News & Advocacy

News

The latest activity of the AHA and historians in supporting history and historical thinking.

  • Where Historians Work Twitter Chat

    Jul 18, 2017 - 

    Got questions about the careers of history PhDs? Join the AHA's Emily Swafford @elswafford for a Twitter chat about "Where Historians Work," our groundbreaking database of career outcomes for PhDs. Ask Emily questions and share your thoughts about this new tool using the hashtag #ahadata today July 18th, 2:00 - 3:00 PM EST. Direct-message questions to @AHAhistorians or email them to skingsley@historians.org if you prefer to submit them privately.

    In the first half hour, @AHAhistorians will tweet frequently asked questions about Where Historians Work, and @elswafford will answer them. During this time, we also invite followers and chat participants to chime in with their own questions.

    Starting at 2:30, we will solicit feedback from followers. We want to know how you've been using the data and what you'd like to see in terms of other visualizations. We will ask:

    1. How have you used the data?
    2. Have you used the interactive features of the visualizations?
    3. Are there other visualizations you would like to see?
  • Jim Grossman Sends Letter to Archivist of the US Concerning Discontinuing of Saturday Research Room Hours

    Jul 11, 2017 - 

    The National Archives and Records Administration announced last week that research rooms in Washington, DC, and College Park, Maryland, will no longer have Saturday hours beginning July 22, 2017. This letter from AHA Executive Director James Grossman to David Ferriero expresses concern about the change and the nature of the announcement.

  • 2014 Fairbank Prize Returned

    Jun 29, 2017 - 

    In 2014, the American Historical Association (AHA) awarded its John K. Fairbank Prize to Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950–1992, by Charles K. Armstrong. After careful review the AHA identified a set of citations that did not meet professional standards. In response to AHA queries, Dr. Armstrong reviewed his work and the underlying scholarship and identified a number of instances where the source citations were incorrect. Dr. Armstrong has corrected the citation errors and, out of respect for the AHA, has returned the Fairbank Prize.

  • AHA Member Writes Op-Ed on Historians Acting as Pundits

    Jun 28, 2017 - 

    "Donald Trump might be disastrous for most Americans," writes Moshik Temkin, AHA member and professor of history at Harvard University, "but he has been a boon to historians." In an op-ed published in the New York Times, Temkin warns against the increasing trend of presenting history in "30-second blasts on cable news," often by way of analogies with similar historical figures. "This is not what historians should be doing. We teach our students to be wary of analogies, which are popular with politicians and policy makers (who choose them to serve their agendas) but often distort both the past and the present."

  • AHA Member Comments on Renewed Interest in History

    Jun 22, 2017 - 

    An article published by Quartz on the recent resurgence of interest in history on college campuses included comments by AHA member Alan Mikhail, Yale University history department's director of undergraduate studies, from an AHA Today blog post. The article cited a number of potential factors for the spike in popularity, such as confusion over the turbulent 2016 presidential election, the UK's unprecedented decision to leave the EU, and the presidential administration's own "less-than-tight grasp on history." The article concludes, "For those striving to secure the future of generations to come, history may be of much more use than biology or computer science." 

  • Newt Gingrich Weighs in on Trump Controversy "as a Historian"

    Jun 22, 2017 - 

    On ABC's This Week, Newt Gingrich (PhD, Tulane 1971) spoke "as a historian"concerning the Trump administration's dismissal of James Comey in the wake of recent investigations into the president's ties with foreign powers. "You have this legalistic nightmare trying to block the Trump presidency," Gingrich stated, "and you want me to believe this is all just random behavior. As a historian, I don't believe it." The American Historical Association encourages PhD recipients to apply their expertise to occupations beyond the professoriate. In keeping with that mission, Barbara Metcalf, past president of the AHA, extended an open invitation to Gingrich to join the AHA through a 2011 letter in the New York Times. "All of us seriously interested in history, as Mr. Gingrich clearly is, need the kind of 'continuing education' that the American Historical Association provides," Metcalf wrote. "All of us as American citizens, moreover, need figures in public life who demonstrate the breadth and open-mindedness that a historical perspective at its best encourages."

  • AHA Executive Director Comments on Julius Caesar Controversy

    Jun 13, 2017 - 

    In an article published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, AHA Executive Director Jim Grossman offered some historical perspective regarding the New York Public Theater's production of Julius Caesar. The decision to present the titular figure as closely resembling President Trump angered the organization's sponsors, with both Bank of America and Delta Air Lines pulling their funding as a result. However, Grossman pointed out that this type of production is nothing new, citing numerous examples of Shakespeare plays that had characters modeled after sitting presidents, including one 2012 version of Julius Caesar at the Guthrie Theater that modeled Caesar after President Obama (a production that Delta did sponsor). "I think the issue here is much more a sense of historical perspective on the role of literature and theater in public culture," Grossman stated. 

  • AHA Member Honored for Work on History of Boy Scouts

    Jun 09, 2017 - 

    AHA member Nelson Block was recently awarded the Boy Scouts of America's Silver Buffalo Award, the organization's highest honor for adult volunteers. Block is one of the most prolific historians of scouting, having written two books and over 20 articles on the subject. In 2002, Block was named the Founder Gilwell Fellow by the Chief Scout of Great Britain in recognition of his contribution to the field of scouting history. 

  • AHA Member and Medieval Scholar Offers Insight into Appropriation of Viking History

    Jun 01, 2017 - 

    David Perry, AHA member and professor of medieval and Renaissance history at Dominican University, published an op-ed in the Washington Post about the recent use of the slogan "Hail Vinland! Hail Victory!" among white supremacist organizations. Perry's article offers some historical context for why such groups have begun to appropriate a rather obscure myth of Viking colonization, one which dates back to the 10th century. "For white supremacists," he writes, "the concept of Vinland asserts a historical claim over North America, stretching especially from the Northeast coast to the Pacific Northwest. They use the myth of Vinland to position themselves as righteous defenders in the wars of race and religion they believe are coming."

  • Former AHA President Honored by Society of American Historians

    May 30, 2017 - 

    Former AHA president and University of Wisconsin-Madison historian William Cronon was awarded the 10th annual Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Award for "distinguished writing in American history of enduring public significance" by the Society of American Historians. In addition to his field-defining work on environmental history, he has been a staunch defender of academic freedom and the role of scholars in the public sphere. Cronon was president of the AHA in 2012 and gave his Presidential Address on "Storytelling."