2017 AHA Election

Voting begins June 1 and extends until July 15. Links to your ballot were e-mailed, or you can find your personalized link on historians.org/myaha.

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President

The president-elect stands unopposed for election to president. The current president is Tyler Stovall, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (modern France, African Americans in Europe, transnational).

Mary Beth Norton

Cornell University (early Anglo-American gender and politics)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

I am a historian of early modern Anglo-America with a special concern for the study of women and gender. My scholarly and teaching interests have evolved over time: first as a graduate student enthralled by colonial America, as an assistant professor I was drawn to the then-new world of women’s history. Still later, my scope broadened to include the study of masculinity as well as femininity; and my most recent work is transatlantic in character. My trajectory as a historian has been consistent in its commitments to an ever-widening expansion of my own scholarly interests, and to a broad view of the needs of historians more generally. My priorities as president will be to strengthen the community of historians in a variety of ways: to ensure that the AHA publicly and accurately represents the collective voice and interests of historians of different descriptions, to further the scholarly enterprise in general and our freedom of inquiry in particular, and to promote the invaluable study of history at all levels of education from elementary schools through universities. As someone who has written textbooks and works aimed at both scholarly and general audiences, I also hope to utilize such communication skills in my new position. I will bring to the AHA presidency a long career of involvement in faculty governance at Cornell and experience as a former member of the National Council on the Humanities.

The AHA president occupies a unique leadership position as a representative of all historians, which I define broadly as academics, students and teachers at all levels, and professional researchers in a variety of occupations. These days, historians often feel as though we are under siege from those who question the value of studying the past (when the present changes so rapidly) and from those who urge students to focus on “practical” subjects (when we all realize that there is nothing more “practical” for any profession than learning to analyze material and to write about it). In the context of such challenges, it is important to go beyond defensiveness and to demonstrate proactively the value of the historical enterprise. That is perhaps easier said than done, but if elected, I would seek to advance the interests of historians and history inside and outside academe by all possible means.

President-elect

The president-elect serves a one-year term. At the end of the term, he or she stands unopposed for election for president. The current president-elect is Mary Beth Norton., Cornell Univ. (early Anglo-American gender and politics).

Jeremy I. Adelman

Princeton University (Latin America, global)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

The AHA is committed to the idea of the historian engaged in multiple pursuits; my aim would be to make sure that its members, its staff, and the publics we serve have the fullest appreciation for what History contributes to our lives in an age of walls, visas, and amnesia. Like many of you, I joined the AHA as my first professional affiliation. It has always represented what it means to be a “member” of a profession. Born in Canada, educated there and in Britain, and having lived many years in Latin America and in the United States, I became interested in connecting and conflicting processes that cross national and regional borders. They shape my collaborative teaching, research, and administration. For example, experiments with digital methods to teach world history simultaneously to American undergraduates and to Syrians in refugee camps have taught me that partnership opens new ways to practice our history and teach our students. Included in my professional service are: chairing several academic departments, senior academic administration, chairing AHA book prize committees, tours on the Latin American Studies Association Executive Council and Social Science Research Council committees, and positions on scientific councils and editorial boards. They remind me that historical knowledge has been foundational for the human sciences. It is important that AHA members continue to see in their organization the image of a vocation with broad, indispensable, purposes.

I have four priorities. The first is to sustain the AHA’s mission to provide vibrant intellectual exchange and venues. Without our common spaces, the centrifugal pressures that drain other domains will drain the association. Second, I would continue the process launched several presidencies ago to expand career pathways for young historians. This is an ethical commitment to students. It is also a matter of survival and public good; as graduate programs downsize History, and as the numbers of enrollments and majors sink, we need to widen the purpose of the discipline for the sake of future critical masses of scholars. This is especially so in fields that harried administrators liken to old holiday ornaments: charming, but in a pinch expendable. Third, the AHA is committed to promoting “five skills” essential to professional success. It’s a useful synthesis. I have used it to focus my own learning objectives. But there’s one missing, or laced implicitly through all of them, that needs highlighting: global literacy. Our students and our publics need to know about other places and our connections to them, if for no other reason than to give new significance to their own sense of place. Finally, the political climate—not just in the United States—means that the AHA has to be vigilant about public support for historical knowledge. It has to defend the principles of free inquiry and the conditions that ensure it.

John R. McNeill

Georgetown University (environmental, world)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

Signals from Washington imply rough weather ahead for historians. The utility of historical education, and budgets for it, will be under renewed assault. My top priority will surely be making the case that teaching, researching, writing, and displaying history—the work of historians generally—is a public good that merits both public and private support. I will concentrate effort where resources are scarcest—community colleges, state schools, public museums, for example. I count myself as an environmental and world historian. In my books I have tried to write academically sound history for general audiences about matters of public interest, in particular environmental questions and the ups and downs of globalization. I teach world history from the Paleolithic to the present, international history, and specialized courses in environmental history. At one point or another, I’ve taught surveys of Western Civ, modern European history, African history, Atlantic, German, Russian, and for one semester, US history. I’ve worked with historians in museums and others in film and TV. I’ve tried to learn about intellectual and workaday concerns everywhere in our profession. My years as a vice president taught me that AHA presidents rarely get to choose their agenda, but must react, sometimes overnight, to unforeseen issues. The AHA staff is experienced and skilled, but given the challenges ahead will benefit from all help AHA presidents can offer. If elected, I will treat the presidency as my full-time job. I owe much to the historical profession. It deserves at least that much in return.

