2018 AHA Election

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

Download PDF

President

The president-elect stands unopposed for election to president. The current president is Mary Beth Norton, Cornell Univ. (early Anglo-American gender and politics).

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.

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 John R. McNeill, Georgetown Univ. (environmental, world).

Mary Lindemann

University of Miami (early modern Europe, medicine)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

I am a historian of early modern Europe whose geographic focus lies principally in Germany and the Low Countries, My thematic interests have included social, political, and diplomatic history; I am also a historian of medicine and public health who has participated in the construction of programs in medical humanities. More recently, I have developed a project analyzing the impact of early modern wars on the environment and infrastructures. As my research trajectory suggests, I strongly believe that history should be ecumenical, a “big tent” that welcomes historical endeavors of all kinds and promotes them in multiple settings, whether the traditional academy, historical societies, primary or secondary education, outreach, or civic engagement, and should encourage lively interactions among them and, indeed, wherever historians or those with historical interests find themselves. In addition, I deny the false, but widespread, belief that a dichotomy exists between teaching and research. In significant ways, we are all teachers and all researchers no matter where we land professionally. I have had significant administrative experience in several capacities: as chair of my Department (for eight years), on the Professional Division of the AHA, and as president of two organizations (the German Studies Association and the Society for Early Modern German Interdisciplinary Studies). In addition, I have served on several editorial boards and have been active in organizing workshops, conferences, and program panels.

In my role as AHA President I would see my principal charge as defending the humanities and social sciences vigorously. At the same time, I would avoid being defensive about their value. It is incumbent on the AHA, its officers, and staff to continue our unequivocal support for institutions, programs, and departments that are threatened with extinction or severe cuts. To do so, we must also repeatedly and forcefully underscore the fact that most of the world’s problems today will not be solved by technological or scientific advancements alone but by applying, in multiple ways, the skills historians excellently command; the foremost of these is critical thinking. Equally important is the need to ensure the future of the profession in the richness of all its forms. We must also renew and increase our efforts to foster early career historians in whatever career path they choose and must commit our energies to halting the devaluation of the humanities and history, in both structural and intellectual terms, in favor of STEM and other initiatives.

Teofilo F. Ruiz

University of California, Los Angeles (medieval and early modern Spain and Mediterranean)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

I accept with great humility the honor of being an AHA presidential nominee. It is also an honor to share this nomination with Mary Lindemann, whose work and character I have admired for decades. For close to half a century, I have written about and taught thousands of undergraduates in history courses on late medieval and early modern Iberia, Europe, and the Western Mediterranean; for the past eight years, I have been teaching courses in world history as well. I have served the discipline as chair and vice chair of two departments at UCLA, and as a member of the AHA Council and the Teaching and Research Divisions (the latter as Vice-president). For most of us, the AHA has been an important advocate for the free exchange of ideas, scholarship, and teaching, a mission superbly carried out by its extraordinarily gifted and selfless staff.

“History Matters,” one of our public outreach programs at UCLA, emphasizes that what we write and teach matters. This is more important today than ever before. We are at a historical crossroad here and abroad. The validity of our enterprise is questioned. Basic facts are denied and undermined daily. Falsehoods have become the standard for many. Against these attacks on historical evidence, we must all stand in opposition. Faced with the unwillingness of some political leaders to support education in general and history in particular, with declining enrollments and positions in History, we must take bold actions.

AHA presidents are heirs to previous presidential initiatives and to the association’s tradition of service to our discipline. In response to the numerous challenges we face, I would like, if elected, to focus on three distinct goals: a) to promote history in K–16 through new initiatives (such as the 7th grade “Sites of Encounter” lesson plans in California); b) to emphasize inclusion, diversity, gender equality, and a global approach in our teaching and hiring practices; the AHA and our annual meeting should become an international forum for the free scholarly exchange of ideas; and c) to continue to address the issue of underemployment among our recent PhDs. Increased and energetic fundraising would provide resources to help young scholars secure entry positions in academic, public, and private sectors. If elected, I will work with all of you as hard as I can to achieve these and other goals. But AHA presidents are not miracle workers. All of us must embrace the task of advancing the ideals fostered by the AHA for more than a century.

