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General Call for Proposals Instructions



The deadline for the Call for Proposals is Monday, March 8, 2021, 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Meeting Location

The 2021 AAR and SBL Annual Meetings will be held November 20-23, in San Antonio, TX. Registration and the Exhibit Hall will be located in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Academic sessions will be held in the Convention Center, Hyatt Regency, Grand Hyatt, Marriott Riverwalk, Marriott River Center, and Hilton Palacio Del Rio. Registration and housing for the Annual Meeting will open in the spring.

Questions about the Call

The work of the Program Unit is coordinated by the Chair(s) and a Steering Committee who design the sessions and make the decisions about which proposals will eventually be on the program. Each proposal is carefully refereed, usually in an anonymous procedure (i.e., without the name of the proposer being provided to the referees). All proposals, abstracts, and completed participant information (as well as any questions you may have) should be sent to the individual(s) named in the Call; this occurs automatically in the INSPIRE System. The deadline for proposal submission is 5:00 PM EST, Monday, March 8

Please inquire with the appropriate Program Unit Chair(s) about the amount of time granted for your presentation and by what date the respondent (if any) must receive your completed paper.

Guidelines for Submitting Proposals

Step 1: Find a topic in the general Call for Proposals or Call of a specific Program Unit that interests you.

Step 2: Determine which type of proposal you wish to submit.

  • Paper proposal — A paper written by you (and possibly a coauthor) that you will present in response to a theme within a Program Unit’s Call.

  • Papers session proposal — A proposal of a complete session of different papers on a theme, complete with its own description, abstract, a presider, paper presentations, and (optionally) a respondent. Presenters in a papers session must submit their proposals to the papers session organizer, who in turn is responsible for inputting them into the INSPIRE System. 

  • Roundtable session proposal — A proposal of a complete session, including a presider, list of panelists, and (optionally) a respondent; all of whom will speak (ex tempore) on a common theme.

Step 3: Write your 7,500 character (including spaces) proposal and 1200-character (including spaces) abstract. Paper sessions require a separate7,500 character proposal and 1200-character abstract for each paper in the session. The abstracts will be listed in the Online Program Book.

Step 4: Submit your proposal via the method requested by the Program Unit no later than Monday, March 8. Most Program Units have elected to use the online INSPIRE system only. Carefully note any audiovisual equipment you require before you submit your proposal.

  • INSPIRE: Submit your 7,500 character (including spaces) proposal and 1200-character (including spaces) abstract via the INSPIRE system. NB: Do not place your name or other identifying remarks in the body of the proposal field or abstract field in INSPIRE; this may endanger the anonymous review process of the Unit and acceptance of your proposal may be jeopardized. Your name and contact information is sent automatically with the proposal. For help using the INSPIRE system, please consult the  INSPIRE User Manual or if you still require assistance, email support@aarweb.org.

  • E-mail: Submit your 7,500 character (including spaces) proposal and 1200-character (including spaces) abstract within the BODY of ONE single e-mail to the contacts listed in the Program Unit's call (usually the Chairs). Attach the  Participant Form for E-Mail Submissions . Please be sure you use the exact same title on the Participant Form for E-mail Submission as you do on the e-mailed proposal. Proposals received without the participant forms will be disqualified. Participant forms received without proposals or abstracts will also be disqualified. If you are requested by the Program Unit to submit a copy to both co-Chairs or Steering Committee members, follow the instructions listed. If no one person is specified, send your complete proposal to either one of the co-chairs. 

  • E-mail with Attachments: Submit your 7,500 character (including spaces) proposal and 1200-character (including spaces) abstract, and Participant Form as attachments in one single e-mail to the contacts listed in the Program Unit's call (usually the Chairs). Attach the Participant Form for E-Mail Submissions. Be sure you use the exact same title on the Participant Form for E-mail Submission as you do on the attached proposal you e-mail. Proposals received without the participant forms will be disqualified. Participant forms received without proposals or abstracts will also be disqualified.

Step 5: Notification of your proposal's acceptance status for the Annual Meeting program will be sent by April 8, 2021.

Participation Requirements at the Annual Meeting

Membership is not required to submit a proposal in response to the Call for Proposals for 2021. However, all participants accepted to the program must be current AAR members and registered for the Annual Meeting by August 19, 2021. Beginning in 2022, current membership WILL be required for proposal submission.

