I write to update you on our conference plans, and to try to answer some of the questions you may have about your participation. In early March with Covid-19 looming, we successfully renegotiated our contracts with the hotels and event venues in Coral Gables, permitting us to postpone the event to Oct. 21-25, 2020. We very much hope it will be possible for scholars to travel and convene in large groups at that time; now more than ever, the rich intellectual and interpersonal exchanges that are characteristic of C19 feel indispensable.
With the pandemic further advanced, bans on large gatherings possibly extending into the fall, and the severe consequences for colleges and universities—not to mention everyday life—more apparent, we are no longer certain that holding the conference in October will be possible. It is too early, however, for us to make a final decision on this question. The C19 EC has agreed to meet again in mid-May to review our options; we hope by then we’ll have a clearer picture of what the fall will bring. We plan to refund conference fees for anyone who is unable to attend (or to all participants, if we end up cancelling), but we hope that most of you can wait until we’ve made a final determination on postponement before you submit a request. Because the majority of your membership fee—around 80%— supports the ongoing work of the journal, we are unlikely to be able to refund memberships.
We do realize, however, that these are uncertain times, and that some of our members may face unanticipated financial exigencies. If you know now that you can’t participate in October, would like to withdraw from the conference, and need your refund sent as soon as possible, please write to me at: email@example.com. I’ll work with University of Pennsylvania Press to get your conference fee refunded as soon as possible. If you can wait a bit, I’d be grateful, particularly since postponing the conference a second time is one of the possibilities we’re discussing.
Meanwhile, if you’re hankering for some C19 goodness, our podcast series is archived at: https://www.c19society.org/podcasts. There are some marvelous reflections on teaching by our members to be found at: https://www.c19society.org/copy-of-teachingc19-4. You can whet your appetite for our extraordinary conference on “Dissent” and get a good sense of the direction of the field by consulting the abstracts at: https://c19conference2020.exordo.com/programme.
The Early Career Connections mentoring program, which doesn’t require co-presence, is still going forward. And you will continue to receive J19 as a key part of your membership.
Please don’t hesitate to write to me or any member of the EC (https://www.c19society.org/executive-committee) if you have further ideas on how C19 might be of help as we struggle to move our research and teaching online during this pandemic. With best wishes for your good health and gratitude for your patience at this most difficult time.
For the Executive Committee,
President, C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists