changes. Staff will work to accommodate change requests received within that window whenever possible.

Our preference will be to avoid moving presenters from one presentation mode to another after the preliminary program has been released. However, if public health concerns impose late-breaking restrictions on in-person gatherings, we will do what we can to accommodate a pivot to virtual-only presentation in the fall. In that case, no withdrawal or cancellation penalties will apply.

COVID-19 risk

We are continuing to monitor the situation so that our policies can best address the conditions that face us in October. AFS and the Harrisburg Hilton are prepared to implement preventative measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19 at the conference hotel. Specifically, AFS will follow local and national public health regulations concerning masking and capacity limits within the conference venue. AFS will not conduct health checks or screenings.

  • Update: As of August 23 our policy is that we strongly encourage all attendees to get a Covid vaccine. However, if the current trends in Covid cases continue, we may require proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test. 
  • Update: As of August 23, face masks will be mandatory at this year’s annual meeting regardless of your vaccination status.
  • Social distancing will be enforced if necessary in October.
  • Those who wish to attend the Harrisburg program in person must RSVP so that we can plan to use our meeting space responsibly. Contact [email protected] if you can’t find the RSVP form sent in your registration confirmation email.

We cannot guarantee that you will not become infected with Covid-19. We urge you to exercise caution if you have concerns about participating in the in-person meeting in Harrisburg. The virtual portion of the meeting will provide a rich program with opportunities to participate in a variety of ways, and recordings of key in-person events will be made available to all registrants after the gathering.

Moreover, we ask you to consider the health of others. Do not attend in-person meeting events if you have tested positive for Covid-19, are waiting for Covid-19 test results, have Covid-19 symptoms, or if you have had close contact with a person who has tested positive for or who has symptoms of Covid-19. We will not enforce any penalties if you must withdraw for any such reason.

To register for the meeting, you must acknowledge that there is an inherent risk of exposure to Covid-19 in any public place where people are present. If you choose to attend any in-person gathering, you assume all risks related to exposure to Covid-19 and agree not to hold AFS, our officers, employees, contractors, or volunteers liable.

Furthermore, while attending any event related to the AFS annual meeting, you will be expected to follow all current local and US CDC recommendations for attending a large gathering. We will ask anyone who doesn’t comply with current mask and social distancing regulations to leave the event. We will make reasonable accommodations for those with medical or religious concerns about mask-wearing, but they must be requested in writing by October 1 at [email protected].

General Annual Meeting Policies

Accessibility

AFS strives to ensure that all meeting participants have equal opportunities to engage in and contribute to its annual meeting. AFS selects only ADA-compliant meeting venues. Presenters and attendees are encouraged to request accommodations that will support their full participation in the conference; email [email protected] at least 60 days before the meeting.

As a step towards equitable access, AFS has developed guidelines for conference presenters for an in-person gathering and for the virtual context for conference presenters to follow in order to make their work more accessible to all. AFS asks all presenters to read and follow these guidelines and to ask for assistance if needed.

As in-person meeting attendees may experience multiple chemical sensitivities, please refrain from wearing all perfumes and use fragrance-free, unscented personal care products for the duration of our event.

AFS membership

To participate in the annual meeting, you must register for the meeting, but you don’t have to join AFS. Both AFS members and non-members may submit proposals for presentations, or may simply attend the meeting without presenting.

Appropriate behavior

The American Folklore Society is committed to providing a professional environment, at the AFS annual meeting and at other AFS-sponsored activities, that upholds values of inclusion, safety, and mutual respect. AFS expects participants at its annual meeting and at other AFS-sponsored activities to follow the same standards of ethical engagement there as they do elsewhere in their practice as folklorists, and in everyday life.

Our standards do not tolerate any discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, body size, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, physical appearance, political perspective, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected characteristic. Our standards call for sensitivity to power dynamics, exhibited in part through respect for the ideas, work, personal autonomy, and contributions of individuals in more junior positions in the field. Our standards include a belief in the rights of free speech and open inquiry, as well as respect and tolerance for people with worldviews, opinions, and experiences different from our own.

We expect all participants not to engage in any form of harassment at the AFS annual meeting and at other AFS-sponsored activities. Attendees should hold themselves and each other to these expectations. Anyone requested to stop harassing or other inappropriate behavior is expected to comply immediately.

Harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • Personal remarks about individuals that reinforce damaging social structures of domination (e.g., related to age, body size, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, physical appearance, political perspective, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected characteristic)
  • Inappropriate use of sexual images in public spaces
  • Deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following
  • Unwanted photography or recording
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events
  • Inappropriate physical contact
  • Unwelcome sexual attention
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior

The Society seeks to provide meaningful support to members who have experienced harassment at AFS meeting program events. If you are the target or witness of harassment or other inappropriate behavior, we encourage you to report the incident to AFS Executive Director Jessica Turner ([email protected]), AFS Associate Director Lorraine Walsh Cashman ([email protected]), or AFS Membership Director Meredith McGriff ([email protected]).