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); Mary Elliott, councilor, National Museum of African American History and Culture (African American, migration and community development); and Suzanne L. Marchand, councilor, Louisiana State Univ. (German theology/philology/history, 19th-century art and archaeology).

Councilor

Patrick Griffin

University of Notre Dame (Ireland and Britain, early America, Atlantic)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

I am an Atlantic historian whose work explores connections between the Old and New Worlds. I have also served in various administrative capacities, most recently as chair of my department for six years and now as an institute director. As chair, I worked on reform of the graduate program, oversaw the department’s hiring as the job market was slackening, and witnessed a significant decline in the number of majors. To address these issues, I have hosted a meeting of department chairs from major research universities in the Midwest, a meeting that we hope can be used as a national model. In other words, I have stood at the front lines of the many pressures we face today in the profession. Because of all of these interconnected problems, I regard the job that the Professional Division has to do as critical for the future of our field and of our profession.

Nerina Rustomji

St. John’s University, New York (Middle East, Islamic world)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

I am a historian of the Middle East and Islamic society and currently serve as the director of graduate studies for the History Department at St. John’s University in Queens, New York. While trained as a medievalist, my research seeks to span medieval and modern disciplinary boundaries and transcend conventional periodization in order to reach diverse audiences. My aim as a historian, then, is to expand the frameworks of intellectual and cultural history for the Middle East. Rethinking the ways that historians consider the profession also informs my work in the History Department at St. John’s University, an urban university with a diverse, mostly commuter, student population. I am interested in the professional development of graduate students as they prepare for a wider marketplace of jobs in community colleges, museums, and historical societies. Additionally, I am committed to the ways that the AHA can support junior and mid-career faculty as they develop their research trajectories and public engagement.

E. M. Rose (by Petition)

(medieval, early modern, religious, economic, transnational, transoceanic)

Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

Like many historians, I wear multiple hats. After having worked as an international journalist and senior media executive for a decade I returned to academia to earn a PhD in History. My first employment was oriented to the global, digital and public. Since then I have participated in the traditional roles of AHA members: teaching, research, publishing, reviewing, mentoring, organizing scholarly conferences, and university service. I have taught undergraduates at five universities and served on external advisory committees for two other universities and two learned societies. My first book was named a Top Ten History Book of the Year by the Sunday Times of London and received national awards in the US. My scholarship has been supported by Mellon, Gilder-Lehrman, the NEH, and the Omohundro Institute among others. The AHA offers an important platform to promote positive change in the academy, including more cooperation across humanistic disciplines. As a former journalist and executive as well as historian, I know how to draw public attention to vital issues of the day and how to get things done. I seek to promote the collection of better data, to encourage transparency and to foster more active participation and engagement. The AHA can do more to clarify and encourage best practices.

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 Sophia Rosenfeld, vice president, Univ. of Pennsylvania (Enlightenment, Age of Revolutions, political thought, historical methods); Melissa K. Bokovoy, councilor, Univ. of New Mexico (Yugoslavia and memory, collectivization and eastern Europe); and Becky M. Nicolaides, councilor, independent scholar (American suburbs).

Councilor

Christopher R. Boyer

University of Illinois at Chicago (environmental and social history of Mexico)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

I specialize in Mexican environmental and social history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, whose Department of History I currently chair. I have received fellowships and grants for research travel, without which my work would not have been possible. Historical research can take many forms, including the well worn methods such archival work, oral history collection, and so on. For many scholars, however, this research increasingly takes place not in “the field” but on the internet. I therefore believe that the AHA must advocate for scholars in multiple contexts. We must defend threatened federal programs such as the NEH and Fulbright, while ensuring that universities and non-governmental recognize the value of historical research. At the same time, we must reach out to those who curate historical sources online to ensure that they understand how historians use their materials and why access and transparency is so critical to our work.

