From the News column of the February 2008 issue of Perspectives on History
Forum on Disability
The AHA Professional Division sponsored an Open Forum on Disability on Friday, January 4, 2008. Anthony Grafton, the outgoing vice president of the division, announced that the AHA's Council had approved the formation of a Task Force on Disability. The three-year task force, made up of representatives from the Professional Division and the Disability History Association, will propose concrete steps the Association can take to better serve historians with disabilities. The formation of the task force is part of the division's mission to ensure fair treatment of all historians and open access to the profession at every stage.
Catherine Kudlick, chair of the Disability History Association's board
of directors and professor of history at the University of California at Davis,
pointed out that accessibility benefits everyone, not just a small group of
people. Her most resonant example: the stereotypical style of delivering a conference
presentationreading a written paper in a monotone voice, as fast as possible,
without making eye contact with the audienceis inaccessible to almost
everyone. Accessibility need not be expensive or elaboratemerely advising
speakers to speak clearly and make eye contact with the audience can improve
the meeting experience for everyone. (For advice about making conference presentations
accessible, see Susan Burch's article in the guide for the 122nd Annual
Debbie Ann Doyle is the AHA’s Public History Coordinator and convention assistant.
Copyright © American Historical AssociationLast Updated: February 1, 2008 3:24 PM