Committee Reports 2006

The Committee for Graduate Students

In 2006, the Committee for Graduate Students undertook two major initiatives—expanding annual meeting programming for graduate students and revamping the AHA’s web pages providing resources for graduate students. The former initiative led to a record five sessions geared toward graduate students at the 2007 Annual Meeting in Atlanta. These included:  "Graduate Mentoring: Issues and Perspectives", “Transparency in Graduate Education: What Future Historians Need to Know and History Departments Ought to Tell Them” (joint with Professional Division), “Publishing for the First Time” (joint with Research Division), "Beyond Reading the Paper: Exploring New Presentation Formats for the AHA Annual Meeting", “Interviewing in the Job Market in the 21st Century” (joint with Professional Division).

The CGS’s redesigned Resources for History Graduate Students pages on the AHA’s web site provides a centralized location for tips, best practices, and information about the stages of graduate education from admission to graduate school through the job search. The revised site brings together newly commissioned pieces, existing web links, and articles that have appeared in Perspectives.

Complementing these programmatic initiatives, CGS developed and mailed a poster in summer 2006 to history departments nationwide advertising the benefits of graduate student membership in the organization. 

Last but not least, CGS continued to work closely with the Teaching, Research, and Professional Divisions on areas of common interest. The CGS has also actively participated in the efforts of the Working Group on the AHA’s Future to seek input from the AHA membership regarding the organization’s future direction.

Elise Lipkowitz

The Committee on Minority Historians

The Committee on Minority Historians (CMH) met in Washington, D.C. on March 8, 2006, at the AHA Headquarters Office, and had a teleconference meeting on October 20, 2007.

One of the major achievements of the CMH during the year was continuing work on the document, “Equity for Minority Historians in the Academic History Workplace: A Guide to Best Practices.” Intended to be an advice sheet for deans, department chairs, and senior faculty at American universities and colleges, the document will be published in Perspectives in the fall of 2007.

The committee considered ways in which the mentoring breakfast and reception held during annual meetings could be improved, especially with a view to increasing participation by women of color. Since minority graduate students are the targeted audience of both special events, the committee suggested that attention could be drawn to relevant grants—Ford and SSRC grants as well as postdoctoral grants—that would benefit them.

The committee discussed AHA publications relating to minorities and noted the progress of a new pamphlet on Native American history, by Donald Grinde. The committee also envisaged soliciting or commissioning Perspectives articles on Asian American history and pamphlets on the themes of race and Europe and race and Latin America.

The CMH drafted a letter to the AHA’s Future’s Committee to highlight the issue of the changing demographics of the general population and its significance for the history profession. The letter also acknowledged the importance of public historians and historians working with scholars in other disciplines.

The committee also discussed possible panels for the 2008 annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The CMH sponsored three well-attended sessions at the 2007 AHA annual meeting in Atlanta: “Labor, Migration, and Global Trade: Leisure and Organizing in Atlanta’s Latino Communities,” “Historically Black Colleges: Impacting Education for the African American Deaf and Blind Communities, 1868–1960,” and “Approaching New Subjectivities: African American/Latino Relations in the 20th Century.”

Samuel Yamashita

The Committee on Women Historians

The committee met in March 2006 in Washington, D.C., and had a lively and stimulating discussion of the many items on the agenda. We welcomed two new members to the committee: Annelise Orleck (Dartmouth Coll.) and Kathryn Allamong Jacob (Radcliffe Institute). A teleconference in October 2006 enabled us to update and discuss outstanding issues.

One committee member has been commissioned to write a brief history of the CWH to serve as a historical document and to provide orientation to new members. The committee took steps to distribute past publications, “Status of Women in the Historical Workplace” and “Best Practices in the Academic Workplace,” more widely. To further highlight our publication series “Women’s History in Global Perspective,” we propose to organize a session at the 2008 AHA, which will feature several of the authors. The committee decided to proactively showcase—through articles in Perspectives—the issue of women in the profession and the work the committee does.

In addition to the panel already mentioned, we organized two panels for the 2008 annual meeting, one on the leaky pipeline in terms of retention and promotion of women faculty, and another on the affirmative action debate. The committee brainstormed about the ways to make the work women historians and historians of women and gender do more visible and accessible to a wider public. Barbara Ransby, the chair of CWH, met with Kathy Spillars, the editor of Ms. magazine, to discuss the possibility of a guest column in the magazine which would feature the work of various women historians, describing who they are and how their work has affected women. The committee also launched an informal mentoring project for first time attendees at the annual meeting to lessen the sense of isolation that new attendees sometimes feel.

