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Call For Papers – Facing the Challenge of Bias in History: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches

Bias is a fundamental problem encountered by historians studying all time periods, using all methods, and at all stages of their career. The conveners of a one-day workshop on Facing the Challenge of Bias in History, to be held on Sunday 15th May 2016 at the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge, therefore invite papers from historians in all sub-disciplines. Whether your work has confronted selection bias, bias inherent in a source, researcher bias, or any other form of bias, we would like to hear from you. By bringing together researchers from disparate areas of history, who might never usually come across each other’s work, we hope to explore a common problem and to collectively discuss ways of confronting this problem.

Presentations will be 20 minutes each, organised into sessions of three papers, with time for questions and discussion. Each session will be designed to draw together similar themes from different areas of historical research. The last session of the day will involve small group work, allowing more detailed discussion of the issues raised by the papers and participants’ own research. The conveners hope that this will allow people to encounter ideas and solutions that might not be common in their own sub-discipline.

Submissions are welcome from researchers at all career stages – from graduate students to professors. Please send a 500 to 600 word (approximately one A4 page) summary of the paper that you would like to present, along with a short CV. Summaries that are substantially longer are likely to be rejected.

In particular, we hope to see: An overview of the topic and source(s), pitched for an audience of professional historians who are not familiar with your specific area of work; The nature of the bias and its implications; Attempts to deal with the bias (whether successful or not)

However, the conveners realise that submissions from different areas of history are likely to be very different. We do not have a fixed idea about what a submission should look like, beyond the usual basics necessary for understanding the topic and its significance. Please keep in mind that the audience at the conference will, in a sense, be non-specialist and that submissions will be assessed partly with this in mind.

To encourage a wide range of applications, a number of financial awards are available for speakers who have access to little or no conference funding. To apply for a financial award, please include in your application: an estimate of travel costs and a list of other funding bodies that you will approach first. Applications for funding will primarily be judged using the summary of your paper.

Submissions should be sent (ideally as PDF) to bias.cambridge.2016@gmail.com by the end of Tuesday 15th March 2016.

Decisions will be sent out on Thursday 31st March 2016.

Convenors: Spike Gibbs, Ellen Potter, Cheng Yang.

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia commons)

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