Publication Date

December 20, 2012

Perspectives Section

AHA Activities

Today we are pleased to provide free access to two more articles from the December Perspectives on History. AHA members always have full access to all our online content, while nonmembers are given access to select articles until the entire issue is opened to all (on January 2, 2013, in the case of the December 2012 issue). But in advance of holiday travel and to facilitate end-of-year reflection, we wanted to make more widely available two highly requested articles.

In “The Future of the Profession,” Benjamin Alpers notes that “American colleges and universities seem increasingly under threat in ways that are of particular concern to historians.” Above all, working conditions are steadily deteriorating, with the most dramatic example being the rise of the non-tenure-track faculty member as the new mainstay of the workforce.

Any improvement, Alpers notes, involves first a shift in thinking: “For tenured and tenure-track academic historians to think in terms of the larger labor system entails, among other things, recognizing that graduate students who teach are fellow faculty members, not simply our apprentices. It also involves realizing that the working conditions of these graduate students and our other non-tenure-track colleagues ought to be of concern to us all.” Next, he argues for organizing the profession, and for becoming more effective advocates. Read the entire article here.

In their article for Perspectives on what Wikipedia means to the future of the discipline, Lori Byrd Phillips and Dominic McDevitt-Parks argue for a model of “open authority,” which is “the coming together of expert authority with user-generated content on free and open platforms” like Wikipedia. Phillips and McDevitt-Parks note that Wikipedia “needs the contributions of expert historians,” and offer suggestions on how exciting new collaborations can help close the gulf between Wikipedians and historians. Read the entire article here.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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