Perspectives on History Survey Results
If there are features that you would like to see in Perspectives on History that are not already there, what would they be? [201 responses]
1. Perhaps an occasional feature on university presses?
2. Something on the huge (and increasing?) divide between modern/premodern historians. It is much greater than the division between fields.
3. I wouldn’t object to more news coverage.
4. Methodology of the new World History such as that of Fernandez Armesto at Tufts University.
5. More contributions from regional AHAs and from affiliate societies—especially in terms of news, upcoming conferences and events.
6. I know that graduate students are interested in museum and public history jobs. More coverage on career paths for those newly entering the profession would really help these students.
7. A column on historiography; 2. A column on best web sites.
8. The writing is technically excellent, but it’s so dull.
9 . More editorial/opinion material from historians.
10. Career choices for historians outside of the academic environment
11. News about non AHA conferences and international news
12. The Chronicle of Higher Education includes columns on professional development, professional challenges, etc. A similar feature might be useful.
14. A regular column on issues, perspectives, considerations for the non-professional historian.
15. Snapshots from the field as it were, something on historical oddities. This doesn’t need to become the kind of magazine I’d buy at Barnes & Noble, but there’s no reason you couldn’t have fun with it. After all, even the American Bar Association magazine has a comic strip in it.
16. More articles about the process of doing history (i.e. first-person accounts of archive trouble or writer’s block)
17. More articles on the various sub-fields of the discipline, ie. Atlantic World, Women’s history, military history, etc.
18. Perhaps add a section detailing developments specific to European History, Asian History, Latin American History, &c ... To do so effectively, you might dedicate one column per issue to one of these sub-fields, thus giving each field its turn.
19. Features are fine in terms of topics but too presentist and weighted towards US and developing world history. Let’s have more ancient and medieval coverage!!
20. Issues for junior faculty.
21. More on broad politics of history: how current federal and state policies affect the work of historians; how cultural politics affect history, etc. Also articles on historians’ working lives—how historians actually do their work, both the work of scholarship and the work of being a historian.
22. How about a regular thing about chairing a department or developing and following a departmental vision? You cover issues well that deal with our individual lives and the profession as a whole, but we exist within departments as well, and it would be good to know about developments at that level that are taking place across the country.
23. Graduate Student Forum
24. A grad student column, perhaps rotate authorship between not only schools, but also countries. That is, you could have one from Canada, a few from Europe, Australia, Asia, etc
25. Corporate history jobs, government history jobs, editorial jobs, diplomatic positions, etc.
26. Interaction with historians in medieval studies and NE studies better coverage of differences between US and non-US education and research.
27. More on the reality of graduate school and the challenges in landing a tenure-track job
28. A regular feature like in the front of the Chronicle’s job section that includes more personal perspectives on academics, but the Perspectives section could focus specifically on historians—experiences on the job market, raising a family as an academic, managing political interdepartmental conflicts, historians working in nonacademic positions, etc.
29. Some attempt to help define model or best practices for departments in a variety of institutional settings. For example, what should a small department at a four-year undergraduate institution strive to accomplish? What should a department in a junior college seek to do? What about departments in regional state universities? We seem most comfortable with models for research, PhD granting institutions, but the rest of us are searching for venues to understand reasonable goals and assessment strategies.
30. A column on effective teaching tips—used by individual members.
31. More nuts-and-bolts articles for grad students/younger scholars—how to write successful grant applications, etc.
32. A section for emeriti who are still active.
33. An option to just read electronic edition of Perspectives and not receive the paper version. AHA blog is also great—maybe add an option to receive notices of new posts via email.
34. The search function for job listings in Perspectives online is very poorly designed. Often, I have found that if you highlight one of the categories in the lengthy drop-down menu for searches (e.g., dept. chair) then the search returns nothing, even when there IS an appropriate listing (clearly the listings aren’t coded for that). And the other, shorter search drop-down menu (on the left side of the search screen) which merely divides by large regions, DOES return all listings, but is not specialized enough. I wish this job listings search template was modeled on the H-Net drop down menu for searching listings, which functions much more usefully and effectively.
