October 31, 2011
AHA news and updates for the history profession.
- Perspectives on History — November 2011
- Oral History & IRBs
- Update on History Education Funding
- Choice Essentials — Latest Book Reviews
From the President & Executive Director
Following the large response to AHA President Anthony Grafton and AHA Executive Director Jim Grossman’s article “No More Plan B,” in last month’s issue, they present “Plan C,” offering examples of how the AHA and history departments can educate “early career historians of the extensive possibilities open to them” outside of academia.
The 126th Annual Meeting
This month’s issue also has a strong focus on the upcoming 126th annual meeting in Chicago. Find articles on a new block of suites at the Residence Inn, highlights and sponsored sessions, the presidential address and presidential sessions, and history in Chicago, including museums and cultural centers and archives.
The Association reiterated its long-held opinion that oral history research should be fully excluded from institutional review board (IRB) oversight in a letter submitted by AHA Executive Director Jim Grossman to the federal Office of Human Research Protections last Tuesday. The letter explains:
Historians who use interview methods focus on eliciting information about particular experiences of the past, and their work suffers irreparable harm when forced into rubrics developed to treat human beings in a general (or “generalizable”) way. The standards and procedures of Institutional Review Boards are alien to oral history research, and over the past decade we have compiled ample documentation of the misapplication of such rules to research projects in the field.
Recently, the AHA and other history organizations asked members on short notice to contact members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) regarding funding for history education in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Committee completed its markup on October 20, and our efforts appear to have been successful. The bill includes an amendment, offered by Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., that would create a “well-rounded” education fund. School districts could use the money to fund programs in history, civics education, social studies and eight other subject areas.
In tandem with the complimentary access AHA members now receive to Choice Reviews Online, we will be highlighting a few of these reviews here in Fortnightly News each month. Log in to member services, or the “My Profile” section on the Choice website (if you’ve set it up), to read the full versions of these reviews online.
Abuse of Power: How Cold War Surveillance and Secrecy Policy Shaped the Response to 9/11 (Temple, 2011)
By Athan G. Theoharis
Theoharis (emer., Marquette Univ.), the premier scholar of intelligence and domestic security, chronicles the evolution of counterintelligence operations conducted by the FBI from Franklin Roosevelt to George W. Bush. …This book deserves a wide readership, as the FBI's failures in the Cold War may foretell a similar fate for the War on Terror.
The Age of Airpower (PublicAffairs, 2011)
By Martin Van Creveld
Israeli pundit and historian van Creveld (Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem) is much respected worldwide, and especially in the US. … The present work provides a panoramic study of the evolution of airpower to its crescendo and climax in Iraq in 1991. …The emphasis throughout is on the relationship of theory to technology and reality. A valuable, fresh look.
The Uniqueness of Western Civilization (Brill, 2011)
By Ricardo Duchesne
The title of Duchesne's provocative book conceals much of its content. Prior to his arguments for the West's superiority and an explanation for it, the author attacks the orthodoxies that dominate world history scholarship and the social science ideologies from which they emerged. …World historians should read Duchesne's controversial book and join him in debate.
The American Historical Association's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Historians Task Force is gathering information, through this survey, from AHA members and other historians who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or queer (LGBTQ) or whose work is on LGBTQ history.
We seek to capture information about the experiences of LGBTQ historians (broadly defined) and the treatment of LGBTQ historians in the profession and discipline of history. While other professional associations have generated reports on the status of LGBTQ scholars and scholarship in their respective disciplines (eg. modern languages and sociology) no such efforts have been undertaken within the history profession. We believe that this survey will provide important insights into how LGBTQ persons and those doing LGBTQ history are faring in our discipline and how they perceive their place in it. With this information, the LGBTQ Historians Task Force will make formal and substantive recommendations to the AHA on how to address the concerns of LGBTQ historians.
Please be assured that that AHA's confidentiality policy directs that all survey data be gathered and reported in a way that assures your privacy. Responses will be aggregated and no personally identifiable information will be released. Any quotations from text responses will be edited to remove identifying information.
Please complete the survey online here by December 15, 2011. Response time will vary but it should take between 15 and 60 minutes to complete. Each person who completes the survey will have the option to enter a random drawing to receive a $100 Amazon gift card. Information provided for the drawing will be disassociated from the survey results.
The AHA is working with American Profile magazine, a Sunday newspaper supplement, to publish a cover feature on U.S. history for Independence Day 2012. It will be a history quiz of twenty-five multiple-choice questions and answers.
Members are invited to suggest clear, interesting questions that will reflect the rigorous standards of our organization to the public. Our goal is to offer to a broad audience something that is fun and that might enhance an appreciation for history and historical thinking in public culture.
The questions can be about any period in American history.
Submit your ideas for questions and answers through this survey form.
Applications Still Being Accepted
The AHA is still accepting applications for the position of Associate Editor. The Associate Editor serves in a variety of writing and editorial capacities at the Association's headquarters office, working primarily on content for Perspectives on History, but also social media and press relations work as well as assisting with other print and online publications as time allows. To apply, send a cover letter, c.v., and a brief writing sample (or a link to online material) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the position responsibilities and qualifications here online.
North Texas, U.S. West/Environmental
The University of North Texas in Denton, TX seeks to fill a tenure-track assistant professorship. The successful applicant will have a research field in the U.S. West and be able to teach undergraduate and graduate classes in the U.S. West and environmental history.
Southern Indiana, 19th-Century African American
The University of Southern Indiana in Evansville invites applications for a nine-month, tenure-track assistant professorship in 19th-century African American history beginning August 2012.
