Publication Date

October 1, 1996

The entire AHA benefited from the continued commitment and hard work of the members of the Committee on Women Historians (CWH). In 1995 these were Eleanor Alexander of Brown University; Iris Berger of the State University of New York at Albany; Stanley Chojnacki of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Carla Hesse of the University of California at Berkeley; and Linda Shopes of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. I want particularly to thank Iris Berger and Carla Hesse, who rotated off the committee this year; their contributions to the work of the CWH have been invaluable. I'd also like to express my gratitude and appreciation, and that of the committee as a whole, to the staff of the AHA for making our work so much easier. Sandria Freitag, Noralee Frankel, and Rosslyn Rosser have been superb and have made the work of the committee much more successful than it might otherwise have been.

The completed work of the committee included the publication of the revised Report on the Status of Women and Minority Historians in Academia. That report, compiled by Carla Hesse, was distributed to those attending the CWH annual breakfast meeting in Atlanta. It also went out to the chairs of history departments at virtually every major research university in the country. In addition, it appeared in Perspectives and is on the AHA home page on the World Wide Web. John Coatsworth, the immediate past president of the AHA, demonstrated an unswerving commitment to equity in our profession and gave the report every support as it made its way through the Council for approval. We owe him our thanks.

The annual breakfast meeting of the CWH attracted an unprecedented crowd, who gathered to hear Sarah Hanley of the University of Iowa deliver a paper entitled "Mapping Theory in History: Social Sites and Conceptual Cites in France, 1550-1789." The CWH also sponsored a panel titled "Civil Rights and Sexual Practices at the 1996 annual meeting. David Garrow (American Univ,) chaired the panel and offered comments on papers by Martha Hodes (New York Univ.), Deena Gonzales (Pomona Coli.), and Allan Berube (Rockefeller Fellow in the Humanities). The CWH is sponsoring a roundtable discussion at next year's meeting in New York. Alice Nash of Columbia University, Patrick McDevitt of Rutgers University, Anastasia Posadskaia-Vanderbeck of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Nancy Hunt of the University of Arizona will trade ideas about theorizing gender in a global context; Dorothy Ko of Rutgers University will moderate the panel. We will also sponsor a joint session with the Committee on Minority Historians on affirmative action. Our breakfast speaker for next year, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham of Harvard University, will also address the issue of affirmative action.

Our new pamphlet series on women and gender in a global perspective is now under way. Bonnie Smith of Rutgers University has generously agreed to serve as general editor of the series, which will consist of a number of essays with both geographic and thematic focuses. Smith is now in the process of rounding up prospective authors and consulting editors.

The CWH is engaged in producing a policy statement about spousal and partner hiring. This issue is fraught with difficulties and must be thoroughly thought out before the CWH or the AHA can adopt a position on it. Carla Hesse has formulated a very fine preliminary document for us, which the CWH has placed before the Committee on Minority Historians for review and discussion; it may be published in Perspectives with an eye to soliciting commentary.

Finally, in response to Sandria Freitag's call for examining how the AHA will do history in the 21st century, the CWH has begun to look at ways that we can attract more minority women to the profession by concentrating on students at the K-12 and undergraduate levels. We are only in the preliminary stages of our thinking about this and will have more to report next year.

Respectfully submitted,

(Univ. of Colorado), Chair

Committee on Women Historians

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Attribution must provide author name, article title, Perspectives on History, date of publication, and a link to this page. This license applies only to the article, not to text or images used here by permission.