#AASLH2023: “I, Too, Am America” — September 6-9, 2023 in Boise, Idaho
I, too, am America.
— Langston Hughes, “I, Too” from The Weary Blues, 1926
The preamble to the United States Constitution, begins with the phrase “We, the People…” This phrase has become synonymous with the definition of an American identity. Despite its inclusive appearance “We, the People” was employed as an exclusionary tactic. The phrase indicated an incorporation into a larger American identity while, for generations, ignoring significant groups of people who contributed to, sustained, and influenced American society. Today, “We, the People” has evolved into an inclusive statement of the history and experiences of people within in the United States.
The 2023 conference theme “I, too, am America” is inspired by Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes’s 1926 poem “I, Too” where he stakes his claim on the evolving promise of an inclusive nation by stating “I, too, am America.” His demand tests the promise of the preamble. His poem demonstrates that, despite the country’s segregated society and exclusion of Blacks from the American identity, as a Black man, Hughes was also an American. The 2023 AASLH Annual Conference theme draws on the broadening concept of American identity that is found in Making History At 250: The Field Guide for the Semiquincentennial.
“I, Too, Am America,” evokes an inclusive definition of America which expands beyond citizenship documentation to everyone who lives, works, and contributes to American society regardless of legal status. “I, Too, Am America” applies to all people: Black, White, Asian, Latinx, Indigenous, LGBTQ+, men, women, nonbinary individuals, adults, teens, children, the elderly, immigrants, undocumented individuals, poor and low income, non-native English speakers, multi-lingual people, high school graduates, college students, K – 12 students, the formerly incarcerated, the incarcerated, East coast, West coast, South, Southwest, Midwest and all variations in between. “I, Too, Am America,” is a bold statement looking at the past, present, and future states of being an American, how we interpret American history, and our evolving audience.
In the countdown to country’s 250th anniversary, we are forced to wrestle with our collective identity. Our 2023 conference is a call for an engaging examination of identity through creativity, innovation, and compelling discussion. Questions we should consider are:
- What does “I, Too, Am America” mean to you?
- How does this challenging sociocultural moment inspire innovation?
- How are institutions navigating this sociocultural moment?
- How does the changing physical and cultural landscape impact our institutions and work as public historians?
- How do we incorporate and highlight underrepresented and unknown stories?
- How do we reconsider longstanding narratives?
- What are our audiences’ needs, and how has that impacted our ongoing community engagement?
- What is technology’s role in our ongoing work? How does it facilitate education, inclusion, and engagement?
- How, when, and why have definitions of “the people” and ideas about belonging changed in the United States, in your state, or in your community?
Boise, Idaho will serve as the location for this discussion. The city has seen significant growth and change in the last decade. In 2019, Boise was the second-fastest growing metro area in the nation. The city’s longstanding commitment as an inviting place to all has resulted it welcoming over 800 new citizens each year from over 20 foreign countries. Idaho is home to five federally recognized tribes—the Kootenai, Coeur d’Alene, Nez Perce, Shoshone Paiute, and Shoshone Bannock—whose history and culture can be seen throughout the state. The state’s distinct and rugged landscape and the city of Boise’s incorporation of urban and outdoor landscape urge us to consider the influence of changing landscapes on our work, identity, and community. Idaho’s land, which transcends nearly 700 miles from its north at the Canadian border to its southern neighbor Utah, has significantly shaped the culture and character of its people. Home to the second largest Basque population in North America, Boise reminds us of the influence and culture that various groups bring to our communities.
“I, Too, Am America” means that we must consider all parts of the country and all people within the country. It is a demand echoing throughout history and reverberating within Idaho’s history. From women’s suffrage in 1896 to the Native American struggle for civil and human rights to the preservation and interpretation of Japanese internment camps to the ever-evolving demographics, Idaho reflects the ongoing discussion of American identity. Join us in Boise as we gather and explore our collective identity.
Dr. Noelle Trent
Director of Interpretation, Collections, and Education, National Civil Rights Museum
2023 Annual Conference Program Chair
What is the AASLH Annual Conference
The AASLH Annual Conference is an in-person experience that engages and connects history professionals and volunteers and inspires them in their work. We encourage every attendee’s full participation in the sessions, workshops, tours, and discussions. Each session type is categorized so that attendees can see the level of participation it involves. Before you propose a session, think carefully about how it will engage your audience.
We hope the Annual Conference becomes a transformative moment for all, a chance to go deep, to reenergize, to build professional relationships, and to focus on a sense of place and history in the host city. In formal and informal spaces, participants will work through challenging discussions and learn new practices. While there will be an emphasis on communal events to build shared experience, we will offer multiple opportunities for personalized learning, in tours, workshops, and sessions.
What is the AASLH Virtual Conference?
The Virtual Conference is designed to be an inspirational and informative experience, with flexibility for incorporating emerging issues and broad reach for bringing in more voices. The Virtual Conference is more accessible for many people because of its lower financial and time cost, which makes it possible to include a larger percentage of our members and nonmembers around the country. We can also be more responsive to crucial topics that emerge for the field in the months and weeks beforehand. Participants will be encouraged in multiple ways to connect with each other, build their networks, and to continue discussions. Happy hours and discussion groups, for example, will be scheduled for this purpose.