36. More consideration of History in relation to other disciplines.
37. Critical assessments of the profession (tenure, publishing, graduate training, K-12 teacher training, etc) accompanied by suggestions of how the profession might be improved. Whether or not I agree with these assessments, I find them intellectually stimulating and beneficial for the profession as a whole.
38. Advising undergraduate majors: especially recruiting majors, job placement for BA’s in History.
39. Political activism, current events, non-teaching historical professions
40. We need a stronger sense of collegiality ... issues that give AHA members a sense of being part of a single group.
42. I would like to see something more directed at college students.
43. Since 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.
44. I would like a discussion about what the PhD in History should mean. Should it, for example, imply a competence in the total field of history, as well as the narrow specialty which is one’s field?
45. Reviews of databases and academic software (including a/v) of interest to historians. Current political approach to archives etc. should be supplemented by more attention to copyright, fair use, etc.
46. Scholarships for History Students
47. Again, departmental profiles or profiles of other workplaces where historians are found. Perhaps more on teaching overseas?
48. I think a grad student feature would be good. And not just a don’t teach after exams version, which, frankly, isn’t possible for most of us. Practical stuff.
49. Occasional forays into perspectival and methodological issues in a way accessible to non-specialists.
50. More emphasis on the rising numbers of adjuncts in the profession.
51. I think a large constituency of the AHA are people looking for faculty jobs—perhaps more on this, sort of like the Chronicle, but hopefully more relevant to actual people, and historians in particular.
52. More for community college instructors
53. Profiles of historians at various stages of their careers and working in a variety of academic and not fields.
54. Pro- and con pieces on hot topics
55. Lists of books received for review in future AHRs
56. Historians should address the whole issue of the importance of history and historical study. Has history become a mere antiquated story of the past—a mere fable agreed upon with little relevance or benefit to non-specialists? Historians need to address the issue of why history and historical study are important and relevant for students and the general public alike. Otherwise, it should be consigned to the dustbin and appropriate for antiquarians only.
57. Articles on interdisciplinary research and teaching
58. More on history as a social science
59. More World/Ancient/Medieval; info for people new to the profession
60. Changes in theory and methods that reflect history as an organic entity.
61. Specifics about issues related to research/archives and occasionally ideas about how to improve undergrad teaching.
62. More research information. In particular I like reports on foreign archives, even when they are not directly concerned with my own research. I don’t read Italian, yet I still loved the report on a family archive in Rome.
63. More (anything) on job opportunties abroad; H-Net job listings only sporadically cover such jobs, but there are some out there.
64. A column that lets people/groups announce a call for working groups on specific topics. The general topics might be listed in the print version with a more detailed mechanism on the electronic site for exchanging information, email addresses, and ideas. This might help facilitate the diversity of perspectives and scholars sought by the AHA annual meeting program committee.
65. I would like to see something that alerts you better to historical exhibits, conferences, etc. More than on just a national scale, maybe one by state.
66. Historiographical trends
67. More varied—and less self-congratulatory—perspectives on each subject addressed. Currently, there are just a few insiders, most with the same tired views, that expound the same views again and again.
68. Perhaps some sort of personal feature that would allow members to share an opinion on some sort of discipline related issue—From my perspective. Maybe something by graduate students, new faculty, etc—something similar to the Chronicle of Higher Education’s features.
69. Collaboration with library research teaching and with college-wide writing programs.
70. How about more information pertaining to us lowly, scorned adjuncts?
71. Perhaps a regular section for grad students.
72. More analysis of the great divide between types of history jobs, criteria for promotion and tenure, attitudes by those with power in the profession towards those with lesser jobs. You focus primarily on economic issues related to this, and occasionally teaching issues (all highly valuable) but this attitudinal problem is discussed frequently by scholars, but almost never by the professional organizations. It creates a two-tiered system in the minds of publishers, for example, over which historians seem to have little control.
73. As a non-teaching, academic librarian, I’d love to see more information on using the history degree outside of teaching.
