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.
By Taylor Perk
At any AHA annual meeting, it’s easy to spot dozens of well-dressed individuals preparing for interviews in the hopes of finding a job within the academy. In the past few years, however, with the advent of Career Diversity, the flavor of the meeting has changed a bit. At the Colorado Convention Center, only a few rooms over from the Job Center, one could find several PhD students and faculty members gathered to think beyond the professorial life.
By Margaret DePond
From May 2015 to October 2015, I worked as an intern for the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC).
By Jessica Derleth
Second to my fervent goal of not flubbing my paper presentation, I arrived at the 2017 AHA annual meeting hoping to find answers to one of my most pressing questions: how do I translate the skills I am learning in graduate school so they are legible to employers in both academic and nonacademic careers? The overarching answer to my question slowly emerged from a conglomeration of conference sessions on career diversity and pedagogy, conversations about humanities funding, panels on applying for academic jobs, and a string of tweets during the plenary that aimed to inform the new presidential administration of what they ought to consider in their first 100 days.
By Katie Streit
The challenging academic job market facing historians is one topic that is frequently discussed in graduate courses, academic journals, and job reports. While students are aware of the steep competition for limited positions, there are few resources available for identifying careers outside of academia and successfully marketing oneself for those positions. Fortunately, the AHA is trying to help with its Career Contacts program. The service connects graduate students and recent PhDs with historians working in various careers, including those employed in the government and nonprofit organizations.
By Jared Hardesty
As I gear up for another AHA annual meeting, I have been reflecting a lot about my own transition from graduate student to assistant professor. Mostly it’s because this will be my second year staffing the “Ask an Assistant Professor” booth at the annual meeting’s Career Fair. For those who can’t make it to the booth, and are mystified by life on the other side, here are some things about becoming an assistant professor that I wish I’d known as a graduate student.
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.
By Jessica Derleth and Tiffany Baugh-Helton
Jessica and Tiffany
While attending the AHA’s 2016 annual meeting, Jessica and I—PhD candidates in history at Binghamton University in New York—had a revelation of sorts at the Graduate and Early Career Committee’s open forum on Career Diversity. Like many other history graduate students, we had accepted the “Plan A” culture that exists in so many institutions: “Plan A” is a tenure-track job in academia; “Plan B” is whatever we can do to avoid becoming baristas with PhDs.