The American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS)
The American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies is the largest professional association of Slavists in the United States. The largest academic community in AAASS is the social sciences, but literary and cultural studies are very well represented at their annual meetings (usually in November) and in their Journal, Slavic Review (language teaching and linguistics are represented at the annual meeting, but except for reviews, not in the journal). The conference typically attracts approximately 1500 participants, although the numbers vary depending on location.
The AAASS is the best national conference for interacting with social science colleagues. They also have a very large book exhibit with discount prices.
Why not attend
Deadlines are very early (typically in January for a meeting in November), and membership, conference registration, and hotels are relatively expensive. Meeting time conflicts with academic calendar, and may cause instructors and students to miss classes.
The American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL)
The American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages is the principal North American association of Slavic humanities scholars. Their journal, Slavic and East European Journal, and conferences (historically always December 27-30, but see below about a pending change in scheduling) welcome submissions on language teaching, linguistics, literature, and all manifestations of culture. The conference typically attracts between 300 and 400 participants, although the numbers vary depending on location. AATSEEL Web site
Deadlines are relatively late (currently August 1), and membership, conference registration, and (usually) hotels are less expensive than AAASS. Meets at the same time and in the same place as the MLA, making it possible to attend both, and the two associations have worked out a discount cross-registration that reduces the expense. Job interviews for positions in Slavic departments or departments of modern languages are almost always held at either AATSEEL or the MLA.
Proposals to the AATSEEL conferences require a brief abstract that undergoes double-blind peer review, and there is an option to submit in April, receive comments, and then revise for the final August 1 deadline. The acceptance rate is quite high, but peer review provides a level of quality control that is not present in most other North American Slavic conferences. The AATSEEL conference is considerably smaller than AAASS (usually no more than 10 simultaneous panels, compared to 40 at AAASS), which reduces the likelihood of wanting to attend two panels at the same time.
Why not attend
Membership and conference participation is almost exclusively members of Slavic departments, which means that there is little opportunity to interact with social science colleagues, which may be important for some Slavists. Meeting time, sandwiched between Christmas and the New Year, conflicts with the academic winter holiday.
Pending schedule change
Beginning in January 2011, both the annual MLA conference and the annual AATSEEL conference will meet in early January, instead of late December. There will be no conference in 2010; the 2009 conference will be in December, and the next conference will be in January 2011. This means that the conferences will no longer conflict with family holidays. It also means, alas, that the conferences will frequently conflict with the beginning of the spring semester at the University of Pittsburgh.
The Modern Language Association (MLA)
The Modern Language Association is the largest association of teachers of English and of foreign languages and literatures in North America. Their journal, Publications of the Modern Languages Association, reaches a wide non-Slavist audience, and conferences (traditionally always December 27-30, but see above for information about a pending change in scheduling) attract some 10,000 (!) people and welcome submissions in all areas of language, literary, and cultural studies. AATSEEL Web site
An excellent way to learn about new developments outside Slavic studies. Meets at the same time and in the same place as AATSEEL, making it possible to attend both, and the two associations have worked out a discount cross-registration that reduces the expense. Job interviews for positions in Slavic departments or departments of modern languages are almost always held at either AATSEEL or the MLA. Very large book exhibit (little of Slavistic interest, but very strong on literary and cultural studies). Submission deadline is usually around April 1.
Why not attend
Membership and registration costs are relatively high. Slavic panels at the MLA, including those with highly accomplished senior scholars, tend to attract fairly small audiences, which reduces the opportunity to present one’s research to non-Slavists. Proposals must be for full panels (AAASS and AATSEEL accept proposals for either full panels or individual papers.)