NEH Vital to Understanding our Past, Planning Our Future
|AHA Executive Director James Grossman testifies before the House Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Photo by Chris Hale
American Historical Association Executive Director James Grossman testified today before the House Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. Speaking on behalf of the AHA and the National Humanities Alliance, Grossman urged the subcommittee to provide no less than $154.3 million to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for fiscal year 2013.
Last week the AHA and other history organizations asked members on short notice to contact members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) regarding funding for history education in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Committee completed its markup on October 20, and our efforts appear to have been successful. The bill includes an amendment, offered by Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., that would create a “well-rounded” education fund. School districts could use the money to fund programs in history, civics education, social studies and eight other subject areas.
An archive of oral history recordings housed at Boston College and focused on the Irish Republican Army has been subpoenaed by the U.S. government at the request of British legal authorities as part of an “an investigation into murders and kidnappings committed nearly 40 years ago.” (NY Times; see also the coverage in the Boston Globe). The U.S. response to the British request raises complex and difficult questions about the legal status and ethical issues surrounding confidentiality agreements for oral histories, and about the roles and responsibilities of oral historians and archives relative to such agreements.
On Sunday, the American Historical Association released a statement deploring the effort to intimidate AHA president-elect William Cronon. A few members have asked for additional information and context for the statement, so we offer the following:
The controversy was initiated by a blog post on Dr. Cronon’s personal web site: “Who’s Really Behind Recent Republican Legislation in Wisconsin and Elsewhere?” In subsequent items on his blog, Cronon details how the Wisconsin Republican Party issued an Open Records Law request for his University of Wisconsin—Madison emails.
The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) has released a Humanities Action Alert, encouraging those who value the humanities to contact Congress, through this online form, and ask them to support continued funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
NHA Executive Director Jessica Jones Irons sent out the action alert, explaining that President Obama will release the FY 2012 budget next week. She says:
As you know, we face a tough fight this year to defend federal funding for the humanities.
There are only a few days left to register for Humanities Advocacy Day, put on by the National Humanities Alliance. Consider joining in to lobby for history programs on Capitol Hill. In other news, a new U.S. History AP course is a year away, the National Archives has joined Foursquare, and Google presents a new “street view” of art museums. If you’re hungry for history this month you may be interested in a group of D.C. historians who meet to discuss decades old recipes, and a journalist who tried to eat like it was 1912.
“The public work of historians” was the focus of the plenary session at our recent annual meeting. Some of us argue that such work can, and ought to, include participation in public culture and in policy discourse. As historians, we have a particular angle of vision, as well as expertise relating to how almost any contemporary issue fits into a broader arc of change over time. Are we doing enough? Can we do more? Two of our colleagues have spoken out recently in the Chronicle of Higher Education (here and here).
This week we note an upcoming registration deadline for the NHA Annual Meeting and Humanities Advocacy Day, new errors found in a Virginia history textbook, history teaching in Britian, and advice for those interviewing for jobs at the annual meeting. We also link to an article on U.S. population migration over the past century, thoughts on citing e-books, some belated holiday history, and a look at the brutality of Medieval warfare.