Author Archives: Guest Blogger

Press

Announcing the Palmegiano Prize in the History of Journalism

By Erika J. Pribanic-Smith

The American Historical Association is pleased to announce a new book prize to honor excellence in historical scholarship. The Eugenia M. Palmegiano Prize in the History of Journalism, to be inaugurated in 2017, will be awarded annually to the author of the most outstanding book published in English on any aspect of the history of journalism, concerning any area of the world, and any period. This prize recognizes the vital contributions that journalism history has made to our understanding of the past.

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Who Died of Consumption? Race and Disease in the United States

Rachel Snyder, Sarah Tran, Scott Saunders, and Jay Pandya

In summer 2015, a project team of eight students from Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, and George Mason University collaborated to explore the history of tuberculosis in the United States, using newspaper obituaries and census data. The project, funded by 4Va, a consortium of Virginia research universities,will be explored in two AHA Today blog postings that’ll explain this research experience from the perspective of the students. In July, the National History Center and Woodrow Wilson Center co-sponsored a research forum showcasing the students’ research. More information about the project is available at http://ethomasewing.org/tbhistory/.

Texas Tuning 2016

AHA Holds Second Conference on Introductory History Courses in Texas

By Jonathan Lee

On August 5 and 6, the AHA held its second annual Texas Conference on Introductory History Courses at San Antonio College. The conference, which was established as a space for instructors of introductory history courses in the state to meet with each other and explore innovations surrounding teaching and learning history in informal networks, built on discussions and initiatives from its previous gathering in August 2015 at the University of Texas at Austin. The 60-plus attendees represented a diverse group of history educators from four-year, two-year, and dual-credit programs.

L0035431 A 19th century stethoscope witha bell-shaped end
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
http://wellcomeimages.org
A 19th century stethoscope with a bell-shaped end and a flexable tubing for both ears. Made by Scott Alison
Photograph
c. 1858 Published:  - 

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Thinking Like a Historian in Scrubs: How I Use My BA in History

By David Glenn

Twenty seven years ago, I was a newly declared sophomore history major. I’d fallen hard for labor history. I wanted to study the American workplace as a site of both solidarity and alienation, a place where people can sometimes break free of the chains of class, caste, and gender, while at the same time falling prey to other kinds of oppression. I wanted to write books like Christine Stansell’s City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1789–1860 (1986) or Walter Licht’s Working for the Railroad: The Organization of Work in the Nineteenth Century (1983).

Lines of people at the Baltimore City Welfare Office, Maryland (1975), Library of Congress.

Welfare Reform and the Politics of Race: 20 Years Later

By Premilla Nadasen

Twenty years ago this month, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). The act transformed Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), a federal entitlement program for poor single parents and their children, into block grants, or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families with the aim of removing people from the welfare rolls. Passed with bipartisan support, the 1996 act reflected a liberal/conservative consensus around the racialized nature of welfare and the need to encourage work rather than dependency.

Clinton_prwora

How the Culture of “Welfare Reform” Changed the US Army

 By Jennifer Mittelstadt

August 22, 2016, will mark the 20th anniversary of Bill Clinton’s signing of the 1996 welfare reform act, the law that “ended welfare as we knew it.” The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) marked a historic break from the federal government’s commitment to aid poor women and children. It imposed strict employment requirements on recipients of public funds and limited lifetime eligibility for support to no more than five years. As historical retrospectives and evaluations emerge, few recognize the extraordinary impact of the welfare reform agenda beyond the low-income single mothers it targeted.

AnniewithStudents

A Historian in the Stacks: Finding a Professional Home in the Library

By Annie Johnson

Unlike most graduate students, when I started my history PhD at the University of Southern California, I knew I did not want to be a professor. Fresh out of the public humanities program at Brown, I was inspired by the work of public historians like Steven Lubar and Richard Rabinowitz. I figured I would go on and get a PhD, like they had, and then find a curatorial job in a history museum. Not even a semester into my first year, however, my plan began to change (although I didn’t quite realize it at the time).

President Nixon meets with President Mobutu Seko of Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo) in the Oval Office in October 1973. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Conflict in Africa: The Historical Roots of Current Problems

By Elizabeth Schmidt

“The purpose of foreign policy is to promote national self-interest, not the well-being of others.” This provocative statement from the audience sparked a spirited discussion at a Washington History Seminar in April. In response, I argued that nations must embrace a definition of self-interest that is informed by historical and cultural understanding.