Staff Picks from the 2017 AHA Annual Meeting Program

Here at the AHA townhouse in Capitol Hill, staff members are switching into high gear as we prep for the 2017 annual meeting in Denver. From working with the Program Committee to put together a diverse set of speakers and panels; coordinating with vendors to ensure that everyone’s favorite press has space in the book exhibit hall; managing the Job Center and Career Fair so job seekers can learn about the wide range of opportunities available to them both inside and outside academia; to blasting the social media airwaves with annual meeting happenings, AHA staff members are intimately involved in ensuring that all parts of the annual meeting machine run smoothly.

Photo 1.TownhouseOne unfortunate side effect of all this behind-the-scenes work, however, is that many of us are unable to find the time to actually attend any sessions at the annual meeting itself. For the historians among us (a majority of the AHA staff has baccalaureate or advanced degrees in history), this is, of course, a sad state of affairs. So, this year, in hopes of drawing some attention to sessions we would love to go to, but probably can’t, we’ve gathered a selection of picks from the annual meeting program. They represent our diverse (and sometimes quirky) interests. If you’re looking to fill a few spaces in your annual meeting schedule, do check out our picks, and tweet with the hashtag #aha17 and tell us about your own!

Emily Swafford, Manager of Academic Affairs
Mercy Street Roundtable: On the Televisual Appeal of Civil War Trauma
AHA Session 123
Friday, January 6, 2017: 1:30 PM–3:00 PM
Centennial Ballroom H (Hyatt Regency Denver, Third Floor)

I loved the Mercy Street series on PBS and was impressed with how it captured some of the key conversations in US historiography on the Civil War and its aftermath. I would love to hear what experts on the subject have to say!

Dresses, Diapers, Dinner, and Detritus: Material Culture and the Cold War
AHA Session 250
Saturday, January 7, 2017: 1:30 PM–3:00 PM
Room 502 (Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room Level)

This session tickles nearly all of my historical interests: family and the Cold War? Check! I wonder if any of them would be interested in chatting about military families with me….

Allison Miller, Editor, Perspectives on History
Feminist Visibility in the Long 1970s
AHA Session 20
Thursday, January 5, 2017: 1:30 PM–3:00 PM
Governor’s Square 15 (Sheraton Denver Downtown, Plaza Building Concourse Level)

As a child of the 1970s, I had a bedroom decorated in green and orange—a hideous color combination typical of the decade, but also gender neutral. (Thanks for the brainwashing, Mom and Dad!) So I regret that I’m probably going to miss Session 20, “Feminist Visibility in the Long 1970s,” which will feature presentations on three icons of those years: Shirley Chisholm, Patsy Mink, and TV’s fictional frustrated housewife, Mary Hartman. The discussion promises to reveal the depth of feminism’s influence in popular discourse in the 1970s, beyond any of my gender-neutral daydreams.

Jane Green, Marketing and Public Relations Manager
Children as Migrants, Converts, and Mothers: Using Age as a Category of Analysis to Link Historical Experiences
AHA Session 83
Friday, January 6, 2017: 8:30 AM–10:00 AM
Mile High Ballroom 1C (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)

Age as a category of historical analysis continues to gain visibility at the annual meeting. The experience of young people is critical for understanding a range of historical forces. This session uses specific experiences across time and place “to show how local ideas about age influenced larger global processes of identity, agency, and social structure.

The Future of Midwestern History
AHA Session 98
Friday, January 6, 2017: 10:30 AM–12:00 PM
Room 402 (Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room Level)

As a born and raised Midwesterner, I am excited to see a growing historical interest in this important, but neglected, region of the United States. Would knowing more about my home-region’s history increase my appreciation for it, or burst my bubble? Either way, everything has a history, even “fly-over country.”

Debbie Doyle, Meetings Coordinator
Religion and State Building from Luther to DAESH/ISIS
AHA Session 165
Friday, January 6, 2017: 3:30 PM–5:00 PM
Mile High Ballroom 2A (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)

This session is a great example of scholars providing historical perspective on contemporary events.