The responsibilities of the AHA begin with helping to provide and protect the public good that consists of rigorous historical education and research. That includes advocacy and alliance-building to advance all manner of historians’ interests. The AHA must also continue to serve as a clearinghouse for useful information and best practices about teaching, research, publication, and career-launching for younger historians. This is unglamorous but necessary work. The deepest long-term problem for the AHA now is membership. A key benefit, the AHR subscription, has lost much of its value to people whose employers provide free AHR access. The AHA has begun to shrink. Further shrinkage would diminish its ability to provide the public goods that form its core mission. So my goals will include making membership more appealing, especially to younger historians, and using the president’s bully pulpit to encourage historians everywhere to join the AHA—for the common good.

Professional Division

The AHA Professional Division promotes integrity, fairness, and civility in the practice of history. Returning members are Kevin Boyle, vice president, Northwestern Univ. (20th-century US); Debjani Bhattacharyya, councilor, Drexel Univ. (economic, urban environmental); and Suzanne L. Marchand, councilor, Louisiana State Univ. (German theology/philology/history, 19th-century art and archaeology).

Councilor

Mary Elliott

National Museum of African American History and Culture (African American, migration and community development)

Julie A. Golia

Brooklyn Historical Society (20th-century US gender and media, public)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

I am a historian who chose public history early in my training—I began working in history museums in graduate school, I took a curatorial job at a museum soon after I received my degree, and I never looked back. Balancing my own scholarship and my professional position has been both challenging and exhilarating. It has pushed me to think deeply about how best to train historians to be prepared for a job market and profession undergoing drastic change. As a councilor in the Professional Division, I’m interested in expanding the AHA’s standards and best practices to best address the particular issues facing the growing number of PhDs pursuing job tracks outside of the professoriate. In my own career, I’ve strived to blur the lines between public history and academia, and I hope to bring that perspective and experience to the AHA’s Professional Division.

Research Division

The AHA Research Division works to help promote historical scholarship, preserve historical documents and artifacts, ensure equal and open access to information, and foster the dissemination of information about historical records and research. Returning members are James H. Sweet, councilor, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison (African diaspora, Brazil) and Becky M. Nicolaides, councilor, independent scholar (American suburbs).

Vice President

Sophia Rosenfeld

University of Pennsylvania (Enlightenment, Age of Revolutions, political thought, historical methods)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

I am a historian of modern thought and culture, with particular interests in the Enlightenment, Age of Revolutions, and development of democracy since the 17th century. I am also committed to the idea that history fills a critical civic function in allowing us to think with distance (spatial and temporal) about the present world—and should therefore be produced, read, viewed, and discussed by as wide a constituency as possible, including students, teachers and professors, professional researchers, writers, and public historians, and the general public. As Research Division VP, I would work to ensure preservation, access, and openness on behalf of scholars of all subjects and backgrounds. I would simultaneously seek to promote methodological rigor and standards of truth and accuracy at a moment when they are under attack in many parts of the world. I have taught at both public and private research universities, and I have long edited a scholarly journal and written about European and American history for both academic and non-academic audiences. I have also served the AHA in various capacities (Nominating Committee, Modern Europe Section Board). In the current climate, I am eager to help the AHA defend values and issues of importance to researchers everywhere.

John Voll

Georgetown University (modern Islam, world history conceptualizations)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

Research is an important part of historians’ lives. We engage in research as teachers, scholars, and public historians. The Research Division of the AHA is involved in providing assistance in all these areas. If I have the honor of serving as vice president, my goal would be, in general terms, continuation of AHA’s support for historians in their various research activities as educators and public sources of information and interpretation. I gained a sense of the diversity of these activities as program chair for an AHA annual meeting. If I lead the Research Division, one specific goal is to strengthen AHA’s relationships with other scholarly associations. I have led an area studies association (MESA) and an AHA regional affiliate (New England Historical Association) and served on committees in organizations like the American Academy of Religion and on a state humanities council. Based on this experience, I would work to expand interdisciplinary networks providing support for research in the humanities and social sciences. Of particular concern would be continued access to materials and records at all levels—local, state, national, and global. These efforts would include attention to preserving records of popular culture and the emerging bodies of electronic records.

