Perspectives on History—April 2012

April 2012 Perspectives on HistoryThe online version of the April 2012 issue of Perspectives on History is now available, and features articles on amateur historians’ love for history, the complexities of the History Tuning Project, using Wikipedia and blogs in the classroom, and much more.

Read on for a closer look at some of these articles, and check out the April 2012 issue online for yourself. Please note that some articles are available only to AHA members. To read these articles, you will need to log in to AHA online services.

Loving History
AHA President William Cronon begins the April issue by investigating the root of the word amateur and celebrating amateur historians’ love for history. Then, AHA Executive Director James Grossman explains the intricacies of the AHA’s new History Tuning Project in his article “Tuning in to the History Major.”

Technology and Teaching
History teachers are embracing new technologies to enhance and enrich learning in their classes. Read Jeremy Brown and Benedicte Melanie Olsen’s detailed account of using Wikipedia as a teaching tool in an undergraduate classroom and discover how “Blogging in the Classroom” can help instructors incorporate a rich variety of supplemental multimedia resources.

Movies
The 19th article in the Masters at the Movies series is a fascinating study by Poshek Fu on Cold War influences on Hong Kong films. Also, be sure to read Robert Brent Toplin’s informative introduction, which offers a broader background on actors Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.

Lives in History
Learn the importance of oral history for policy historians’ research in “Oral History, Policy History, and Information Abundance and Scarcity” by Patrick Sharma.

Nellie Neilson was the AHA’s first female president back in 1943. Meet her and learn about the long road to her election in this article by Allen Mikaelian.

News
In recent AHA news, three AHA members have been awarded the 2012 Bancroft Prizes and the April 2012 American Historical Review is on its way. In this issue, we also get Lee White’s summary of history news from Washington (including history reform bills, reports, and grants); Marian Barber’s report that the National History Center is reviving its congressional briefings series; the Central European History Society announcement  it is seeking a new editor; and the Society for Military History news of its annual awards.

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  1. Infuriated, PhD

    When our jobs are under threat or totally nonexistent and university administrators are cutting back on hiring “unnecessary” (read non pre-professional, non-vocational) faculty like history professors, is it really wise for the AHA to be devoting pages of Perspectives to amateurs or to wikipedia? Do you have any idea how many PhDs cannot function as professional historians in the current anti-humanities climate in colleges and universities? Do you know how hard it is to practice history as an adjunct? I might as well be an amateur historian. Maybe I’d get a little respect then. I’d certainly not be living below the poverty level. For that matter, I didn’t grow up the child of a prominent professional historian. My own father thinks I am an amateur, an antiquarian, a genealogist. Most people have no idea that there is such a thing as a professional historian. I’d really like to see the AHA defend the profession of history. Why do I bother paying the membership fee? At the very least, the AHA or William Cronon needs to stop assuming that full-time, tenure-track, or tenured “professional” historians are the norm. They are the minority and those of us who are trying to be professional historians are suffering. Get a spine and do something! Defend us. When the majority of recent history PhDs cannot function as professionals, there’s absolutely no need to tell professional historians that they need to appreciate amateurs. We will soon all be amateurs. So, please, no more pieces on the joys of wikipedia, no more celebrating amateurs when the profession as a whole is under threat. Stop being so naive.

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