June 21, 2010
By Robert B. Townsend
The economic hard times rocking the discipline took their toll on the AHA this past year, as membership in the Association fell 7.4 percent from the year before. This erased gains made over the previous five years and dropped membership down to 13,946 active members.
We are pleased to note, however, that eight history departments now have 100 percent membership rates among their full-time faculty—Alma College, American International College, Bethel College, Illinois College, Misericordia University, North Hennepin Community College, University of Portland, and Willamette University. We extend our special thanks and appreciation to them!
Almost three-fourths of the Association’s members are affiliated with two- and four-year colleges and universities—now comprising 72.5 percent of the membership. Notably, students now comprise more than a quarter of the total membership (26.3 percent)—up sharply from just 20 percent a decade ago.
A plurality (38 percent) of the membership specializes in European history, making it slightly larger than U.S. history (which accounts for another 35.5 percent of the membership). But when compared to full-time faculty listed in the Directory of History Departments,specialists in Latin American history were the most likely to be members of the AHA.
Currently 41 percent of listed Latin Americanists are members of the AHA, as compared to 38 percent of the historians working on European history and 31 percent of the faculty in the field of U.S. history. Among specialists in other regions, 27 percent of the full-time history faculty working on Africa and Asia, and just 23 percent of the specialists in the history of the Middle East are members.
Institutional subscriptions also declined this past year, though by smaller amounts than among the individual members. Perspectives on History lost one institutional subscriber and our Department and Organization Services Programs lost 13, while staff at the University of Chicago Press reported a 5.2 percent decline in the number of paid subscribers to the American Historical Review.