Minutes of the 122nd Business Meeting

President Barbara Weinstein (New York Univ.), called the 122nd annual business meeting of the American Historical Association to order at 4:55 p.m. on Saturday, January 5, 2008, in Ballroom 1 of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, D.C. Michael Les Benedict (Ohio State Univ.) served as parliamentarian for the meeting.

Report of the Executive Director: Arnita A. Jones reported that the Association remains in good financial health. Membership in the Association is now approaching 15,000. 5,449 registrants attended the meeting. She attributed the high registration figure to recent reforms of the annual meeting. She then discussed the recent publishing arrangement with the University of Chicago Press, and reported that the Association will cease publication on the History Cooperative (though it will continue to provide financial support through a three-year transition). She surveyed the status of other grant-funded projects at the Association. She concluded her remarks by offering thanks to the AHA staff, members of the Program and Local Arrangements Committees, the officers, and volunteers who made the organization function throughout the year.

Report of the Editor: Robert Schneider (Indiana Univ.) reported that the American Historical Review’s 13-member staff successfully kept the journal on schedule and under budget. He reiterated Dr. Jones’s report that the partnership with the University of Chicago Press is off to a good start. He then reported on a series of innovations initiated during his term, such as the reintroduction of featured reviews, a series of “AHA Conversations,” and forums on topics of wide interest. These changes were intended to create a more diverse reading experience for the journal. He concluded by encouraging members to submit articles to the journal that reflect its long tradition of excellence.

Report of the Nominating Committee: David Northrop (Boston Coll.) a member of the Committee presenting the report on behalf of Committee chair Neil Foley (Univ. of Texas at Austin), described the nominations process and summarized the considerations in selecting nominees for elective office. He announced that 3,350 AHA members cast ballots (94 percent of them online). He then announced the results of the fall election: President: Gabrielle M. Spiegel (Johns Hopkins Univ.); President-elect: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (Harvard Univ.); Vice President, Professional Division: David J. Weber (Southern Methodist Univ.); Council: Trudy H. Peterson (Consulting Archivist) and Prasenjit Duara (Univ. of Chicago); Professional Division: Kristin L. Ahlberg (U. S. Dept. of State); Research Division: Mary Elizabeth Berry (Univ. of California at Berkeley); Teaching Division: Timothy N. Thurber (Virginia Commonwealth Univ.); Committee on Committees: Christopher Leslie Brown (Columbia Univ.); Nominating Committee: Lisa Forman Cody (Claremont McKenna Coll.), David G. Gutiérrez (Univ. of California at San Diego), David Newbury (Smith Coll.). He concluded his remarks by expressing gratitude to all AHA members who agreed to run for office and the AHA staff members who assisted the committee.

Reports of the Vice-Presidents: Vice-president Anthony T. Grafton (Princeton Univ.) summarized the work of the Professional Division during his term. As the Division turned its attention from adjudication of cases, it developed a new mission statement that sets out a more proactive agenda. He cited a number of “best practices” documents and reports developed over the past three years as evidence. He thanked Sharon K. Tune, Debbie Ann Doyle, Pillarisetti Sudhir, and colleagues on the Division for their contributions to the work of the Division.

Teofilo Ruiz (UCLA) followed, and discussed the efforts of the Research Division. He described the status of two major initiatives of his vice presidency—a research project on “Sites of Encounters and Cultural Production” (described in the December 2007 issue of Perspectives), and a project to support early career scholars working at institutions that do not support research. He concluded by surveying the Division’s other oversight activities, and thanked the staff and his colleagues on the Division.

Karen Haltunnen (Univ. of Southern California), the Vice President of the Teaching Division, reported on a number of new initiatives, including the National History Education Clearinghouse (under the leadership of the Center for History and New Media), development of workshops and listserves for directors of graduate studies, and close collaboration on a report about The Next Generation of History Teachers. She thanked her colleagues on the Division, as well as AHA staff members, Noralee Frankel and Cliff Jacobs, for its many successes.

Other business:

(a) Constitutional Changes: Dr. Weinstein directed members’ attention to copies of the document on Proposed Revisions to the AHA Constitution. Dr. Weinstein read through each Article and section with proposed revisions, inviting comments from members in attendance. No objections or concerns were raised from the floor. The recommendation to place the revisions before the membership was approved unanimously.

(b) Resolutions: AHA member Rick Shenkman (History News Network) asked Council to reconsider a new annual meeting press policy that requires members of the media to obtain advance permission from panelists before recording sessions, and also bans recordings of the business meeting. He stated that making videos of sessions and the business meeting provided wider access to members who could not participate in the meeting, as well as the general public. Members discussed the competing interests of press freedom and intellectual property rights that the Council should consider. Dr. Weinstein agreed to review these concerns and report back at the next business meeting.

Hearing no further requests for discussion, Dr. Weinstein concluded the meeting by thanking the program and local arrangements committees who developed the meeting, and the AHA staff for all their good work. She then introduced the incoming president, Gabrielle Spiegel (Johns Hopkins Univ.), who accepting the gavel and declared the meeting adjourned at 6:12 p.m.

Recorded by Robert B. Townsend, assistant director for research and publications.