From the AHA Activities column of the January 2008 issue of Perspectives on History

Report of the 2007 AHA Nominating Committee

Neil Foley, January 2008

On behalf of the Nominating Committee, I am pleased to report the results of the 2007 election for AHA offices. The committee is extremely grateful to all the candidates who agreed to stand for Association elective office and committee positions despite their many other obligations. The Association depends for its continued well-being on the willingness of its members to serve. Elected candidates are indicated in boldface.

President (1-year term)

  • Gabrielle M. Spiegel, Johns Hopkins University (medieval, with a special interest in historiography and linguistic analysis, medieval and contemporary)

President-elect (1-year term)

  • Peter Stearns, George Mason University (U.S. social, world)

  • Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Harvard University (U.S. to 1815, comparative gender history since 1600)

Vice President, Professional Division (3-year term)

  • Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Michigan (Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia; nationalism; ethnic conflict; the role of emotions in politics; South Caucasus; Russian/Soviet historiography)

  • David J. Weber, Southern Methodist University (Borderlands, American West, Latin America)

Council (3-year terms)

Slot 1
  • Barton C. Hacker, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution (comparative military technology, comparative history of military institutions, women and military institutions)

  • Trudy H. Peterson, Consulting Archivist (archives)

Slot 2
  • Prasenjit Duara, University of Chicago (modern Chinese social and cultural; nationalism, imperialism, and transnationalism; historiography and social theory)

  • Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin (African history since the nineteenth century)

Division Representatives (3-year terms)

Professional
  • Kristin L. Ahlberg, Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State (U.S. diplomatic, presidency; foreign assistance policy; public)

  • Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy, Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, Monticello, Thomas Jefferson Foundation (colonial America, American Revolution, British Caribbean)

Research
  • Mary Elizabeth Berry, University of California at Berkeley (medieval and early modern Japan, warfare and violence, urban history, print culture, economic thought and consumption)

  • John R. McNeill, Georgetown University (environmental, Mediterranean, Atlantic, world)

Teaching
  • Fritz Fischer, University of Northern Colorado (U.S. history, history education)

  • Timothy N. Thurber, Virginia Commonwealth University (20th-century U.S., political, civil rights)

Committee on Committees (3-year term)

  • Christopher Leslie Brown, Columbia University (early British empire, comparative history of slavery and abolition)

  • Brad Gregory, University of Notre Dame (Reformation, early modern Europe)

Nominating Committee (3-year terms)

Slot 1
  • Lisa Forman Cody, Claremont McKenna College (Britain 1500–1945, France 1700–1945, visual culture; women, gender, and sex roles; medicine and science)

  • Marc R. Forster, Connecticut College (early modern Germany, German Catholicism, popular religion and popular culture, rural society)

Slot 2
  • David G. Gutiérrez, University of California at San Diego (Chicano, American Southwest, comparative immigration, and ethnicity)

  • Jonathan Scott Holloway, Yale University (post-emancipation social, cultural, intellectual)

Slot 3
  • Joseph E. Inikori, University of Rochester (Western Africa, Britain and Ireland, economic)

  • David Newbury, Smith College (Central and East Africa)

Election Process and Results

Ballots were distributed to 16,073 members, and 3,350 cast their votes before the AHA Constitution deadline of November 1. That is, 21.96 percent of the total receiving ballots voted in 2007, compared to the 24.7 percent who voted in 2006. The past three years have marked the highest level of participation in an AHA election in more than two decades. The rate of return fits closely to the median range of voter participation in major associations, which is 24 percent.

The 2007 election marked the third year that AHA members had the opportunity to vote online to elect the Association's officers. The AHA once again used Election Services Corporation of Garden City, New York, to prepare and distribute election ballots to AHA members and to receive, validate, and tally the votes. This year—as in the last election—members who furnished valid e-mail addresses and agreed to receive messages were asked via e-mail poll their preference for online or paper ballot. 3,306 members (93.65 percent of those voting) voted online, while 224 (6.35 percent) voted by paper ballot.

