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  • Defunding the Social Sciences Added August 1, 2014

    Tucked away in the Senate version of the continuing resolution that kept the federal government funded for the rest of the 2013 fiscal year (Public Law 113-6) is language that places major restrictions on political science research projects that can be funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The amendment, authored by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), prohibits the National Science Foundation from funding political science projects, unless the NSF director certifies projects as vital to nati...

  • A Flurry of Activity on Capitol Hill Added August 1, 2014

    In the months since my previous column, there have been a number of major developments in Washington affecting the interests of historians. Instead of my more traditional single-issue column, I thought it would be more useful this month to summarize these events. Before I do, I wanted to inform you that the National Coalition for History has created both  Twitter  and  Facebook  pages that provide immediate access to news from Washington. Of course, NCH will still be posti...

  • History's Relevance: The DOMA Opinion and the Historians' Amicus Brief Added August 1, 2014

    In February 2013  the AHA joined a group of historians in signing an amicus brief in US v. Windsor , a case before the US Supreme Court challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In July, after the court handed down its opinion,  Perspectives on History  published online  a few responses by historians , two of whom had signed onto the brief. In this response, Nancy F. Cott takes a close look at the court's ruling to see if the historians' influence can be discerne...

  • AHA Supports Visas for Cuban Scholars to Attend LASA Conference Added August 1, 2014

    The following letter was submitted to US Secretary of State John Kerry to support the granting of visas for Cuban scholars to attend the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) conference. Dear Mr. Secretary: I write on behalf of the American Historical Association (AHA) to request your support to facilitate visas for Cuban scholars who have been invited to participate in the XXXI International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association to be held May 29 to June 1, 2013, in Wash...

  • The AHA Supports Russian Scholars Added August 1, 2014

    During its June 2 meeting, the AHA Council drafted the following statement in support of  the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies' letter  to Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak: The American Historical Association deplores the recent actions of Russian legal institutions to characterize as "political activity" the scholarship produced by any Russian research organization that receives a portion of its funding from sources outside the country, and to label schola...

  • What Does the Fiscal 2011 Budget Hold for the History and Archives Communities? Added August 1, 2014

    On April 12, 2011, the House Appropriations Committee released a list of proposed cuts in federal programs for the remainder of fiscal 2011. Nearly every program of interest to the historical and archival communities will, it is apparent, face cuts. However the fact that some, such as Teaching American History grants, survived, is a testament to the dogged lobbying efforts of the National Coalition for History, its constituent organizations, and allies in civics education. The House and Senat...

  • Board Says No to Casino on Hallowed Ground Added August 1, 2014

    On April 14, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board rejected a proposal to bring casino gambling to the doorstep of Gettysburg National Military Park. Since it was announced last year, the proposal to open the Mason-Dixon Gaming Resort a scant half-mile from the Gettysburg National Military Park has drawn immense opposition—an early April survey by a nationally renowned polling and research firm found that only 17 percent of Pennsylvanians supported the idea, with 66 percent actively opp...

  • News Briefs, April 2011 Added August 1, 2014

    Former-Representative Harman Named to Head Wilson Center Former-Representative Jane Harman (D-CA) was recently named president, CEO, and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars by the Center’s Board of Trustees. Harman assumed her new duties on February 28. She succeeds former Congressman Lee H. Hamilton who stepped down in November 2010 after leading the institution for nearly 12 years. Representative Harman has represented California’s 36th Congression...

  • What College Offers: And What Obama's Higher Education Proposal Leaves Out Added August 1, 2014

    "Describe a society where scarcity is not the primary determinant of value." My father-in­law confronted this question on a final exam at DePauw University during the Great Depression. When I met him approximately a half­century later he still remembered it. The answer, of course, doesn't matter. What matters are the myriad questions stimulated by the assignment, across disciplines from economics, to history, sociology, philosophy, and religion. What matters is that he had learned t...

  • President Makes Key History-Related Appointments Added August 1, 2014

    The Obama administration has passed the six-month mark, and appointments to key positions affecting historians are finally starting to fall into place. While all these individuals have had their names submitted to the Senate, with the annual congressional August recess underway it will be well into the fall before any are confirmed. David S. Ferriero Nominated to Be Archivist of the United States On July 29, President Obama announced his intent to nominate David S. Ferriero to the position ...