Through e-mail conversation from June 7, 2016, to December 1, 2016, and at meetings on January 5 and 8, 2017, the Council of the American Historical Association made the following decisions or actions:
The AHA’s Committee on International Historical Activities invites historians to submit theme proposals and participate in the critical process of shaping the contours of the 23rd international congress of the International Committee of Historical Sciences (known usually by its French acronym, CISH), scheduled to be held in Poznań, Poland, in 2020. The congress is held every five years to discuss all aspects of history across temporal and spatial boundaries with the goal of instituting “a permanent dialogue between fields of knowledge and different cultures.” This is the most significant global gathering of its kind for historians.
The American Historical Association is pleased to announce the receipt of a $1.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to continue and expand its work on Career Diversity for Historians. Launched in 2014 after several years of preliminary work, Career Diversity for Historians supports an exploration of the culture and practice of doctoral education in history. Pilot programs at Columbia University; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Chicago; and the University of New Mexico have devised new courses and programming, including doctoral internships, revised professionalization seminars, new community spaces, and innovative grants.
With the dramatic increases in dual enrollment/concurrent enrollment programs, the American Historical Association reiterates its commitment to both broadening access to higher education and monitoring the quality of that education in our discipline. The AHA seeks to provide constructive support for all historians involved in and affected by this work. The Association’s Statement on Dual/Concurrent Enrollment offers high school and college faculty, along with their administrators, guidelines to assure baseline quality history education for all students, regardless of where they attend class.
On November 11, the local press in the San Francisco Bay Area reported that a history teacher at Mountain View High School had been suspended for drawing parallels between President-elect Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler in his lesson plan. Longtime teacher Frank Navarro was placed on paid leave apparently following an alleged complaint from a parent about this analogy. We were pleased to see that he was quickly reinstated, and note that the superintendent of schools in Mountain View has stated in a letter to concerned correspondents that the action related to a confidential personnel matter and “I can state that—despite what the headlines say—the teacher’s paid leave was not for teaching a lesson comparing Trump to Hitler.”
An unusually bitter and divisive election has been followed by continuing evidence of polarization to the point of harassment seldom seen in recent American history. Historians can say with confidence that this is not our nation’s finest hour. Language previously relegated to the margins has moved out of the shadows, emboldening elements of American society less interested in a more perfect union than in division and derision.
The Institute for Constitutional History is pleased to announce another seminar for advanced graduate students and junior faculty: Democratic Constitutionalism.
The AHA Council approved a letter to US Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, requesting a timely recommendation to the White House regarding a National Monument in Beaufort, South Carolina, in recognition of Reconstruction. The proposed monument would be the first in the National Park Service to expressly represent the history of emancipation and Reconstruction. The significant historical events that transpired at Beaufort make it an ideal place to tell this critical story of experimentation, potential transformation, accomplishment, and disappointment.