Publication Date

March 22, 2017

Perspectives Section

Perspectives Summer Columns

A key skill for 21st-century historians, whether they work in the professoriate, public history, government, publishing, or beyond, is the ability to communicate through a variety of media to different audiences. Many historians have turned to blogging to reach a broad public, and the success of historical writing online demonstrates a certain hunger for historians’ point of view.

Old manuscripts in the New Orleans city archives. ALA TechSource/via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

The AHA is seeking two aspiring graduate-student bloggers, each to write a series of posts on historical documents from their research projects. If you are looking to hone your blogging skills and share the process of doing history with a wide audience, consider applying to be a summer blogger on AHA Today, and show readers how historians’ habits of mind shape the way they see the world.

This year, we’re challenging our summer bloggers to select a historical document and write about its significance to their research. (Think of “document” expansively—it could be a letter, a memo, an article in a community newsletter, a photograph, a map, an oral-history interview, a sound recording, or a nontraditional primary source.) We especially want to hear about how engaging with this particular document led you ask different questions and how it took your research in exciting new directions. You might also consider these questions:

  • What was your process of discovery? What led you to the source? You might reflect on creative ways of getting into an archive, the feeling of finding a document after a long search, or the challenge of working with nontraditional sources.
  • How has your work enabled you to think differently about “the archive”?
  • What other documents did you find along the way that were integral in helping you think differently about your project, even though they didn’t end up in the final version?
  • How might you use these historical documents in the classroom, or as springboards to entirely new projects?
  • What it is about the historical research process that is so essential to graduate education and learning? Let us into the experience of being a historian!

AHA staff will edit each post and provide feedback to the blogger before and during the revision process.

Who is eligible? Graduate students in history.

What is required? The two students who are selected will write three blog posts each, roughly one per month from June through August. The winners will each receive a free one-year membership to the AHA. (Winners who are already members may choose between free registration to the 2018 AHA annual meeting or $50 worth of AHA publications.) Selected bloggers will also have the opportunity to share their projects and ideas with the wide readership of AHA Today.

Application Procedure: To apply, please submit a proposal, no more than 500 words long, following the AHA Today submission guidelines. Please include a suggested title for the blog series with your proposal. Also required is a one-page cover letter that introduces who you are, your project, and how you see your blog series enriching discussions on history as a discipline. You may also include a writing sample of no more than 1,000 words, if you wish. The selected applicants’ proposals will be published on AHA Today to introduce the blog series. Please submit your application through Interfolio. The deadline for submission is 11:59 p.m., EDT, April 21.

Questions? Contact at

Check out posts from previous contest winners!


This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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