Session of the Week: Did We Go Wrong? The Past and Prospects of the History Profession

From now until the 126th annual meeting, we’ll be running a series of “Session of the Week” posts here on the blog to highlight the varied scholarship you can expect at the upcoming meeting. With over 250 sessions in the Program of the 126th Annual Meeting, there’s something for everyone’s field of interest. What sessions are you looking forward to at the meeting? Let us know in the comments.

See also our roundups of digital history sessions, teaching sessions, and sessions for graduate students and early career professionals at the meeting.

This week’s featured session is AHA Session 35, “Did We Go Wrong? The Past and Prospects of the History Profession.” Click on the paper titles for their full abstracts:

Did We Go Wrong? The Past and Prospects of the History Profession (AHA Session 35)
Date: Friday, January 6, 9:30–11:30 a.m.
Location: Sheraton Ballroom V (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)

Session Abstract: Tony Grafton asked us to mount a Presidential Session for Chicago that would address the current employment situation in History via an historical survey of American graduate education, in general and in history. The number of jobs available at the 2011 meeting in Boston was one of the lowest in many years, and was far exceeded by the number of members seeking them. The great recession of 2008 and university cutbacks are part of the explanation, of course, but commentators have also suggested that American research universities are overproducing overspecialized PhDs for the existing market and have been for some time. The panel will test these hypotheses and speculate cautiously about the future state of both graduate education and the professional market for our graduates.

Chair: Barbara D. Metcalf, University of California, Davis, emerita
Papers:
A Long View: Graduate Education in America
James Axtell, College of William and Mary

By the Numbers: Professors, Doctors, and Jobs from the Beginning
Robert B. Townsend, American Historical Association

History, Humanities, and a Crystal Ball
Thomas Bender, New York University

Comment: The Audience

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