News & Advocacy

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

  • AHA Executive Director Quoted in USA Today Article on Presidential Records Act (September 2022)

    Sep 21, 2022 - 

    AHA executive director Jim Grossman was quoted in a USA Today article by Maureen Groppe and Nick Penzenstadler about potential changes to strengthen the Presidential Records Act after the Trump administration’s reported mishandling of federally owned documents. “During Watergate, we learned why it was important for records to belong to the American people,” Grossman said. “As long as there was a notion that those tapes and other records belonged to Richard Nixon, that made it impossible for the American people to know what happened.”

  • AHA Supports Nomination of Shogan as Archivist of the United States (September 2022)

    Sep 21, 2022 - 

    The AHA has sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs stating that it “enthusiastically supports” the nomination of Colleen Shogan as the 11th Archivist of the United States. Dr. Shogan “has worked effectively and productively with our members in such important settings as the Library of Congress, the White House Historical Society, and the America250 Commission,” the AHA wrote. “She has been especially effective as a collaborator across disciplines, drawing on her political science background to complement the work of archivists, librarians, and historians.”

  • AHA Sends Letter to South Dakota Board of Education Opposing Social Studies Standards Revision Process (September 2022)

    Sep 19, 2022 - 

    The AHA has sent a letter to the South Dakota Board of Education “register[ing] strong concern regarding the social standards revisions process undertaken by the Board of Education in 2022.” The proposed standards, as well as the process by which they were developed, fail to meet the AHA’s Criteria for Standards in History/Social Studies/Social Sciences. “By design, the proposed standards omit any and all forms of historical inquiry in favor of rote memorization. There are no references to the practice of historical interpretation, understanding historical context, or critical thinking,” the AHA wrote. “The AHA’s criteria emphasize that good history education helps students learn to explore issues from various angles; the proposed standards fall far short of incorporating multiple historical perspectives.”

    This letter followed letters sent to the South Dakota legislature in February 2022 opposing proposed legislation that would have restricted history education. The legislation did not pass, but similar restrictions against “divisive concepts” and “critical race theory” were put in place through an executive order from Governor Kristi Noem.

  • AHA Special Projects Coordinator Testifies to Texas State Board of Education (September 2022)

    Sep 07, 2022 - 

    On August 30, AHA special projects coordinator Julia Brookins provided testimony at a meeting of the Texas State Board of Education regarding proposed revisions to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies. “Learning to do history gives students powerful examples of individual agency and decision-making and it teaches them to see larger patterns in human societies. They can recognize not just commonalities but also fundamental, almost unimaginable differences in human experiences across time and place. This will expand their vision and help them live well in today's world,” Brookins said. “The students of Texas deserve good lists of great thinkers, but much more than that, they need to learn how to think. I hope this body will focus on that. Indulging authoritarian impulses, whether they come from parents, voters, or state officials, is not the way to get Texas students ready for the marketplace of ideas. You cannot censor your way to great schools.” Brookins’ testimony begins at 1:49:15 of Part 1.

  • AHA’s 2022 Jobs Report Featured in Inside Higher Ed Article (August 2022)

    Sep 07, 2022 - 

    The AHA’s recently published 2022 Jobs Report, which analyzed academic hiring in history for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 cycles, was featured in an Inside Higher Ed article by Colleen Flaherty. The Jobs Report used AHA Career Center data, along with other sources, to examine history faculty job hiring.

  • Message from James H. Sweet (August 2022)

    Aug 19, 2022 - 

    My September Perspectives on History column has generated anger and dismay among many of our colleagues and members. I take full responsibility that it did not convey what I intended and for the harm that it has caused. I had hoped to open a conversation on how we “do” history in our current politically charged environment. Instead, I foreclosed this conversation for many members, causing harm to colleagues, the discipline, and the Association.

    A president’s monthly column, one of the privileges of the elected office, provides a megaphone to the membership and the discipline. The views and opinions expressed in that column are not those of the Association. If my ham-fisted attempt at provocation has proven anything, it is that the AHA membership is as vocal and robust as ever. If anyone has criticisms that they have been reluctant or unable to post publicly, please feel free to contact me directly.

    I sincerely regret the way I have alienated some of my Black colleagues and friends. I am deeply sorry. In my clumsy efforts to draw attention to methodological flaws in teleological presentism, I left the impression that questions posed from absence, grief, memory, and resilience somehow matter less than those posed from positions of power. This absolutely is not true. It wasn’t my intention to leave that impression, but my provocation completely missed the mark.

    Once again, I apologize for the damage I have caused to my fellow historians, the discipline, and the AHA. I hope to redeem myself in future conversations with you all. I’m listening and learning.

  • AHA Signs Amicus Curiae Brief in Haaland v. Brackeen (August 2022)

    Aug 19, 2022 - 

    The AHA, along with the Organization of American Historians, has become a signatory to an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court case Haaland v. Brackeen. This brief, based on decades of study and research by professional historians, aims to provide an accurate historical perspective as the Court considers the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

  • AHA Members Named Gilder Lehrman Institute 2022 State History Teachers of the Year (August 2022)

    Aug 18, 2022 - 

    Congratulations to AHA members Melissa Collins (John P. Freeman Optional School) and Lisa Rauschart (Georgetown Day School) and all of the other K–12 history educators who were named the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s 2022 State History Teachers of the Year. Teachers were nominated by colleagues, parents, or students, then selected by a committee of educators and education professionals in their state.

  • AHA Members Awarded NEH Grants for Humanities Projects (August 2022)

    Aug 18, 2022 - 

    Congratulations to the 23 AHA members, along with many other historians, who were awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the NEH’s last round of funding for 2022. These peer-reviewed grants “will support vital humanities research, education, preservation, and public programs.”