Dear AHA Member,
Fortnightly News is the AHA's e-mail newsletter, sent out around the first and fifteenth of every month to keep members up to date with the AHA and the history profession.
In this Issue
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We are asking all members to invest in the work and activities of the AHA by contributing $125.00 or more to the AHA’s 125th Anniversary Fund – a new fund within the AHA endowment to support an expansion of the public programs and outreach efforts of the Association.
As Gabrielle Spiegel and Laurel Thatcher Ulrich have described in recent columns in Perspective on History, the AHA is striving to continue and expand the work and efforts that have made the Association the premier organization in the discipline. You can contribute online at the AHA web site, or by check to AHA Anniversary Fund, American Historical Association, P.O. BOX 37240 Baltimore, MD 21297-3240. All contributions are tax deductible.
From Arnita A. Jones, executive director of the AHA
As readers of Perspectives on History know, on his first day in office President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order on Presidential Records that ended the practice, instituted during the early years of the Bush Administration, of allowing former presidents, their heirs, or designated others, to assert claims of executive privilege in order to deny access to certain portions of their records. That same day, the president issued a memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and another on Transparency and Open Government.
The FOIA memorandum calls for the new attorney general to issue guidelines for implementing his administration’s principles of openness and transparency in complying with citizens’ FOIA requests. The second memorandum calls for the development of an “Open Government Directive” to be issued to federal agencies implementing principles of government “transparency, public participation, and collaboration.”
These symbolic acts came as welcome news to the American Historical Association, whose members have worked hard over many years to maintain historians’ and the public’s right of access to government records.
Obama’s first day was a promising start, offering encouragement that the erosion of the public’s right to know might be reversed and that a new era in government openness was beginning. No one should assume, however, that further progress on this or other issues of interest to historians will be achieved without substantial effort and continued vigilance.
Continue reading this article online for more on advocacy issues including:
- Former Vice President Richard Cheney’s records
- Declassification and the National Archives and Records Administration
- Leadership at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
- Funding for Teaching American History grants
- Department of State’s The Foreign Relations of the United States series
- Economic stimulus bill and the museum community
- And more…
The AHA has been in the business of advocacy its entire 125 years of existence. This is work that has many disappointments but often gives cause for satisfaction as well. One thing is clear: in these perilous economic times, it is more important than ever that historians speak out and get involved.
Again, read the complete text of this article online.
Awards – Call for Nominations
Nominations are being accepted for a number of AHA awards. See below for information on each.
Nancy Lyman Roelker Membership Award
Call for nominations for the American Historical Association’s 2009 Nancy Lyman Roelker Membership Award. The award honors history teachers who have been mentors and have inspired their students in meaningful, enriching ways. The 2009 award is for graduate mentors (including combined graduate and undergraduate teaching) and carries a cash award. Nominations must include a minimum of five letters supporting the nomination, the nominee’s vita, and a completed cover sheet and checklist. Nominations must be postmarked no later than March 31, 2009. For more information, please visit http://www.historians.org/prizes/Roelker.htm. Also, see past winners of this award.
Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award
Call for nominations for the 2009 Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award. The 2009 award, co-sponsored by the American Historical Association and the Society for Historical Education, honors inspiring teachers at two-year, four-year, and graduate colleges and universities in the field of history. The recipient will be asked to attend the award presentation at the 2010 American Historical Association annual meeting and will receive a $1,000 award. The prize committee will select a short list of finalists, each of whom will be asked to provide electronically a short c.v. and a syllabus (or syllabi) and a teaching statement to a total of 15 pages or less. These should be submitted no later than April 15, 2009. For more information, please visit http://www.historians.org/teaching/Asher.cfm. Also, see past winners of this award.
Beveridge Family Teaching Prize (K-12)
Call for nominations for the 2009 Beveridge Family Teaching Prize (K-12). Sponsored by the American Historical Association, this prize honors excellence and innovation in elementary, middle school, and secondary history teaching, including career contributions and specific initiatives. Innovation can include a new method for historical scholarship but it also may include effective new strategies for teaching history to inner city, immigrant, or learning-disabled children.
