Historians Making News

This space highlights the accomplishments of historians. Members and non-member historians are encouraged to submit news about prizes, promotions, honors, tenure, and new jobs. Entries to be considered for inclusion on "Historians Making News" can be about yourself, another historian, or group of historians. AHA staff will review all submissions.

  • Oral History Association Announces New Headquarters

    Nov 16, 2017 - 

    The Oral History Association, an AHA affiliated society, has announced Middle Tennessee State University as its new headquarters for the next five years beginning January 2018. The incoming co-directors will be AHA member Louis Kyriakoudes, director of the university's Albert Gore Research Center, and history professor Kristine McCusker. The Chair of the OHA search committee cited MTSU's "supporting, internal partners that work in historic preservation, archival management, cultural resource management, museum management, history and music" as a key factor in the decision.

  • AHA Executive Director Comments on National Disunity

    Nov 09, 2017 - 

    In an online article published by HISTORY, AHA executive director Jim Grossman discussed the political divisions that have emerged in the United States in recent years. He attributed the divisions to the recent "erosion of barriers that kept many Americans outside of mainstream political debates," a development brought about primarily through social media. However, Grossman also emphasized the unique nature of the current president, and how Trump differs from his predecessors and their frequent invocations of national unity. "Trump is different," Grossman stated. "He has no patience or time for those niceties, which is why his constituency likes him."

  • Historians Condemn Latest White House Remarks on Civil War

    Nov 06, 2017 - 

    In the last week, historians have strongly condemned recent White House comments relating to the cause of the Civil War. Speaking about the decision by a Virginia church to remove plaques celebrating Robert E. Lee and George Washington, White House chief of staff John Kelly stated that "Robert E. Lee was an honorable man" and that it was "the lack of an ability to compromise" that led to the Civil War. Edna Greene Medford, professor of history at Howard University, told CNN that this premise is "too simplistic," noting that "Kelly's comments marginalize the central issue of the war, which was the expansion of slavery." AHA executive director Jim Grossman questioned whether a compromise was even possible: "What compromise was available once states had made it clear that they would secede from any nation that would interfere with their right to own human beings?" 

  • AHA Members File Amicus Brief in Supreme Court Gerrymandering Case

    Oct 16, 2017 - 

    In preparation for the Supreme Court's hearing of Gill v. Whitford, a group of 15 historians, including 11 AHA members, filed a brief of amici curiae that laid out the history of equal representation in early American voting systems and why the Court should strike down Wisconsin's district maps. The historians are joined by numerous other organizations, many of whom agree that Wisconsin's 2010 redistricting plan contains a statistically significant bias towards the party that drew it. A decision on the case is expected by June 2018. 

  • Historians Named as 2017 MacArthur Fellows

    Oct 12, 2017 - 

    The MacArthur Foundation recently announced the 2017 MacArthur Fellows, which includes two historians, Derek Peterson (Univ. of Michigan) and Sunil Amrith (Harvard Univ.). Both scholars have close ties to the AHA: Peterson served on the 2015 annual meeting Program Committee and is an AHA member, and Amrith was awarded the AHA's 2014 John F. Richards Prize for distinguished scholarship on South Asian history. The AHA congratulates them for their achievements!

  • North Carolina Preservation Consortium Statement on Confederate Monuments

    Sep 28, 2017 - 

    In response to protests regarding Confederate monuments on public property, the North Carolina Preservation Consortium issued a statement laying out its recommendations for the "preservation of tangible and intangible heritage." Citing the historical context from which Confederate monuments arose, the NCPC recommends that "all monuments on public property in North Carolina that glorify the Confederacy should be relocated to appropriate museums, historic sites, and other cultural spaces that interpret American history honestly and completely." 

  • AHA Member Responds to Controversial Article in Nature Science Journal

    Sep 19, 2017 - 

    Earlier this month, the science journal Nature published an editorial claiming that the New York Central Park statue of gynecologist J. Marion Sims, who conducted medical experiments on enslaved African American women, stands as part of American history and thus shouldn't be removed. In response, several readers, including AHA member Monica Green (Arizona State Univ.), questioned the propriety of celebrating such a controversial figure. As a result of this public debate, the journal issued a follow-up statement admitting that publishing the original article was a mistake and clarifying that the removal of such statues "does not erase these individuals or their acts from history." For those who would like to learn more, the AHA has published a blog post that further explores the controversial history of Sims.

  • AHA Member Reflects on Recent Demand for Historical Knowledge

    Sep 07, 2017 - 

    Karen Cox, professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, wrote an opinion piece on CNN's website about the increased visibility of the historical profession in light of recent political controversies. Cox, like many of her colleagues, wrote articles on the history and symbolism of Confederate statues, and received feedback across the board. What she was most surprised about, however, were the e-mails "that neither lauded nor castigated me for my opinions" but instead were written by those curious about history, and who wanted to learn more. Cox concludes her piece with several suggestions for how historians can make their work more available to those who might not have received a formal education in history. 

  • AHA Members Receive NEH Grants for Humanities Projects

    Aug 17, 2017 - 

    The National Endowment for the Humanities announced earlier this month that it will award over $39 million in grants for humanities projects across the country. Among those whose projects were selected were a number of historians, including 21 AHA members. "The recently announced NEH grants are yet more proof of the Endowment's crucial role in supporting access to the humanities for all Americans," said Stephen Kidd, executive director of the National Humanities Alliance. "We are pleased to see that Congressional leaders value the NEH even as the administration has sought to eliminate its funding."

  • Grossman and Ayers on Leadership in Times of Unrest at College Campuses

    Aug 15, 2017 - 

    Jim Grossman, AHA executive director, and Edward Ayers, AHA member and president emeritus of the University of Richmond, were quoted in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education concerning the recent protests by white supremacists at the University of Virginia and the ensuing violence. Grossman and Ayers commented on what makes universities such popular targets for the far right and how university administrators can prepare for future disruptions. Because of their status as "open places" and the concentration of those with opposing views, college campuses will continue to find themselves at the center of similar events. "All you can really do is be ready," Ayers stated, emphasizing the need to protect students, faculty, and staff as a priority.