These officially designated contacts can serve as intermediaries, sounding boards, confidantes, and informal advisers; they can also confer with you about possible next steps. Reporting an incident of harassment does not obligate the reporter to pursue any further action. Our goal above all is to support vulnerable members of the community and to strategize to end the harassment in question. As a voluntary professional organization, the AFS is limited in its ability to respond formally to charges of harassment, but it will follow its professional and ethical responsibility to respond to reports of harassment among its membership, to protect the privacy of all concerned within the limits of the law, and to report complaint statistics to its members.

AFS reserves the right to prohibit attendance at any AFS meeting or activity or to take other action it deems appropriate and reasonable under the circumstances.

If you have immediate concerns about safety, report them first to security at the conference venue (instructions specific to the venue will be provided in program materials), or to the police at 911.

We ask you not to report inappropriate behavior in social media, but to quickly and privately contact AFS through appropriate channels, including cell phone, email or in person at our events. For one thing, AFS staff may not see your social media posts. Additionally, social media posts could create a more volatile or dangerous situation for the individual(s) experiencing this harassing behavior. 

THIS STATEMENT IS INFORMATIONAL ONLY AND IS NOT A CONTRACT, AND DOES NOT CREATE ANY LEGALLY ENFORCEABLE PROTECTIONS OR OBLIGATIONS ON THE PART OF AFS. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO, NOR SHOULD IT BE USED TO SUPPORT A CAUSE OF ACTION, CREATE A PRESUMPTION OF A BREACH OF LEGAL DUTY, OR FORM A BASIS FOR CIVIL LIABILITY.

Audiovisual equipment

AV equipment and technical support constitute the single largest expense of the annual meeting, typically amounting to more than half of all meeting costs in a simple year, and more for combined in-person and virtual events. AFS strives to balance the need to support presenters with the need to keep registration rates as low as possible by providing only essential AV services.

AFS provides basic internet in all meeting rooms, and some AV equipment upon request during the proposal process.

Presenters should assume that the bandwidth of the in-house wifi will not support video streaming of any kind. Presenters who wish to show video are advised to bring their video file on their own personal computer or storage device.

Panels should not plan to include virtual presentations.

Presenters may request data projectors and/or speakers when they submit their proposals. AFS will schedule panels in meeting rooms that are equipped accordingly. All presenters must bring their own computers, and Mac users should bring the appropriate adapters for their particular model. If you are participating in an organized session, please inform your chair of your equipment needs as well. Equipment specifications are linked to the current Annual Meeting page or available upon request.

Individuals who can’t bring their own computers are advised to coordinate with other members of their panel to share equipment.

Cancellations and withdrawals

Once a paper or session is submitted, it is expected that the author(s) will present their paper at the conference if the proposal is accepted. Participation in the conference is competitive, and a cancelled presentation eliminates a spot that could have accommodated another presenter. Moreover, the cost is greater in staff time and in inconvenience to attendees when gaps are created in the program schedule (see No-Shows, Schedule of Presentations and Program Updates, below).

As a courtesy to AFS members, conference presenters, and attendees, AFS strongly discourages paper presenters from canceling their participation in the conference after proposals have been submitted. If you find that you can’t present your paper yourself, we urge you to contact [email protected] as soon as possible to inform us and to make other arrangements, such as sharing a recording of your presentation.

The refund policy is as follows:

  • If you have registered but are not presenting or named in the program, you may request a full refund until October 15; after that, no refunds will be issued.
  • No refunds will be issued after July 1 to program participants (chairs, presenters, discussants, etc.) who withdraw their presentations.
  • Presenters who wait until October 1 to notify AFS that they will not present will not be considered for the next year’s annual meeting.
  • No penalty will be imposed for those who can’t attend because of visa difficulties or because they have symptoms of, or have been in close contact with, contagious illness.
  • In the event that local or national regulations require us to cancel our in-person gathering, the affected presenters may withdraw with no penalty.

No-shows

AFS considers “no-shows” to be presenters who do not attend their scheduled sessions at the annual meeting and who have either (1) not notified AFS in advance that they cannot present at the meeting or (2) have not submitted a recorded presentation or a paper to be read in their absence.

