How To Apply

Submit an application online. You will be asked to provide:

  • Basic biographical details
  • The title of your proposed presentation
  • An abstract of 150-250 words

Application Timeline

  • January 24th: Applications due.
    The application portal will shut off at 5:00 PM EST.
  • February 3rd: Acceptance and rejection notifications sent out.
    Do not inquire about the status of your application before February 3rd. We recommend that as soon as possible once you receive your acceptance, you book your hotel room at the  Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor by calling 1-443-573-8700 to reserve a room with the Macksey Symposium for the nights of April 3rd and 4th.
  • February 14th: Travel award applications due.
    Johns Hopkins is able to fund a limited number of travel awards that cover the full cost of registration, hotels, and round-trip flights. Accepted applicants will be able to apply for these awards by February 14th.
  • February 17th: Travel award winners notified.
  • February 21st: Early registration & travel award acceptance deadline.
    Travel award winners must confirm and complete their registration by the February 21st early deadline or forfeit their award.
  • March 6th: Final registration deadline.
  • April 3rd-4th: Symposium
    The symposium begins Friday afternoon and extends until late on Saturday.

Presentation Tips

Your presentation should be 7-10 minutes long and should cover your original work in the humanities. The most common mode of professional academic presentation in many fields (such as literature and cultural studies) is reading aloud a short version of a research paper you’ve written. You should aim for a paper of about 1,200-1,500 words, but be sure to read it out loud and time yourself to make sure you’re under 10 minutes. Alternately, you can present a PowerPoint presentation, show a short film, or recite/perform a work of creative writing or poetry. You will be grouped with two or three other presenters working on similar themes, and after everyone has presented, there will be some time for questions and answers from the audience.

Abstract-Writing Tips

Abstract Mad LibThe most important section of your application will be the abstract. The purpose of the abstract is to give the conference organizers a clear and concise understanding of your project, so that they can judge both whether your presentation is a good fit for the conference and, if so, how you should be grouped with other presenters.

Writing an abstract is such a common and important part of academic life that there are numerous resources online to help you get started—from the light-hearted MadLibs approach here (not recommended!) to more serious guides from established academics.

As the brief guide below indicates, there is a general pattern that is often very effective for establishing why your audience should care about your paper. First, you establish what the conventional wisdom is about your subject—what “they” say—and then you contrast it with what “you” say that moves the field forward.
Abstract summary

Writing an abstract can feel intimidating, but remember that this conference welcomes participants with little previous conference experience. As long as you do good work and describe it clearly, you will receive full and careful consideration for your project.