Cage Free Since 1919

2020 Annual Meeting

2020 Annual Meeting poster

2020 Annual Meeting poster

Knoxville 2020!

Please join us for the Annual Meeting of the Agricultural History Society in Knoxville, Tennessee, June 3-6, 2020.

Knoxville is a bustling, cosmopolitan, and vibrant city of about 300,000 in East Tennessee, nestled in the Tennessee River Valley and located just thirty miles away from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Downtown is packed with top-notch restaurants, music venues, and a booming craft beer scene. Yet it remains affordable: our hotel rate will be just over $100 a night, and downtown’s dining and nightlife are all fairly priced. And Knoxville is not only exciting and scenic; it holds a vital place in American agricultural history, particularly as headquarters of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the vast hydraulic development agency created during the New Deal. Therefore, our conference tour will take us to the concrete behemoth of Norris Dam, completed in 1936 and essentially unchanged since its opening.

The theme for this year’s conference is Challenging Crops and Climates. Globally, agriculture has been undertaken in diverse environments, including mountains, deserts, swamps, rain forests, tundra, places of extreme temperatures, and on marginal soils. People have also transformed challenging environments to meet the demands of agricultural production through both private and state-sponsored actions. The small farms of Appalachia and the massive dams of the Tennessee Valley Authority that surround Knoxville illustrate these strategies and adaptations. Inspired by this backdrop, we encourage the submission of papers that explore how farmers and other rural people wrestle with difficult and changing environments. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

“Norris Dam, Tennessee,” Boston Public Library, The Tichnor Brothers Collection, Series Tennessee Postcards, ca. 1930-1045

“Norris Dam, Tennessee,” Boston Public Library, The Tichnor Brothers Collection, Series Tennessee Postcards, ca. 1930-1045

  • How farmers adapt agriculture to challenging environments, including exploitation of microclimates

  • How difficult environments shape dynamics of rural landscapes and local power arrangements, including how these intersect with race, class, ethnicity, and/or gender

  • How farmers and rural people have adapted to climate or other environmental changes

  • The impacts, whether environmental, cultural, social, or political, of private and state-sponsored projects to alter difficult environments

  • How agriculture has altered fragile ecosystems

  • Scientific and technical approaches to environmental changes over time

  • Roles/experiences of women and minorities in difficult farming environments

  • Challenges to and alterations of food cultures

In keeping with the society's inclusive approach the committee encourages contributions from emerging scholars and researchers covering understudied geographical regions or time periods. We strongly encourage papers and sessions that address issues beyond the United States.

We also invite contributions that do not directly address the conference theme, but are related to agricultural and rural history/studies broadly.

Submission Information:

The Society takes a broad view on what constitutes rural and agricultural history. Topics from any location and time period are welcome.

The AHS encourages proposals of all types, including traditional sessions with successive papers and commentary, thematic panel discussions or debates, roundtables on recent books or films, workshops, and poster presentations.

The AHS encourages proposals that are inclusive with regard to race, ethnicity, sex, gender, and career status.

If you will need video projection technology for presentations, please indicate this in your proposal.

The program committee prefers complete session proposals, but individual papers will be considered.

The AHS extends a special welcome to graduate students and has a competitive travel grant for students presenting papers.


1. Session proposals should include a two-hundred-word abstract for each paper and a one-page CV for each panel member (in MS Word).
2. Individual paper proposals should consist of a two-hundred-word abstract and a one-page CV (in MS Word).
3. All proposals should be submitted electronically in Word format. Submit all proposals to the Program Committee by email at: <>.

Deadline for submissions has been extended to October 10, 2019.

Questions may be addressed to Evan Bennett at <>

Program Committee Members: Evan Bennett, Florida Atlantic University (Chair); Jama Grove, University of Arkansas; Margaret “Maggie” Weber, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire; Robert Wilcox, Northern Kentucky University. Tore Olsson is the local arrangements chair.