Publication Date

September 1, 1990

Perspectives Section

AHA Activities

The elected governing Council of the Association meets biannually to conduct the business, manage the property, and care for the general interests of the AHA. Serving as AHA’s final executive, legislative, and judicial authority, the Council receives and acts on many proposals from the three division committees—research, teaching, and professional. Its 1990 spring session was held in Washington, April 27–28 at the Sheraton Hotel (where the 1992 AHA Annual Meeting will be held) and dealt with a number of issues of interest to members.

The Council added three new societies to the growing roster of sister organizations affiliated with us: the American Association for State and Local History, the Society for German American Studies, and the Historical Society for Twentieth Century China. It also directed the Committee on Affiliated Societies to review the existing standards for affiliation and the policy of inclusiveness currently followed and to report back on their continuing validity.

A number of awards were made by the Council, which will be announced this December at the annual meeting in New York. Three recipients of the Association’s Award for Scholarly Distinction were selected; two distinguished honorary foreign members were chosen; and an old Association award was revived to be presented to a historian who has rendered sustained outstanding service to the history profession.

Matters coming to the Council from the Research Division included four appointments to vacancies on the Board of Editors of the American Historical Review: Professors Paul Drake, University of California, San Diego; Linda Gordon, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Thomas C. Holt, University of Chicago; and Jonathan D. Spence, Yale University. A Research Division proposal to alter slightly the procedure for Program Committee appointments was approved. Under the new plan, Dr. Frederick E. Hoxie, Newberry Library, was designated by the Council to chair the 1992 Program Committee in order that he and his co-chair may be able to attend and participate in both meetings of the 1991 Program Committee in the current year before getting down to work in the following academic year on his committee’s program. Similarly, a year from now the Council will select the following year’s program committee chairperson and co-chair. (For the composition of the 1991 Program Committee, see p. 8.) The Council also endorsed a directive to program chairs in selecting committee members to continue to seek a balance between specialists on themes for a given program and broad coverage of all fields of history.

The Council heard a progress report from the Vice President for the Research Division on the makeup of the task force on bibliography, which was authorized by the Council in conjunction with the termination of Recently Published Articles this October. It also authorized continuing discussion with RPA publisher Kraus International on possible successor publications, setting down guidelines for AHA involvement.

The Council endorsed a strong resolution on the importance of maintaining the integrity and inclusiveness of the State Department’s series of volumes, Foreign Relations in the United States. This resolution strengthens the vigorous efforts of the National Coordinating Committee to enlist Congressional support for the series. Unfortunately, recent volumes are grievously flawed by the State Department’s inability to extract clearances for inclusion in the publications of certain important documents from the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, even when much of the information is already in the public domain. (See NCC News, p. 14.)

Actions relating to Teaching Division recommendations were as follows: A $10 annual meeting registration fee was set for precollegiate teachers; and the staff was also directed to develop a proposal for special AHA memberships for this constituency, which would substitute other teaching-oriented publications for the AHR. Conferring one-year complimentary memberships on the teachers of the fourteen first prize winners in the annual National History Day competition was re-authorized by the Council.

The Professional Division had a number of recommendations on strengthening and clarifying provisions in the AHA’s Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct which were adopted by the Council. The statement on plagiarism was sharpened by dropping the phrase “with an intent to deceive,” thereby eliminating the difficult and hard to identify criterion of motivation from the process of identifying unauthorized usage of another’s work. An additional sentence was added to the Standards to require honesty and accuracy in curriculum vitae. After lengthy discussion, the Council ruled that the AHA’s newsletter might continue to accept job vacancy advertisements which were limited to a particular recruitment category, provided that such discriminatory advertisements were in accord with federal laws and in conformity with the Standards of Professional Conduct. Finally, the Council approved the new Guidelines on Hiring Women Historians in Academia as recommended by the Professional Division.