Publication Date

November 1, 1992

Perspectives Section

AHA Annual Meeting

The 107th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association will be held in Washington, D.C., at the Sheraton Washington and Omni Shoreham hotels. Over 750 scholars, including eighty-two from abroad, will appear on the program. In addition, forty-four affiliated societies will cosponsor sessions or hold separate luncheons, sessions, and meetings. These events are listed in the front portion of the Program, beginning on page 16. The Program Committee, chaired by Frederick Hoxie, The Newberry Library, has planned a diverse and interesting program. Highlighted below are just a few of the 156 AHA sessions. Members should consult the Program for a complete listing, beginning on page 51.

The theme of the 1992 meeting is unification in history and the historical profession. Noting both the anniversary of the first Columbus voyage and the beginnings of political integration in Europe, the Program Committee worked to create a program that would explore cross-cultural encounters, comparative themes in history, and new efforts at historical synthesis that incorporate ethnic and gendered history. It has also sought to explore the consequences of unification for the history profession itself through panels on faculty diversity and pedagogical approaches to multiculturalism.

Four related panels will open the meeting and introduce the theme of unification. While common problems and shared opportunities appear to enhance the potential for unification and cross-cultural understanding globally, the historical profession is better characterized by conflicting voices and viewpoints. The annual meeting’s opening session at 6 p.m. on December 27 will bring together three of those voices and viewpoints for a wide-ranging discussion of the state of history and the profession today and of the issues and questions that will shape the future of the discipline in the years to come. AHA President Frederic E. Wakeman, Jr., University of California, Berkeley, will chair this session, which will feature Linda Kerber, University of Iowa; Alan C. Kors, University of Pennsylvania; and Cornel West, Princeton University.

Three more-focused sessions will follow at 8:30 p.m. These will explore the implications of unification in the three major areas that concern the Association: professional life, research, and teaching. The appropriate AHA division vice-president will chair each session. Susan Socolow, Emory University, and vice-president of the Professional Division, will preside at a session featuring Rodolfo Acuña, California State University, Northridge; Konrad Jarausch, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Nell Irvin Painter, Princeton University. Panel discussion will focus on whether historians should be concerned about the social profile of their profession. The AHA has few minority members, history departments generally lag behind others in hiring women and minorities, and the “pipeline” of new scholars does not promise dramatic changes in the future—what should the response of the profession be?

Blanche Wiesen Cook, John Jay College-CUNY, and vice-president of the Research Division, will chair a discussion of research opportunities in a unified world with panelists Theodore S. Hamerow, University of Wisconsin-Madison; William Chester Jordan, Princeton University; Gary Y. Okihiro, Cornell University; and Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Michigan. Of particular concern will be the role of minority scholars—what has happened when minority scholars “do” history? Do they bring with them a new approach to traditional subjects? What causes the “ghettoization” of minority subjects? Is that process bad? If it is, how can it be reversed? If it is good, what are its consequences? In short, how can the profession’s research agenda be both broadened and kept within the boundaries of a single discipline?

Robert A. Blackey, California State University, San Bernardino, and vice-president of the Teaching Division, will lead a session on the response of teachers with participants Susan Bittmann, Hillsborough (FL) High School; Paul A. Gagnon, U.S. Department of Education; Earl Lewis, University of Michigan; and Virginia Sánchez Korrol, Brooklyn College, CUNY. Each panelist will address the opportunities and problems that teachers, textbook authors, and history departments face in structuring curricula in a unified world. How—and why—should they balance “Western” and “non-Western” subject matter? What is the benefit of multiculturalism? What are its costs?

At least twenty additional panels will address the broad themes of the meeting in a variety of contexts. These include: “National Expansion in Comparative Perspective,” “The United States Army in the West, China, and the Pacific,” “Urban Neighborhoods: Medieval, Renaissance, and Modern,” “Trans-Atlantic Images of Sexuality,” “Peasant Religion in Comparative Perspective,” “Conceptualizing World History,” and “Aspects of Religious Conversion in the Medieval and Early Modern World.” In addition, a number of roundtable discussions will address issues of cross-cultural communication and comparative history. Among these are “The Impact of Multiculturalism, Eurocentrism, and Afrocentrism on the Study of Ancient, Caribbean, and American History,” “Environmental Activism in Comparative Perspective,” and “The Impact of Peace Movements on the End of the Cold War” (the latter conducted by an international panel of scholars). Please see the Program for a complete listing of theme sessions, beginning on page 40.

