Official Statement on ANS 2021 Conference: We’re Going Virtual

Dear ANS Members, 

After serious deliberation of an official proposal made on the 8th of May 2020, the Executive Council of the American Name Society unanimously voted to hold the 2021 Annual Conference online. The exact format and date of the conference will be announced by June 15, 2020. This means that our conference will NOT be held in conjunction with the LSA meeting, which is still slated to be held in January 2021 in San Francisco.

As stipulated in the proposal, there were several important reasons behind the decision to hold our upcoming annual conference virtually: 1) a significant number of our members are in high-risk groups because of their age and/or pre-existing health conditions; 2) the international and domestic travel restrictions that have been imposed to control the spread of COVID-19 will make it exceedingly difficult for members to attend the conference; and 3) the individual and institutional economic fallout of COVID-19 will no doubt make prohibitive the costs connected with a traditional conference (LSA/ANS registration fees, travel costs, hotel accommodation food, etc).  Of all these reasons, the most important is of course the first. It is important to bear in mind that the very factors which make the traditional conference enjoyable also make it high-risk (i.e., traveling to a major metropolitan area to join a large gathering of people—both the attendees and the other hotel guests—who meet for intensive discussions, often times over shared meals, in small crowded spaces for a prolonged period of time).

The ANS Executive Council agreed that a virtual format would allow members to share their work without the dangers mentioned above. Even if COVID-19 were not an issue, this format will also attract people who might otherwise not have been able to attend our conference. Finally, this decision offers the added bonus of holding a conference in manner that is more environmentally sound. Members who are interested in viewing the original proposal or the report on proposal made to the ANS-EC vote  are encouraged to contact the ANS Secretary, Dr. Star Vanguri.

A revised Call for Papers will be sent out as soon as the date and time have been finalized. In the meantime, we will continue to accept abstracts for the 2021 conference. If you have questions, please contact us at <>.

Laurel Sutton
ANS Vice President