The AHA’s Tuning project has released a new version of its Discipline Core—a statement of the central habits of mind, skills, and understanding that students achieve when they major in history.
Today’s What We’re Reading features a roundup of links in remembrance of historian Edmund Morgan, a “filthy history of New York,” an outsider’s perspective on looking for a history job, and a useful guide to #hashtags.
Today’s What We’re Reading features the recent Supreme Court decisions, a new crowdsourcing project from the Chronicle aimed at tracking PhD placement, a new report on the health and vitality of national parks in England, and much more!
Now open and available to all, James Herbert, former director of research programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities, reviews three books on doing history and what that means: Being a Historian by James M. Banner Jr., History Hunting by James Cortada, and History in Practice by Ludmilla Jordanova.
A common theme that Herbert points out is how “All three of these books humbly refrain from claiming high epistemological status for history … . All three, however, calmly assume the utility of history, of what Jordanova calls ‘the past’s perennial usefulness in the present.’” With this in mind, Herbert goes on to discuss the central role that public (or “applied”) history plays in each of these books, in the expanded career choices for students of history, and in the discipline as a whole.
At a time when many people are wondering, “What jobs does a history degree prepare a student for?” almost everyone would agree that one such job is K–12 teaching. So this article from a Columbia history major who feels that she and her peers are being steered away from teaching should concern us as historians—even if it didn’t also concern us as citizens. Our communities ought to consider why teachers are paid less than financial advisors; surely our children are as important as our money.
If you are at a university, the April issue of Perspectives on History probably arrived together with finals or midterms. Your time is even more precious than usual, and general reading is probably not your first priority. But I would strongly encourage you to make time for the forum on the AHA’s Tuning project—even, or perhaps especially, if you are skeptical of the effort.
Like it or not, we face increasingly intense pressures to explain what benefit there is in studying history, either for the student or for society.
In the April issue of Perspectives on History, we featured an opinion piece by Nicholas Sarantakes, who teaches history at the US Naval War College and has been writing about careers for historians at his blog, In the Service of Clio since 2009. As Sarantakes noted in a recent blog post, he didn’t get to cover everything he wanted to cover in his article, which makes a number of suggestions for how the AHA might address the academic jobs crisis.
We are making available, to members and nonmembers alike, Robert B. Townsend’s article for the April issue of Perspectives on History, which analyzes Department of Education research and finds that the number of history bachelor’s degrees awarded has declined for the first time in a decade.
Although the decline is small in terms of percentages, the fact that the undergraduate population as a whole is growing means that history’s share of the graduate population is declining significantly, accelerating a four-year trend that has adverse implications for the job market and history departments.