Historians as ActivistsFeatures
- American Historical Association
- National Coalition for History
- National Council for History Education
- National Council for the Social Studies
- Organization of American Historians
- Historians for Obama
- National History Day
- Network of Concerned Historians
- Historians Against the War
ActivitiesFollowing is a continuously updated list of activities by historians involved in political action in causes related to history education, history budgets, or social and political change.
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Dalek S Wu - 9/23/2007
Historians have the First Amendment right to speak their minds just like any other person.
That being said, every action--including speaking one's mind--has consequences. Exercising one's First Amendment rights opens one to criticism.
The problem is when historians misrepresent themselves to be "experts" in fields where they are not. For example, Max Boot and the Kagan brothers have Doctorates in History, but that is absolutely no qualification for them making military decisions. No matter how worshiped a Doctorate is in academia, it is simply no substitute for a Combat Infantryman's Badge, a Combat Action Ribbon, a Purple Heart, or a Medal with a "V" device in the real world.
This problem is not unqiue to historians. The same thing applies to CEO's and MBA's who try to run militaries and the police. "Downsizing" is a bad idea for the security forces, pure and simple. So are things like COMPSTAT (aka FUDGESTAT) and billionaire Mike Bloomberg cutting the salary of NYPD Officers to 25K a year all in the name of "cutting back big government."
Nadja Adolf - 2/21/2007
One would think that historians would have learned from the Belleisles debacle; when one abandons objectivity to support an agenda one loses credibility.
Historians in the US seem to be evolving into the past biologists of the former USSR - Lysenko and friends created "results" to fit an agenda.
Peter N. Kirstein - 4/2/2006
There are those who wish historians would be objective, neutral and non-judgmental of the past or the present. Such an approach does not fully embrace the notion of professional responsibility which is to be an engaged citizen both within and outside the classroom.
Those of us who have been sanctioned for speech know full well the consequences of acquiescing to intimidation and coercion: more restrictions on academic freedom and fewer historians to challenge the current order. While historians and other academic should be free to pursue and define their own level of engagement in the politics of the day, it is the thunder from the right that wishes to obliterate that choice that is of concern.
Melissa Nicole Stuckey - 2/8/2005
To all OAH members:
On April 1st, 2004, the OAH is set to meet at the Hilton in San Francisco for its 2005 Annual Meeting. UNITE HERE Local 2 representing workers at the convention site has called a boycott against Hilton. The union’s contract expired more than five months ago with management refusing to put an acceptable proposal on the table. One of the key issues at stake is the employers’ attempts to increase workers’ health care co-payments by nearly ten-fold. All of this has taken place during a time when these companies have enjoyed their most robust profit margins since 9/11.
The employers in San Francisco continue to treat their workers unjustly. They locked-out workers for 5 weeks, and during that period 4300 UNITE HERE members were forced out on the street without pay. Employers also threatened to cancel their workers’ health insurance benefits. Were it not for the efforts of Gavin Newsom, the Mayor of San Francisco, who negotiated an end to the lockout and persuaded some private insurers to extend coverage to UNITE HERE members during the holiday season, the lockout might well still be going on, and those 4300 workers and their families would not have health insurance. When the lockout ended, many UNITE HERE members had already received eviction and foreclosure notices. The negotiated “cooling off” period has long since expired and employer recalcitrance has made a resolution to the dispute distant at best. The boycott is still likely to be in place by the time of the annual meeting.
We cannot cross boycott lines: the more business that comes to these hotels during the boycott, the less incentive employers like Hilton have to settle with their workers. On the flip side, the more business employers lose during the boycott, the more likely they will be to settle. As an organization, we have an ideological, philosophical and moral obligation to honor the union boycott.
If the OAH agrees to work with UNITE HERE staff and move the convention to nearby San Jose, we will be able to honor the boycott and still hold a successful annual meeting. Moving to an alternate meeting site in San Jose will mean that the attendees will not have to change their plane reservations nor will the Friday off-site programs have to be cancelled. Buses can be arranged to do all the walking tours, etc. that have been planned for Friday. Even though the OAH has not committed to moving the meeting, the meeting planner will be inspecting the San Jose site on February 15th if union negotiations are not solidified by this time.
As OAH members, we must show our support for moving the convention. The OAH already has a union preference and a precedent for moving the annual meeting. In St. Louis a few years back we moved the 2000 annual meeting out of the Adam’s Mark Hotel in protest over discriminatory practices. This action was very effective. One month after we moved the meeting, Adam’s Mark agreed to pay 8 million dollars to plaintiffs represented by the NAACP as well as to four historically black colleges and universities in Florida.
We call on the Organization of American Historians to honor Local 2’s boycott of the Hilton and work with the staff UNITE HERE to secure an alternate site in San Jose.
Please go to http://www.PetitionOnline.com/geso2005/petition.html and sign the petition in favor of moving the meeting.
You can also send emails to OAH President James Horton (email@example.com) and OAH Executive Director Lee Formwalt (firstname.lastname@example.org) and encourage them to do the right thing.
Please forward widely.
Jay Driskell and Melissa Stuckey, Yale University.
DeWayne Edward Benson - 2/6/2005
I don't know where this history should be introduced, very likely middle grades. That I am aware, this history is taught at no level, except perhaps in some dark-recesses of an apparently some little known college.
This history being a violation of the U.S. Constitution passed back and forth between Democrat and Republican parties for the past 65 years. This would mean at the approval of the United States SUpreme Court, meaning that all three branches of US government are involved in a violation of the Constitution.
The topic of lesson being that this nation and citizens have lived under "Emergency War Conditions" for the past 65 years, and essentially no one being aware of the fact.
This Emergency condition due to DEM/GOP Executive-Office use of "Emergency War Powers", this done by posting of "Executive Orders" into the Federal Register, these becoming the law of the land. An interesting situation involved here, the Constitution authorizes only the Legislative or Congress powers to make laws.
Presently there are suppose to be three (3) wars still in effect using this power. Another interesting point is that the Constitution gives (only) Congress the power to "Declare War", although Presidents up to George Bush have begun wars, at times desguised as "Police Actions."
Perhaps this would best be taught in relation to President Lincoln, who because of a divided Congress (without quorum to operate), required Lincoln to take extraordinary messures to keep government operating, by issuing executive orders. Or perhaps Franklin Roosevelt, who illegally began this Emergency War Powers again.
- Historian Daniel K. Williams says Democrats have a religion problem
- Bill O’Reilly – America’s best-selling “historian” – ridiculed in Harper’s for writing bad history
- Largest history festival is the UK criticized for being white and male
- Eric Foner doesn’t think much of a book that claims Lincoln moved slowly to emancipate blacks because he was a racist
- Harvard's Moshik Temkin pens op ed in the NYT warning historians not to use analogies