Publication Date

March 27, 2020

Perspectives Section

Perspectives Daily, Perspectives Summer Columns

A key skill for historians, whether they work in academia, public history, government, publishing, or beyond, is the ability to communicate with different audiences. The success of historical writing online demonstrates a hunger for historians’ point of view.

A pen and notebook.

A pen and notebook.

Graduate students can apply to be summer columnists for Perspectives Daily until May 17.

The AHA is seeking three graduate students to write a series of two columns for online publication in Perspectives Daily. Summer columnists will work with the editors of Perspectives in preparing their pieces for publication. If you are looking to hone your writing skills and share what you do as a historian with a wide audience, please apply.

Columnists will select and write about themes of their choosing. You should be able to write two related columns on your chosen theme, which must be relevant to the work you do as a historian, be it research, teaching, public engagement, or something else. Although we are open to all themes, proposals may engage such ideas as:

  • Op-eds are crucial in getting historical perspectives to larger audiences. Based on the expertise you’ve developed, what kind of contextual analysis or viewpoint could you provide on a current political, social, or cultural issue in an op-ed?
  • Public history is another way historians can reach a wide audience. If you have participated in community-engagement efforts or worked in spaces like museums, historic sites, or heritage institutions, how did this work help you think about what it means to be a historian?
  • Teaching is one of the most important skills a historian has to develop, whether in the classroom or in public venues, but it’s often mystified and left underexamined in graduate education. As a teacher, how have you learned to tackle difficult subjects and conversations, and how has teaching helped you think differently about research and the work you do as a historian?
  • As digital tools and methods make inroads into research and teaching, it’s become imperative for historians to become familiar with them. If you have experience using them, how have they helped you explore sources or communicate with wider audiences? How do students respond to them?

Who is eligible? Current graduate students in history, either in master’s or doctoral programs; students graduating in spring 2020 are not eligible.

What is required? The three columnists selected will write two pieces each, from June through August. Columnists will each receive a free one-year membership to the AHA and an honorarium. (Current AHA members will receive free renewal upon the end of their membership term.)

Application Procedure: To apply, please submit a one-page, single-spaced cover letter that introduces you and explains how your columns will enrich our readers; a 500-word proposal, following our submission guidelines; and a standalone writing sample of no more than 1,000 words (it can be an excerpt from a longer piece). The selected applicants’ proposals will be edited and published to introduce the columnists. Please submit your application through Airtable. The deadline for submission is May 17, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Questions? Contact Laura Ansley at

Check out posts from previous winners!

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