Committee Reports 2003

Committee for Graduate Students

The Committee for Graduate Students arranged for the publication in the September 2003 issue of Perspectives a graduate student forum focusing on negotiating the job market; the essays summarized the discussion on this topic that the CGS sponsored as a panel at the 2003 annual meeting in Chicago. The forum will be a valuable resource for graduate students who are beginning their academic job searches and is available online either on the Resources for Graduate Students pages at http://www.historians.org/grads/index.htm or on the Perspectives Online pages at http://www.historians.org/perspectives/.

The CGS also sponsored several panels and fora of interest to graduate students at the 2004 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. These included:

    1. The Job Hunt (cosponsored with The Task Force on Public History)
    2. “Interviewing in the Job Market in the New Millennium: A Workshop” (cosponsored with the Professional Division and the Coordinating Council for Women Historians)
    3. “Into the Classroom! Teaching Tips and Strategies for TAs and Future Faculty,”
    4. Roundtable on Mentoring (organized by the Committee on Women Historians)
    5. Open Forum for Graduate Students

The session “Into the Classroom! Teaching Tips and Strategies for TAs and Future Faculty” was highly productive and sparked much interest.

Additionally, the CGS continues to advocate for graduate students in its assistance to the AHA’s current projects on doctoral and master’s level education in history; one of the proposed panels for the 2005 Annual Meeting will be a workshop on graduate student advocacy based on the data and conclusions presented in the AHA’s recently published Education of Historians for the Twenty-First Century.

Myrna Ivonne Wallace Fuentes

Committee on International Historical Activities

In 2003 the AHA’s Committee on International Historical Activities continued to act as a liaison between American historians and the International Congress of Historical Sciences (ICHS, also often referred to by the abbreviation from the French as CISH) in preparation for the 20th International Congress, which will take place in July 2005 in Sydney, Australia. Most of the panel conveners and discussants nominated by the committee were selected by CISH for participation in the program. The conveners are presently in the process of selecting their panel participants.

In his capacity as chair of the committee, Dane Kennedy has also been involved in the preparation of several foundation grant proposals and served as the AHA’s representative on the board of the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C.

Dane Kennedy

Committee on Minority Historians

During 2003 the Committee on Minority Historians (CMH) continued to work toward completing several initiatives. At the annual meeting in Chicago, the committee presented a session entitled “Increasing the Presence of Minority Graduate Students,” sponsored a mentoring breakfast for minority students and new faculty, and hosted a reception for minority members. The committee met twice during the year, in Washington in March 2003 and via the Web in November 2003.
During the meetings the committee spent much time evaluating the results of a survey of AHA members of color. The committee believes that the survey will contribute to a better understanding of significant concerns of this constituency. A tip sheet based upon the results will be devised and made available to history departments and other programs. Also, the committee’s session at the 2004 annual meeting provided an opportunity for committee members and others to discuss the significant findings of the survey.

The Committee on Minority Historians closely followed the work of the AHA’s Committee on Graduate Education as it concluded its study on doctoral education and initiated a review of the history master’s degree. There are many issues in these reviews and reports that are related to the work of the CMH.

The committee also continued to monitor the American Anthropological Association’s planning of the conference on the theme, “Understanding Race and Human Variation.” We were pleased that there might be opportunities for historical perspectives on race to be expressed. However, there are concerns in regard to the overwhelming emphasis on science, culture, and the exclusion of the international perspective.

We were pleased with our presence and work at the 2003 annual meeting. The committee’s session in Chicago addressed a number of issues relating to minority graduate students. The comments of one presenter, Earl Lewis, dean of graduate studies at the University of Michigan, were especially interesting as he noted the role of administrators in increasing minority enrollment. Twenty minority graduate students attended the mentoring breakfast and were eager to engage in conversation about significant aspects of their doctoral programs. The reception for minority historians was an eagerly anticipated and well-attended event.

