Please help us congratulate Marc A. Hertzman on winning a second prize for his article "Fatal Differences: Suicide, Race, and Forced Labor in the Americas," which was published in the April 2017 issue of the American Historical Review. In addition to receiving the 2018 Kimberly S. Hanger Article Prize from the Latin American and Caribbean Section (LACS) of the Southern Historical Association, Hertzman has been awarded the 2018 Vanderwood Prize by the Conference on Latin American History (CLAH). This is the third consecutive year in which an article in the American Historical Review has won the Vanderwood Prize.

February 2019 Issue

Current Issue: February 2019 - Vol. 124, No. 1

In This Issue

As always, our February issue opens with the AHA Presidential Address. This year, outgoing AHA President Mary Beth Norton (Cornell University) critically reexamines the evolution of her own historical practice to shed light on how looking at old evidence in new ways can generate novel questions. Drawing on Emily Dickinson's poetic notion of "telling it slant," she urges the writing of "history on the diagonal." She promotes the historiographical innovations of women's, gender, and African American history, particularly in revolutionary and antebellum America, as a model for illuminating fresh approaches to understanding the past. Above all, Norton encourages us to address "central historical issues creatively by approaching them from unusual perspectives, including the perspective of groups that traditionally have not dominated the telling of history." She offers a number of strategies for this method, including "taking a body of evidence collected in the past for one purpose and commonly used to investigate that same purpose, but instead employing it creatively for another" and "adopting an unusual line of inquiry that suggests new ways of thinking about historical source material." Drawing an example from her own research, Norton charts the deployment of "rhetorical femininity" in the political discourse of the American Revolutionary era. Read more...

From the Editor's Desk: Year One of Decolonization

By now, we are accustomed to bold declarations that promise a new order of things, then quickly forgotten by Monday morning, as practice fails to live up to the stirring sermon preached the day before. (Yes, I realize the metaphor privileges one monotheism over the others.) A year ago, in the February 2018 issue, I proclaimed a series of initiatives designed to "decolonize" the AHR ( I used the term advisedly, in order to signal a concerted effort not just to "add" neglected topics to the journal or to be more "inclusive"-certainly worthwhile endeavors in themselves-but also to change the way things were done, rethinking the very purpose of a professional journal. So, one year later, how much progress has been made? What has changed and what has not?  Read more...

AHA Presidential Address

"History on the Diagonal," by Mary Beth Norton

AHR Forum: Indigenous Agency and Colonial Law

Introduction by Joshua L. Reid

"A Court of Sticks and Branches: Indian Jurisdiction in Colonial Mexico and Beyond," by Bianca Premo and Yanna Yannakakis

"The Case of the Million-Dollar Duck: A Hunter, His Treaty, and the Bending of the Settler Contract," by Miranda Johnson

AHR Articles

"From Cross-Cultural Credit to Colonial Debt: British Expansion in Madras and Canton, 1750-1800," by Jessica Hanser

"Decolonizing Sovereignty: States of Exception along the Kenya-Somali Frontier," by Julie MacArthur

AHR Reappraisal

"The Problem of Abolition in the Age of Capitalism," by Manisha Sinha
(The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770–1823, by David Brion Davis)

AHR Review Essays

"Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's The Vietnam War," by Mark Philip Bradley

A Note on Book Reviews

AHR Film Reviews

Stephanie Welch, director. A Dangerous Idea: Eugenics, Genetics and the American Dream, by Molly Ladd-Taylor

Stanley Nelson, director. Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities, by Crystal A. deGregory

Tracy Heather Strain, director. Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart, by Erin D. Chapman

Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu, directors. The Chinese Exclusion Act, by Beth Lew-Williams


AHR Interview

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Perspectives on History is the newsmagazine of the American Historical Association. Since 1962, we have been the principal source for news and information about the discipline of history. We offer articles and commentary on research and archives, teaching, digital projects, new books of note, history in the media, public history and museum exhibitions, and more.

Our print edition is published monthly and online during the academic year, with online-only articles in Perspectives Daily updated regularly all year round. A print subscription is available only with AHA membership.

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