The pages of the Hill Rag, Capitol Hill’s monthly newspaper, were filled with remembrances of Steve Cymrot last month. Steve, who passed away on November 29, was the founder of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, owner of Riverby Books on East Capitol Street, and the mastermind behind the Capitol Hill oral history project, all of which are projects that he worked on with his wife Nicky.
Historians are uniquely qualified for the important social and educational job of putting current affairs into historical context. We do it in our classrooms, in op-ed pieces, in books and articles, and at conferences and meetings. Sometimes a news item calls loudly for historical contextualization. The restoration of full diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba that was announced yesterday surely qualifies as one of these.
This week, people around the world recalled conflicts of the past and resolutions for peace. They held ceremonies for the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and Remembrance Sunday on November 9, and for Armistice Day and Veterans Day on November 11. On Sunday, Berlin released 8,000 balloons along an eight-mile stretch where die Mauer previously stood. That same day, the Queen visited the memorial at the Cenotaph, and crowds gathered at the Tower of London to view the 888,246 ceramic poppies “bleeding” forth from the tower—representative of the British and Commonwealth servicemen who died in World War I.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has released the 2012–13 Survey of Humanities Departments, the first such survey since 2007–08.
The Washington History Seminar, a joint venture of the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars with support from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, begins on September 8.
Over the past few weeks the Chancellor and Trustees of the University of Illinois have received a rising tide of criticism from across the academic community for the handling of the “Salaita Case.” The American Historical Association has followed this case closely with growing concern about its implications for academic freedom. President Jan Goldstein, President-Elect Vicki Ruiz and Immediate Past President Kenneth Pomeranz have now written an open letter to Chancellor Phyllis Wise of the University of Illinois. The letter urges the Chancellor to “reinstate the offer of a tenured position” to Professor Salaita.
The release of a new “framework” for the Advanced Placement examination in United States History has provoked controversy over the nature and content of the AP course. The AHA supports the direction that the College Board has taken with this new approach to Advanced Placement history education, as indicated in the framework and in the sample exam subsequently released by the Board.
On July 31, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced a bill to expand the Student Loan Forgiveness program to adjunct faculty. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will be reviewing this bill shortly.