The committee is committed to serving as an advocate for minority interests within the AHA. In that regard the committee has decided to develop a web page that will allow it to present information relevant to AHA members. The web page will include insights on committee work, survey data, fellowship information, links to the Diversity pamphlet series, relevant Perspectives articles, and highlights of institutions that are doing positive things in regards to their minority students and faculty.

Carlton Wilson

Joint Committee on Part-Time and Adjunct Employment

A highlight of the activities of the Joint AHA-OAH Committee on Part-time and Adjunct Employment for the year was its meeting held on April 5, 2003, during the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians. Members Lee Formwalt, Juli Jones, Alice Kessler-Harris, Jeff Kolnick, Gerda Lerner, Gloria Miranda, Elizabeth Nybakken, William Paquette, and Howard Smead attended; Robert Townsend represented Arnita Jones.

At this meeting, the committee discussed—among other items—the chair’s report on the activities of the Coalition on the Academic Workforce, the possibility of producing a book on part-time faculty issues, and the recommendations made to the Executive Board of the OAH and the Council of the AHA regarding standards and best practices relating to part-time employment. The Board and the Council approved the recommendations. The committee also considered the necessity of undertaking more extensive outreach efforts (brochures, web pages, articles in Perspectives and the OAH newsletter, and so on) to keep part-time faculty informed about the committee’s actions.

Toward the end of the year, the committee launched a survey—conducted by e-mail and regular mail—to collect data on part-time and adjunct employment. The results are expected to be available in summer 2004.

Juli Jones

Committee on Women Historians

The Committee on Women Historians had several important pieces of business before it in 2003. The committee held a web meeting in the spring and assembled in person in Washington, D.C., in September 2003. First, the committee reviewed Elizabeth Lunbeck’s draft report on the survey of women historians. The committee believes that Lunbeck did an outstanding job of summarizing and interpreting a mass of data. The committee made several suggestions to her, and she is redrafting the report. Her draft made it quite clear that, at the same time that important strides have been made, women historians still confront serious obstacles. The committee believes that the results of the survey are going to be unsettling to those who believe that all gender issues within the historical profession have been resolved, not only because some problems remain but also because the nature of those problems has changed. The committee discussed various means for disseminating the report, including publication of an executive summary in Perspectives.

The other major piece of business the committee conducted was to begin drafting a brief document on best practices that might be distributed to department chairs and other administrators. Such a document will be especially useful to the profession, for it will set out standards for assuring equity and a workplace culture supportive of women faculty and it will outline the positive steps that administrators can and should take toward those ends. Seth Koven provided a first draft, which the committee reviewed and continues to revise. The committee decided that the best practices document should take a positive approach in suggesting steps that chairs should take within their departments to ensure equity. The committee has made significant progress in drafting the document.

The committee invited all its former chairs to gather for an informal lunch at the 2004 annual meeting, in Washington, D.C. This lunch was a great success. We plan to host such gatherings at subsequent AHA meetings. The former chairs are a remarkable group, whose wisdom and experience constitute an important resource for the committee. Alice Kessler-Harris of Columbia University was the speaker at the committee breakfast meeting during the 2004 annual meeting. Her moving speech, “Coalitions of the Imagination,” was published in the April 2004 issue of Perspectives.

The committee thanks Seth Koven and Paula Sanders, whose terms have expired, for their exemplary service.

Jan Lewis

Task Force on Public History

The AHA’s Task Force on Public History was established by the Council in January 2001 and charged with “identifying ways the AHA can more effectively address the interests and concerns of public historians both within the Association and at large, as well as ways of deepening an understanding of and appreciation for the activities of public historians within the profession.” The task force effectively completed its charge in December 2003, with the submission of a final report, including 51 recommendations, to the Council. The Council accepted this report at its January 2004 meeting.

