Notes from the AHA Business Meeting



David A. Walsh is an editor for the History News Network. Rick Shenkman contributed reporting

Outgoing AHA president Anthony Grafton passes
the baton to incoming president Wiliam Cronon


The American Historical Association’s Business Meeting was sparsely attended this year, despite the high profiles of outgoing AHA president Anthony Grafton and incoming president William Cronon—only around forty people turned up. Fortunately, though, one of those in the audience was an HNN correspondent. We present to you bulletins from the AHA Business Meeting:


  • 4,700 people attended this year’s annual meeting—down from last year’s Boston meeting, but attendance numbers are always higher in the Northeast.
  • The AHA website will be undergoing a major upgrade next year, estimated to cost in the mid-six figures.
  • The AHA has received an $800,000 grant for a three-year project on how history majors fit into the broader educational landscape. The donor is currently unnamed, but will be announced later this year.
  • The LGBTQ Taskforce survey has concluded its study; the AHA is evaluating the results.
  • The AHA presidential elections continue to have poor turnout—in the most recent election, 3,714 of 14,870 members, only 22.9 percent, turned in ballots. However, in the first year of electronic voting, 97 percent of the participating electorate voted via email.
  • Existing policy that encourages members to preci-rculate papers prior the Annual Meeting will be discontinued. Iris Berger, vice-president of the research division, joked that “it turns out our colleagues are a lot like our students” in that they, too, wait till the last minute before completing their papers.
  • A new section dedicated to teaching tips will be launched on the AHA’s website in September.
  • The American Historical Review released its statistics for the past year: 3,000 books were submitted for review; 1,000 actually were reviewed. 9 percent of articles received were published.
  • Finally, the AHA conducted an informal investigation into why its attendance figures are lower than its sister organizations like the Modern Language Association. Anecdotal evidence has suggested that most members’ first meeting is when interviewing for their first jobs, an experience so devastating and traumatic that few come back. The association plans to offer discounts for younger graduate students who are not yet on the job market in order to hook them on the annual meeting before meeting the horrors of the job market.

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