Minutes of the 121st Business Meeting

President Linda K. Kerber, University of Iowa, called the annual business meeting to order at 5:02 p.m. on January 6, 2007, in the Fulton Room of the Hilton Atlanta. Michael Les Benedict of Ohio State University served as parliamentarian for the meeting.

Report of the Executive Director: Arnita A. Jones circulated copies of the written report of the executive director, and reviewed several points for members. She stated that the Association’s membership had increased slightly during the past year, continuing the stable trend of recent years. She observed that Council and staff continued to worry that it should be growing at a higher rate. Ms. Jones noted that the ad hoc Working Group on the Future of the AHA would be discussing several aspects relating to membership, and would meet twice during 2007. The working group plans to report to Council at the January 2008 meeting. Ms. Jones also reviewed several ongoing activities and projects, including advocacy efforts and the National History Center.

Ms. Jones noted that the Atlanta meeting had the highest preregistration numbers in the AHA’s recent history, and that final attendance was 4,722. At the AHA’s last meeting in Atlanta, in 1996, the attendance was 3,829. In addition, Job Register interview tables in the main facility and in the one-half day suite rentals were completely filled. The AHA continues to offer a special registration rate for high school and undergraduate teachers who are accompanied by their students. Teachers can bring up to five of their students to the annual meeting for the special fees of $50 for grades 9–12 and $100 for undergraduates. Ms. Jones commended the Program Committee, for selecting the largest roster of sessions presented at an annual meeting, and the Local Arrangements Committee, which planned a series of 12 tours and a number of first-time events for an AHA meeting. She thanked AHA staff members, noting they had worked many months for the AHA’s largest roster of events for the three-and-one-half-day meeting.

Report of the Editor: Robert Schneider, Indiana University, delivered his second report as AHR editor, observing that his first full year as editor had been even more productive than he had expected. Highlighting points from his written report, he stated that the journal was produced on schedule and on budget for the year. Mr. Schneider observed that the staff continues to solicit forums and asked members to submit suggestions for upcoming issues, noting that even if the article was not accepted for publication, authors would receive six reviews of their work. Mr. Schneider stated that he also plans to institute a regular feature entitled “AHR Conversation,” another attempt to vary the publishing format. In addition, the staff is undertaking a number of other editorial initiatives in the coming months.

Mr. Schneider thanked members of the Board of Editors rotating off in May 2007: Kathleen Canning, University of Michigan; Leila Fawaz, Tufts University; Norman M. Naimark, Stanford University, and Vanessa R. Schwartz, University of Southern California. In addition, he thanked the AHR and AHA staffs as well as the members of the Association who had submitted articles and book reviews.

Report of the Nominating Committee: Committee Chair Clarence Walker, University of California at Davis, announced the results of the election held in November 2006.

Reports of the Vice Presidents: Vice presidents Patrick Manning, Northeastern University (Teaching); Anthony T. Grafton, Princeton University (Professional); and Teofilo Ruiz, University of California at Los Angeles (Research); reported on their respective divisions’ activities and projects.

Other business:
(a) Expressions of Appreciation: Ms. Kerber thanked Association members who planned the 121st annual meeting: the Program Committee, chaired by Barbara Y. Welke of the University of Minnesota, and cochaired by Carolyn Brown of Rutgers University-New Brunswick; and the Local Arrangements Committee, chaired by Jamil S. Zainaldin, Georgia Humanities Council, and cochaired by Michelle Brattain, Georgia State University; Timothy Crimmins, Georgia State University; and Ren Davis, Emory Crawford Long Hospital.

(b) Board of Trustees: Members present unanimously approved Council’s nominations to reappoint D. Roger B. Liddell, Ingalls & Snyder LLC, and C. Evan Stewart, Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, to five-year terms on the Board of Trustees.

