Like the scent of fresh school supplies, Perspectives on History is back for fall. We’re proud to present our big September issue, featuring a special section, Perspectives on Democracy. Because the topic is far from specific to the United States, and certainly transcends our current presidential campaign, we gathered six historians to tackle it from points of view the world over. Our specialists include AHA past president Barbara Weinstein (Brazil), Peter Zarrow (China), Emily Lord Fransee (Senegal), Charlotte Lydia Riley (United Kingdom), Ramnarayan Rawat (India), and Johann N.
“I grew up reading about you,” historian Clayborne Carson told Terrence Roberts, one of the nine Arkansas teenagers who faced down racist mobs to integrate Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The two sat beside each other onstage before a packed audience at the National Museum of the American Indian, there to witness the opening roundtable for “The Future of the African American Past”—a historic conference inaugurating the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, soon to open on the National Mall.
The unofficial slogan of the American Historical Association is “Everything has a history.” Introduced by executive director James Grossman in the December 2015 issue of Perspectives, the phrase now appears on staff business cards and, in its hashtag form, has begun to spread on Twitter. As Grossman put it, “Instead of lamenting the decline of public intellectuals, I propose that most historians ought to be capable of functioning in public arenas, ought to be capable of at least reminding our neighbors that everything has a history.”
The April issue of Perspectives on History arrives near the end of the academic year, when many historians are neck-deep in metrics—grades, course evaluations, funding allocations, and more. So it’s appropriate that several stories in this month’s Perspectives address modes of measurement and their implications.
By Allison Miller
An open file cabinet graces the cover of this month’s Perspectives on History. As an illustration for our cover story—a brief for the power of academic administration to further knowledge production—it’s apt enough.
Perspectives continues its tradition of devoting the February issue to capturing the spirit of the annual meeting just past.
“Is that a DeLorean?!” my grad school friend screamed mid-conversation, looking across 18th Street. It was the first weekend of January 2014, and we were in Washington, DC, for the AHA annual meeting. And it was cold!
Are historians shaking off a Frankfurt School hangover? Anecdotally, it seems that having a taste for mass culture is more acceptable today than it was in the past, at least for the critical set.