Publication Date

February 1, 1992

Perspectives Section

AHA Activities

As has been its custom for many years, the governing Council of the Association met twice at the site of the annual meeting. In Chicago on Friday, December 27, it met for nine hours and followed up on the morning of Monday, December 30, with a three-hour meeting at which new members of the Council elected the previous month took their places at the board. President-elect Louise Tilly, Vice President (Teaching) Robert Blackey, and Council members Suzanne Barnett and Sam Bass Warner by their presence brought the Council’s numbers up to the full constitutional total of twelve, filling vacancies caused by the deaths of past President David Herlihy and Vice President Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau.

As always, the Council’s agenda was heavy. As its first order of business, it took cognizance of those two untimely deaths by directing a substantial AHA contribution to the memorial funds for both departed leaders.

The Council approved the recommendations of the Committee on Committees for filling vacancies on the ad hoc and standing appointive committees (to be published in the next issue), and it approved affiliation with the AHA of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, Chinese Historians in the United States, and Historians of American Communism, as well as approving certain changes in the criteria for future affiliations. The total number of affiliated societies stands now at ninety-six.

On Teaching Division matters the Council approved in principle the creation of a prize for films, the terms to be worked out by the Division. It also discussed draft guidelines for filmmakers and made suggestions to the Division for their refinement.

Professional Division matters were numerous, relating chiefly to the continued activity of that committee on cases of alleged nonobservance of the AHA’s Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct that have been brought to its attention. The Council reaffirmed that the Professional Division in this capacity serves in a judicial role acting on matters brought to it by members and other interested individuals. A number of individual Professional Division cases were reviewed at length, and the Council expressed its approval of the Division’s careful attention to the principles of due process and fairness. The Council decided, in response to a query from the Division, that it would not be feasible to attempt to maintain an EIB “watch list” of institutions that had abused the hiring process, recommending that that process be left to the AAUP as at present.

The Research Division brought several issues to the Council. It recommended a change in the terms of the Herbert Feis Prize to broaden the eligibility of public historians for this award, which was approved. The Council endorsed the plan of the Division and of the Committee on Minority Historians to raise funds for a prize for the best work on the African diaspora, and it amended the Program Committee guidelines to entitle the CMH to an annual meeting program session each year.

The Council approved the agenda for the December 29 business meeting, which confirmed the appointment of Mary Beers Conrad as trustee of the AHA and which renewed the appointments of two other trustees, R. Dyke Benjamin and D. Roger B. Liddell. It heard reports from the chair and cochair of the 1992 Program Committee and approved the recommendations from the chair of the 1994 Program Committee for the membership of her group.

The Council on December 30 took severe notice of the frenetic activity of those who maintain that the Holocaust never happened, by unanimously passing the following resolution: “The American Historical Association Council strongly deplores the publicly reported attempts to deny the fact of the Holocaust. No serious historian questions that the Holocaust took place.”