74. Debates within the field, making history accessible to broader audiences
75. I’d like to see reviews of books, articles, and other resources directly related to the historical profession, developing as historians, etc. Another feature could be profiling different historians and their experiences in academe at various levels, in public history, outside of academe, etc. This would be helpful in gaining insight into the diversity of the historical profession and could even be a tool to use with students wondering what they might do with a history degree.
76. more on trends in terms of changes in the profession and broader issues like academic freedom, the academic workplace
77. I’d like to see a broader discussion of the complex nature of the profession. There are great similarities between the work done by those outside the academy and those within the academy and yet, to read Perspectives, one would believe that public history and academic history are completely separate and different. A column discussing projects academic and non-academics do together would be great.
78. I cannot really think of any
79. Review articles on commonly used survey texts. Perhaps articles about unique (beyond the surveys) course offerings.
80. National Archives (NARA) and Library of Congress accessions of unpublished manuscripts.
81. Relations between the academic historical profession and other academic disciplines and their professional organizations.
82. I would not mind seeing another interdisciplinary section in addition to film and history. A large undertaking, I understand, but it would be interesting.
83. Why do I have to read obituaries to find out what people are up to? Why not have occasional interviews with interesting older, active scholars.
84. A feature for students of history.
85. Discussion of Cuba relations, events in Latin American universities, international scholars in the U.S., visa and Homeland Security problems for scholars in the U.S.
86. Features for master’s and PhD students
87. Coverage is fine as is
88. More on European History- For example Film and History
89. Public history too narrowly focused on US
91. History and theory
92. Perhaps more about foreign (non-USA) members of the profession?
93. Features on people working in history in other countries. Items about people who did not graduate from or work at the big-name schools.
94. Perhaps a run down of each of the various areas of history- say Middle East and Public history one month and Medieval European and World the next
95. occasional columns devoted to subfields
96. More on research
97. Again, sort of like Lingua Franca was, more focus on actual historians in the field, what we do, controversies we generate or participate in as public citizens, history-related problems in communities.
98. Biographies of notable historians; information on major projects like Washington’s correspondence.
99. Debates between historians in some format, on issues of all kinds.
101. Regular articles—say, twice a year—on history in the federal government, both on individual agencies’ historical offices and on issues faced by federal historians more broadly. A particularly interesting topic would be the potentially negative policy consequences for cabinet departments that lack a historical office at the departmental level. For example, the Department of Justice has historians in the FBI and the Marshals Service but none at the departmental level. The topic could include important agencies. FEMA, for instance, apparently has not had a historian since the 1980s.
102. More student voices
103. I would like to see more of the articles on the practical aspects of consulting specific archives. There have been a few such articles lately but I would like to see more..
104. More on connections with other disciplines.
105. More systematic, ongoing attention to professional historians who work in secondary education, museums, documentary editing, and public policy
106. More on online degrees.
108. Military history articles. We are forgotten by the AHA it seems.
109. I’d like to see a feature on ways in which historians are working interdisciplinarily - or are working with people in other disciplines on projects.
110. I used to love Lingua Franca before it folded, and I still enjoy the Chronicle - are there any ways to add features of those publications to Perspectives? I’m thinking particularly, for example, of ways in which particular departments have revitalized graduate programs, transformed undergraduate major curricula, convinced deans to hire clusters of faculty in particular fields, fought for better salaries, and so on and so forth. Perspectives in its current incarnation is good at setting out the state of the field, and its also good at highlighting individual faculty contributions to it - but I’d be curious to know more about the success of various collective efforts at institutional change and improvement.
111. Would like to see more articles geared towards graduate students - issues like relationships with advisors, how to find fellowships, tips for the job market. Maybe one section in each issue devoted to historians -in- training.
112. When I first joined, there was a section for graduate students that I always read first and was very useful. What happened to it?
113. I really used the statistics when I was department chair to argue for positions and to see how we compared.
114. My ideal is the defunct Lingua Franca. What I liked and now miss is the broad view and sweep of academia. What are the hot fields? Where is the best research taking place? Which universities are flourishing? In general, it’s hard to understand just where the profession is going. Graphs of PhD candidates and their fields need way more interpretation.
115. As a retiree (a category you do not offer above) I would be interested in opportunities for part time or volunteer work in history.
