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Towers of Babel: New York’s Historical Enterprise

History’s Babel: Scholarship, Professionalization, and Historical Enterprise in the United States, 1880-1940, by Robert B. Townsend was just reviewed on H-Net. While I will not be purchasing the book (I have enough to read already!), the review struck home. .

The author was the deputy director of the American Historical Association (AHA) and much of the book is through the prism of that organization. As one might expect from the title, Townsend’s concern is the fragmentation of the historical enterprise into bunch of organizations that do not speak to each other. Does that sound at all like the New York historical enterprise today? Continue reading “Towers of Babel: New York’s Historical Enterprise”

The American Historical Association and NY History

One of the types of posts which I have writing is conference reports. The purpose is to share with people who have not attended a conference what I have learned by attending one. In this post I wish to deviate slightly by reporting on a conference I did not attend but from which relevant information still is available. The conference is the annual meeting of the American Historical Association just held in New Orleans.
Continue reading “The American Historical Association and NY History”

Academics and Popular History

Previous posts here have addressed issues raised at the annual conference of the American Historical Association (AHA) on of the lack of history jobs and the lack of history interest by the press. Related to that, a discussion on a history list last summer focused on the disconnect between the world of academic historians and the general public under the heading of “Scholarly versus Popular History.” The following submission by Lance R. Blyth, University of New Mexico (7/19/11) deserves attention: Continue reading “Academics and Popular History”

Why is the Press Indifferent to History? How Do We Communicate History?

At the recently concluded annual conference of the American Historical Association, in addition to the passionate discussions about “NO HISTORY JOBS! NO HISTORY JOBS! NO HISTORY JOBS!” featured in my previous post, there were four panels on “Historians, Journalists, and the Challenges of Getting It Right.” Excerpts from a report by Rick Shenkman, publisher and editor-in-chief of the History News Network on these presentations follow [his full report is online]. Continue reading “Why is the Press Indifferent to History? How Do We Communicate History?”

The Debate Rages Over History Jobs

The American Historical Association (AHA) held its annual conference on January 5-8, 2012, in Chicago. One of the non-academic issues it addressed was the employment situation in the history profession. The impetus for the last-minute session at the conference on the subject was an essay by Jesse Lemisch, Professor Emeritus of History at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York titled “History is Worth Fighting For, But Where is the AHA?“. Continue reading “The Debate Rages Over History Jobs”