On September 18, the Wilderness Society presented environmental historian and University of Wisconsin-Madison professor William Cronon with its highest citizen’s honor, the Robert Marshall Award.
In an effort to highlight the diverse range of scholarship at the upcoming annual meeting, we’re highlighting different sessions here on the blog each week.
In his article “Professional Boredom” in the March 2012 issue of Perspectives on History, AHA President William Cronon discussed what it means to be a “professional historian” and advocated for history writing that’s engaging and accessible to a broad audience. His article generated numerous insightful responses and discussions online, and today we highlight a few.
- Mirror, Mirror On the Wall, Who Is the Smartest Historian of All?
Claire B. Potter suggests that Cronon’s article on “Professional Boredom” and Tim Burke’s article on critique should be “required reading for all history departments” since they provide opportunities to start important conversations about the history profession.
Image courtesy of Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
Many of the stories we will hear during Women’s History Month will be of “firsts” of pioneers and trailblazers. Often these stories are cast as turning points and new beginnings, as if once the barriers were knocked down, a new world suddenly appeared. But the story of Nellie Neilson, the American Historical Association’s first female president, shows how halting and sporadic change can be.
Nellie Neilson had first been nominated for the presidential position at the AHA in 1932, but wasn’t elected until 1943.
Note: This article is an appreciation of Drew Faust on the occasion of her Jefferson Lecture tonight. “A Historian’s Historian” by David W. Blight was first published in the May-June 2011 issue of Humanities magazine, which is published by the National Endowment for the Humanities and can be found at http://www.neh.gov/.
“War is terrible and yet we love it,” wrote Drew Gilpin Faust in 2004. “War is, by its very definition, a story. War imposes an orderly narrative on what without its definition of purpose and structure would be simply violence.
In the news this week, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellows for 2011 include three former AHA presidents and a current AHA Council member. Also in the news, George Mason’s Center for History and New Media has been renamed after Roy Rosenzweig. We then link to articles on historians’ thoughts on the federal budget (hearing from Jill Lepore and Richard White), an Australian who studies African American history, a look at what makes a web resource useful to researchers, and history on Twitter.
Eric Foner, the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, and a former president of the AHA (for 2000), received the 2011 history Pulitzer Prize for his book, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, which was published in 2010 by W.W. Norton.
The book, which has already been awarded the Bancroft and Lincoln prizes, has been called “the definitive account of this crucial subject” by David Brion Davis. The Library Journal has described it “as the most sensible and sensitive reading of Lincoln’s lifetime involvement with slavery and the most insightful assessment of Lincoln’s—and indeed America’s—imperative to move toward freedom.”
Foner is noted for his many books on 19th-century American history, including Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War; Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863–77; and The Story of American Freedom.
In the news this week, some new ideas about declassification of historical records, Ken Burns announces Vietnam War documentary, and the LA Times checks out a Virginia Civil War sesquicentennial project. Then, learn more about reCaptcha, get advice on online images and copyright, peruse a roundup of women’s history, and take a look back at historic D.C. We also continue with more articles and news on the William Cronon affair. Finally, follow-up on the recently rejected Google Books Settlement through a number of links.