Councilor

Melissa K. Bokovoy

University of New Mexico (Yugoslavia and memory, collectivization and eastern Europe)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

I’m a historian of 20th-century Yugoslavia and the Balkans and presently serve as the chair of the Department of History at the University of New Mexico, where I have spent my career. UNM is the only Hispanic-Serving Institution in the US that is also classified a Carnegie Research University with Very High Activity. My participation in these two communities of historians, which are often portrayed as being on the periphery, has shaped my intellectual and practical approaches to historical research and scholarship. I am committed to integrating the histories of the periphery and borderlands into broader national and transnational narratives, and to secure access for scholars of, and from these regions to use archival and/or digital collections and to ensure equal and open access to scholarship. This commitment also extends to making available grants, fellowships, and resources to scholars who reflect the growing diversity in intellectual perspectives, life experiences, and cultures in academe.

Miranda D. Brown

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (ancient China, Chinese science)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

If I were elected as Research Councilor, I would bring a commitment to promoting the study of the deep historical past and a track record of promoting work on the premodern world that engages broad readerships. The first reflects the fact that I am a historian of early China. My publications focus on the early history of Chinese medicine: the development of pharmacology as found in excavated manuscripts and the emergence of medical historiography during the Han dynasty (202 BC–AD 220). The second owes much to my work on Fragments: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Ancient and Medieval Pasts, which I co-edit with David Spafford. Founded by a group of scholars concerned about the increasing marginalization of premodern history within the academy, Fragments is an open-access journal. It invites premodernists to participate in conversations that cross the boundaries created by regional specialization and historical periodization.

Teaching Division

The AHA Teaching Division collects and disseminates information about the training of teachers, studies and encourages innovative methods of instruction, and works to foster cooperation among faculty. Returning members are Elizabeth A. Lehfeldt, vice president, Cleveland State Univ. (early modern convents, queenship); Jeffrey A. Bowman, councilor, Kenyon Coll. (Iberian hagiography, law/conflict/disputes); and Carlos A. Contreras, councilor, Grossmont Coll. (Mexico, US-Latin American relations).

Councilor

Matthew Cone

Carrboro High School (race and the justice system, economic development)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

I teach high school history courses that focus on contemporary global issues. In each unit, my students study a topic’s historical roots for several weeks before developing their own research questions. By insisting that students develop their own questions, interview expert sources, and share their research findings with a larger audience, I hope to offer students a sense of what makes history so engaging, contested, and important. If I am elected to the role of councilor of the teaching division, I plan to be an advocate for K–12 educators who face imposing constraints but who remain committed to using creative means to engage their students in the study of history.

Michele A. Fichera

San Mateo Union High School District (professional development, social science)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

It is with great enthusiasm that I run for a councilor position on AHA’s Teaching Division. My experiences as a history-social science teacher, teacher leader at the UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project, and professional development and induction coordinator for my school district provide me with extensive experience in helping a wide range of teachers strengthen their instructional practice. I can model K-12 history-embedded lessons that integrate content, disciplinary understanding and historical investigation, and explicit support for English language and literacy. In addition, I can contribute knowledge of the “how to” of designing professional learning experiences for history-social science teachers. My hope for my role and history social-science education is to support our teachers, and thus our students, learning how history tells the story of who we are, how we arrived here and the variety of ways we can participate and engage in our communities.

At Large

This new Council member will represent the interests of graduate students in Council, play a leadership role in organizing participation of graduate students in AHA activities, and disseminate information about AHA activities and initiatives to graduate students in history.

Councilor

Caroline Marris

Columbia University (early modern Europe and Atlantic)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

My dissertation explores transnational perceptions and constructions of geopolitical space in the early modern English Channel. The crossing and breaking down of boundaries has been a focus of my professional development as well. As co-organizer for the History in Action program in 2015–16 (AHA/Mellon Career Diversity Initiative), I connected graduate students with history professionals across a wide spectrum of fields and disciplines, making clear the variety of options open to holders of PhDs in history. If elected councilor at large, I intend to survey the views of graduate students nationwide to address their concerns, to determine their career goals, and to connect them with AHA resources that can help them achieve these goals. I want to continue to develop tools that will help prepare graduate students not only to be the best teachers and professionals they can be within academia, but also for the diverse possibilities available to historians on the job market.

Sarah Mellors

University of California, Irvine (modern China, gender and sexuality, medicine, world)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

I am a doctoral candidate in modern Chinese history, working at the intersection of gender studies and the history of medicine. As a graduate student charged with representing the interests of my peers, I would make it my mission to facilitate closer communication among the AHA, incoming graduate students, and graduate student associations, ensuring that new and continuing students are aware of the latest resources available through the AHA website. I would also draw on my experience coordinating conferences and running a study abroad program to organize AHA workshops that address student needs across the entire course of graduate school, rather than simply focusing on the job search. Furthermore, as an experienced blogger, I would publish on the AHA blog interviews with senior historians about their career paths and advice on attaining specific milestones in graduate school. If elected, I would enthusiastically serve AHA and my fellow students.

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