The report takes a broad view of public history, emphasizing the value of integrating a public history agenda into the ongoing work of both the Association and the profession. It also suggests several new initiatives to bring greater visibility and credibility to public history. Key recommendations include:

  • Advocacy for greater attention to public history in undergraduate and graduate training, for including public history activities in the evaluation of faculty, and for hiring trained historians to do historical work
  • Changes in the annual meeting to more fully integrate public history/historians
  • Greater attention to public history employment issues
  • Expansion of member services to public historians
  • Creation of professional development opportunities that bring academic and public historians together to mutual advantage
  • Enhanced advocacy for history at the state level
  • Development of ways to enhance public understanding of history, especially through the media
  • Revision of professional standards and practices to take account of public history
  • Enhanced relationships and collaborations with public history organizations

The task force’s tenure has been extended through 2004, in order to work with AHA staff, divisions, and committees to implement its recommendations.

Linda Shopes

Task Force on Intellectual Property

The TFIP did not have major issues to deal with during 2003. We communicate by e-mail quite effectively, and in response to issues as they arise, and continue to monitor legal developments in intellectual property as they may affect the AHA as an organization or historians as a profession.

We have been following the proposed database legislation that many in the profession feel might privatize information that should be in the public domain. But the legislation has stalled for the moment. We will continue to monitor the situation.

We have had an interesting set of exchanges about the use of historical journal articles on e-reserve in campus libraries. Part of the question here is what the attitude of the AHR and the History Cooperative ought to be with respect to mounting our e-articles (or digitized articles in any form). I believe the consensus is that our current policy of permitting no-cost usage for e-reserve is appropriate. This is in line with the recent Association of Research Libraries statement on the subject. We also discussed the mounting of partial articles on e-reserve, and this seems to be more complicated and controversial. The issue here is whether the excisions constitute the sort of editing that violates the rights of authors. Michael Grossberg, AHR’s editor will take up these issues with his editorial board and with the board of the History Cooperative. In general, the e-reserve issue is one on which we will keep our eye over the next year.

We continue to discuss the preparation of an historian’s guide to intellectual property, to be mounted on the AHA web site. Michael Les Benedict, AHA’s parliamentarian, is taking the lead on this project.

Stanley N. Katz

Pacific Coast Branch

The AHA Council, meeting at Washington, D.C., in January 2004 endorsed the revisions of the constitution and bylaws of the Pacific Coast Branch (PCB) that, among other things, clarified the purposes of the organization, specifically: “The purposes of the organization shall be the advancement of the interests of the American Historical Association, and the promotion of the historical interests of the membership with special emphasis on the United States, western Canada, Mexico, the Pacific Rim, and their inter-relationships.”

Annual Meeting

At the 2003 annual meeting of the PCB, held in August at Honolulu, Hawaii, 207 individuals, one-third of whom were graduate students, registered to attend 48 academic sessions. The program also included a luncheon speaker sponsored by the Western Association of Women Historians and a banquet address by President Vicki Ruiz of the University of California, Irvine.

The following prizes were awarded during the year: The Louis Knott Koontz Memorial Award for the most deserving article to appear in the Pacific Historical Review in the volume year 2002 to Lanny Thompson for “The Imperial Republic: A Comparison of the Insular Territories under U.S. Dominion after 1898”; The W. Turrentine Jackson Prize for an outstanding essay in the PHR by a graduate student to Nicholas G. Rosenthal, for his article “Repositioning Indianness: Native American Organizations in Portland, Oregon, 1959–1975” (August 2002); The W. Turrentine Jackson Dissertation Award to Connie Chiang (University of California, Berkeley) for her dissertation “Shaping the Shoreline: Environment, Society, and Culture in Monterey, California”; the Norris and Carol Hundley Award to Louise McReynolds for her book Russia at Play: Leisure Activities at the End of the Tsarist Era (Cornell University Press, 2002); the PCB Book Award to Becky Nicolaides for her book, My Blue Heaven: Life and Politics in the Working-Class Suburbs of Los Angeles, 1920–1965 (University of Chicago Press, 2002).

