Perspectives on History Survey Results
[“If the answer to the previous question is ‘No,’] What changes would you like to see?” 86 responses
1. Too much space is allotted to information about the annual meeting and follow-up coverage to the meeting. Suggest that this information be offered as a supplement or only posted online.
2. It’s just so BORING. We have a dynamic profession; it would be nice if our publications expressed that.
3. More on the politics of history and the discipline.
4. I’d like to see more news about the profession and significantly less about the AHA as an organization.
5 . Greater attention paid to new research, to collaborative ventures. Also perhaps a “profile” or two on various departments and their faculty, especially the lesser-known members who do not get all the attention.
6. I think that at times the articles on the state of the field (percentage of jobs in history trending this new direction...) tend to be a little heavy, and while useful tend to make the issue a little dry. I would like to see something other than advocacy in the newsletter—not roundtables on books, but how about snapshots from historical places around the country, snapshots on the universities (who are all in this organization anyway) and things that would make members feel connected to something other than what appears to be at times a lobbying group.
7. More on methods, historiographical trends, the ways that history is changing as a discipline.
8. More on methods and teaching.
9. More information relevant to graduate students entering the profession, especially professional development.
10. Sometimes the AHA President or staff decide to turn Perspectives into a political blog. This is bad and is a waste of my time. They are not good bloggers or opinion makers; instead it is preening. The most relevant and important part for me is the developments in the profession. This is a decisive time period for history, and I am very interested in the rapid changes.
11. More grant/fellowship listings please!
12. The coverage of AHA activities is an important component of the magazine, but sometimes a single issue is more about social and professional networking than any specific content, such teaching, publication, or the interface of politics and history.
13. More on the reality of the profession; problems with: publications, tenure, jobs...etc.
14. More on Community College Historians—46 percent of all undergraduate students.
15. Fewer advertisements.
16. I would like to see more discussion of developments in particular fields, something like what the Chronicle of Higher Education does.
17. Enlarge job opportunities, grants, resources. Enlarge coverage of interdisciplinary relationships.
18. Less liberal bias
19. Just because I’m satisfied doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to see improvements. Since the AHR refuses to review textbooks, I recommend putting textbook reviews in Perspectives. I also suggest “state-of-the-field” articles written for non-specialists. Like many history profs, I have to teach surveys (Western Civ, World History) involving subfields which are not my specialty. It’d be nice to see articles summarizing the “state of play” so that I could teach more intelligently.
20. More on the profession as a whole, perhaps giving profiles of specific departments etc.
21. Less on “banned” historians and other political issues, more on teaching.
22. Occasional coverage of collaborations between historians and other disciplines, e.g., anthropology, literature, etc.
23. More on member activities and on institutional changes, etc.
24. More on research innovations, controversies within the profession, individual memoirs.25. More coverage of historians who have chosen careers outside academia.
26. I would like to see more articles on foundational issues in the discipline on research, etc. We are living in an age of rapid technological innovation, and I think perspectives can be a great resource for bringing to light how historians can use new technologies to enhance research, teaching and scholarship. I still struggle with the archaic stigma history receives among my colleagues; as if we still type on typewriters. I am also always inherently suspicious about the job listings in perspectives, sensing they are never complete or as complete as the website. I know this is due to the fact that the website can simply be updated more frequently, but I feel as if the job listings could be made either more efficient or dropped entirely to encourage only using the website. Perhaps Perspectives would be the place a more appropriate place to advertise more regular fellowships as opposed to the fluctuation of the job market.”
27. If Perspectives was exclusively online, you could probably afford to expand your coverage in many areas.
28. There are many news items related to history that the AHA should cover, such as the closing of the Library of Congress’ European Reading Room.
29. It seems an ideal forum for more timely essays about emerging research trends, new discoveries in archives, and so forth—things about the discipline. But all content is geared toward some (presumably mythical) lowest common denominator. Treat us like grown-ups.
30. Less about AHA activities
31. More articles on teaching and research methodologies; combatting the crisis in history (both teaching and learning); & articles on how historians can more readily address the general public. Many of the articles in the AHR can no longer even be assigned in the Honors and AP sections for pre-collegiate students as they are so specialized and limited in terms of interest and appeal and this contributes to the problem that too many professional historians have little to say to the public.
32. Frankly, I would prefer less on American history topics. I don’t want to hear about the national parks any more, e.g., or how to teach the American Civil War, etc etc.
33. Greater thematic focus for each issue. Maybe some of the news could be Internet only
The single most valuable part of Perspectives are the articles on professional statistics (PhD granted; jobs since they usually include something relevant for everyone.
34. Too much about awards, meetings reports, and the like. Not enough about history and practice.
35. Greater space allocated to letters to the editor (at least two pages).
36. Better coverage of non-US, non-Europe issues.
37. A broader spectrum of topics within the magazine would be nice. Or perhaps, break the sections down regionally, i.e., North America, Europe, etc.
38. Adequate space for non-Western history.
39. I realize most of the readership is Americanist, but there is often an overwhelming balance between coverage of U.S. topics and others (in spite of the spate of articles on teaching world history). This is one reason I skip many of the articles.
41. I’d like to see much more on professional development (and a better and more honest discussion of the profession).
42. Increased coverage of and dialogue about the use of historical training in non-academic career paths. Evidence of deafness to this is apparent from the list of job categories included in this survey. Where is the non-profit sector? Foundations, think tanks, etc.? AHA needs to address this issue more substantially beyond the (limited) category of “public history.”
