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Seminars - General Information
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Seminars are Back!

After the success of our inaugural year, seminar sessions will be returning for 2019! Like those offered in last year, seminars are designed to provide members with different options for productive conversations about scholarly topics.


Seminars will continue to be scheduled for Sunday, and will all occur during the same time slot. As with 2018, seminars are exempt from the “one-role” policy: attendees can chair, participate in, or audit a seminar and perform one other role at the conference, such as an open call paper, pre-constituted panel, workshop, or roundtable.


Structures of seminars vary according to their chair or co-chairs and can take a variety of forms, from small-group work based upon pre-assigned readings to intensive discussion of pre-submitted written work. They are not intended to function as a conventional panel; there should be no formal presentations. Instead, everyone, participants and auditors alike, are encouraged to participate.


Each seminar will be led by one or two people, and include eight participants and ten auditors. Chairs will be responsible for assigning pre-conference work, reading all submissions, and moderating discussion and any in-seminar work. Seminar leaders will decide what they want participants to do pre-conference, whether it be submitting short papers, video-essays, bibliographies, questions, or other activities related to the seminar theme. Auditors will be asked to read or view all materials assigned by the chairs and/or the seminar participants. While not expected to produce as much as participants, auditors should be considered a core part of the seminar.

Starting in 2019, seminar chairs will be able to determine whether their sessions will be open or closed to audience members. If chairs choose this option, they should identify the role that audience members may play during the seminar. (Are they part of the group discussion or are they silent observers?)

Please note that seminar deadlines are earlier than those for papers, panels, workshops, or roundtables. The deadline for proposing seminar topics is July 16, 2018 and will be notified by August 1, 2018 if their topic has been accepted. This timing ensures that seminar leaders are aware of their seminar obligation before proposing an open call paper, panel, workshop or roundtable.

To propose a seminar:


  1. Send a 2500-character description of your seminar topic with a justification for the topic and a brief description of the structure of the session. Your proposal should state clearly why this is an important seminar topic that will attract SCMS members.

  2. Indicate the intended responsibilities of participants and auditors: what will they each be asked to do?  (For example: Participants may write a position paper, read each other’s papers, comment on papers, or other preparatory activities, such as reading and commenting on a shared text.  Auditors may be required to read all short essays but not comment. ) Please note that auditors should not be asked to write an essay before the conference but should expect to join the conversation at the conference.  Auditing is not merely observing.

  3. State whether you’d like the seminar to be open or closed to audience members. An open seminar means that anyone can walk into the room while the seminar is happening.  If you choose the open option, you should specify whether guests can join the discussion of just observe. If closed, only the official participants and auditors will be in the room.

  4. In no more than 1500 characters, describe your qualifications to lead this seminar. Indicate if you’ve chaired, co-chaired, or participated in a seminar in the past. Please note: preference will be given to first-time seminar leaders and to topics that were not covered last year.

  5. List three to five relevant readings about your topic.


Click here to access the 2019 SCMS Conference Submissions Portal.

Submit your seminar submissions by July 16, 2018 by 5PM CT.



Once acceptance notifications are sent for conference papers, panels, workshops, and roundtables in November, seminars will be advertised to the general membership. For those SCMS members not accepted, this timeline allows them to participate in the conference through the seminar structure. Those who are accepted will be able to assess whether or not they can commit to the additional responsibility of a seminar on Sunday.  


 Seminar registration will continue as 2018 with a participants limited to a maximum of 8 people, with four slots reserved for graduate students. 10 more slots will be open to auditors. Registration will be on a “first-come-first-served basis,” with graduate student registration beginning a day before general registration.


Those signed up as participants will submit short assignments by January 15th, before the program is finalized. If participants do not submit work, they will be cut from the seminar and program or shifted to an auditor position.

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