These guidelines are to be used by panel organizers in assessing papers and proposals for their member-organized panel or by ACCUTE’s vettors when reading proposals for the general pool. They can also be helpful to members when writing conference proposals to understand how their work is being assessed:
Guidelines for the Assessment of Proposals:
Since proposals by their nature provide less to assess than completed papers, and since most submissions do take the form of proposals rather than completed papers, the quality of the conference in considerable part rests on the judgments on proposals made at this stage. It is important when making a positive assessment that you are as confident as possible about the likelihood of the proposal becoming an excellent paper. A good proposal should have a clear thesis. It should present some indication of the evidence that will be put forward to support it. It should take into account published criticism relevant to the topic being investigated. In short, it should read like the abstract of an argument written by someone confident and knowledgeable in the field concerned, not merely like the vague description of a possible area for investigation. To that end, a proposal that falls short of the 300-500 word requirement should be read with an especially critical eye to ensure that all of the above conditions have been met.
The paper that you predict will emerge from the proposal should promise to meet all the criteria in ACCUTE’s guidelines for papers (see below).
Guidelines for the Assessment of Papers:
On occasion, you will receive full papers to vet for the conference, in which case you can follow these general guidelines. They should also prove useful in vetting proposals.
Significance: the paper should make an original contribution to scholarship, to theoretical understanding, or to current debates on matters of common interest to ACCUTE members.
Accessibility: if focusing on a single and little-known text, the paper should address issues that would be of interest to members unfamiliar with it, and indicate these in its title. A good paper should invite the interest of non-specialists.
Presentation: the arguments of the paper should be made coherently and with rhetorical polish.
Length: papers at the conference must be effectively presented in 20 minutes or less. Papers written without consideration of this time constraint (i.e., papers over 3000 words in length) will need significant re-writing. In cases in which the scholarly significance of the paper might justify such re-writing, vettors should feel free to make the case for it.