The cover of the April 2009 issue of Perspectives on History features President Obama as he is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, and it asks the question: “How ‘Historic’ Is the 2008 Election?” This same question was raised at a special forum at the 123rd AHA Annual Meeting held this past January, and a panel of historians weighed in. In the April issue of Perspectives on History, read how four of the seven panelists explored this question:
Forum on the 2008 Presidential Election
- Introductory Remarks
Eric Foner gives the introductory remarks, noting the need for “long historical perspective,” and introduces each panelist.
- A Remarkable Election
Jacqueline Jones thinks most of us can admit “that this election was truly remarkable” and focuses her talk on the “idea of race” and how it factored in.
- Election 2008: How ‘Historic’ Was It?
David Levering Lewis looks at the 2008 election through three lenses: “the global; the racial; the catastrophic.”
- What Makes an Election Historic…And Has That Happened In 2008?
Julian E. Zelizer considers the 2008 election by asking three questions: Did something happen that we have not seen before? Has the election helped to create a genuine opportunity for change to occur? And, is it historic?
Forum on Capstone Courses
The April issue also contains articles from another forum, this one on Capstone Courses. Hear from Timothy L. Schroer, in “Placing the Senior Capstone Course within the History Program,” as he outlines the benefits of “organizing the history major around the senior capstone course.” Then, Mary Stockwell’s “History in the Trenches: Teaching the Undergraduate Capstone Course” explains how she runs her capstone course to mimic how a historian prepares a publication. And finally, Wendy Pojmann, Bruce Eelman, Barbara Reeves-Ellington, and Scott K. Taylor lay out “how the introduction of a capstone course led to a comprehensive restructuring of our curriculum” in “How the Capstone Course Changed the Curriculum at Sienna College.”
In the news, hear about the National Humanities Alliance meeting in Washington, read about the death of John Hope Franklin, learn of an upcoming PBS special on WWII, and get a recap of the first Museums Advocacy Day. Robert A. Schneider then gives a detailed look at the contents of the April issue of the American Historical Review.
In other AHA news, the AHA Nominating Committee is accepting nominations for the 2009 election and a working group has been created to “explore historical perspectives on same-sex marriage at the 2010 meeting in San Diego.”
From our affiliates, read the National Coalition for History’s coverage of the “Omnibus Appropriations Bill Enacted,” the National History Center’s 2009 Decolonization Seminar participants and director’s recent award, and “Languages and the Study of History” at the 123rd Annual Meeting, by Thomas Adams.
A range of topics are covered throughout a number of articles in this issue. See the following:
- The AHA in the Second World War: Trying to Win the Peace with Wartime Pamphlets – Robert Townsend looks back at the AHA’s participation in the WWII war effort through the production of 42 pamphlets for the U.S. War Department.
- The Hot Dynasty: The Tudors on Film and T.V. – Cynthia Herrup takes part in our continuing series, “Masters at the Movies,” by taking a look at the popularity of the Tudor dynasty. See also Robert Brent Toplin’s introduction: Masters at the Movies: Take 10 .
- Preserving Our History: Unfinished Business at Foggy Bottom
Wm. Roger Louis discusses “bureaucratic mismanagement” at the State Department’s Office of the Historian and how it’s affecting the The Foreign Relations of the United States series.
Find all of this, plus a number of Letters to the Editor and In Memoriam pieces in the contents online from the April 2009 issue of Perspectives on History.