43. The AHA and other professional organizations overlook a large, well-informed, and active constituency: retired professors like myself. We continue research, writing, lecturing, and volunteer work, and we have many years’ experience and wisdom to impart.
44. More coverage of non-U.S. archives, historical associations, and events.
45. The coverage is overall quite good but I would enjoy more articles devoted to teaching at the postsecondary level and the use of technology in both research and teaching.
46. Activities across a broad spectrum of teaching: not all who specialize in teaching are K–12. Many are at undergraduate colleges.
47. Too much Washington policy, advocacy of positions that maybe your members don’t actually hold, too much lead-up to the convention, too much on “how to do the convention,” too much on obscure specialties.
48. I think there could be more feature spots on historians and historical controversies on going in communities.
49. “I find the articles in the magazine to be too American-centric. Even the recent issue, which promised articles on teaching world history, did not deliver on that promise. The articles were on how the world relates to U.S. history, not on world history in its own right. This is not the first time I have noticed this problem with the magazine.
50. Generally, methods of research and teaching, especially of survey courses.
51. Articles about the historical profession, not the self-important, self-righteous, all-inclusive grandees of the AHA.
52. I wish there were more job advertisements, but that’s outside of your control.
53. Some kind of coverage of my special field.
54. Additional information on teaching, scholarship of teaching and learning, info for grad students/folks new to field
55. Deal with interdisciplinary news; add material on non-academic historians
56. Stop using the publication to congratulate the self-appointed elites who think they are the only ones worthy and moral enough to lead the AHA. I especially do not want to hear some nonsense from a woman at the IAS at Princeton, when I have to teach 5 classes and make about 20 percent of her salary. I get the feeling from reading the publication that those who run the AHA are scared to death that someone who didn’t graduate from the seven sisters or UNC Chapel Hill might have some input or an opinion to share with everyone else.”
57. More capsule summaries of various specialties
58. More coverage of the relevance/irrelevance of history as it is taught today.
59. “I believe that most people get their job posting information through more immediately accessible sources, particularly online ones. Thus, I think it’s odd to devote substantial page space to listings that both hiring folks and prospective candidates should and do advertise/learn about elsewhere. Perhaps the AHA web site should be the only job listing source?
60. I count on the AHA (and the OAH) for news of what is happening to and around the profession. I don’t often read long disquisitions of colleagues.
61. Slightly larger print would be useful. Less arrogance about academic qualifications.
62. You need to pay more attention to the profession in Canada and Mexico, now that our economies are so intensely related. We historians should be attentive to the development of that process.
63. I feel that the AHA only addresses the “”elite”” schools; many people that are in History aren’t at the Ivys or other R1s. Very little of what I read in the magazine relates to me because I’m not at one of the big schools; therefore, I don’t matter.
64. I would prefer more articles about strategies for teaching history.
65. less coverage of AHA activities.
66. More coverage of job issues.
67. I wouldn’t say I’m dissatisfied, but I find the teaching section most useful, because it’s the only regular source of info on history teaching available to me.
68. Well-written history articles of genera interest, well-written comment on current fiction on history. No politics as I get that elsewhere.
69. More coverage of affiliated societies; for example, the New England Historical Association.70. Increased, more critical, and skeptical coverage of leadership activities.
71. More material about non-academic fields of employment or political engagement for those with a history graduate education.
72. Increase number of articles regarding current developments in the discipline.
73. Less about methodology and fewer “self-praise” pieces by the eminent and more about research possibilities, including archival holdings and conditions of research.
74. Need more non-European, non-American history material.
75. I’d like to see more stuff not related directly to the AHA. I particularly like the teaching and source related stuff and would like to see the articles in those capacities lengthened. The job stuff seems almost useless. Don’t people just go online for that? It’s more timely.
76. There are currently too many statistical articles about professorial salaries, job placements, distributions of historians among subfields etc. These are interesting topics but there are too many articles about this.
77. More on professional development, job market advice, teaching methods, greater coverage from non-US disciplines. I’d like to see a general section on ‘issues in the news’ in history (history in dialogue with the present); a regular column on new approaches in history.
78. To me, having a print and online version of the same thing is redundant. Can you make features available online that you cannot get in the print copy, so that I have a reason to look at the electronic version? And, in addition, reference those things clearly. That is, “Check out the online version of Perspectives, and you’ll find. . . . (things that might supplement my reading experience).”
79. Increased coverage of AHA activities, and also more about AHA historians—the competition from Hnn.us is deafening.
80. Teaching perspectives.
81. Even though I said “yes,” I do feel too much time is spent on preparing the next generation of historians & the PhD programs & very little is spent on the work historians are doing now in the field, outside of the classroom.
82. I’d like to see Perpectives go into the direction of the now-extinct Lingua Franca a bit more. More news on non-AHA things, more portraits (right now that comes only with death!). A little bit more like History News?
83. More focus on the “historians craft.”
84. Balancing AHA activities about other regions of the world.
85. Most useful are surveys, e.g. percentages of historians in different geographic areas, time to degree of history grad students, etc. that give context for my program.
86. I am satisfied with the current format. I find it very useful, but as a new teacher, I would love to see even more articles about teaching—what works well, what flopped, and how students were best drawn in to the subject matter, perhaps over the course of a year. All teachers could use ideas on integrating technology and as an online teacher, I found the book extremely useful.
© American Historical AssociationLast Updated: November 18, 2008 3:27 PM