2021 Annual Meeting Frequently Asked Questions

The ASA Program Committee looks forward to welcoming you to the 2021 Annual Meeting, Creativity within Revolt. Below are answers to your frequently asked questions. This site is being regularly updated. 

The 2021 Annual Meeting will take place in two blocks: 

  • In-person block: October 7-9 in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Virtual block: October 11-14, 2021 

For more information, see This Year’s Meeting.


Conference Format and Registration FAQ

Q: When and where will the in-person and virtual conference blocks be held?

A: The conference will be held in two blocks: an in-person conference October 7-10, 2021 followed by a virtual conference October 11-14, 2021. The 2021 Convention for the American Studies Association is at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, 100 Convention Blvd, San Juan 00907-4900. The headquarters hotel is the Caribe Hilton. This facility was selected in accordance with the ASA's policy on labor union preference for conventions. These facilities also comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, its regulations, and guidelines. Masks are required in all indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. You will also have to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to board your flight. Please see the travel guidelines of the Puerto Rican government on more detailed masking, vaccination, and testing guidelines when planning travel to Puerto Rico. For the virtual conference, we have engaged OpenWater to provide the platform and offer technological support.

Q: Why are there both in-person and virtual conference blocks?

A: This program format is on the one hand consistent with the original call for the 2021 conference, which invited creative experimental formats. It also reflects the results of a survey we conducted in May 2021, wherein we attempted to gather data to inform whether or not we would have an in-person or virtual conference. The majority of respondents opted for an in-person convening. Even so, many also indicated a preference for a virtual conference.

Q: How do I register for the conference?

A: There is a single registration system for the in-person and virtual conferences. You can register for the conference through the JHU Press website.

Q: Where can I find the current schedule for the two conference blocks?

A: You can find it on the All Academic website once you have registered for the conference. Just log in to your account and click on “View the Online Program.”

Q: Why is ASA holding the in-person block of the annual meeting in Puerto Rico even though vaccination rates there are lagging?

A: The site for each conference is chosen five years prior; this extended timeline allows the association to negotiate with site venues, curate a robust program, and work closely with local activists, community members, artists, and scholars. As 2020 made clear, circumstances can shift dramatically, and these circumstances are not just linked to the circumstances of a global pandemic. When the organization made the decision to hold its annual convening in Puerto Rico, those in ASA leadership positions were responding directly to calls from local activists and on-the-ground community members whose livelihoods were distressingly changed due to the destruction wrought by Hurricane Maria and the inexcusable disregard that was part and parcel of the Trump administration. Despite such “good faith,” we understand that San Juan is not an ideal site insofar as we – like you – are concerned with making sure we have a convening that reflects the ASA’s membership and concomitant ethical stances. Admittedly, what was once an established programming process has been upended due to the pandemic.

Q: Is there a site committee in San Juan with whom the ASA leadership is working?

A: Unfortunately, because of ongoing uncertainties involving whether we could move forward with any in-person event, we were not able to work with those on the ground whose knowledge forms the foundation of what we do within and outside the conference. We therefore do not have a site committee for the 2021 conference. 

Q: How can I find the exhibit hall? 

A: Exhibitors will all participate virtually. The link will be available before the conference.

Q: I have a disability that requires accommodations in order for me to participate actively in the conference. Will you provide accommodations?

A: Please be in touch with the ASA staff at authors@theasa.net so that we can be sure to do our best to accommodate you.

Q: Why should an online conference cost as much as an in-person conference?

A: Webinar and video-conferencing like Zoom are not free—especially when used at the scale of a 1000+ person conference. Not only is there a cost for the web technology, but managing a conference of this size requires us to hire an experienced technology company. We have engaged OpenWater to provide the platform and offer technological support. a professional company to make sure that everything runs smoothly. But, even more importantly, the most substantial expense of hosting the conference each year is the year-round staff time required to run the conference. The ASA has several full- and part-time staff who spend the majority of their time preparing for the conference throughout the year. Conference fees help the ASA cover these costs, which remain the same this year. Members will not have the cost of travel and hotel this year, so hopefully, overall, the total cost for conference participation will be much lower this year for everyone.

Q: What will the online conference look like?

