AHS Blog

2022 Conference Call for Papers

Date Posted: March 31, 2022       Categories: News

Conflicting Visions in Alaska History
Alaska Historical Society Annual Conference
October 6-8 and 13-15, 2022

Alaskans burn President Jimmy Carter in effigy during the Alaska lands battle, circa 1978. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Collection. Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The Alaska Historical Society, with the Cook Inlet Historical Society, invites presentations for its 2022 annual conference whose theme is: “Conflicting Visions in Alaska History.” It is currently scheduled primarily online but with some in-person events in Anchorage, October 6-8 and 13-15. Environmental historian Bathsheba Demuth, whose 2019 book, Floating Coast, An Environmental History of the Bering Strait, received numerous awards, is the keynote speaker.

Alaska history provides numerous examples of conflicting visions. Russian colonizers coerced Native labor to pursue sea otters for a profitable commercial trade, disrupting the Native subsistence economy and decimating populations. Following the U.S. purchase of Alaska, conflicts arose as fortune-seekers reaped profits from this resource-rich territory, often with disastrous consequences to the indigenous people already occupying Alaska. The discovery of oil in Prudhoe Bay and the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act set the stage for legal battles over land and resource use.

Other conflicting visions in our history revolved around education. For example, the practice of removing Alaska Native children from their communities and taking them to boarding schools, intended to educate and “civilize” them, harshly curtailed the transmission of Native language and culture. The conference will include a panel on Alaskan boarding schools, featuring former students at Mount Edgecumbe and other schools.

The conference also highlights the importance of recent history. Panels are planned on the rollout of ANCSA and preparations for the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline, both of which occurred within the last 50 years. We plan to offer mini- workshops in methods of studying, archiving, interpreting and teaching recent history.

Papers on all topics related to Alaska history are welcome. Presentations are limited to 20 minutes. All presenters must register for the conference.

To submit a proposal, please send presentation title, an abstract of 100 words or fewer, and two sentences about yourself to Rachel Mason, Program Chair, rachel_mason@nps.gov.

Proposals are due June 15, 2022.