Michaela Hailbronner

I am honored to be nominated for the Council. I have been involved with ICON and ICON·S for some time: I have served as book review editor and sat on the board since 2016 (and won the ICON best paper prize in 2015). Having attended all ICON·S conferences, I am rather attached to the organization.

I think the main thing to work on in ICON·S in the future is inclusion. I’ve had academic homes in Africa, Europe and the US and my work is globally comparative, and as such I strongly support the Society’s global outreach. It will be important not just to have the conference in different places, but also to build the regional ICON·S chapters and encourage their cooperation within the global society. (I have recently co-founded the new German Chapter). We should also think about how to assist scholars from less well-financed backgrounds, ideally including younger scholars, to attend the annual conference. I would support a range of measures (attracting third-party funding, higher conference fees for scholars from well-funded universities etc.) to promote access.

But inclusion matters not just with respect to geographic representation or, for that matter, gender, though I am fairly proud to be standing for election with 11 other smart women. There can be a risk of the ICON·S conference turning into two conferences, one of panels of younger scholars or simply those less well connected, where attendance can be low and people can feel isolated, and another one where all the well-known names are represented and audiences large. This is an issue I believe we should address, perhaps by reducing the number of plenaries or encouraging panels where a mix of younger and senior scholars and genders are represented. And I would be keen to hear your ideas on this, and other issues.