Publication Date

November 8, 2011

This past Monday, HNN posted an opinion piece by Jesse Lemisch, professor emeritus of history, titled “History is Worth Fighting For, But Where is the AHA?” Lemisch points to Anthony Grafton and Jim Grossman’s recent Perspectives on History article “No More Plan B: A Very Modest Proposal for Graduate Programs in History” and criticizes it for not going farther, not pushing for more change, and for seeming to accept the current state of few history tenure-track jobs. “What they propose is indeed too modest, almost tragically so,” he writes, and calls for the AHA to fight harder to “defend learning and what used to be called ‘liberal education.’”

AHA President Anthony Grafton and Executive Director Jim Grossman were given the chance to respond, and did in the post “Reponse to Jesse Lemisch: It’s Not Enough to Just Wish for Change.” They made it clear that the AHA advocates for expanded funding for higher education, but must face the reality of funding cuts and the relative lack of tenure-track jobs for historians. This is why the AHA supports “a more diverse array of employment opportunities” for historians. As a membership organization the AHA has “a duty to serve the needs of the many members of our profession who need jobs now and will need them in the next several years.”

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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