Author Archives: Guest Blogger

What Makes a Great Proposal for the AHA Annual Meeting?

By Claire Potter and Brian Ogilvie

Chairing a conference program committee is a humbling experience, both because of the fine people in it, and because of the opportunities it provides to encounter thoughtful and engaging scholarship. Building the program of the American Historical Association’s annual meeting, especially, offers an opportunity to see what our colleagues are thinking about across the many fields and subspecialties represented in the Association’s membership. We want to congratulate the 2018 committee for the excellent meeting program in Washington, DC, and are eager to read the proposals we receive for #AHA19.

Conversations Over Cardboard: Poster Sessions at AHA18

By Kathryn Tomasek

The poster sessions at the AHA annual meeting have evolved from a small beginning in 2006 to a far more prominent set of four Saturday sessions that will be featured in the Atrium of the Marriott Wardman Park. The visibility of these sessions and their number indicates that historians have embraced the conference poster as a vital form of scholarly communication. I welcome this adaptation as a demonstration of the vitality of our discipline. When we integrate this form into our models of research and teaching, we highlight the role of conversation at the center of our disciplinary practice. 

Writing on the Wall: The AHA’s First Ever Undergraduate Poster Session

By Antoinette Burton

If you have any doubts about the vibrancy of historical curiosity among our undergraduate majors nationwide, be sure to check out the Undergraduate Poster Session, which runs from 3:30–5:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 6, in the Atrium of the Marriott Wardman Park (Exhibition Level). Jewish pirates, Catherine de Medici, 1967 in Detroit, Egypt in 2017, indigenous communities in early colonial Connecticut—these are just a few samples of the historical subjects that have caught students’ attention and propelled them into the world of historical research, thinking, and writing.

If We Fund it, Will You Come? The NEH at AHA18

By the National Endowment for the Humanities Staff

When the American Historical Association gathers for its annual meeting in Washington, DC, the staff of the National Endowment for the Humanities will enjoy home field advantage, like our city’s historically minded Washington Nationals baseball team. Having the meeting in DC allows us to send more than the usual one or two staff members to represent the agency. Several of us will be attending this year to listen to and talk with conference attendees.

Subway Stories: DC Metro and the Problem of Maintenance

By Zachary Schrag

If your Metro train to the AHA conference hotels seems to be taking longer than expected, or if the platform feels more crowded than you remember from AHA 2014, you aren’t imagining things. The past few years have been tough ones for the region’s rapid transit system, and it’s showing. 

The Rise and Fall of DC’s Chinatown

By Shaobin Zheng

Located along H and I Streets between 5th and 8th Streets NW, the Washington, DC, Chinatown was once home to thousands of Chinese immigrants. Today, mostly as a result of development and gentrification, fewer than 300 Chinese Americans live in the neighborhood. The historical development of the neighborhood speaks both to the vibrant immigrant community that once lived there and the indomitable will of those who remain to fight against social and racial injustice. 

Historians and Government Shutdowns

By Donald A. Ritchie

Federal government shutdowns are never in the best interest of historians. The unpredictable events are detrimental to research, closing down the Library of Congress, National Archives, presidential libraries, and myriad specialized resources within different agencies. Historians working for the government find shutdowns not only lock them out of their offices and disrupt their work, but add the stigma of being labeled “nonessential.” 

Medievalism, White Supremacy, and the Historian’s Craft: A Response

By Daniel Franke

Carol Symes’s AHA Today post, “Medievalism, White Supremacy, and the Historian’s Craft,” raises a number of important issues about the impact of recent political and academic controversies on the historical profession. I have long admired Symes’s work, and at the present writing she has graciously agreed to present a paper in a session I have organized for the 2018 International Medieval Congress at Leeds. We share a common intellectual lineage as well: we are both students of Joseph Strayer’s students—she of Thomas Bisson at Harvard, I of Richard Kaeuper at Rochester.