Participants may appear no more than two times in any capacity (e.g., paper presenter, panelist, presider, or respondent). The only exception is a business meeting presider.

A person can have only one role in a session. You cannot preside and present a paper in the same session.

People can submit no more than two proposals in response to the Call for Proposals. 

Special Sessions

A limited number of special sessions are approved by the Program Committee each year. These are intended to be experimental, creative, or timely sessions that address an area of interest that does not naturally fall within the purview of one or more existing Program Units OR that address a current issue/event of interest to multiple AAR constituencies. The Program Committee occasionally approves special sessions for sessions that would be one-time only or special to the year or location. Special Sessions may only be submitted through INSPIRE by March 8. Under exceptional circumstances, special sessions may also be proposed to address a pressing issue that arises after the proposal deadline.

Guidelines for special sessions:

• Special sessions are accepted through INSPIRE only.

• Special session proposals must provide a rationale based on the criteria above.

• Special sessions must use one of the prearranged session proposal formats (papers session or roundtable).

• Make sure the special session does not cover an area already covered by an existing program unit. If a proposal fits within an established program unit's mission, the proposal will be forwarded to that unit. If a proposal is submitted both as a special session and also to a program unit, it will be eliminated from consideration as a special session.

The Program Committee evaluates all Special Session proposals. Notification of program acceptance will be announced by April 8, 2021.

Exploratory Sessions

All proposals for new Units must begin as Exploratory Sessions. An exploratory session is a complete prearranged session that provides a platform for a group of members to announce a line of inquiry new to the AAR program and to seek out others interested in pursuing it further. The proposal can be for a paper, panel, or other creative type of session format. Exploratory sessions are submitted through the INSPIRE system, and must be submitted before March 8, 2021. Notification of program acceptance will be announced by April 8, 2021.

In order to establish a new program unit, the unit proposers must normally be approved by the Program Committee to hold an exploratory session two years in a row. After the second exploratory session, the unit proposers may submit their proposal for a new unit, which the Program Committee can approve, deny, or — in very rare circumstances — return for revision and resubmission after a third, final exploratory session. More detailed information can be found on our webpage about Proposing a New Program Unit.

Annual Meeting Schedule

Saturday – Monday

  • 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM (2 hours)
  • 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM <Lunch break and Plenary Addresses>
  • 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM (2 hours)
  • 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM (90 minutes)
  • 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM (90 minutes)

Tuesday morning

  • 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM (2 hours)

The AAR encourages creative and innovative proposals for the shorter sessions. Some possibilities include: restricting a panel to two or three thirty-minute papers followed by discussion; posting papers in advance to focus on discussion rather than presentation; topical panel discussions; discussion of a book or film; a panel on teaching in the field; or workshop-style sessions. The ninety-minute format is perfect for hosting specialized conversations on an aspect of the field or "teaching" a topic to the audience.

Audiovisual Requests

The AAR recognizes the importance of using digital equipment during presentations. A limited number of meeting rooms are supplied with LCD projectors for connecting to a personal laptop or tablet. Additionally, some rooms will have the capacity to amplify audio from a presenter’s device. AAR encourages participants to bring or share a personal or departmental laptop or tablet to run any PowerPoint, CD, or DVD presentation.

Audiovisual equipment rental costs have increased dramatically at the Annual Meeting. Recognizing that the majority of Annual Meeting audiovisual presentations involve PowerPoint or computer presentations, the AAR chose to support this trend by furnishing such equipment. A number of rooms will be set with LCD projectors for plug in to a participant's personal laptop. AAR does not provide computers.We encourage participants to bring their personal or departmental laptops or communicate with members of the same session in order to share computer use.

Participants must submit a request for equipment with their proposal. If accepted, the request is forwarded to the AAR office and the session will be scheduled in an AV room set. AV request must be received by the April 8 session submission deadline. The AAR office will make every effort to honor the AV requests received at the time of the proposal.

Free wifi access will be available in some properties, but for bandwidth-intensive applications, please request "Wired Internet for Streaming Video". In order to ensure quality, video presentations should be downloaded to a native device and not streamed over the internet when possible.

To check your audio-visual request at this year's Annual Meeting, log into your account in INSPIRE and view your session information.

Questions about the Annual Meeting

Concerns of a general nature may be sent to annualmeeting@aarweb.org.