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The SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution
Introducing . . . .
The SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution
by Joseph W. Dooley
Director, SAR Annual Conference
In the summer of 2008, the NSSAR Executive Committee approved a two-part proposal:
- Establish the honorific position of SAR Distinguished Scholar
- Establish the SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution.
SAR Distinguished Scholar
Pursuant to the terms of the proposal, the SAR Distinguished Scholar should be a professor of history, government or American studies at an accredited university within the United States, and his/her focus should be in an area that is related to the American Revolution, such as a person, place, event or document from 1750 through roughly 1801 and the election of Thomas Jefferson as President of the United States.
The SAR Distinguished Scholar should offer guidance to the SAR as to how the SAR can best meet its Congressionally-chartered mandate to be an educational organization, and should help the SAR promote public education of the American Revolution, even as he/she promotes the SAR.
SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution
The primary function of the SAR Distinguished Scholar is to facilitate the SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution (SARACAR, or the SAR Annual Conference), which shall be an annual academic conference dedicated to the study of the American Revolution.
The SAR Distinguished Scholar and the SAR Annual Conference are independent of the SAR’s current efforts for outreach and education. The SAR Distinguished Scholar and the SAR Annual Conference shall focus on college and graduate level study of the American Revolution.
Twelve to eighteen months before any given SAR Annual Conference, the SAR Distinguished Scholar shall issue a call for papers. Of all the papers that are submitted, approximately eight to twelve shall be selected, and the authors of these papers shall be invited to participate in, and to present their papers at, the SAR Annual Conference.
Publication of the Conference Papers
Following any given SAR Annual Conference, the SAR Distinguished Scholar shall prepare the Conference papers for publication. Apart from offering his own editorial review and organization of the Conference papers, the SAR Distinguished Scholar shall invite peer review of the papers by other scholars.
At this point, the SAR anticipates that a single volume of papers shall be published for each SAR Annual Conference. Allowing for editing, peer review and the whole process of publishing, the SAR expects that each volume should be published about three years after the SAR Annual Conference on which it is based. Hopefully, the SAR will be publishing such volumes annually. Each volume shall be part of a series, tentatively to be called The SAR Studies of the American Revolution.
Our First SAR Distinguished Scholar
At the 2009 Spring Trustees Meeting, the guest speaker at the Saturday night banquet was Robert M.S. McDonald, Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Professor McDonald is the first SAR Distinguished Scholar.
Professor McDonald has facilitated other academic conferences, including one commemorating the bicentennial of West Point. Papers presented at this conference were later published in Thomas Jefferson’s Military Academy: Founding West Point. The same pattern will be followed for the SAR Annual Conference: papers will be presented at the conference, and later published in book form.
Professor McDonald earned his doctorate at the University of North Carolina in 1998, and has been teaching American history at West Point ever since. In addition to Thomas Jefferson’s Military Academy, he has two book manuscripts in progress: Light & Liberty: Thomas Jefferson and the Power of Knowledge and Confounding Father: Thomas Jefferson and the Politics of Personality. He has also written numerous articles and essays, and has facilitated several academic conferences.
Scholarship: Guiding Principle of the SAR Annual Conference
In a letter to William Roscoe, Thomas Jefferson wrote about the University of Virginia, the establishment of which he was supervising. The words Mr. Jefferson about his University shall also serve as the motto and guiding principle of the SAR Annual Conference:
For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”
The 2010 SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution will be co-sponsored by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. For information about the 2010 SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution, please click on the following links provided below: