In February 2022, Ph.D. candidate, Aimee Dávila Hisey presented a part of her dissertation research with a paper entitled Nations, Networks, and Knowledge: Circulation of Medical Knowledge in the 17th-Century Spanish Viceroyalties at the annual conference for the American Historical Association (AHA). Due to COVID, Hisey’s panel was moved from an in-person presentation in New Orleans, LA to an online format. This was Hisey’s first time presenting at the AHA.
Hisey always wanted to present at a national history conference. Her original goal was the Conference for Latin American History (CLAH), an affiliate of the AHA. But in order to apply for any AHA affiliate, all applicants must also apply to AHA. Because AHA is the umbrella organization, a panel or paper acceptance there is slightly more competitive. Hisey’s application was accepted at both the CLAH and AHA, an honor that left her both shocked and grateful.
For her application, Hisey submitted a panel proposal. This meant that she, and several colleagues, submitted a joint application whereby they proposed a series of talks that are thematically similar. Panel proposals often have a better chance at getting accepted, since they come with a full set of speakers and a moderator.
In order to develop the panel, Hisey reached out to several prominent scholars in her field and asked if they had any graduate students whose worked intersected history of science and the Spanish viceroyalties and would be interested in joining her on a panel for AHA. While contacting esteemed scholars in the field made Hisey initially nervous, she was grateful at how receptive and responsive many of them were. And many of them put her in contact with their graduate students.
Hisey, together with Celia Cifrasi of the University of Wisconsin and Lisette Varón-Carvajal of Rutgers, two of the most willing graduate students, immediately began to plan their application. This included zoom sessions and numerous email exchanges. After several weeks of discussion, they eventually decided to name their panel “The Social Fabrics of Medicinal and Bodily Knowledge in Early Latin America” and applied for the conference.
After receiving notification that she was accepted, Hisey prepared for the presentation, by examining numerous archival resources of crypto-Jewish surgeons. She also read up on secondary literature and reviewed the historiography to prepare for questions and to provide context for her audience.
For information regarding the content and outcome of the presentation, check out part 2 of the blog.
CATEGORIES: Graduate Students