The President's Preface 2002
Summing up a year as president of the AHA is a little like condensing the results of your first book for an undergraduate survey course; you can talk about the bottom line but you have to leave out just about everything else. What an annual report only hints at is the herculean effort of the headquarters staff. The heft of these pages, the detail of the information we collect, the wide range of our activities—they all reflect the teamwork that comes out of 400 A Street.
Like everyone else in the United States, historians tried to resume their ordinary activities in 2002 after the shock of the events of September 11, 2001. AHA committees met, the Council deliberated, reports were written and votes taken; moving on now seemed like a statement and not just a condition of life. The Committee on Graduate Education, of which I was a member, put the finishing touches on an ambitious report that offers significant recommendations for the future. These various activities culminated in the annual meeting held in Chicago. Needless to say, the outgoing president always finds the annual meeting highly successful, if only because once it is over, the much anticipated and often dreaded presidential address becomes a thing of the past. This year marked the first time that “presidential sessions” appeared on the program of the annual meeting. They drew considerable attendance and generated some lively discussions and therefore seem worth continuing.
Most of the important activities of the AHA continue beyond any one term of office. Some of these are relatively recent initiatives: the Gutenberg-e program, the joint committee with the OAH on part-time and adjunct employment, planning for a National History Center, and consideration of MA programs. Other concerns can be traced further back but are no less vital: for example, questions about the representation of minorities and women in the profession or relationships between faculty in research universities and community colleges and high schools. Other issues are bound to pop up in the years to come. One of the many functions of an annual report is to provide a way of tracing these changes.
Lynn Hunt (UCLA) was president of the AHA for 2002.