A: We are building the online conference on the same basic foundation as the in-person conference. We will have several programming blocks during the day, a plenary session, receptions, mentorship opportunities, an exhibit hall with coffee breaks, and other informal networking opportunities! Stay tuned for more details.

Q: What can I do to help make the 2021 Annual Conference a positive experience?

A: We have a limited staff, and our program committee are all faculty volunteers who are managing research, teaching, service, and personal demands during a global pandemic. We kindly ask you to be flexible and patient with us. Please note that everyone is working very hard to make the conference happen under very difficult circumstances.  At the end of the day, the success of this conference will rest largely on members’ openness to change and innovation. For those who are fortunate to be in a secure financial position, please consider donating to the ASA Solidarity Fund which will defray the conference registration fees for our most economically vulnerable members including students, contingent faculty, unemployed or underemployed members, and scholar activists.  We appreciate your continued support and we look forward to a positive conference experience for all!

Presenter FAQ

Q: Some of the participants in my session plan to attend the in-person block, while others plan to participate virtually. What are the options for a blended or hybrid session?

A: Due to infrastructure, staffing limitations, and cost, we are not able to facilitate blended sessions that involve both in-person and live-streaming virtual participants. We understand that someone in your session may not be able to be there in-person. If that is the case, we ask that the paper/presentation is recorded in advance of the October 7-9 conference.

Q: How can I be sure that my prerecorded video projects properly at the in-person conference?

A: We suggest that you send a video or audio recording of your paper or comments to your session chair at least a week before the conference. The chair can then play it for the assembled audience. Captions are strongly encouraged for accessibility. Zoom has an automatic captioning feature. To avoid technical difficulties, chairs should be sure they have downloaded the file before the panel. Streaming from cloud servers during the panel might be difficult.

Q: I am participating in a roundtable or experimental session. How will my non-traditional session work if some participants are presenting in person and others are submitting pre-recorded presentations? 

A: This is up to the Chair and panel participants. Be creative and try to develop a way for the audience to actively participate, even if you have to work with pre-recorded video or other potentially static elements.

Q: How can we be sure our virtual panel aligns with my time zone? 

A: By mid-August you will be able to access the full online schedule through OpenWater.  All panels will be scheduled for Eastern Standard Time, so please plan accordingly to ensure you will be on time.

Q: I am chairing a session, and we want to change our format. What should I do?

A: Please email us at authors@theasa.net and we will get back to you on a case by case basis. There is a way to change format if there are emergency changes needed by the panelists. However, depending on how close it is to the conference date we cannot guarantee flexibility.

Q: I expected to be on the program but I seem to have been removed. What should I do?

A: Please make sure your membership is up to date and you have registered for the conference. Then email us at authors@theasa.net and we can make sure your participation in the conference is properly reflected. 

Virtual Conference How To's

Q: May I participate in the virtual conference without being a member?

A: Anyone who wishes to attend either the virtual conference or the in-person conference must be a current member and must be registered for the conference.

Q: Where are my Zoom links? How will I add my session to my calendar?

A: All sessions will take place through the ASA conference application provided by OpenWater, which we expect to launch by the end of August. You will not have a Zoom link to add to your calendar. Instead, you will be able to add your session and any others that interest you to your Google, Outlook or iCal calendars, or you can create your own personal schedule by starring your favorite sessions. During the conference, you will go to that session's page and click "Join Meeting." If it is a session that you are participating in, you will see more specific options to start the meeting or join as a co-host. You will need to log in with the same email you registered with to gain access to the conference site.  Zoom links are not sharable with those not registered for the conference.

Q: Will panelists be able to upload papers, handouts, or other materials to the virtual conference platform for viewing by the audience?

A: The panelists will be able to upload presentations/handouts for attendees to view on the website (on each session’s details page).

Q: Since the sessions are virtual will it be possible to exceed the one-hour forty-five-minute time slot?

A: Exceeding the time slot is not advisable as this may lead to overlap of sessions. Other panels will be ongoing, so please respect them and your audience members who would like to attend other events. 

Q: Will we be allowed to record the session so that it can be shared after the event?

A: We have set it up so that you may record the session if you like and some will be available for a limited time after the conference. Further information will be available closer to the conference. However, keep in mind that they won't be recorded and stored automatically in keeping with the practices of our usual in-person conferences.