Abstract of the Presidential Address at the 2022 Annual Meeting
“Historians and Their Publics, Then and Now”
A look at the annual AHA presidential addresses reveals an ongoing debate within the discipline about the ways historians should—or should not—communicate to general audiences. Related to this broad outreach effort is the AHA’s role in promoting or resisting narratives that erase the histories of women and people of color. Today, the democratization of the historical enterprise—from blogs to at-home DNA tests—has broadened the reach of professional and nonprofessional historians alike, while inspiring a backlash among those who see an inclusive account of the nation’s past as dangerous or unpatriotic. Future historians will assess whether these developments represent a welcome and growing appreciation for the study of history or the triumph of a view of the past that promotes fiction over fact, myth over truth.
The presidential address will take place on Friday, January 7, 2022, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Sheraton New Orleans’ Grand Ballroom C.
Jacqueline Jones is president of the AHA.
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