The Junior Americanist Workshop Series

The Junior Americanist Workshop Series

By Christina Ladam, University of Nevada–Reno, Austin Bussing, Sam Houston State University, Alexander C. Furnas, Northwestern University, Josh McCrain, University of Utah, David R. Miller, East Tennessee State University and Rachel Porter, University of Notre Dame

Like all modern innovations in political science, the Junior Americanist Workshop Series (JAWS) originated from a Twitter thread. When one of our cadre mused about whether zero-cost virtual seminars could fill the void left by the many in-person conferences and workshops canceled or converted to costly remote formats due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we came together to answer the call (McCrain 2020). The founding vision of JAWS was to provide cost-free opportunities for early-career American politics scholars to present their research and receive feedback from leading scholars in their field.1 JAWS has evolved and currently provides free networking and professional-development opportunities, which many scholars had lost access to during the pandemic when conferences were curtailed and university buildings were closed. This article discusses how we developed JAWS, the challenges that we faced, and how we envision the workshop continuing as a complement to traditional in-person conferences in the post-pandemic world.

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