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We are pleased to announce that the Virginia Forum will hold its nineteenth annual conference from April 4 to 6, 2024, at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture in Richmond, VA. This year’s theme is “Who were/are Virginians?”


Richmond has long been a bustling center of political, economic, and cultural power in Virginia. Tsenacommacah, the name given by Powhatan peoples to their homeland, featured two capitals: the second, the village of Powhatan, is believed to have sat in the eastern part of Richmond. English colonists occupied this land almost from the moment of settlement, eventually founding Richmond in 1737, ahead of its ascension as the capital of Virginia in 1780. As American independence neared, Patrick Henry gave the Revolution its voice as he demanded, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” from Church Hill. When the international slave trade was abolished, the domestic slave trade in the United States boomed. Richmond was central to this internal trafficking of human beings. Virginia’s secession in 1861 then made Richmond the capital of the Confederacy, as rebels sought to marshal the city’s industrial infrastructure and to sanctify secession by aligning disunion with Revolutionary history. By the twentieth century, previously free Black people and previously enslaved people, along with their descendants, created a thriving community in Jackson Ward, which became known as the “Black Wall Street of America” and the “Harlem of the South.” This resilient community endured, making Richmond a key battleground over the fight for civil rights. In 2020, demonstrations shook the city in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police, and Richmond’s Confederate monuments became sites of contest between activists and police. To this day, Richmond remains a focal point for discussions over Virginia and Southern identity, and historical memory and legacies of histories of slavery and the Confederacy.

Richmond teems with educational and recreational opportunities. The city is notable for its arts: boasting a vibrant mural scene, numerous galleries in the Arts District, and the nationally-significant Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. In addition to the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, which will host the 2024 Virginia Forum, Richmond is home to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, the American Civil War Museum, and The Valentine, offering ample opportunities for history lovers. The James River winds through the city, providing the perfect scene for walking, running, and other activities on the water. A visit to Richmond would not be complete without checking out Scott’s Addition, which offers a range of Virginia drinks at thirteen breweries, cideries, meaderies, wineries, and distilleries all within walking distance. Supplemental experiences allowing Virginia Forum attendees to enjoy the city’s rich culture during the conference will be announced soon.

The Virginia Forum is an interdisciplinary conference and welcomes work in a variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, anthropology, archaeology, economics, education, environmental studies, geography, history, law, literature, and politics. Each year the conference encourages proposals from and ultimately brings together academics, applied and public historians, archivists, historic site interpreters, librarians, museum professionals, teachers, writers, and others engaged in the study and interpretation of the history and culture of greater Virginia. Throughout the weekend, presenters and guests will share their knowledge, research, and experiences. The Virginia Forum welcomes a variety of presentation formats including complete panel sessions, demonstrations, roundtables, workshops, etc.


While the theme is intended to inspire proposals, it should not restrict ideas or submissions outside of its fold. Potential topics might address:

●       Indigenous Peoples

●       Settler Colonists

●       Vast Early America

●       Revolutions, Rebellions, and Resistance

●       Freedom, Enslavement, and Unfreedom

●       Civil War / Reconstruction

●       Servicepeople, Citizen-Soldiers, and Veterans

●       Disenfranchisement and Jim Crow

●       Memory and Heritage

●       Activism and Protest

●       The Long Civil Rights Movement

●       Migration/Emigration/Immigration

●       Political Centers/Peripheries

●       Urban/Rural Communities and Identities

●       Food cultures and Foodways

●       Gender & Sexuality

●       Social Status and Class/Labor Histories

●       Artistic Expression and Self-Representation

●       Sports Histories

●       Geographical, Political, or Cultural Liminality

●       Marginalized and Underrepresented Communities

●       Medicine, Health, Ability, and Disability

●       Scientific Innovations and Histories of Technology

●       Environmental histories and Environmentalism

●       History of Disasters

●       Recreating Virginians within the Public Sphere

●       Teaching Virginia


The deadline for proposals is December 18, 2023.


For Panels: Proposals for complete panel sessions, workshops, etc. are encouraged. Submissions should include: 1) a one-page description of the overall session; 2) a separate, one-to-two paragraph description for each individual presentation in the session; and 3) a curriculum vitae or resume for each panel member, including the moderator, not to exceed three pages in length. Please combine the information in a single Word/pdf document, and please be sure to include the email address and other contact information for the panel’s primary organizer.


For Papers: Individual paper proposals will also be accepted. Submissions should include: 1) a one-page description of the intended presentation and 2) curriculum vitae or resume for the presenter, not to exceed one page in length.


For Those Interested in Moderating a Session: Please submit a brief description of your area(s) of interest/specialization and a one-page curriculum vitae or resume with up-to-date contact information in a single Word/pdf document.


Contact Information: Nadine Zimmerli, Editor for History and Politics at the University of Virginia Press, 2024 Virginia Forum Program Committee Chair, and new Virginia Forum Board member


Program Committee:

●       James Brookes, Melanie Trent De Schutter Library Director at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture

●       Graham Dozier, Publications Managing Editor at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture

●       Kevin Hardwick, Professor of History at James Madison University

●       Anna Kiefer-Douglas, English teacher at Mount Tabor High School, Winston-Salem, NC, and Adjunct Instructor of History at Laurel Ridge Community College

●       George Oberle, History Librarian, Assistant Professor Department of History and Art History, and Director of the Center for Mason Legacies at George Mason University

Contact Email for Questions and Submissions:

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