New Directions in Environmental History, Part 3: The Anthropocene in History
AHA Session 142
Friday, January 6, 2017: 1:30 PM–3:00 PM
Centennial Ballroom F (Hyatt Regency Denver, Third Floor)

A chance to learn about an intriguing concept I know little about!

Unsettling Domesticities: New Global Histories of Family and Home
AHA Session 91
Friday, January 6, 2017: 10:30 AM–12:00 PM
Mile High Ballroom 1C (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)

International perspective on a topic I have done a lot of reading on, but from an American perspective!

Elizabeth Elliott, Program Assistant
Zoos and Global History
AHA Session 42
Thursday, January 5, 2017: 3:30 PM–5:00 PM
Centennial Ballroom H (Hyatt Regency Denver, Third Floor)

An uncommon topic, even though zoos are one of the best-loved—and sometimes most controversial—features of the modern city.

Amanda Moniz, Program Coordinator
Cornerstones of Civil Society: A Roundtable Discussion on the Civic Value of Hospitals
AHA Session 18
Thursday, January 5, 2017: 1:30 PM–3:00 PM
Centennial Ballroom G (Hyatt Regency Denver, Third Floor)

Hospitals were the core of the charitable systems of early modern European and American cities. I’m curious to think more about their civic function and to learn more about hospitals in other eras and places.

History at Minority-Serving Institutions: Strategies and Opportunities
AHA Session 88
Friday, January 6, 2017: 10:30 AM–12:00 PM
Mile High Ballroom 4A (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)

History belongs to all of us. I am concerned how cuts in funding for history education are affecting students at minority-serving institutions and would like to hear about strategies to reverse this trend.

Dana Schaffer, Deputy Director
Revisiting Historic House Museums: Research Agendas and Teaching Strategies
AHA Session 14
Thursday, January 5, 2017: 1:30 PM–3:00 PM
Room 607 (Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room Level)

My first job out of college was as a visitor services assistant at the Old South Meeting House in Boston where we worked with local third graders to re-enact the tea tax debates. The house museum sparked my own interest in history as a child, and I’m interested to hear how new interpretations are evolving for public and school audiences.

Rewriting Busing: New Histories of School Desegregation
AHA Session 76
Friday, January 6, 2017: 8:30 AM–10:00 AM
Centennial Ballroom H (Hyatt Regency Denver, Third Floor)

I walked my 5-year-old to her first day of kindergarten last week at our neighborhood public school. Revisiting the memories of my own experience 36 years ago in North Carolina, I’ve thought a lot about how my daughter’s experience in DC will differ from that of the kids at Sternberger Elementary School. Are our schools more racially segregated now than they were in 1980?

Stephanie Kingsley, Associate Editor, Web and Social Media
Teaching Book History

Affiliate Panel: Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing
Friday, January 6, 2017: 3:30 PM–5:00 PM
Room 303 (Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room Level)

Want to get your students into primary sources more? Book history—the history of the production, transmission, and reception of texts—is increasingly becoming a popular topic for the classroom. Presenters will discuss activities to engage students in book history, as well as content areas where book history can be an enlightening approach.

James Grossman, Executive Director
Authors and Their Work in the Brave New Worlds of Scholarly Publishing
AHA Session 3
Thursday, January 5, 2017: 1:30 PM–3:00 PM
Mile High Ballroom 2B (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)

A Retrospective on Tuning: Where Have We Been and Where Should We Go?
AHA Session 31
Thursday, January 5, 2017: 3:30 PM–5:00 PM
Mile High Ballroom 1B (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)

Historical Expertise and Political Authority
AHA Session 61
Friday, January 6, 2017: 8:30 AM–10:00 AM
Mile High Ballroom 3B (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)

History in the Federal Government: Careers Serving the Policymakers and the Public
AHA Session 137
Friday, January 6, 2017: 1:30 PM–3:00 PM
Mile High Ballroom 1C (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)

Each of these four sessions focus on what historians do, but in very different contexts: classrooms, the public sphere, government, and scholarly communication in journals.

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