No-shows are conspicuous in their absence. They inconvenience the chair, their fellow presenters, and those attending the session. No-shows may not present for the next two meetings. There is no penalty if you notify AFS in advance of October 1, submit a recorded presentation, or arrange for your paper to be read by someone else at your session. You are responsible for finding your own alternative presenter and notifying AFS of the change. Note: It is not enough to inform your panel chair; if you do not inform AFS, you will be penalized as a no-show. Contact [email protected] as soon as your plans change.

Number of presentations

You may “present” only once at the annual meeting. “Presenting” means: giving a paper, diamond presentation, or participating in a forum in some capacity.

However, individuals may also serve as chair in one other paper or diamond panel. This exception does not apply to forums, since the chair of a forum participates equally in the discussion, rather than serving in a support position.

Discussants are typically counted as presenters because they occupy a presentation slot; contact [email protected] if you believe circumstances warrant an exception.

No one may participate in more than two sessions altogether.

Exceptions will be made for those who are invited by AFS to present in the service of an AFS project.

In years past, participants were allowed to participate in two forums, or to present a paper and participate in a forum. This is no longer the case.

Presentations that have been given at previous AFS annual meetings will not be sent to the planning committee for review. Films may be re-presented once if the work has been substantially revised since the previous showing; thus, a filmmaker may show a rough cut and the (nearly) final product, but may not present the same title more than twice.

Program content

AFS staff takes responsibility for representing the program schedule as accurately as possible.

Presenters are solely responsible for the views and personal information they provide for the program; AFS staff exercises minimal editorial control, but reserves the right to edit for length, clarity, grammatical correctness and tone in all data submitted in proposals.

Program participants are responsible for reviewing their information in the preliminary program; corrections must be submitted within two weeks of the preliminary program publication in order to be captured in print program material.

Program updates

Every year, some papers are withdrawn after program materials are published, up to and during the conference itself. Because withdrawals have a significant impact on the schedule of presentations, AFS staff will attempt to record all known paper withdrawals in digital program materials and on the print program addendum. Since withdrawals are likely to affect the start times and even the sequence of all remaining papers in a session, it is very important that presenters and attendees check for updates to the schedule at the start of each session. (See Schedule of Presentations above for more information.)

Recording of meeting events

AFS reserves the right to take still photographs of all program events and public conference space at the annual meeting for possible publication or distribution on its website, newsletter, or other official publications.

Most virtual sessions and a limited number of in-person sessions will be recorded and posted to the conference platform for asynchronous access by registered attendees for a limited time after the live proceedings. This will make meeting content more accessible to a larger number of attendees.

Presenters may opt-out of recording their contributions, or request audio recording instead of video recording.

We will seek signed permissions from all annual meeting presenters whose presentations we intend to keep and/or distribute more publicly after the annual meeting.

By frequenting conference events and space, whether in-person or virtual, attendees are granting permission to AFS to be included in photographs and recordings.

Remote presenters at the in-person meeting

Offering both virtual and in-person meetings significantly increases operating costs, especially in the case of a true “hybrid” that offers both virtual and in-person participation in a single, live event.

This year, we will prioritize proposals for panels and events that foster or depend upon active interaction for the in-person program in Harrisburg. Panels that include participants who can’t attend in person should plan to present virtually.

Scheduling of presentations

All paper/diamond/media sessions include a schedule with a starting time for each presentation or general discussion block.

The assigned time slots for each presentation include time for the presentation itself and also for Q&A.

We urge all panel participants to observe and enforce their scheduled times, because many attendees rely on the schedule to move from paper to paper.

Because papers are typically withdrawn even during the conference itself, we highly recommend that you check for program changes before the start of each session. See Withdrawals, below.

The manner of distributing program updates may vary with the technology available from year to year, but typically, changes received before October 1 are distributed in print materials, while all changes, including those received during the meeting, can be found in digital materials. It may be necessary to refer to a separate addendum, which will be attached to the AFS annual meeting webpage. Check the AFS annual meeting webpage at the time of the meeting for more information.

Session guidelines

Assembled panels

Accepted proposals for individual presentations are grouped by the Review Committee into panels. The Review Committee uses its best professional judgment as it weighs many variables in creating panels, including finding not just points of intersection between papers, but also creating opportunities for conversations across “silos.” Panels may include a variety of presentation formats and variable durations.

We seek to accommodate preferences submitted with the proposal, especially concerning presentation mode and duration, but cannot promise to do so in all cases, especially after the revised program is posted.

Each presentation time slot includes time for the presentation itself, as well as time for questions.

All presenters should check the preliminary program to confirm which slot they are actually assigned, and contact AFS staff by the posted deadline to correct any errors. Panelists may request specific schedule adaptations by that deadline, but should abide by the revised schedule during the session.