116. Help with professional duties, such as the recent column on writing letters of recommendation
117. Prominent historians telling how they research and write.
118. Might take a few ideas from the former Lingua Franca, which considered various theoretical and methodological perspectives. Whatever its failings, I thought it provided an interesting forum.
119. Maybe there could be more on how historians might communicate more effectively with more general audiences.
120. Capsule summaries of state of various specialties
121. Now that historians have begun to study Maya and Nahua written works, I would like to read about creating terminology for Mexico and the rest of Latin America that is less Eurocentric.
122. A guest column authored by a notable from another field such as politics, government, sociology, science, mathematics, business, sports, etc. about how history has affected their field and their lives and how they see the history’s value to American life. I know a retired theoretical physicist whose views about history would be very interesting to our readers in the profession.
123. How about some articles on the real lives of historians, work-family issues, how personal situations affect our careers...? along the lines of Barbara Weinstein’s piece on the mobility question, which I found particularly interesting.
124. International (i.e. non-U.S.) trends and developments in the history profession. Regular dedicated space for issues concerning graduate students.
125. Subfields in History such as Latin American History or World History
126. Textbook articles/reviews
127. It would be nice for job candidates to require every institution listing a job opening to report back to perspectives who got the job or what happened in the search. For example, the Sept. issue each year could list on a page or two all the jobs in the previous year and who got them and where they got their PhD.
128. As an online master’s student, receiving my degree through American Military University, I’d like to see more about online master’s and PhD programs.
129. Reviews of Web sites—bibliographies, course outlines, content (like images) pro & con debates on issues relating to both teaching techniques & trends in history.
130. Professional development for students.
131. Articles on alternative employment for History PhDs.
132. A Careers section that provides mentoring for young scholars, advice for dept chairs, glimpses of public history careers, etc.
133. look more at those trained in history who live and work beyond the academy.
134. A rotating feature that emphasizes a different genre of history (labor history, history of science, etc.) each issue. More usable material that can be directly applied in teaching. key themes one might use in a class discussion, etc. Reviews of online history resources geared towards helping teachers and researchers.
135. A Graduate student column/issues, perhaps.
136. Assignment corner—what type of activities/assignments are given in large US survey courses.
137. There was a great article in the Chronicle of Higher Education this month on what they didn’t teach you in graduate school. As a graduate student, I would love similar advice from Perspectives on History.
138. I would like to see more coverage of cultural history.
139. Look, the history profession is becoming more and more of a postmodern cult. Professional history has becoming the enemy of memory and, as a result of this precious fashion, which began about the time graduate student deferments ended in 1968 and doesn’t seem to be lessening, historical literacy among the people is at an all time low. Frederic Jackson Turner would have addressed this. Someone in the AHA might want to open a debate on the part the Association has and is playing in the culture wars.
140. Discussions, perhaps debates, about professional issues. By professional, I do not mean scholarly or about intellectual developments. I mean about the state, structure, operation, and the like of the discipline and its many institutions and ways..
141. An “On the Web” section, where non-affiliated and affiliated web sites on history are briefly profiled for members to learn more about what is newly out on the internet.
