Fayerweather Hall, Columbia University

Columbia University

At Columbia University's Department of History, the effort is to think broadly about where history is located and how it is enacted. We want to focus on the skills-training needed for all graduate students within an intellectual paradigm. We see this initiative as relevant to all of our graduate students, regardless of their temporal or geographic specializations, and in full sync with their own understandings of how they think of their scholarship. Under our "History in Action" programming, we will introduce our students to diverse professionals, trainings, and ideas that will not only make them a better historian, but prepare them to be productive members of a wide array of communities in the world. HIA is led by Project Director Professor Adam J. Kosto. For AY 2014-15, Professor Pamela H. Smith and Assistant Professor Manan Ahmed are the Faculty Co-ordinators, and Tania Bhattacharyya is the Graduate Student Co-ordinator.   

The History in Action Initiative at Columbia University's Department of History has four components stretching across the academic year:

  1. History in Action Project Awards (HAPA): Each semester, graduate students are invited to apply for small-project grants which will support diverse activities - working in community archives, museums, publishing, grant-writing, pedagogy etc. We welcome all serious engagements with the mission of the HIA and these grants should be seen as seed-money for creative and scholarly projects. You can see the Awards for Fall 2014 here.
  2. History in Action Research Associates (HARA): Each semester, graduate students are invited to apply to work with host organizations as Research Associates. The HARA is run in co-operation with the Center for Career Education at Columbia. The RAs receive TA relief for the semester and their work is commensurate to the weekly TA duties. We have developed, in conjunction with CCE, a "Skills Profile" for our graduate students, to convey to the host organizations the types of transferrable skills they bring. The program will launch in June 2015. In the first phase, the host organizations have been chosen by HIA and CCE but we will initiate a proposal format wherein graduate students can bring a host organization they specifically want to work with into the program. The aim here is two fold: First, to create institutional relationships with organizations and the Department of History. Second, to ensure that the RAship introduces the graduate students to new, critical skills, methods, and exposes them to a diverse learning opportunities.
  3. History in Action Clinic Courses: In the Spring Semester 2015, HIA will offer a clinic course as a cluster of workshops. Graduate students are welcome to either take the course for credit, or attend any of the individual workshops. Each workshop will be run by a noted professional and will focus on process and skills. You can find the Spring 2015 workshops here. You can find the Fall 2014 workshops here. In Spring 2016, the Clinic Course "Historical Dialogue" will run in conjunction with the Institute for the Study of Human Rights. More details available here.
  4. History in Action Conference: In the Spring Semester, there will be a conference organized by the graduate students which will bring to campus notable speakers and thinkers who do the work of history in public. This will be a continuation of the first HIA conference which seeded the idea of this entire project.

We have also commissioned with Miguel Ripoll Design to create a truly interactive website for HIA.  They created the excellent website for the Department of  Latin American and Iberian Cultures. The website will allow for faculty and graduate students to publish in different mediums and formats, as well as have a dialogue section where we can create interactions with the wider world. We are very excited by the social media and on-line publishing possibilities that the new website will offer. We expect the website to launch in March, 2015.

Updated on December 12, 2014