(c) Resolutions: Members in attendance adopted two resolutions. The first, an amended version of a proposed resolution on speech codes, opposed the use of “free speech zones.” The second resolution was in objection to “U.S. Government Practices Inimical to the Values of the Historical Profession” and called on the Association to urge its members “to do whatever they can to bring the Iraq war to a speedy conclusion.” As required by the AHA constitution, the Council will consider the resolutions for acceptance, nonconcurrence, or veto at its January 7, 2007 session. A third resolution, directing the Association to subscribe to the Informed Meetings Exchange (INMEX), was referred to the Association’s governing Council for further study.

Concluding her term as president, Ms. Kerber thanked AHA staff members and introduced incoming president Barbara Weinstein. Accepting the gavel and noting that there was no further business, Ms. Weinstein declared the meeting adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

Sharon K. Tune, is AHA’s convention director and assistant director for administration.

121st Business Meeting Resolutions

Resolution Opposing the Use of “Free Speech Zones” to Restrict Academic Freedom

Whereas, The American Historical Association has already gone on record against the threat to academic freedom posed by the Academic Bill of Rights;

Whereas, Free and open discourse is essential to the success of research and learning on campus;

Resolved, That the American Historical Association opposes the use of “free speech zones,” which are an unconstitutional restriction of civil liberties and restrict academic freedom.

Resolution on United States Government Practices Inimical to the Values of the Historical Profession

Whereas, The American Historical Association’s Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct emphasizes the importance of open inquiry to the pursuit of historical knowledge;

Whereas, the American Historical Association adopted a resolution in January 2004 re-affirming the principles of free speech, open debate of foreign policy, and open access to government records in furthering the work of the historical profession;

Whereas during the war in Iraq and the so-called war on terror, the current Administration has violated the above-mentioned standards and principles through the following practices:

  • excluding well-recognized foreign scholars;
  • condemning as “revisionism” the search for truth about pre-war intelligence;
  • re-classifying previously unclassified government documents;
  • suspending in certain cases the centuries-old writ of habeas corpus and substituting indefinite administrative detention without specified criminal charges or access to a court of law;
  • using interrogation techniques at Guantanamo, Abu-Ghraib, Bagram, and other locations incompatible with respect for the dignity of all persons required by a civilized society;

Whereas a free society and the unfettered intellectual inquiry essential to the practice of historical research, writing, and teaching are imperiled by the practices described above; and

Whereas, the foregoing practices are inextricably linked to the war in which the United States is presently engaged in Iraq; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the American Historical Association urges its members through publication of this resolution in Perspectives and other appropriate outlets:

  1. To take a public stand as citizens on behalf of the values necessary to the practice of our profession; and
  2. To do whatever they can to bring the Iraq war to a speedy conclusion

Resolution to Subscribe to the Informed Meetings Exchange

Whereas, The success of the meetings and conventions of the American Historical Association are critical to the success of the wider organization;

Whereas, The AHA has an interest in avoiding the effects of a labor dispute upon its meetings;

Whereas, The Informed Meetings Exchange (INMEX) has recently been created to grant subscribing organizations access to information that will help avoid labor disputes at future meetings;

Whereas, Subscribing to INMEX does not entail a commitment to take any specific action with respect to any particular hotel, but would better equip the AHA to implement the resolution passed at its 119th Business Meeting, held on January 8, 2005, regarding hotel workers and AHA conventions;

Whereas, The American Historical Association endorses the principles* that are affirmed by subscribing to INMEX; and

Whereas, Over 150 organizations holding conventions spending over $250 million annually have subscribed to INMEX, including the Organization of American Historians, the American Anthropological Association, the American Sociological Association, the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Biblical Literature, the American Studies Association, American Association for Applied Linguistics, the American Public Health Association and the American Chemical Society; therefore, be it

Resolved, That the AHA shall subscribe to the Informed Meetings Exchange (INMEX).

*The principles can be found at www.inmex.org/media/fckeditor/inmex_pledgesheet.pdf