All AHA members who opted to vote electronically received an e-mail message with a unique computer-generated user name and password, good only for the online balloting system. Once successfully logged in, members could read the election rules and link to the ballot, which were also linked to candidate biographies. Members who lacked a valid e-mail address, or who requested the paper ballot, were mailed a paper ballot no later than September 1. The procedures for paper ballots were essentially the same as in previous years: after filling out the ballot, members returned it to ESC, which entered the information into the system. In theory, a member could receive both an e-mail and a paper ballot. Since the system tracked whether someone voted, separate from specific votes, the system accepted the first vote received and entered into the system from that voter (but without identifying the specific voter).

Individuals who renewed their membership or joined the AHA for the first time after the initial mailing of ballots were also allowed to vote in the election. Anyone who renewed or joined before October 17 was able to vote online or to request a paper ballot. Although no paper ballots were mailed after October 17 (because the remaining time would be insufficient for members to receive and return the ballots to ESC before the constitutional deadline of November 1), those who renewed or joined before October 17 could vote online until midnight of November 1.

Committee Deliberations

The Nominating Committee met February 3–4, 2007, in Washington, D.C. Present were chair Neil Foley (Univ. of Texas at Austin), Jan Golinski (Univ. of New Hampshire), Jane G. Landers (Vanderbilt Univ.), Steven Mintz (Univ. of Houston), David Northrup (Boston College), Evelyn Rawski (Univ. of Pittsburgh), Laura Ackerman Smoller (Univ. of Arkansas at Little Rock), Sharon K. Tune (AHA assistant director for administration), and Noralee Frankel (AHA assistant director for women, minorities, and teaching). Unable to attend were committee members Dena Goodman (Univ. of Michigan at Ann Arbor) and Susan R. Grayzel (Univ. of Mississippi).

Members met from 9:00 a.m. Saturday and adjourned by mid-afternoon Sunday, and found that they could easily reach candidates over the weekend. Executive Director Arnita Jones visited the committee on Saturday afternoon to review Association matters relevant to nominations, offices and responsibilities, and elections.

The Nominating Committee then moved on to its principal task: nominating candidates for office. As in the past, the committee was very concerned that all AHA members should have input into the process. Every year the Nominating Committee issues several appeals to the membership at large for nominees. These appeals also stress the committee's commitment to diversity of all kinds. In addition to soliciting nominees in an open letter published in the January 2007 Perspectives, this year's chair again urged committee members to poll as many of their colleagues and associates as possible for nominees and to gather vitae before the February meeting. A number of AHA members responded to the open letter with suggestions; others, with expressions of willingness to serve. The committee also retained and reviewed suggestions and curricula vitae of people considered over the previous five years. The nominations we received reflected the diversity of our organization with respect to gender, race, type of institution, field, and rank.

Fulfilling its constitutional responsibility, the committee selected two nominees for each Association office and elective committee position with terms to begin in January 2008. The committee sought to identify able and energetic members who could work well with colleagues, and who were, where relevant, familiar with broad sections of the profession beyond their immediate fields of expertise. In the case of the president and other top positions, the committee recognized the importance of selecting nominees who could represent the interests of historians to the public at large, and who had demonstrated some degree of administrative skill. In all its selections, the committee was anxious to reflect the broad diversity of the historical profession in terms of type of institution served, geographic location, subdiscipline, interests, gender, and cultural background.

The committee wishes to thank the staff of the Association, and especially Assistant Director Sharon K. Tune, for her consistent outstanding guidance and advice, as well as her patience and good cheer. Sharon's expertise and knowledge of the Association and its membership have been invaluable to the deliberations of the Nominating Committee over the years. I would also like to acknowledge the assistance of Assistant Director Noralee Frankel, who pitched in this year to help us with the difficult task of managing the complexities of candidate selections. Finally, I would like to thank the other members of the committee and the members of the past two Nominating Committees. Their good humor, hard work, good judgment, and broad knowledge of the profession made it possible for us to work swiftly and effectively. It was a great pleasure to have served with them.

—Neil Foley (Univ. of Texas at Austin) was the chair of the 2007 AHA Nominating Committee.