Publication Date

September 1, 1991

Perspectives Section

AHA Annual Meeting

The 1992 annual meeting of the Association will be held in Washington, DC, December 27-30. The Program Committee welcomes proposals by all members of the Association, by scholars in related disciplines, and by affiliated societies. We particularly wish to encourage panels and symposia on the themes of unification in history and the historical profession.

Committee members, approved by the Council, are: Frederick E. Hoxie, The Newberry Library (chair); Jo Ann McNamara, Hunter College-CUNY (cochair); David Berry, Essex County College; Cornelia H. Dayton, University of California, Irvine; John R. Gillingham, University of Missouri, St. Louis; George C. Herring, University of Kentucky; James O. Horton, George Washington University; Asuncion Lavrin, Howard University; Ane Lintvedt-Dulac, McDonogh School (MD); Donald J. Raleigh, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks; and R. Bin Wong, University of California, Irvine.

1992 will mark the quincentenary of the first Columbus voyage to America. 1992 will also mark the first formal steps towards the political integration of Europe. Both events merit reflection on the theme of unification and its consequences for the modern world. The Columbus voyages marked the first sustained contacts between the peoples of Europe and the Americas and launched an era of colonization and conflict. On the other hand, the encounters of 1492—which were repeated around the globe during the age of exploration—also held out new opportunities for cross-cultural understanding. The peaceful integration of European societies might well mark the fulfillment of one such opportunity.

The 1992 commemorations raise difficult questions about the value of unification: What are the common grounds upon which diverse cultures may meet? When such groups seek a common ground, are there unique qualities that each must preserve and others must recognize? Where do such qualities come from? How can they be identified and preserved? What obstacles have prevented the unification of cultures? What was the character of opposition to unification? The committee particularly invites proposals which address these questions as well as the larger themes of social, economic, and political unification across time and space.

The Program Committee also encourages proposals addressed to the theme of unification within historiography and the historical profession: approaches to new syntheses incorporating ethnic and gendered history, comparative history, new methodologies and new concepts of periodization. We also invite proposals which address professional issues concerning diversity in staffing and the pedagogical challenges which arise when a department addresses a plural history with a unified curriculum. Finally, it will be the committee’s goal to encourage AHA members—who are all specialists in at least one of many subfields—to use the meeting of the one American professional association which represents all historians as an arena for general scholarly and professional communication.

Because we wish to help program participants pursue our theme of unification in history and among historians, the Committee will make special efforts to form panels from appropriate single paper proposals and incomplete session proposals received by the first deadline of November 1, 1991. After that date, only complete session proposals will be considered. All proposals should include a brief (three page maximum) curriculum vitae for each participant, including teaching areas, publications and papers presented during the last five years. Session proposals should include a one-page statement explaining 1) the significance and purpose of the session and 2) the content of each presentation. Names, addresses (including summer addresses) and telephone numbers for all participants should be attached. The final deadline for the submission of completed proposals is February 15, 1992.

Send six (6) copies of proposals devoted to American (U.S., Canadian, and Latin American) or Oceanian history to Fred Hoxie, D’Arcy McNickle Center for the History of the American Indian, The Newberry Library, 60 W. Walnut Street, Chicago, IL 60610. Six (6) copies of proposals devoted to European, Asian, African, or general world history should go to Jo Ann McNamara, Department of History, Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021.

All program participants, except for foreign scholars and scholars from other disciplines, must be current members of the Association. Participants in the 1991 program will not be eligible to participate in the 1992 program unless a strong justification can be made for their doing so.