142. I would like to see editorials from alternative points of view, especially from the entities that the writers of our magazine so frequently denounce with alacrity. I would also like to see all relevant statistics printed, even those which may provide evidence that run counter to the current ideological agenda of the AHA. For example, when I was on the job market at the annual meeting of the AHA in Philadelphia in January of 2006, I was given a survey from students of Temple University that apparently was an official part of the AHA job registrar. The survey asked me demographic information (i.e. gender, race, progress towards degree, etc.) and how many job interviews that I had scheduled. As you can see from my answers, I read Perspectives fairly carefully, and I never saw the results of this survey published in your magazine’s article that I think is entitled State of the Job Market, or something similar. I do not want to go so far as charging intellectual dishonesty by the Executive Director and his subordinates. In frank honesty, however, I have a strong suspicion that this survey was consciously not published because its results would have shown that the AHA’s formal endorsement and practice of affirmative action policies that overtly favors women and minority scholars in hiring at the AHA job fair is completely out of proportion to the percentage of applicants. Although I have never undertaken any quantitative analysis on this subject, my casual observation is that I was specifically excluded from even initial consideration of approximately half of the available positions offered of which I was imminently qualified during my three years on the job market, simply because of my gender and the color of my skin. My friends and colleagues understand the situation. One of my colleagues, for example, is in a much more exclusive field than my own, so that he knows almost all of the scholars applying for jobs in that year as well as all of the schools that are hiring in that particular discipline at the time. That year, he had already acquired a PhD, had numerous years of teaching experience, and published his dissertation (the subject of which is a gender related theme) in book form with a reputable publishing House based out of New York City. We also come from a relatively eminent Midwestern University that prides itself on being a Research 1 Institution, and his advisor was also a very prominent scholar in the field, actually a leading officer in the AHA’s related division. That year, he was competing for the same job openings with a friend of ours (female) who was from a similar university, was ABD and had only begun to write her dissertation, had virtually no teaching experience and no publications. Both of them applied for the same approximately fifteen job openings. At the AHA job fair, he got one interview, she got fifteen. We have another close friend of ours who was also on the job market at the same time. She readily acknowledges that, as a woman and as both a racial and ethnic mnority, she was able to land numerous interviews for which she would not have been considered otherwise: she got six that year, I also got one. I commend her for using whatever it takes to land a job in this ever restrictive market, but it sure does not seem fair for me to be excluded from consideration because of hiring quotas. Granted, I understood this situation before I pursued and received a Ph.D. When I initially entered graduate school, I informed a number of professors that I wanted to specialize in African American History, but all of them concluded that such a focus of study was both unrealistic as well as unpractical because I would not only be excluded from consideration from the related grants, scholarships, and fellowships necessary to produce the high quality of research in such a field, but that I would never be employed because I could never be a black historian. Indeed, the vast majority of job ads in Perspectives from leading universities (where historians will teach almost exclusively in their specialty) read something like Assistant Professor, with a focus on Gender and the lives of women. Women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply. Now, really who do you think they are looking for? I have finally found a position that I truly love and in which I think that I can flourish, but I hope that the AHA would strive to make the job registrar more fair, and publish evidence that may not fit with the ideological predispositions of the editorial board.
143. History of Science
144. A regular column on k-12 teaching
145. Professional ethics
146. I would like to see more data on the number of women in the profession and their status. I’d like to know what percentage of the organization is comprised of women and minorities. I’d like to know more about which fields the new jobs are in. I’d like data on numbers of journals in different fields. I’d also like to see information on how universities are evaluating scholarship—e.g., the move to measure impact of articles via ISI citations. I’d like to see articles on what is happening in postsecondary institutions abroad—e.g., the Bologna model.
147. How about more information on practicing history as a consultant?
148. See comment for question #7
149. More fields other than U.S. history
150. How to accommodate hybrids going for a PhD in History. Those who call themselves political Historians because they have a MA in Political Science but now they chose History.
151. More exposes of historians with personal agendas and axes to grind that detract from the truth.
152. Seems to me that Perspectives could spread its inquiries to include what is happening in the profession in the UK, Europe, S America, Asia.
153. Death notices of PhDs in history. Those who do not get a writeup.
154. More on websites and multimedia sources.
155. No opinion here.
156. More how-to professional articles or discussion of professional experiences by historians outside of the AHA staff. Less emphasis on discussion of statistics.
157. Foreign news and subjects.
158. More news about the discipline outside the United States (both institutionally and historigraphical schools).
159. Cover affiliated ocieties’ activities.
160. More obituaries.
161. Articles on class (economic) demographics of grad students and historians beyond simply stipend/salary.
162. Interdisciplinary work; urls/reference materials for navigating archives, university and other libraries, etc. outside of the U.S. online, i.e. practical aid for bibliographic work
164. I am pretty happy with Perspectives. Maybe history departments could be portrayed.
165. Scholarship and research opportunities in non-western history.
166. History is about investigating the past from original sources, and as Perspectives is now structured, an outsider would not believe this fact.
167. Articles about issues and pedagogy tend to be on the bland side and rarely open up controversial issues or approaches. Be bolder....
