American Historical Review 2011

Prepared by Robert A. Schneider, Editor

I would like to report on the American Historical Review to the members of the Council of the American Historical Association.

Board of Editors

With the replacement of four retiring board members last summer, the current BOE is up to strength and hard at work. I am grateful to have the support and wise counsel of such accomplished and committed historians.  The current members are:

Jonathan Brown (University of Texas, Austin): Latin America
Harold J. Cook (Brown): Early Modern Europe
Philip Ethington (USC): Methods & Theory
Paul Freedman (Yale): Medieval
Jochen Hellbeck (Rutgers): Eastern Europe & Russia Dagmar Herzog (CUNY Graduate Center): Modern Europe Jane Kamensky (Brandeis):  Early American
William Novak (University of Michigan): Modern US
Jeremy Popkin (University of Kentucky): Modern Europe
Sumathi Ramaswamy (Duke): World
Ruth Rogaski (Vanderbilt): Asia
Megan Vaughan (Cambridge): Africa

I should note that while members are largely selected based upon their expertise and accomplishments, there is also the concern to balance the composition of the Board in terms of gender and institutions (private and public).

AHR Activities

Editorial Initiatives:

  • AHR Conversation. The December issue features the return of the “AHR Conversation,” the fifth we have published. This year’s topic is “Historical Perspectives on the Circulation of Information,” with participation by Gabrielle Hecht (Michigan), Paul Edwards (Michigan), Lisa Gitelman (NYU, English and Media, Culture & Communication), Adrian Johns (Chicago), Brian Larkin (Columbia, Anthropology), and Neil Safier (British Columbia).  It is not too soon to be thinking about a topic for next year’s Conversation; your suggestions are welcome.

  • Projects for Forums, Roundtables, Exchanges and Review Essays. As always, the main way for the editors to shape the journal and its content is by commissioning and encouraging forums and other special projects.  Upcoming forums include one on “Liberalism and Empire in International Law,” and another on “Historiographical ‘Turns’ in Historical Perspective.”  A Forum on “Pre- Histories and Historical Narrative” is currently under review.  Another on “History and Music History” has been commissioned. In addition, we have commissioned a forum on the “Republic of Letters in Eighteenth-Century Europe and America,” which will take the form of a digital publication.  Review Essays have proven to be the most difficult to successfully commission and bring to publication.  In recent issues, however, we have published two: Mary Gibson, “Global Perspectives on the Birth of the Prison” (October), and Paul Kramer, “Power and Connection: Imperial Histories of the United States in the World” (December). Review essays still in the works include those on “American Conservatism,” “New Writings on Slavery in the West,” and “Recent Writings on the History of Genocide,” and “Recent Writings on the US in the Middle East.”

  • Proposal for AHR Prize for Digital Article Submission. Attached in the Appendix is a proposal for an annual prize to be awarded by the journal for the best submission in digital form. As the description indicates, the purpose of this competition is to encourage the production of historical scholarship that fully exploits the multi-media and interactive possibilities of digital publishing while preserving the virtues of the “short-form” genre as a publishing format.  There are two fundamental reasons for us to sponsor this prize competition. First, despite our persistent outreach and encouragement, we have mostly been unsuccessful instimulating submissions of this sort. Thus, we have decided to take the initiative by seeding the field and encouraging those most active in digital scholarship  to work up pieces that would be appropriate for the AHR.  Second, this journal has been on the forefront of digital publishing in the humanities; in general it is our self-imposed mission to present the most innovative and interesting work currently being developed.  We find, however, that in order to continue to do this we must be proactive not only in seeking out but also in shaping submissions of this nature.  This is an action item.

AHR Staff

After a year of significant changes and an extended period of being shorthanded, the office of the AHR at Indiana University, Bloomington is now fully-staffed.  Cris Coffey, who had been the Production Assistant, is now our Production Manager, while a new hire, Jessica Smith, has very recently moved into Cris’s old position.  We are confident that the skills and experience of both Cris and Jessica will aid us in negotiating the increasingly technical demands of publishing a journal of the size and complexity of the AHR.

While I was on leave for the Academic year 2010-2011, the journal was in the hands of Konstantin Dierks and Sarah Knott, Associate Professors of History at Indiana University, who served as Acting Editors. We are all indebted to them for their expert and creative editorial work, the fruits of which we will continue to witness in issues to come.

Key members of the staff are the graduate students who serve as Editorial Assistants (EAs).  The EAs are responsible, under the direction of Moureen Coulter, for the enormously complex process of selecting reviewable books, assigning books to reviewers, and then editing the reviews once they come in.  They also proof-read the entire journal before it goes to press.  EAs normally serve three year terms, often
renewable for a fourth year.  The current Editorial Assistants, with their areas of specialty
and language competencies, are:

Amanda Koch (foreign language: Spanish)

American Business (post-1930)
American Journalism (post-1930)
American Labor (post-1930)
American Economic (post-1930)
American Social (post-1930)
American Military (post-1930)
American Transportation (post-1930)
American Gender/Sexuality (post-1930)
American Diplomatic/Foreign Relations (post-1930)
American Class (post-1930)
American Culture (post-1930)
American Political (post-1930)
American Environment (post-1930)
American Science/Technology (post-1930)
American Race (post-1930)
Canada (post-1930)

Brendan Gillis (foreign language: German, and French)

Religion (American)
Canada (to 1830)
Native American
Early America (to 1830)
American Law (to 1830)
Great Britain/Ireland (post-1689)

Brian Cwiek (foreign language: Russian, French, German)


Chris Molnar (foreign language: German, Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian, Spanish, French)

Russia/former Soviet Union
Eastern Europe
Jewish History
Northern Europe

Marc Antone (foreign language: Spanish)

Oceania/Pacific Islands
Middle East
Spain & Portugal
Latin America/Caribbean

Maria Duarte (foreign language: Spanish & Portuguese)

American Civil War
American Military (1830-1930)
American Social (1830-1930)
American Political (1830-1930)
American Cultural (1830-1930)
African American (1830-1930)
American Women/Gender (1830-1930)
American Law (1830-1930)
Canada (1830-1930)

Scott Reynolds (foreign language: French & German + some Italian & Latin)

Early Modern England (pre-1689)

Moureen Coulter is the Assistant Editor for books. Jane Lyle is Assistant Editor for articles. As of August 2011, the crucial position of Associate Editor has been filled by Lara Kriegel, Associate Professor at IU. Lara is a specialist in the history of Modern Britain.

Oxford University Press

As you know, this year we signed a 10-year contract with Oxford University Press, which will begin publishing the AHR with the October 2012 issue. We are currently in discussions with OUP regarding the transition from Chicago to Oxford. Representatives from OUP were in Bloomington in October and met with the staff along with Rob Townsend to discuss the logistics of the process. In the Spring Jane Lyle and I will likely visit OUP’s production headquarters in North Carolina to pursue these discussions

The journal is operating within its 2011-2012 budget.

Included is an Appendix is the Operating Budget for 2011-2012 along with other relevant material regarding the number and nature of books received and published, and articles received and published.

I welcome any comments you care to share on this report or any other issues relating to the AHR.