The 2009 prize will be awarded to a group for excellence in teaching or for an innovative initiative applicable to an entire field. To be eligible, the group must be composed of a majority of K-12 teachers. The prize carries a $1,500 cash award (plus travel expenses to the annual meeting) and will be awarded at the American Historical Association annual meeting in January 2010 in San Diego.
Nomination letters should be submitted via mail no later than March 16, 2009 and should include the nominee’s name and address. For more information, please visit http://www.historians.org/teaching/Beveridge.htm. Also, see past winners of this award.
February 2009 - Perspectives on History
Our look back at the AHA’s 125 years of existence continues in the February 2009 issue of Perspectives on History, now available online.
125 Years of the AHA
- AHA president Laurel Thatcher Ulrich explains how you can be part of the 125 celebration by giving a gift, in “Of Cats, Hats, and Remembrance of Things Past.”
- David Darlington continues the Timelines article series by looking at the history of the AHA’s Honorary Foreign Member award.
Catch up with professional, international, and D.C. news in a number of articles. Find out “What’s in the February AHR?,” read about a recent gift for National History Day, and hear what historians are suggesting for the new Archivist of the United States.
Issues and Viewpoints
A variety of other topics are tackled in this issue.
- Martin R. Mulford discusses “The Commodification and Deprofessionalization of the PhD”
- Joyce Antler and Elinor Fuchs look at “History as Theater”
- Jonathan Rose rethinks graduate education in history.
Forum on Intellectual Property
You’ll also find three articles from a Forum on Intellectual Property.
- Eileen Boris introduces the two other participants in the forum and begins the discussion of the impact of the internet on scholarly work.
- Michael Les Benedict explores how and why copyright law developed, looking back to the 1600 and 1700s, and considers how the internet revolution will affect copyright laws for the future.
- Alice Kessler-Harris shares a personal anecdote about how writers must look out for themselves and their copyrights in this new digital world.
History in Hard Times
As the economy has taken its recent unfortunate turn, a number of departments and members have called us seeking advice and information. For departments it is often a matter of responding to data requests from their administrations. For students, it is often a question about whether entering a history PhD program is the right decision. There are no simple or easy answers to these sorts of questions, but as a starting point we remind members of the many services their dues support that may answer some of these questions.
Data on the History Profession
Here you can find data on history departments, the job market, salaries, student enrollments and degrees, reports, and links to more resources. If you have questions about the data, would like more specific information, contact Robert B. Townsend, assistant director for publications, information systems, and research.
Graduate Student Resources
Find tips, advice, and resources for every stage of graduate studies—from applying to graduate school, to crafting a dissertation, to entering the job market, to getting that first interview.
Public History Resources
The AHA is an advocate of public history and offers here links to reports, articles, and other web sites related to public history.
2008-2009 Scholar Saver
The American Historical Association and the American Political Science Association are pleased to bring you the 2008-2009 edition of the Scholar Saver, a members-only catalog of discounted journals and books of particular interest to historians and political scientists. The Scholar Saver is available as a PDF through member services.
Here are some recent posts from the AHA’s blog, AHA Today:
Advocating for History and the Humanities
News on the National Humanities Alliance’s 2009 Conference and Humanities Advocacy Day.
More Ways to Share
Share AHA Today posts with colleagues and friends in two new ways: by e-mail or on Facebook.
Comparing History and the Humanities: What We Know and Why We Should Care
A look at the Humanities Resource Center.
Also, see the most recent What We’re Reading (February 5th and 12th) and Grant of the Week (Research Grants from the AHA, Research Fellowships from the Massachusetts Historical Society) posts.
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Contributions to this issue of Fortnightly News came from:
Debbie Ann Doyle, Noralee Frankel, Elisabeth Grant, Arnita A. Jones, Jessica Pritchard, and Robert B. Townsend
Last Updated: February 17, 2009