Ben Vinson III

George Washington University (colonial Mexico, African diaspora)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

I am a historian of Latin America, with a specific emphasis on the African presence in Mexico and the broader African diaspora. Although trained as a historian of the colonial period, I have worked on the 19th and 20th centuries, including transnational approaches that have explored African American footprints in Mexico, and Afro-Mexican migration to the United States. I am currently the editor-in-chief of The Americas and the Oxford Bibliographies Online, Latin America section. This background is important to my candidacy because if elected as Research councilor, I would bring a deep appreciation for broad and varied historical approaches to our discipline. Additionally, for years I have helped promote, develop, and build the research profile of our colleagues, in part through journal service, but also through hosting conferences, NEH seminars, and forums in my previous role as director of the Center for Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins. I continue striving to help the greater community of scholars through my current and past university administrative roles, and in professional organizations, such as the Conference of Latin American History.

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 Carlos A. Contreras, councilor, Grossmont Coll. (Mexico, US-Latin American relations) and Craig Perrier, councilor, Fairfax County Public Schools (nationalism and education).

Vice President

Laura McEnaney

Whittier College (World War II and postwar, working class/gender/race)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

How do we train a scholar to be a teacher? Most of us enter the classroom with vast content knowledge but with a modest grasp of how content becomes method and method furthers learning. Our students are more diverse than ever, and they need diverse pedagogies to help them succeed in a subject we love more than they do. We improve as teachers through conversation, through silence (reading and reflection), through experimentation, and through more talk about what we tried, our vulnerability as adult learners, and what we can try anew. If elected, I would try to create the climate and structures to help these things happen. I bring almost 22 years of teaching, a recent stint as a faculty teaching coordinator, and a scholarly interest in how students learn. The Teaching Division runs on collaboration, and since I love a worthy group project, I would be delighted to serve.

Tammy M. Proctor

Utah State University (20th-century Europe, war, gender, youth)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

If elected vice president, I would bring a diverse set of experiences inside and outside of the classroom to the role. My career trajectory has included teaching at large public research institutions and at small private liberal arts colleges, and when possible, I have sought out opportunities to learn more about teaching through History Day judging, field trips with students, summer study abroad, and pedagogy workshops. In particular, I am interested in the ways in which faculty in higher education can learn from K–12 teachers. My work in the Advanced Placement world history program as a reader and a leader has shown me the value of such partnerships. In considering the AHA Teaching Division’s mission, I would be interested in working on such collaborations while also revisiting what we mean by “assessment” and how we encourage student learning at all levels. Finally, I would like to see the AHA consider the role of history teachers in the formation of informed citizens and in civics instruction. A deep consideration of that role in the age of instant (and often flawed) information might provide insight for increasing the number of history majors and the impact of history on public life.

Councilor

John Bezis-Selfa

Wheaton College, Massachusetts (US Latino/a, the Americas, US West)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

My service on the AHA Tuning Project’s national leadership core has given me a clear view of the challenges our discipline faces and of the possibilities before us. Tuning has enabled me to help history majors and fellow historians articulate the value of a history degree for themselves and to parents, administrators, legislators, and prospective employers. This work has led me to refocus my energy on three intertwined challenges that I genuinely see as opportunities: (1) articulating and promoting the value of historical thinking for general education and for the general public, (2) specifying how and why historical thinking is indispensible to effective active citizenship, and (3) positioning our students, particularly those who come from historically underserved communities and constitute an increasing share of those whom we serve, to succeed. I look forward to pursuing this mission, whether as a member of the AHA’s Teaching Division or not.

Alexandra Hui

Mississippi State University (European science and culture, modern Germany, sensory and environment)

Website | Curriculum Vitae

Candidate Statement

I am a historian of modern European thought, working at the nexus of science and sound. I have spent my entire academic career at large, public research universities. In my current position at a land-grant university in the Southeast, I have developed courses and curricula from introductory survey courses to PhD research seminars. From 2010–12, I co-organized summer workshops for local K–12 teachers to help increase the social science content in their curriculum. This experience across a vast array of learning levels, has revealed to me two sites of need: First, maintaining students’ interest in history as they transition from high school to college-level coursework; Second (relatedly), helping college students to develop the skills to better integrate their interest in history into their everyday lives. That is, I aim to help the AHA further facilitate thoughtful, academic global citizens.

Continue to Committee Candidates