Diamond sessions

Preorganized panels may consist of 6-8 diamond presentations, a formalized presentation genre structured by time and images: individual diamond presentations are seven minutes long and are organized around 21 slides that are set to advance automatically every 20 seconds. Each diamond presentation is allotted 15 minutes, including a few minutes to ready the equipment, seven minutes for the presentation, and the remaining time for questions and discussion. Additional time for discussion will be indicated as appropriate in the published schedule. Panelists may request specific schedule adaptations in the two weeks after the preliminary program is posted, but should abide by the revised schedule during the session.

Forums

Forums are informal discussions organized around a specific subject, issue, theme, or topic. Forums should include no more than six participants, and should be designed for extensive interaction among the panel and audience. Forums should not include formal presentations, like papers, but may include very brief (5 minute) remarks from each participant to orient the discussion. Forum chairs participate fully in the discussion with other panelists, so all forum participants are held to the same limits on the Number of Presentations (see above).

Media presentations/sessions

Media sessions feature the presentation of one or multiple audio or video works in a two-hour session. Media presentations may be completed or works-in-progress. Media playing time is indicated in the program.

Short paper sessions

Preorganized panels may consist of up to 6 short papers. By default, each presentation is allotted 10 minutes for the paper, followed immediately by 5 minutes for questions. Additional time for discussion will be indicated as appropriate in the published schedule. Panelists may request specific schedule adaptations when submitting the proposal or in the two weeks after the preliminary program is posted, but should abide by the revised schedule during the session.

Standard paper sessions

A standard paper session consists of a set of papers on a given topic to be presented in a 90-minute session. Each paper presentation is allotted 30 minutes on the program, including time for a brief introduction, 20 minutes for the presentation, and 5-10 minutes immediately following the presentation for questions and discussion. If you require more than 3 presentation slots this year, use the “short paper session” option, which provides more customized scheduling options. Panelists may request correction in the two weeks after the preliminary program is posted, but should abide by the revised schedule during the session.

Social media use

AFS supports social media as a mode of communication that can complement our annual meeting. However, it is not the best way to communicate with AFS. If you have questions or concerns about AFS policies or meeting implementation, it is important that you contact us directly at [email protected].

AFS expects all meeting participants to adhere to our standards of professional annual meeting behavior in all contexts surrounding annual meeting participation, whether digital, analog, or in-person; as the social media community and its norms continue to emerge and evolve, we particularly ask social media users to be mindful of the standards of ethical engagement below. Although we use Twitter as an example in this policy statement, the basic framework and principles described here are meant to be applied across all social networking platforms.

Consent

Do not use any visual or audio recording devices to record presentations without the express approval of the presenter. The session chair should take steps to communicate the presenters’ preferences at the start of the session, and at the beginning of each individual presentation where the presenter does not give consent to record. Audio and video recordings of sessions should not be made or posted without the permission of all panelists or seminar members, ideally secured through the chair in advance of the session. Any speaker has the right to request that his or her work and comments not be tweeted. Please ask subjects involved before posting and tagging photos.

Professional tone

The meeting hashtag represents an extension of the conference online. As such, we encourage participants to consider their comments to be public, avoiding remarks that would be inappropriate in other professional spaces.

Fair quotation

Live-tweeting often represents itself as a transcript of spoken words. Tweeters should be aware of the potential for misrepresentation, appropriation, and removal of context. It is important to attribute tweets with a speaker’s handle or full name (e.g. @handle:xxx); presenters’ handles may be found in the program book’s index of presenters. Retweeting and favoriting remove tweets from temporal sequence, so it is best to attribute individual tweets, rather than just the first in a sequence.

AFS encourages 2021 annual meeting attendees to live tweet using #afsam21 and to share their Twitter handles.

For more guidelines, see: http://blog.historians.org/2013/03/the-dos-and-donts-of-live-tweeting-at-an-academic-conference-an-update/

Virtual presentations

Live virtual events will take place using Zoom Online Meetings; access will be password protected and limited to meeting registrants.

Successful virtual presentations require some preparation in advance of the meeting:

  • All presenters should make sure that they have adequate bandwidth and equipment to present, including a computer with Zoom software installed (strongly recommended) or the capability to run the Zoom web browser client. You can check your bandwidth here. You should also think about your lighting, microphone, and background.
  • You will share media files using Screen Share from your own device. Nevertheless, it is a wise precaution to share your files with a co-panelist in advance, in case of playback difficulties on your end.
  • Pre-recorded papers or slideshows are not required, but may yield higher presentation quality. In any case, we will schedule presentations in a live session with time for questions, so you can give your paper live or play your recording from your own device using “screen share.”

More information, including some procedures and rationales for planning decisions, are explained in Annual Meeting FAQ.