Author Archives: Kritika Agarwal

About Kritika Agarwal

Kritika Agarwal is associate editor, publications, at the AHA.

The “Practical Value of History”: Historians in the Federal Government

What is the “practical value of history”? This was the framing question of J. Samuel Walker’s Roger R. Trask Lecture delivered at the annual meeting of the Society for History in the Federal Government (SHFG) on April 13. Walker, who’s the former historian of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the author of several acclaimed books on the history of nuclear power, argued that historians must answer this question if they are to survive the never-ending austerity that the profession faces.

Want to Write for the AHA? Apply Today to Become a Summer Blogger!

A key skill for 21st-century historians, whether they work in the professoriate, public history, government, publishing, or beyond, is the ability to communicate through a variety of media to different audiences. Many historians have turned to blogging to reach a broad public, and the success of historical writing online demonstrates a certain hunger for historians’ point of view.

“Education Embargo”: Scholars at Risk Hosts Discussion on How Immigration Bans Restrict Knowledge

President Donald J. Trump’s new executive order on immigration was supposed to go into effect today. The new order was slightly narrower in scope than the original—it suspended travel from six countries instead of seven, and made exceptions for certain visa holders and US legal permanent residents. It also no longer singled out Syrian refugees for indefinite exclusion from the United States—all refugee settlement, including for those fleeing Syria, would have been temporarily suspended for four months pending further review.

Monumental Effort: Historians and the Creation of the National Monument to Reconstruction

One of President Obama’s last act while in office was to designate a national monument to Reconstruction in Beaufort, South Carolina. The AHA supported this important expansion of the National Park Service system with a letter to the US Secretary of the Interior on November 16, 2016. AHA Today spoke to historians Greg Downs and Kate Masur, whose advocacy was crucial to this effort, about the significance of the designation, the backstory of the monument’s creation, and next steps.

Doyle manages details large and small at the AHA's headquarters in the Colorado Convention Center. Credit: Marc Monaghan

Behind the Scenes at the Annual Meeting

Who do you call if you spot a pigeon flying around in the Job Center at the AHA’s annual meeting? Or when you go to that much-awaited session with your favorite historian on it, only to find that the sound system is mysteriously projecting into the room next door? Chances are that the person who steps in will be Debbie Doyle. Most AHA members know that the annual meeting is huge and complicated (on average, our meeting attracts 4,000 historians), but few are aware of how all the moving parts come together—or even how many moving parts there are.

Politics, Fashion, Food, and History: The Best of 2016 on AHA Today

Since launching in 2006, AHA Today has provided a platform for historians to showcase their research, professional activities, and historical expertise. The posts below—some of our most popular in 2016—demonstrate the diverse interests of historians and the diversity among historians. From fun annual meeting fashion forecasts to the serious business of Supreme Court nominations, AHA Today in 2016 had it all!

Wrapping Up the 2016 AHA Today Summer Blog Contest

This summer, three history graduate students presented their research on subjects as varied as plantation architecture, gift exchange between Muslims and Christians in the early modern Mediterranean, and Reconstruction politics in Mississippi on the pages of AHA Today. Our bloggers talked about the challenges of doing research—from studying decrepit buildings with little or no historical record to discovering that the central figure of their research was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. They described cross-cultural interactions between groups that are traditionally seen as having little in common and unearthed the messy histories of slavery and racial politics in the South.

Mapping Indigenous LA: Uncovering Native Geographies through Digital Storytelling

Indigenous history is everywhere, and yet too often overlooked or ignored. In Los Angeles, a coalition of academics, archaeologists, activists, and members of local indigenous communities, is working to create a digital storymapping project that “aims to uncover and highlight the multiple layers of indigenous Los Angeles.” Mapping Indigenous LA is exemplary in its privileging of indigenous knowledge and protocol, as well as in its attention to documenting the presence of Southern California’s original inhabitants as well as diasporic indigenous communities. AHA Today spoke to professor Mishuana Goeman, co-principal investigator of the project, for more on this effort.