Each year’s February issue of Perspectives tries to evoke memories of the most recent annual meeting—January 5–8 in Denver, in this case—through as many conference-inspired news stories, essays, and photographs as can fit into 40 pages. The annual meeting has evolved radically to incorporate innovative session formats, a broadening spectrum of research topics and methodologies, opportunities to exchange ideas about teaching, and most importantly, a far more diverse representation of our community.
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 Antoinette Burton
As the final sessions of the 2017 AHA in Denver drew to a close on Sunday, January 8, the sun shone and the temperatures headed toward 50 degrees—a welcome contrast to the blizzard with which the conference had opened a few days before. Much to my surprise, I found myself already looking forward to the 2018 AHA annual meeting in Washington, DC.
If you haven’t seen Stanley Fish in a while, I’ll tell you this: the man has not lost a step. He’s as puckish and provocative as ever. One of four panelists at the annual meeting’s Session 61, “Historical Expertise and Political Authority,” Fish (visiting professor of law at Cardozo Law School) carved out a spot by and for himself with his usual gusto, and I’ll spare you any suspense: historians do not have useful expertise to offer democratic politics. As individual citizens, they might; as distinguished historians, they do not.
The Committee on LGBT History is soliciting submissions for next year’s meeting of the American Historical Association in Washington, DC, January 4–7, 2018. We welcome scholarship focused on any region and period and especially encourage those working on areas outside of the United States and periods before the twentieth century.
Whether this is your first or fiftieth annual meeting, you can probably pick out a favorite moment from the familiar flurry of activities. Perhaps it was the time you spotted an old friend, presented your new research after months of anticipation, or listened to someone who forever changed your perspective on a topic. We asked this year’s attendees to tell us the highlights—personal or professional—of their snowy weekend in the Mile High City:
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.
By Rick Halpern
The Denver omelet is a near ubiquitous offering on diner and greasy spoon menus across the country, but what is the home city’s spin on this American perennial? And what can the culinary history of this dish tell us about the social history of the frontier West? Why not take advantage of a few days in Denver for the 2017 AHA annual meeting to explore these questions?