Dear ASA Colleagues and Friends,

We are writing today with information about Covid-19 health measures for the upcoming American Studies Association annual meeting, to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana on November 3-6, 2022. Full information about the conference can be found here.
We first extend our gratitude to you, the ASA community, for being with us during the past several years of a global health crisis, economic uncertainty, and job market precarity, among other challenges we have faced individually and as a collective. We also recognize the impact that our annual gathering has on a rapidly warming planet and are mindful of suggestions to address our role in the climate crisis moving forward, such as hybrid conference formats, regional gatherings, or a biennial model. 
These developments have challenged us to reassess and reimagine the purpose and form of our annual meeting. This is something that will occur, with your input and guidance, in stages. For the next four years, we are working with ASA conference sites and terms that were set in stone as far back as 2015. For 2022, the ASA officers and conference organizers are negotiating changes to a convention center/hotel contract that our predecessors signed based on the best projections they could make five years ago. 
As this will be our first in-person meeting since 2019 in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, we are taking concrete steps to promote safety and accessibility. These protocols are not ideal and cannot address all possible concerns about participating in the annual meeting, but we are listening and working within the parameters that we have to make this year’s meeting as safe and productive for our members as we can given the tools currently at our disposal. In the days to come, we will be releasing additional information about travel grants, childcare, steps toward universal access, and enhanced accommodations for members with disabilities.
COVID Protocols for the In-Person 2022 Conference 
Just as our communities have kept us in strong collectives during the past few years, we lean on our ASA community–us–to ensure a safe and successful conference. We are heartened by the robust program we have planned, and thank the Program Committee for their work on such an exciting return to this key event. We advance these protocols with our attendees in mind, including those who are immunocompromised, children, and the many workers who help to make this conference happen. You will be asked to confirm your willingness to abide by judicious health and safety guidelines at on-site registration and check in.
We would like to encourage a safe and healthy attendance by, asking that everyone follow protocols listed below:

  • All conference attendees must be fully vaccinated (with the exception of those with medical conditions precluding vaccination). We strongly encourage and expect that all attendees will also get the new bivalent booster (Pfizer or Moderna) no later than October 20, 2022, which is 2 weeks prior to the start of our conference.
  • While in the conference session rooms and common areas, masks are required unless eating, drinking, or presenting at least six feet from anyone else. You should use the highest quality masks available (N95, KF94, KN95). Cloth masks are far less effective and should not be used unless over a higher quality mask. We will have a limited supply of masks at the registration desk and at the entrance to large, indoor events and other populated areas. We encourage you to bring extra masks to help us maintain this practice.
  • We are requiring that all conference attendees get a negative Covid test result (by lab or home test) within 24 hours prior to your first entry to the conference. We are providing a limited number of rapid tests in the event that you or someone you know shows symptoms or is exposed during the conference, was exposed, or wants to be careful. We will maintain confidentiality and will implement contact-tracing. Given the robust numbers of conference attendees, please stock up on home tests now and consider donating factory-sealed home tests to help us maintain a supply on-site.
  • Upon first entry to the conference, all attendees must attest to the following:

          "I am fully vaccinated with COVID-19 approved vaccinations.

          I have taken a COVID test within 24 hours of the conference and will not attend if I test positive. 

          I will monitor my symptoms each day and will not attend the conference if I show symptoms and test positively.

          I will abide by health and safety guidelines posted for all attendees."

  • We strongly encourage all attendees to do a rapid test before entering the conference on each successive day. Home tests have proven to be 80-90% at detecting infection. The combination of regular testing, masking, and distancing is the best way to ensure your safety and the safety of your ASA colleagues. Please pack multiple rapid tests in your bags.
  • With our most vulnerable community members in mind, we urge all of our community members at large to please remain safe and healthy. Please wash your hands regularly, remain in your hotel room if you feel sick or are showing any symptoms, and make note of local care options in the event of a positive COVID case.
  • Weather permitting, we plan to host our major receptions outdoors. We strongly encourage all others planning formal or informal gatherings with food and drink to use outdoor locations. If you are planning events at the conference hotel, our partners at INMEX will work with you on your arrangements.
  • While not required to register, dependents of conference participants must follow these guidelines (based on age appropriateness).


As a final note, in accordance with the ASA’s values and principles, accountability to uphold these guidelines and requirements will be based on collective care and mutual aid rather than policing and surveillance. We know that you come to the ASA because it constitutes a special site of solidarity, and we will continue to rely on ourselves rather than outside forces to keep it that way.
If you have specific questions regarding this policy or to request accommodations for persons with disabilities or medical conditions, please email

ASA Leadership


Why is the 2022 ASA Annual Meeting being held fully in-person?

Planning a conference the size and scope of the ASA annual meeting requires extensive advanced planning. The current officers and staff are bound to contracts signed at least five years ago, when our predecessors made decisions based on the information available at the time. After extensive negotiations and citation of public health regulations in place at that time (but no longer in effect), we were able to defer (but not cancel) our obligations for the 2020 (Baltimore) and 2021 (Puerto Rico) conferences to 2024 and 2025, respectively. We understand that our first in-person meeting since 2019 brings a mix of excitement and apprehension. We are proceeding with the New Orleans conference in the best interests of our members and the Association, exercising as much discretion and devoting as many resources as we can to create the safest possible gathering conditions.

What if I have a disability or medical condition that precludes or increases the risk of meeting in-person?

If you have specific questions regarding this policy or to request accommodations for persons with disabilities or medical conditions, please email

When can the ASA move to a hybrid conference format?

Because we were able to defer our in-person contractual obligations for the 2021 conference, we were able to host a fully virtual conference in 2021. However, a truly hybrid format, which would allow presenters and attendees to participate in all activities virtually, is beyond the capacities of the ASA because of the extensive additional costs and staffing this would entail. The ASA primarily runs on volunteer labor alongside a small staff. We welcome your input for future conferences that may provide greater flexibility. The ASA is working under constraints similar to those faced by the American Musicological Society, which is meeting in the exact same New Orleans hotel one week after the ASA conference. They have issued this statement. Ultimately, a hybrid conference requires paying all the costs in our contract for an in-person meeting and all the costs of setting up a virtual meeting, which would cause either a massive deficit for the Association or necessitate a substantial rise in registration fees to cover additional costs.

Posted for ASA Office in Annual Meeting
Post date: September 6, 2022

Community announcements and events are services that are offered by the ASA to support the organizing efforts of critical constituency groups. They do not reflect the decisions or actions of the association’s governance bodies, the National Council or Executive Committee. Questions should be directed to the committee, caucus, or chapter that has authored and posted this notice.