The committee discussed the issue of joint appointments and how the pressure of joint appointments (generally between history and women’s studies departments) may affect women. After much discussion, the committee also decided to submit two resolutions for the AHA research division to consider, to allow childcare to be one of the allowable expenses for AHA grants.

Evelynn Hammonds, vice provost at Harvard University, and eminent historian of race and science, was the speaker at the 2007 CWH breakfast, a well-attended gathering. Hammonds discussed the various obstacles that prevented feminist imaginings of inclusiveness from being fully realized, and said that one of the difficulties faced by those wishing to change the situation was the lack of information and data.

The Pacific Coast Branch

The 99th annual meeting of the Pacific Coast Branch, American Historical Association, took place at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, August 3–5, 2006. The history department of Stanford University sponsored the meeting. Albert Camarillo (Stanford Univ.) served as PCB president in 2006. Becky Nicolaides (Univ. of California at San Diego) and Pedro Castillo (Univ. of California at Santa Cruz) co-chaired the program committee. David Igler (Univ. of California at Irvine) chaired the nominations committee.

The conference had 239 registered participants. The program featured 50 different sessions, with an especially strong showing in community, urban, and suburban histories, post-World War II histories of the U.S. west, and Mexican history. Susan Groag Bell, senior scholar at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Stanford University, addressed the luncheon of the Western Association of Women Historians on the topic, “Christine de Pizan (1364–1430) in Her Study.”

The winners of the various PCB awards and prizes were as follows: the Pacific Coast Branch Book Award went to Julia L. Mickenberg for Learning from the Left: Children’s Literature, the Cold War, and Radical Politics in the United States (Oxford Univ. Press); the Norris and Carol Hundley Award to Steve Estes for I Am a Man: Race, Manhood, and the Civil Rights Movement (Univ. of North Carolina Press); and the W. Turrentine Jackson (Dissertation) Award to Rachel St. John, Stanford University, for “Line in the Sand: The Desert Border Between the United States and Mexico, 1948-1934. The Louis Knott Koontz Memorial Award for the best article published the previous year in the Pacific Historical Review was awarded to Dara Orenstein (Yale Univ.), for “Void for Vagueness: Mexicans and the Collapse of Miscegnation Law in California”; and the W. Turrentine Jackson Prize, for the best article by a graduate student published in the Pacific Historical Review went to Gretchen Heefner, Yale University, for “‘A Symbol of the New Frontier’: Hawaiian Statehood, Anti-Colonialism, and Winning the Cold War.” All Pacific Coast Branch prizes carry with them a cash stipend of $750 and a framed certificate for the recipient.

The president-elect of the PCB for 2008 is David Wrobel (Univ. of Nevada at Las Vegas). Newly elected members of the PCB Council are Samuel Truett (Univ. of New Mexico), Colleen O’Neill (Utah State Univ.), and Beshara Doumani (Univ. of California at Berkeley) while Cheryl Koos (California State Univ. at Los Angeles), Erika Bsumek (Univ. of Texas at Austin), and Jared Orsi (Colorado State Univ.), were elected to be on the Nominating Committee. The PCB is grateful to candidates who, although unsuccessful in the balloting, graciously consented to stand for office. These included Terrence M. Cole (Univ. of Alaska at Fairbanks), Elizabeth Dennison (Univ. of Alaska at Anchorage), David Anthony III (Univ. of California at Santa Cruz), Roxanne Easley (Central Washington Univ.), Mary Ann Villarreal (Univ. of Utah), and Matthew C. Whitaker (Arizona State Univ.).

President-elect 2007 Linda B. Hall, University of New Mexico, announced her committee appointments: Elizabeth Jameson (Univ. of Calgary), to the Jackson (Dissertation) Prize Committee; John M. Hart (Univ. of Houston), to the Norris Award Committee; Jeremy Mouat (Univ.of Alberta), to the PCB Book Award Committee; and Robin Walz (Univ. of Alaska Southeast) as chair of the Nominations Committee.

Janet Farrell Brodie