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?
Donald J. Trump will be inaugurated as the nation’s 45th president on January 20, 2017. With that fast-approaching fact in mind, the participants of this year’s plenary peered collectively through the fog of constant news coverage and indiscriminate commentary to compile a list of “first things”—those issues most likely to cross the new president’s desk within his first hundred days.
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.
By Nancy Toff
On the first day of the AHA’s annual meeting, the most senior editors, the youngest marketing assistants, and anyone else representing a publisher are on their hands and knees in the Exhibit Hall unpacking skids full of books. We pray that all the boxes have arrived, and then we artfully arrange a display of the last year’s publishing efforts. In a few short hours, unruly stacks of cardboard boxes morph into a Potemkin Palace of history books. That Exhibit Hall is the best place on earth—and these days, often the only place—for scholars to actually peruse our new publications, especially the specialist monographs.
By Amanda I. Seligman
Attending my first AHA annual meeting as a graduate student almost 25 years ago, I knew only my advisor, whom I saw for all of five or ten minutes as we waited for the plenary session on Nicholas Lemann’s The Promised Land. For the rest of that very long weekend, I felt entirely alone. I did not know anyone in the profession. As a novice historian and (I then firmly believed) a natural introvert, I had trouble imagining ever turning into one of those middle-aged people gracefully greeting old friends and warmly meeting strangers.
AHA staff is thrilled to announce the winning names of this year’s “Name That Cocktail!” contest. Each year, historians submit names for signature cocktails to be served at the annual meeting hotel bars. The names can be historically thematic or play off the annual meeting location.