By James Rick
While attending a panel on “the Culture Wars” in American history at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Historical Association in Atlanta, I was struck by something a fellow attendee said. As someone interested in cultural history, his comment, which concerned the influence of anthropological conceptions of culture on the way historians understand and employ the concept, felt important and worth wrestling with to me. I am now a graduate student, and this question, along with others that I encountered at the annual meeting, has stuck with me and often come up in the courses I am now taking.
By Courtney Howell, Victoria Irvine, Luis Villavicencio, Ian Criman
Over the course of the summer, our team of eight undergraduate researchers collected data and engaged in historical research on tuberculosis, or consumption as it was known historically, in the United States. In the first post on our research, “Who Died of Consumption?” we discussed our research process and delved into the connections between race, newspaper reporting, and experiences with the disease as exemplified by tuberculosis victim and famous African American poet Paul Dunbar.
Rachel Snyder, Sarah Tran, Scott Saunders, and Jay Pandya
In summer 2015, a project team of eight students from Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, and George Mason University collaborated to explore the history of tuberculosis in the United States, using newspaper obituaries and census data. The project, funded by 4Va, a consortium of Virginia research universities,will be explored in two AHA Today blog postings that’ll explain this research experience from the perspective of the students. In July, the National History Center and Woodrow Wilson Center co-sponsored a research forum showcasing the students’ research. More information about the project is available at http://ethomasewing.org/tbhistory/.
A recent report from Humanities Indicators, a project of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, showed that less than a quarter of Americans aged 18 years or older visited a historical park or monument in 2012—a 13 percentage point drop from 1982. As a student from Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah, I traveled to Washington, DC, in January to intern with the American Historical Association for the spring semester. Having taken advantage of opportunities to explore the city’s many historic sites and museums, the report made me wonder about the nation’s declining interest in visiting historical sites.
Editor’s Note: The February issue of Perspectives on History carried an article by Carlisle High School teacher Kevin Wagner, winner of the AHA’s 2015 Beveridge Family Teaching Prize. In the piece, Wagner described traveling with his student, Sam Spare, to Normandy as part of the Sacrifice for Freedom Albert H. Small Teacher Institute, created by National History Day. Here are Sam’s reflections on the institute, his relationship with his history teacher, and the process of doing historical research.
To help students adapt to the changing job market, the AHA has begun a new series on searching for jobs and developing careers with a BA in history. This second post in the series focuses on career planning before you’ve earned your degree.
This guest post on pedagogy informed by Radical Indigenism is one of a series of posts on subjects discussed at the 2015 AHA annual meeting. The authors, Jennifer O’Neal, University Historian and Archivist, and Kevin Hatfield, Adjunct Assistant Professor of History, presented lessons learned and questions raised by their ongoing research course at the session “The Northern Paiute History Project: Engaging Undergraduates in Decolonizing Research with Tribal Community Members.”
As we sat in the packed room at the 2013 annual meeting Plenary Session, “The Public Practice of History in and for a Digital Age,” sifting through the various conversational strands, our ears suddenly pricked up when we heard our name mentioned. Edward Ayers, president of the University of Richmond, was onstage, discussing his plans to bring Perspectives on History into his undergraduate classroom as a way of showing his students what historians do and discuss. We were intrigued: What would students think of Perspectives?