168. Web site reviews
169. African American issues
170. I would like a section called Spotlight on Historical Fields such as on World History or Social and Cultural History or Ecological History
171. The AHA has numerous Canadian members. Would like to see articles on Canada from time to time.
172. More work by actual film historians, rather than historians in other fields writing about film.
173. A regular feature on documentary editing and the use of documentary editions by historians in their teaching and research would be most welcome. Too many historians know too little about these resources that would ease their professional lives.
174. The ‘historians at work’ regular profile. Pick peole: Jonathan Spence, James Sheehan, Natalie Zemon Davis, Lynn Hunt, Marcus Rediker; for non-Western fields, CA Bayly, Donald Quataert, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Zachary Lockman etc. Include minority histories and historians, etc. In short, broaden the knowledge base, introduce different fields by profiling their practitioners. Give career development information.
175. Discussions on balancing professional and family life, especially for those historians who work outside of U.S. history.
176. More on strategies/resources etc. . . to pay for education, especially for non-traditional students such as Military veterans, older adults, and part-time students.
177. More outreach to non-traditional members of AHA, and perhaps even non-members, such as secondary school teachers, community college teachers. International contacts.
178. A more developed focus on the different experiences of historians, based on a variety of factors (a non-exclusive list: race, gender, college and graduate background, current position, interdisciplinary focus, current employment status (adjunct, visiting, junior, or senior faculty)). These all affect how we work as historians.
179. News about international developments.
180. Perhaps a column for Department Chairs, focused on pertinent issues/problems, including overview & best practices. Appearing perhaps every few issues.
181. Differences in teaching between one country and another.
182. More in-depth coverage of the kinds of politics that affect academic history departments More in-depth coverage of the politics of academics at the state and local levels.
183. Additional ways for historians to impact public policy and become more active in the media
184. Articles related to my specialty: Colonial and Revolutionary America; I am interested in race and gender, but believe these are overemphasized. I would like to see more coverage of traditional areas: constitutional, political.
185. More on threats to the survival of the profession and ways to fight against it threats to tenure and what is being done about it.
186. Pieces like the February 1992 exchange between Jon Wiener and Allen Weinstein over the Hiss case and the Archives
187. Maybe some thoughts about how to structure the history major; maybe more tie-ins between History and other fields (interdisciplinary) or History and other activities (eg politics, public policy, etc)
188. Professional advice for junior faculty
189. More about practical issues facing historians and those who run history departments, grad programs, undergrad advising, how to balance teaching with research, tenure, publishing tips, etc.
190. Career-building AFTER employment and/or tenure. More pieces on mid-career development and challenges. This would balance the (over-)emphasis on getting the first job in articles such as endless statistical permutations of the job market from year to year. I find these articles to be tedious. These could be effectively summarized and the full statistical version available online to those who are interested in seeing that longer version.
191. More articles on research—personal experiences in archives
192. Archives and databases; Historiography.
193. Greater coverage of high school teaching of history with idea of greater awareness of possibilities and importance of this area of teaching and recognition of good work done in many schools
194. Just a thought: solicit teachers to send in their ‘best practices’, and use those as a regular column, like your film and history column. If you get swamped, you could yell at me, but in any case, I think such a rotating column, where over the course of ten years, you would have contributions from at least 120 teachers, would be a fantastic help to young teachers, like myself. Perhaps the focus could have a narrower sidebar, for teachers who don’t know where to start: pick one tool that has worked really well for you, and write a column with the purpose of explaining how to use that tool to new teachers.
195. Actual K–12 lesson plans in the Teaching Section. More focus on Elementary & Middle School History.
196. Follow up on academic freedom issues—I’m active in the AAUP and would like more coverage
197. More reports from affiliated organizations and historical approaches current events
198. More articles about the community college system
200. I wonder if a graduate student corner would be helpful. Mind you, there’s already lots of good advice for job searchers etc. but this is an important element of our membership.
201. Features on news and developments re archives—those are indispensable reading to both my wife and I as history researchers.
© American Historical AssociationLast Updated: November 18, 2008 3:53 PM