St. Mary's, Ind., United States/Latin America
The Department of History and the Program in Women's Studies at Saint Mary's College invite applications for a tenure-track joint appointment in history and women's studies. Applications will be accepted in both U.S. history and Latin American history with preference given to candidates who creatively combine the two.
Session of the Week
From now until the 126th annual meeting, we’ll be running a series of “Session of the Week” posts on the AHA blog to highlight the varied scholarship you can expect at the upcoming meeting. With over 250 sessions in the Program of the 126th Annual Meeting, there’s something for everyone’s field of interest. The sessions featured so far include:
Did We Go Wrong? The Past and Prospects of the History Profession Friday, January 6, 9:30—11:30 a.m.
Sheraton Ballroom V (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)
This presidential session addresses the current employment situation in History via an historical survey of American graduate education, in general and in history. The panel will test hypotheses about the recent decline of available jobs and speculate cautiously about the future state of both graduate education and the professional market for our graduates.
Fukushima: An International Perspective on Nuclear Accidents
Friday, January 6, 2012: 9:30 AM-11:30 AM
Ontario Room (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)
The March 11, 2011 earthquake and Tsunami that devastated Japan introduced a new generation to the hazards of civilian nuclear power. The history of severe accidents provides essential context for a public evaluation of nuclear power’s future role, if any, in global energy consumption. This roundtable of scholars will offer an international, comparative discussion of severe nuclear accidents, and provide context on the early recognition of possible reactor meltdowns, differing national approaches to the prevention, mitigation, and management of severe accidents, political considerations, and public views of reactor risks.
You can now register to attend THATCamp at the annual meeting. THATCamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp) is a free, open "unconference" where attendees create sessions, ideas, and collaborations on the spot. There are no podiums or PowerPoint slides; instead, campers learn directly from one another. THATCamp is a productive and fun event for scholars and technologists, digital humanities practitioners, and those who don't know much about digital humanities but wish to learn. Check out who's participating.
Stay up-to-date on annual meeting news, highlights, and discussions through the 126th Annual Meeting event on the AHA's Facebook page.
History Center and Council on Foreign Relations Host Steinberg on Bismarck
The National History Center renewed its partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations on October 20 with a conversation with historian Jonathan Steinberg on his recent biography of Otto von Bismarck. The twice-annual series takes place at the Council’s headquarters in New York and offers the historical context of international affairs to a diverse audience of New Yorkers interested in foreign policy.
Monday Seminar: From Antecedents of the Arab Spring to Civil Rights
The Washington History Seminar continues today with Nigel J. Ashton of the London School of Economics discussing “Missed Opportunities for Peace? The United States, Jordan, and the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.” On November 7, Gavin Wright of Stanford University will explore the economic effects of the American Civil Rights Movement on black and white southerners.
Keep up with the latest information on history and the profession on the AHA’s blog, AHA Today. Recent posts include:
Indians of the Midwest: Interviews, Maps, Essays, and Other Resources
The D'Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry Library recently launched the new website "Indians of the Midwest, Past and Present."
Presidential Debates: Past and Present
Numerous political debates have already taken place in advance of the 2012 presidential election. As the parties pick their candidates and the debates continue, look to the past for a broader perspective on the speeches and strategies taking place today. To help, we've rounded up a number of presidential debate resources.
What We're Reading
The October 27 edition of What We're Reading includes articles on a history student working for Occupy Wall Street, reports on a future National Digital Public Library, history-themed pumpkin carving templates, and more. For the October 20 edition, we linked to responses on the federal proposal on Institutional Review Boards, articles on the new free OpenClass course management system, and the new Bruce Springsteen Archive.
Grant of the Week
Our most recent Grant of the Week posts include Fellowships from the American Research Center in Sofia and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Fellowships.
The AHA draws on the efforts of a number of coalitions that support the Association's agenda to keep track of issues in the nation's capital that will be of concern to historians. Their most recent reports include:
National Coalition for History
Recent news from the National Coalition for History:
ESEA Bill Passes With “Well-Rounded” Education Provision
On Oct. 20, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) completed its markup of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The bill includes an amendment, offered by Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., that would create a “well-rounded” education fund. School districts could use the money to fund programs in history, civics education, social studies and eight other subject areas.
National Humanities Alliance
Announcements from the National Humanities Alliance:
Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Seeks Proposals for Residential Fellowships - Application deadline for 2012-2013 is December 1.
American Musicological Society & Library of Congress to Host Public Lecture-Recital September 10 event to discuss "What the Autograph Can Tell Us: Beethoven's Sonata in E Major, Opus 109"
Read COSSA's most recent Washington Update for news on spending bills, Senate hearings, education and more.
See the AHA Calendar for more upcoming meetings and seminars, research, awards and fellowships, and upcoming exhibitions. Have a call for proposals, event, or award listing you'd like to submit? Simply send it in through our online form.
Symposium: Moving Beyond Earth Innovations in Space
The 2011 New Perspectives on Invention and Innovation symposium, Moving Beyond Earth: Innovations in Space, is presented by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Division of Space History. The symposium marks the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight and explores the role of invention and technology in space exploration and space history. The weekend program takes place this November 18-19, 2011.
Call for Posters: National Council on Public History and Organization of American Historians
The National Council on Public History and Organization of American Historians invite proposals for the Poster Session at their joint 2012 Annual Meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Poster Session is a format for history and public history presentations about projects that use visual evidence. It offers an alternative for presenters eager to share their work through one-on-one discussion, can be especially useful for work-in-progress, and may be a particularly appropriate format for presentations where visual or material evidence represents a central component of the project. The poster session will be held on Saturday afternoon, April 21, 2012 at the Frontier Airlines Center in Milwaukee. The deadline to submit posters is November 1, 2011.
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Last Updated: October 28, 2011