This week we announced the Survey of Contingent Faculty Members, and in today’s “What We’re Reading,” we link to Inside Higher Ed’s look at it. Also in the news is the National Research Council’s assessment of Research Doctoral Programs. Check out a number of links that consider this data. Then, read on to a Wall Street Journal article on the impact a school’s reputation on one’s future career. We also link to news on an upcoming Civil War Symposium and a new campaign to rename George Mason’s Center for History and New Media after Roy Rosenzweig.
The new school year draws nearer, and graduate students are gearing up. Read about what to expect as a grad student, what to consider when listening to advice, and learn about public history programs and the jobs they may lead to. For those already in the history profession, check out the Oral History Association’s best practices page, the problems of preserving digital materials, how to respond to negative blog posts, and a brief history of intellectual property. We also link to the National Archive’s YouTube channel, the Papers of the War Department project blog, the Digital Military Newspaper Library, the Library of Congress’s technology holdings, and color photographs of Russia in the early 1900s.
A sense of optimism pervaded the annual meeting of Association of American University Presses (AAUP) this past weekend, even as the staff at those presses grappled with budget cuts and rapid changes in the way scholarship is disseminated.
As in years past, history was described as a vital part of the work and catalogs of most university presses. A number of the editors and staff members there observed that they seemed to be publishing an unprecedented number of history titles, and expressed confidence that very few historians will lack for a publisher in the near future.
“Tenure, Promotion, and the Publicly Engaged Academic Historian,” a report offering best practices for evaluating public history scholarship in history departments, was adopted by the Organization of American Historians (OAH) Executive Board on April 8, the National Council on Public History (NCPH) Board of Directors on June 3, and the American Historical Association (AHA) Council on June 5.
The report argues that public history work is generally overlooked in a “tenure process that emphasizes single-authored monographs and articles at the expense of other types of scholarly productions.” Despite increasing interest in public history, public scholarship, and other forms of civic engagement in colleges and universities, current standards for evaluating historical scholarship “do not reflect the great variety of historical practice undertaken by faculty members.” Even departments that hire faculty specifically to teach public history often neglect to reward those historians for carrying out the range of public history activities required in their jobs.
One of the most interesting discussions at the recent The Humanities and Technology Camp concerned the future of peer review in the humanities, and whether it can and should continue in its current form.
In the eyes of many participants in the session, the current peer review system promotes conservatism about the form and content of scholarship, and fails to use available technologies to speed up and democratize the system. These problems seem particularly acute in the digital humanities, where scholars have to struggle with the added challenge of creating new programs to facilitate and disseminate their discoveries.
Is it time for a change? Tom Scheinfeldt thinks so, when it comes to c.v.’s and digital achievements, while Dan Cohen sees room for change in publishing and scholarly values. Read also about digital analysis of text by computers, the effects of photography on culture, and history as theater in Washington, D.C. Then, learn of a new publication from Temple University Press. Finally, for fun, take a look back at an article from the 1982 issue of The Atlantic, and remember computers of yesteryear.
In the news this week, 1,000 historians send a letter to the Texas State Board of Education, historians are among the 2010 Guggenheim Fellows, the Library of Congress archives Twitter (yes, all of it), the New Yorker reports on Stephen Ambrose’s faked interviews with Eisenhower, a new report reveals private colleges give out higher GPAs, and the military says school lunches are a threat to national security. Then, some thoughts on the history profession: economic history, fellowships and mobility, making history more interesting, and what to do with a history major.
Looking to the data for information about the status of women in the history profession provides conclusive evidence that statistics may not lie, but they rarely tell the whole truth. While the numbers let us chart the very slow progress of women in the discipline, they do a poor job of explaining why women are underrepresented at every level in academia.