James A. Rawley Graduate Conference in the Humanities

The Rawley Conference is a forum for graduate students across disciplines to present their work and receive valuable feedback from faculty.

Sixteenth Annual Conference

“T.I.M.E.: Trailblazers, Innovations, Movements, Epochs,” March 13-14, 2020
(submission deadline: December 15, 2019)

2020 Chair: William F. Kelly, second-year M.A. student
2020 Co-Chair: Elodie Galeazzi, second-year Ph.D. student

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln History Graduate Students' Association invites all advanced undergraduate and graduate students studying the humanities to participate in the Sixteenth Annual James A. Rawley Conference in the Humanities.

​The Rawley Conference strives to enhance our collective understanding of the humanities. We welcome submissions from those studying the humanities and related fields, including but not limited to: History, Classical and Modern Languages, Classics and Religious Studies, English, Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, Environmental Studies, Ethnic Studies, Great Plains Studies, Latin American Studies, Medieval/Renaissance Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Digital Humanities.

While all proposals are invited, preference will be given to those which address the 2020 theme: T.I.M.E.: Trailblazers, Innovations, Movements, Epochs.

One beauty of the humanities is its diversity of research and interpretation. This year, the Rawley Conference seeks to encourage varied examinations of five major components that are best conveyed in our thematic acronym, T.I.M.E.: trailblazers, innovations, movements, epochs.

This conference aims to encourage scholars to examine ordinary people who drove local, regional, national, or global social movements; intellectual and disciplinary innovations that continue to influence our lives today; and memory of past epochs that are due for critical revisitation. Applicants may choose to pursue one thematic component, or critically examine a topic through the lens of multiple elements of the theme.

For example, March 2020 marks the centenary of national women’s suffrage and Women’s History Month. On one potential panel, while approaches may differ between a historian, a sociologist, and a psychologist, analysis of social backgrounds for different groups of women in the United States over the past century (time, movement, trailblazers) could unite the panel. Other sessions can be similarly constructed to encourage interdisciplinary discussion under a common panel theme. This brief example illustrates how one topic can be examined from various perspectives by scholars of the humanities, and it is perspectives like these to which the Rawley Conference seeks to give voice.

with a Keynote Speech by

Dr. Cathleen D. Cahill

Dr. Cathleen D. Cahill is a social historian at Penn State University and a member of the Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lectureship Program. She focuses on women's working and political lives, asking how identities such as race, nationality, class, and age have shaped them. Dr. Cahill is also interested in the connections generated by women's movements for work, play, and politics, and how mapping those movements reveal women in surprising and unexpected places.

One of her current projects is "Raising Our Banners: Women of Color Challenge the Mainstream Suffrage Movement." It follows the lead of feminist scholars of color calling for alternative "genealogies of feminism," using individual biographies to explore the activism of African American, Indigenous, Chinese American, and Hispana women before and after the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. Learn more about Dr. Cahill's work here.

Call for Papers

Submission Guidelines

Submission Deadline: December 15, 2019

Individual papers, panels, posters, and digital projects are all equally and highly encouraged.

Presentation Style Options:

  • ROUNDTABLE (75 mins): 45 minutes of presentation + 30 minutes of discussion, Q&A, and feedback. Presenters are expected to have prepared questions to fuel the dialogue.
  • STRUCTURED CONVERSATION (75 mins): A participant-driven conversation around a shared interest. This format encourages audience dialogue. It usually starts with a bold statement or a problem presentation, and the facilitated conversation goes from there.
  • TRADITIONAL PANEL (75 mins): 3 presentations of 20 minutes + 15 minutes of discussion, Q&A, and feedback. It is composed by 3 presenters, a chair and a commentator.
  • EXPERIMENTAL (75 mins): Simulation, roleplay, games… Non-traditional presentation style is highly encouraged, if you are not sure your idea would fit in the Rawley Conference, feel free to contact and ask the organizers.
  • PECHA KUCHA (75 mins): Usually a multi-presenter presentation, using a series of images to convey key ideas around a shared interest. Each presenter uses 20 slides in 20-second increments.

All submissions must have:

  • An abstract of 250-500 words, single-spaced, including topic, and argument or thesis of the project; and
  • A current one page CV or resume.
  • Paper panel submissions must also have:
  • A 500-word summary of the topic and purpose of the panel; and
  • A brief explanation as to how each paper fits into the theme of the panel. This document should also specify the name and email address of the panel chair.

Submissions should be emailed to rawleyconference.unl@gmail.com with the subject line “Submission - UNL Rawley 2020.”

Within the email, please state first and last name, along with your current institution, a brief bio, and any technological needs you may require (laptop, adapter, projector, etc.).


Submissions: December 15, 2019. (Final decisions on submissions will be made on January 15, 2020.)

Papers: To be considered for the prize*, the final paper must be emailed to the conference organizers by February 15, 2020.

*A distinguished paper prize is awarded annually. The winner of the distinguished paper prize will be announced at the end of the conference day on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

About the Conference

Professor Emeritus James A. Rawley was a member of the University's History Department from 1964 until 2005. Specializing in the Civil War era and American race relations, Professor Rawley authored numerous books, including Race and Politics: Bleeding Kansas and the Coming of the Civil War and The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A History. He was a member of many professional organizations ranging from the Nebraska State Historical Society to the Organization of American Historians, which awards its annual Rawley Prize for distinguished scholarship in the field of American race relations. The Annual James A. Rawley Graduate Conference in the Humanities serves both as a way to honor Dr. Rawley and to encourage future scholarship in a variety of disciplines across universities.


Any questions should be directed to William F. Kelly, Rawley Chair, and/or Elodie Galeazzi, Co-Chair, at rawleyconference.unl@gmail.com.