Click here for more information about the 2022 AASLH Virtual Conference.
Waiver and Photo Release
By submitting a registration for the AASLH Annual Conference, you agree to the following:
- AASLH is committed to provide a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all meeting participants and AASLH staff. All participants, including, but not limited to, attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, AASLH staff, service providers, and others are expected to abide by the Meeting Safety & Responsibility Policy. You can read the full policy below.
- You authorize AASLH to use, reproduce, and/or publish photographs and/or video that may pertain to you — including your image, likeness, and/or voice without compensation. AASLH may use this material in various publications, recruitment materials, or for other related endeavors in print and online, including the AASLH website and email correspondence.
Meeting Safety & Responsibility Policy
AASLH is committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all meeting participants and AASLH staff. All participants, including, but not limited to, attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, AASLH staff, service providers, and others are expected to abide by this Meeting Safety & Responsibility Policy. This Policy applies to all AASLH meeting-related events, including those sponsored by organizations other than AASLH but held in conjunction with AASLH events, in public or private facilities.
AASLH has zero-tolerance for any form of discrimination or harassment in any form, including but not limited to sexual harassment by participants or our staff at our meetings. This policy also covers any virtual meetings hosted by the association.
Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to, verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, national origin, inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public spaces or in presentations, or threatening, cyber-bullying, or stalking any attendee, speaker, volunteer, exhibitor, AASLH staff member, service provider, or other meeting guests.
Physical or verbal abuse of any attendee, speaker, volunteer, exhibitor, AASLH staff member, service provider, or other meeting guest or disruption of presentations at sessions, in the exhibit hall, or at other events organized by AASLH will not be tolerated.
If you experience harassment or hear of any incidents of unacceptable behavior, AASLH asks that you inform either John Dichtl, CEO, email@example.com or 615-320-3203 or Bethany Hawkins, Chief of Operations, firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-320-3203 so that we can take the appropriate action. You can also or email email@example.com.
AASLH reserves the right to take any action deemed necessary and appropriate, including immediate removal from the meeting without warning or refund, in response to any incident of unacceptable behavior, and AASLH reserves the right to prohibit attendance at any future meeting.
Based on guidelines from the American Society of Society Executives, https://annual.asaecenter.org/meetingsafety.cfm.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a collection of questions asked often as the Annual Conference approaches. Registration for the 2023 Annual Conference will open in summer of 2023.
Are the AASLH Annual Conference and the AASLH Virtual Conference the same thing? No. Starting in 2021, AASLH started offering two experiences joined under one theme. The 2022 theme is Right Here, Right Now: The Power of Place. The onsite conference is designed to be more participatory and connect attendees to the location and each other. The virtual conference is designed to provoke, inspire, and inform. Sessions were chosen by the program committee for each experience depending on the presenter’s goals for the session.
How much should I budget for the Annual Conference? The following ranges were provided to help plan for the 2022 Annual Conference in Buffalo. These fees will be updated at a later date for Boise. Your final fees will depend on your travel expenses, how many ticketed events you attend, and how many days you attend.
- Registration fees: Vary. Full conference registration member rates begin at $320
- Event fees: $25 and up
- Hotel fees: Between $139-$179
- Travel fees: vary depending on your location
How do I register? There are two ways to register:
- Fax or mail the registration form
I am a staff member of an Institutional Member, what do I need? You need your Institution’s membership number to receive membership rates.
I need to register someone other than myself for the Annual Conference. Can I use my username and password to register them? No. Each attendee will need to register themselves with a unique username and password.
I forgot my username and password to register. Visit aaslh.org, click Membership Center in the upper right corner, and click the link to reset your password.
I need a receipt. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a receipt.
Refunds on evening events and tours. Email your cancellation to email@example.com with your name, the event, and reason for cancellation. A refund may be issued if applicable. Please refer to the cancellation policy in the program guide.
Can I purchase event tickets or any other paid events onsite? Yes, if tickets are still available you can purchase onsite for any event or tour. It’s always best to purchase your ticket(s) in advance.
I am a one-day speaker and I plan to attend only on the day that I am speaking. Do I need to fill out a registration form and pay registration fees? Yes, everyone who attends the conference needs to fill out a registration form and pay for their registration.
Who is considered a “guest” on the registration form? Anyone who accompanies you to the Annual Conference that is not going to attend any sessions or workshops. A “guest” may attend the tours and evening events and will need a name badge for that purpose. Please be sure that you list the name of your guest(s) in the “Guest’s name” field on your registration form.
Will I be included in the Attendee directory that is sent out to all attendees prior to the annual meeting? Yes, all attendees will be included in this directory as long as your registration is received three weeks before the Annual Conference. However, if you check the box “Please exclude me from the attendee directory ” on the registration form, you will not be included in the directory.
I have a “complimentary” registration because I am an exhibitor, a host site, or a volunteer. Can I register on your website? Exhibitors may register online with the promo code provided to them. Host sites and volunteers need to mail or fax a completed registration form to us.
We received coupon(s) from AASLH. Can I register on your website and use them? No, you will need to mail or fax a completed registration form to us and include a copy of the coupon(s). If you are provided with a promo code, you may use that to register online.
Save the date to join us at our 2024 conference, September 11-14, 2024 in Mobile, Alabama.