From the AHA Activities column in the January 2000 Perspectives
Report of the AHA 1999 Nominating Committee
AHA Staff, January 2000
On behalf of the Nominating Committee, I am pleased to report the results of the 1999 election for AHA offices. (Elected candidates are indicated with an asterisk.)
President (1-year term)
*Eric Foner, Columbia Univ. (19th-century America)
President-Elect (1-year term)
*Wm. Roger Louis, Univ. of Texas at Austin (British Empire, modern British history, expansion of Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa)
Stuart B. Schwartz, Yale Univ. (Latin America, Brazil, early modern Iberia)
Vice President, Research Division (3-year term)
Keith M. Baker, Stanford Univ. (French Enlightenment, 17th- and 18th-c. European social/political theory)
*Gabrielle Spiegel, Johns Hopkins Univ. (medieval, historiography)
Council (3-year terms)
Glenn Britton, UCLA (U.S. environmental, U.S. West, urban)
*Lillian Guerra, Univ. of Wisconsin at Madison (19th- and 20th-century Latin America, Spanish Caribbean)
*David W. Blight, Amherst Coll. (African American, 19th-c. U.S., U.S. intellectual)
Tyler Stovall, Univ. of California at Santa Cruz (France, Europe, world)
Division Representatives (3-year terms)
*Allen F. Isaacman, Univ. of Minnesota (central and southern Africa)
Henry F. Reichman, California State Univ. at Hayward (Russia and Soviet Union, late modern Europe)
*Mark L. Kornbluh, Michigan State Univ. (20th-c. U. S.)
Christopher L. Tomlins, American Bar Foundation (U.S. legal, U.S. labor)
*John Pyne, West Milford Township Public Schools (U.S. political and social)
John Tyler, Groton School (colonial America)
Committee on Committees (3-year terms)
Jeffry M. Diefendorf, Univ. of New Hampshire (Germany)
*Cynthia B. Herrup, Duke Univ. (England, early modern Europe, legal)
*Eileen Boris, Univ. of Virginia (20th-c. U.S., women, gender)
James C. Mohr, Univ. of Oregon (19th-c. U.S.)
Nominating Committee (3-year terms)
*Gary Kates, Trinity Univ. (French Revolution, modern European intellectual)
Lawrence E. Klein, Univ. of Nevada at Las Vegas (Britain, European intellectual and cultural)
*Michael Adas, Rutgers Univ. (comparative colonialism, global)
Prasenjit Duara, Univ. of Chicago (China, nationalism, imperialism, history and theory)
Ida Altman, Univ. of New Orleans (colonial Spanish America)
*Susan Schroeder, Tulane Univ. (Latin America)
The total number of ballots cast was 2,843. Sixty-seven ballots arrived after the November 1 deadline and could not be counted. Survey and Ballot Systems, Inc. of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, scanned the ballots and tabulated the results. Only 32 ballots needed to be hand counted. Some voters registered their opinions about candidates, and the committee will review these criticisms and comments at its next meeting, in February 2000.
The Nominating Committee met in Washington, D.C., from February 6 to February 8, 1999. This was the third year that the committee had met from Saturday to Monday—a schedule that has allowed us to reach the majority of potential nominees at their homes with relative ease. We elected to continue this arrangement for the 2000 meeting, which is scheduled for February 5 to 7, 2000. The chair of the 2000 Nominating Committee is Michael Les Benedict (Ohio State Univ.)
Before beginning our main task this year—to nominate candidates for office—the committee discussed the newly revised candidate biography booklet which was first used in last year's election. We concluded that the list format for the biographical information section of the booklet, and the narrative format and word limitations for the "Statement of Professional Service and Interests" section, be maintained for the 1999 election. The committee, however, also strongly recommended that the general appearance of the booklet be enhanced through improved layout and better use of line, letter, and word spacing. It was suggested that the Council consider getting advice from (or hiring) graphic-design professionals to make next year's booklet more reader-friendly.
We also discussed whether the Nominating Committee should continue to invite the executive director of the AHA to its opening deliberations, and considered the propriety of the executive director suggesting specific nominees for AHA offices. The committee agreed that, in the past, we had found it extremely useful to receive an initial overview from the executive director about issues facing the organization before we set out on our work of nomination. The committee thus wished to continue that practice in the future. But the committee also agreed that it would be improper for the executive director to recommend potential nominees for candidacy.
Finally, we discussed whether or not we should consider for nomination persons whose membership in the AHA had lapsed for only a short time (six months or less). We concluded that, as in the past, we would continue to consider only nominees who are members of the organization at the time of our meeting. Future nominating committees may, however, wish to revisit this decision.
The number of valid votes cast this year (2,843) marks a considerable decline from last year (3,237) and from the year before (3,292). The relatively low rate of participation in the election process certainly remains a concern for the Nominating Committee, and should perhaps be more widely discussed and addressed within the AHA Council. For our work of nomination this year, however, we were again extremely pleased to have a large number of names of potential nominees, and their vitae, available to us for consideration. We also retained and reviewed vitae of people considered in 1998. All of us on the Nominating Committee are extremely grateful to members of the AHA who nominated colleagues or themselves for office. Generally speaking the nominations we received reflected the diversity of our organization with respect to gender, race, type of institution, field, and rank. This year, it was heartening that nearly all of those we asked were willing, even eager, to stand for office. In future years we do wish to elicit more nominees from the Southwest and Midwest regions of the country, and to receive more names of graduate student candidates for nomination to the Council. The problems of generating names of graduate students for nomination—and of evaluating their qualifications for office—should, in particular, be addressed by the Nominating Committee at its next meeting.
Stepping down as chair and from the Nominating Committee, I wish to thank my fellow members from this and the past two years for their fellowship, fairness, expertise, broad knowledge of the profession, and for their unmitigated good humor in the course of our lengthy sessions. Difficult as it is to imagine a three-day business meeting of academics that is productive as well as enjoyable, I certainly felt that our work together embodied both of these virtues. And, on behalf of our committee I would particularly like to extend our appreciation to Sharon Tune, assistant director for administration at the AHA, for all the preparatory work she did for our meeting and for her expert guidance and advice in the course of it. Her professionalism, efficiency, warmth, good humor, and always sensible nudging kept us on track. She is an administrator of the first rank—a wonderful presence.
—Leo Spitzer (Dartmouth College)
Chair, 1999 Nominating Committee