The Board of Directors of the American Oriental Society is very sad to announce that the decision has been made to cancel the Annual Meeting in Boston. With such confusion and concern reigning about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and the possibility that conditions will get worse before they get better, we did not feel that holding the conference as planned would be wise or responsible. Already, a significant number of meeting registrants have withdrawn from participation because of the health risks and travel restrictions. Additional information, including about registration fee refunds, will be forthcoming.
The AOS is forging ahead with its meeting, which will be smaller, alas, until some governmental entity instructs otherwise. The CDC assesses the risk for most people as low, and recommends preventative and sensible behavior. If anyone does not feel well, has underlying medical issues, or is overly concerned, s/he should not attend. A full refund of the registration fee – or a credit toward next year’s program – will be provided for involuntary or voluntary withdrawal, but the AOS hopes that most will attend for the usual enlightenment and (hug- and handshake-free) camaraderie.
The AOS is closely watching the news about coronavirus and its spread. At the moment, there is no reason for our members to worry about the situation in Boston, which we will be monitoring carefully. Participants from China, South Korea, and other areas from which there are travel restrictions should contact the AOS secretariat for updated news. For others, not affected by travel or other bans, please refer to the CDC for the latest information. We hope to see most everyone, in good spirits and good health, at the meeting!
If, however, circumstances deteriorate, the AOS and the Boston Omni Parker House Hotel will consider canceling the annual meeting, and the AOS will accept requests for meeting registration fee refunds from all those who paid them.
The Program for the Meeting in Boston, MA in a month’s time has been uploaded on the Annual Meeting page. It is still in draft form as global and other circumstances take their toll. If updated, the latest date of the draft will be noted on the webpage.
The AOS is pleased to announce that the first open access essay of the AOS Essay Series has been launched: Nicolai Sinai, Rain-Giver, Bone-Breaker, Score-Settler: Allāh in Pre-Quranic Poetry (Essay no. 15, pp. ix + 79, ISBN: 978-1-948488-25-9). Available for downloading.
For the 2020 AOS meeting in Boston, pre-registration, dues payment, and abstract submission can all be done online. Deadline for submissions (with concomitent dues and pre-registration) is October 15.
The Digital Orientalist is now an arm of the AOS. The Digital Orientalist is an online platform run by a team of eight professors, librarians, and students from across AOS’s different sections. Its stated purpose is to foster a conversation about the use of computers in our fields, especially with regard to digital humanities. The Digital Orientalist is embarking on a three-year affiliation in the hopes of growing to be an integrated and valued part of the society. Have a look at www.digitalorientalist.com, follow them on Twitter @DigiOrientalist, or join them on Facebook. If you wish to be part of the team of editors or if you have an idea or question related to digital humanities, do not hesitate to reach out to the current editor-in-chief James Morris (email@example.com), or the founder, Cornelis (Eric) van Lit, a fellow-AOS member (firstname.lastname@example.org).
At its Annual Meeting in Chicago, March 2019, the membership elected Dominique Charpin, member of the Collège de France and a leading authority on Mesopotamian civilization, as AOS Honorary Member. He has accepted his election and we have the good fortune of anticipating his attendance at the March 2020 Meeting in Boston.
To the poetry in translation evening at the AOS meeting, Saturday, March 16, 7:00 pm, Omni Chicago hotel, Chagall B, featuring:
Gary Beckman (ANE) Univ. of Michigan
Signe Cohen (SSA), Univ. of Missouri
Xiaojing Miao (EA), Univ. of Colorado
Franklin Lewis (INE), Univ. of Chicago
The fourth and final volume of 2018 has been published and mailed and its table of contents posted.