By mail ballots cast during the summer 2003, the PCB membership chose Elizabeth Jameson (Univ. of Calgary), as president-elect; William Issel (San Francisco State Univ.), Rachel Fuchs (Arizona State Univ.), and Stephen Haycox (Univ. of Alaska, Anchorage) as members of the council; and Keven Leonard (Western Washington Univ.) and Steven Hackel (Oregon State Univ.) as members of the Nominating Committee.

Finances:

As of December 31, 2003, the PCB held $142,635 in endowment funds for the Pacific Historical Review, the Louis Knott Koontz Award, the Norris and Carol Hundley Prize, the W. Turrentine Jackson Prize, the W. Turrentine Jackson Dissertation Award, and the PCB Reserve Fund. Total value of assets owned by the Branch as of December 31, 2003, totaled $207,095.

For the fiscal year, July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2003, the income for the Pacific Historical Review (which had a circulation of 1,327 in December 2002) was $109,213, and expenses (including a $3,500 subsidy to the editorial office of the PHR and a $5,462 royalty to the PCB) totaled $76,650.

W. David Baird

2004 Program Committee

The 118th annual meeting of the American Historical Association convened in Washington, D.C., January 8–11, 2004. Partly in response to changes in domestic and international relations following September 11, 2001, the Program Committee selected as the conference theme “War and Peace: History and the Dynamics of Human Conflict and Cooperation.” We received 221 proposals and ultimately accepted 177—or 80 percent of the total. We encouraged proposals focusing on research and teaching and on significant professional issues that addressed our theme “as broadly and creatively as possible.” The theme of “War and Peace” generated proposals from scholars working at the intersection of diverse temporal, geographical, and topical units of analysis. The committee accepted a variety of panels, workshops, and roundtables in traditional areas and time periods; new subfields, including public history; and works that crossed disciplinary or traditional geographic boundaries. Understandably, however, considering the nature of our theme, we accepted the largest number of proposals in the comparative/international relations area (26.5 percent).


Region/Time Period/Theme
Proposals Received
Proposals Rejected
  Number Percentage Number Percentage
Comparative/International 53 23.9 47 26.5
United States/Canada 61 27.7 44 24.9
Europe 40 18.0 30 16.9
Latin America 13 5.9 10 5.7
Asia 14 6.4 10 5.7
Middle East and Africa 4 1.9 4 2.2
Ancient Medieval 7 3.1 7 3.9
Pedagogy 15 6.7 14 7.9
Other (Profession, etc.) 14 6.4 11 6.3
Total 221 100.0 177 100.0

Our theme not only provided opportunities for scholars focusing on political, economic, military, and diplomatic history, but also for those working on topics in social, cultural, and intellectual history. Many of these proposals unfolded within the context of single countries and geographical regions, particularly the U.S., Canada, and Europe on the one hand (41.8 percent) and Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East and Africa (13.6 percent) on the other. Panels on research, teaching, and policy issues included: changing scholarly and popular conceptions of war, peace, and social change; various forms of domestic and international conflict; representations of war in popular media; and war and the politics of memory.

Perhaps the most unique feature of the program included the planning of offsite sessions that took advantage of our location in the nation’s capital to attract the participation of historians from federal programs and public history institutions. The committee approved offsite sessions at the National Museum of American History, the City Museum of Washington, D.C., and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In addition to a variety of panels sponsored by AHA affiliates, and divisions, and committees, the Program Committee also worked with President James McPherson on the creation of special “Presidential Sessions.” The presidential sessions covered such topics as “Perspectives on the American Civil War,” “The Cultural Approach to War,” “Presenting History to the Public: The National Park Service,” and “The American Empire: Past, Present, and Future.”

The 2004 meeting sessions were wellattended; presentations were excellent; and some sessions even attracted substantial media attention. For helping to make the 2004 Annual Meeting a success, the Program Committee is indebted to the diligent work, counsel, and support of the AHA membership, staff, and officers. The committee extends special thanks to Sharon K. Tune, Debbie Ann Doyle, and Arnita Jones; the committee’s graduate assistant, Steve Burnett; President James McPherson; and the AHA Council.

Joe W. Trotter and John K. Thornton