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National Coalition of Independent Scholars Call for Panelists to Present at 2015 AHA Annual Meeting

Editorial Staff, January 2014

Roundtable—Practicing History Independently: From Surviving to Thriving. The corporatization of the university and the recent economic recession have both made the equation of practicing history and holding a tenured or at least tenure-track position in history increasingly tenuous. Although professional organizations in the field, most notably the American Historical Association, have become increasingly sensitive to this reality, the burden of gaining and maintaining legitimacy has remained largely on the shoulders of independent scholars themselves, who too often have worked in isolation with little support or community.

The National Coalition of Independent Scholars, a new affiliate of the AHA, therefore, would like to propose a roundtable that could address at least some of the following issues: (1) By what means can unaffiliated or marginally affiliated scholars seek equivalent career status with the familiar academic ranks? (2) How can professional organizations, large and small, help in building this recognition, which can in turn lead to more equitable treatment within said organizations? (3) How can independent scholars seeking to return to traditional employment “keep current” and otherwise help themselves? (4) How can the NCIS become a more effective voice and advocate for independent scholars in the history profession?

Panel—Independent Scholars and Independent Scholarship in History. The NCIS would also like to propose a more traditional session that explores and highlights the role of independent scholars in ages prior to when professional intellectual and scholarly activity became the almost exclusive province of universities. Although this panel is fairly broad in scope (and therefore may become more than one panel), we would especially be seeking papers that focus on European and US history, though proposals from other geographical regions are also welcome.

Chronologically, the focus would be from the Middle Ages to the mid-20th century, though earlier examples will be considered. Possible topics could include the following: Sponsorship and Scholarship: The Role of Church and Crown in Creating Intellectuals; Beyond Class: Public Intellectuals as Movers and Shakers; Before University Research Labs: Re-examining Independent Scholarship in the Sciences.

If you have ideas for a paper or presentation or for a panel, please contact Susan Breitzer.

Deadline: January 15, 2014