Other panels of interest include a session on “Was the Quincentennial Worth It? Looking Back at ’92” chaired by Frank Donatelli, Christopher Columbus Quincentennial Jubilee Commission, with Suzan Shown Harjo, The 1992 Alliance, commenting on a Native American perspective; Malcolm Richardson, The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, commenting on the view from a public agency; and Eduard Garrigus, Spanish Consulate, Los Angeles, commenting on the view from Spain. Comment will be provided by Steve J. Stern, University of Wisconsin-Madison. William Safire of the New York Times will chair the session “Black, White, and Lincoln.” Gabor S. Boritt, Gettysburg College, will speak on “British Caricatures of Abraham Lincoln” and James M. McPherson, Princeton University, will address “Who Freed the Slaves.” David Herbert Donald, emeritus, Harvard University, and Leslie S. Rowland, University of Maryland, College Park, will comment. “The Federal Record: Programs and Holdings of the National Archives,” is chaired by Don W. Wilson, Archivist of the United States, with papers on the new National Archives building, the Archival Information System, and uniting scattered historical sources. “Sigmund Freud and Historians: New Interpretations and Directions” will be chaired by Nellie L. Thompson, New York Psychoanalytic Institute, with papers by Jacques Szaluta, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy; Patrick H. Hutton, University of Vermont; and John E. Toews, University of Washington. Peter Gay, Yale University, will provide comment.

Two sessions will examine the life and work of former AHA President David Herlihy. “Medieval Familiae and Society” will be chaired by Barbara M. Kreutz, emerita, Bryn Mawr College, and will have papers by Jane T. Schulenberg, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Daniel F. Callahan, University of Delaware; and Stephen Weinberger, Dickinson College. Francis X. Hartigan, University of Nevada, will comment. “David Herlihy: Historian of Medieval Europe” offers papers by Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris; Elena Fasano Guarini, Università degli Studi, Pisa; and Samuel K. Cohn, Brandeis University. John H. Mundy, Columbia University, will chair and Anthony Molho, Brown University, will comment.

The AHA-Canadian Historical Association Joint Committee is sponsoring a session on “Image Creation and Stereotypes in Canadian and American History” with papers by Jean Barman, University of British Columbia; C.L. Higham, Winona State University; and Sarah Carter, University of Calgary. Peter Wood, Duke University, will chair and comment. The AHA Teaching Division will present “The Educational Outreach Program of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,” “Documenting American History with Facsimiles for the Classroom,” and, with the Committee on History in the Classroom, “Primary Historical Sources and Their Use at All Levels of the Educational System,” which will have a demonstration and display segment following the session. The AHA Research Division and the AHA–OAH–SAA Joint Committee on Historians and Archivists are sponsoring “The Politics and Perils of Access to Private and Public Documents.” The division is also sponsoring “The American Historical Association’sGuide to Historical Literature: Issues in Design and Execution” with the Association for the Bibliography of History.

The AHA Professional Division will sponsor “Roundtable Discussion: The History Profession and the Academic Marketplace in the 1990s” during the December 29 morning session, focusing on college and university employment prospects. In the afternoon, the division and the Coordinating Committee on Women in the Historical Profession/Conference Group on Women’s History will sponsor a workshop entitled “Interviewing in the Academic Job Market of the 1990s.” Session attendees will be divided into small interviewee groups, each led by a college or university faculty member who will conduct mock interviews and lead discussion of successful interviewing strategies.

All members should have received by now their printed Program, which contains the preregistration form for the meeting. The form should be returned to the headquarters office by December 4. Hotel reservation information appeared in the September issue of Perspectives. For copies or additional information, please write the headquarters office at 400 A Street S.E., Washington, DC 20003.

For the first time, hotel reservations will be made EXCLUSIVELY through a toll-free number: 1-800-535-3336 for U.S. and Canadian participants. Washington metro area and international attendees should call 202-842-2930. International attendees may also FAX reservation requests to 1-202-289-8079. (Please, only international FAX requests will be honored; U.S. and Canadian attendees must use the metro area or “800” number to make reservations.)

Meeting attendees can obtain information on airfares from the AHA’s official carrier, AMERICAN AIRLINES, by calling American’s Meeting Services Desk toll-free at 1-800-433-1790 and asking for star-file number 03D2BD. For reservations on CONTINENTAL AIRLINES, call Continental’s Convention Sales at 1-800-468-7022 and use the AHA’s reference number EZ 12P20. For the DELTA SHUTTLE from New York and Boston, call 1-800-241-6760 and request reference number N0724. For bookings on AMTRAK, call 1-800-872-7245 and ask for fare order number X24B-925.