On to Washington!

Happy New Year! Like the British Army two centuries ago, historians are descending on Washington this week in massive numbers (though likely with somewhat better results for the White House and Library of Congress) for the annual meeting of the American Historical Association. It’s an exciting time for the profession overall as discussions and meetings take place, and a harrowing time for those attending for job interviews. And apparently we’ll all get to see how badly the region handles winter weather.[1]

Continue reading

The Week in Early American History

TWEAH

I may be imagining things, but it seems that every time I take a turn with TWEAH there’s a major weather event going on outside my window. That may not be the case, but this edition comes to you with the first New England snow of the season. So if you’re stuck inside this morning, or just back from shoveling, take a few minutes to make a hot drink and see where The Junto may lead you.

Continue reading

The Week in Early American History

TWEAH

We have an abundance of links for your Sunday morning reading pleasure. Read on, fellow early Americanists:

Continue reading

A PhD Student’s Case for Embargoes

Note: I welcome this opportunity to expound more fully on a few quotes from me in a New York Times piece about the AHA statement. You can find my Storify of the debates on Twitter and in the blogosphere related to the statement here. It is also worth reminding readers that the opinions in our pieces are those of the author and not of the blog as a whole.

A recent policy recommendation by the AHA on the embargoing of dissertations—i.e., limiting online access and distribution for a specified period of time—has created quite a stir in the blogosphere and on Twitter. Many are criticizing the AHA for a reactionary policy that concedes the status quo, i.e., the undue influence and interest of university presses in hiring and tenure decisions and the profession’s overall laxity in adapting to the digital revolution.

Let me be clear from the outset: I am not defending the AHA’s statement, per se. It does indeed ignore the broader issue of what the AHA intends to do about the long-term, systemic problem of the profession’s transition into the digital era, more generally. I am, however, going to defend the policy of allowing students the option to embargo. Continue reading

The Week in Early American History

TWEAHLast week, we heard the news that Mitch Daniels, formerly governor of Indiana and now president of Purdue University, apparently tried to keep “terrible anti-American academic” Howard Zinn’s People’s History out of Indiana’s schools and universities. This week, Indiana University’s Carl Weinberg revealed how he actually used Zinn’s text in a training course for Indiana high school teachers. Continue reading

Teaching Narrative in Graduate School

Word Cloud of Cronon's 2013 Presidential Address

This past Monday I turned in my final paper in a graduate seminar given by John Demos entitled, “Narrative and Other Histories.” I initially registered for the class not long after watching Bill Cronon’s Presidential Address at this year’s AHA Annual Meeting and engaging in conversation about it on Twitter as well as in a piece for The Junto. With all the focus on “storytelling” and narrative as a means for carving out a twenty-first-century model of the historical profession, the course offering appeared quite timely. Continue reading

The Week in Early American History

TWEAHGood morning and Happy Inauguration Day! Since in early America the inaugural was a March event, no links to that event today, but plenty to keep you occupied until noon based on the collective wisdom of the Junto.

Continue reading

The Week in Early American History

TWEAH2Happy New Year! We took last week off while so many of us were in New Orleans for AHA, so the set of links covers just a bit more than the past seven days. From here on we should be back to our regular schedule every Sunday morning.

Continue reading

The AHA and the Future of the Profession

This past weekend, historians from all over the country invaded the Big Easy for the American Historical Association’s 2013 Annual Meeting. Thanks to Twitter, those of us unfortunate enough to not be in attendance were kept abreast of the discussions occurring regarding the state of the field. Most notably, the traditional AHA Presidential Address by outgoing President William Cronon has sparked much debate among historians as well as articles in the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Before that, Cronon oversaw a panel entitled “The Public Practice of History in and for a Digital Age,” which explored academic historians’ failures to reach the general public and the profession itself failing to sufficiently adapt to the rise of digital technology. Changes to the profession discussed included a renewed focus on storytelling and narrative to better engage the general reader in academic history, weighing digital history equally with print history (when of equal value), and rethinking the monograph as the standard mode of delivery of academic historians’ work. Due to my lack of attendance, I am indebted to the excellent Twitter and blog coverage of these events by John FeaLincoln Mullen, and others, as well as the History News Network‘s video recording of Cronon’s address (see below). Continue reading