Tag Archives: danielle-doron

The heart of the AJS conference lies in the hallways, conference rooms, and cafés of the hotel. My ideal AJS conference would involve finding myself listening to a panel that may not be directly associated with my area of work, but piques my interest methodologically or because of the eclectic and unexpected composition of the panel. I too am guilty of organizing panels around a specific topic. And yet I find the most thought-provoking panels are those that are bound together around a methodological question or debate. Having said that, some of the most rewarding intellectual exchanges and moments of professional development flow through the conversations that take place away from the panels, in the hallways and coffee shops of the hotel. The majority of AJS conference participants use the conference as an opportunity to catch up with old friends and informally meet senior scholars who can help guide their professional paths. An ideal conference could find a way to formalize those types of conversations—through mentoring sessions and programs; informal interest group meetings based on subfields (French Jewish history, for instance) where scholars can exchange ideas, archival knowledge, and learn about developing research projects; sponsored social functions for faculty with shared social and professional experiences such as untenured faculty, faculty at large state institutions, or those working at universities with large Jewish populations; and, finally, more working groups based on research fields that are scheduled during prime conference time. Having recently moved from the rich Jewish Studies community of New York to the significantly smaller (yet vibrant) one of Melbourne, ultimately the most rewarding AJS conferences allow me to reconnect with a supportive and energetic academic community.