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AHA Today

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    AHA Today highlights digital history projects

    Jennifer Reut is associate editor of the AHA magazine Perspectives.With the recent proliferation of the digital humanities (DH) in and outside the academy, we thought it might be useful to draw attention to the kinds of projects historians are developing. The National Endowment of the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities (NEH-ODH) has been an early and substantial supporter of projects and workshops across the DH community, so it made sense to look at the recent round of NEH-ODH grantees as a way of highlighting recent work by historians.True to the nature of DH, many of the projects are broadly applicable to scholarship in the humanities, rather than just history, particularly those that construct platforms or environments for data and artifact sharing, analysis, and publication. We’ve focused on a few that were either specifically designed by historians or with an obvious application to historical studies, but we encourage you to view the full range of past and present grants at the NEH-ODH site and explore some of the other projects for possible intersection with your own interests and research.Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants, which we are featuring here, are smaller grants for projects that are still in the planning or prototype stage. Wherever possible, we have used the text from the grantees description.

  • Originally published 06/04/2013

    AHA Today blog launches new website

    The official blog of the American Historical Association, AHA Today, launched a new version of its website on Monday, dubbed AHA Today "3.0."Vanessa Varin, the assistant editor for Web and social media at the AHA, announced a bevy of new features on the blog:Related tags: Find topics related to the articles you are reading.Shortened URLs. Generate a bit.ly link and share an article without leaving the page.Social media streaming in the comments. See what readers are saying about the article you are reading in the comments. Want to contribute to the conversation? Either comment below or tweet us at @AHAHistorians.Follow an AHA Today blogger with our new author RSS feed and biography pages.Check out the new blog here.

  • Originally published 04/17/2013

    Historians discuss immigration reform on Capitol Hill

    Yesterday, a short distance from the AHA offices, supporters of immigration reform marched on the National Mall, as a bipartisan group of eight senators continue deliberations that have been alternately described as “stuck,” “close,” “virtually complete,” or “about to get serious.” The senators will likely reveal their plan for comprehensive immigration reform, if there is one, today.In response to the flurry of activity on this previously languishing issue, the National History Center, a project of the American Historical Association, sponsored a congressional briefing in the Rayburn House Office Building last Friday. These briefings offer congressional staff and members a historical perspective on issues of current interest. The historians who present at these briefings avoid making recommendations to Congress, but discuss previous paths taken and their outcomes.

  • Originally published 04/03/2013

    AAUP Releases Statement Calling on Higher Education Institutions to Comply with the Affordable Care Act

    Declaring that "access to health care is a basic human right," the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has issued a statement calling on colleges and universities to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and to calculate the hours of part-time and adjunct faculty in a fair and accurate way.  Such calculations would take into account the full responsibilities of these faculty for grading, advising students, and so forth, and not just the hours they spend in the classroom.  The AAUP is responding to news accounts of a few institutions that have threatened to cut the course loads of non-tenure track faculty in order to avoid offering them health benefits- a move the AAUP terms "reprehensible."

  • Originally published 03/29/2013

    AHA protests Senate initiative to restrict political science research funding

    On March 20, 2013, the United States Senate approved an amendment offered by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) to the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013, which would restrict the use of federal funds in the National Science Foundation’s Political Science Program. In response, the Council of the American Historical Association approved the following statement of concern:The American Historical Association vigorously opposes the recent Senate appropriations amendment restricting National Science Foundation funding for research in political science to specific topics. The amendment, which requires the agency to limit funding to projects which it can certify “as promoting national security or the economic interests of the United States,” is wrong-headed in many ways.First, the amendment represents an intrusion by politicians into the well-established and generally successful peer-review process by which the agency reviews grant applications. Peer review ensures that grant decisions are made by individuals with the necessary expertise through a  reliable, widely accepted, process which minimizes bias. Imposing even innocuous-sounding political criteria for research compromises the autonomy that is necessary for intellectual progress—the first responsibility of the National Science Foundation.

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    Debbie Doyle: The National Parks and the Value of History

    Debbie Ann Doyle is Coordinator: Committees & Meetings at the American Historical Association.Heritage tourism is big business. A recent report on the economic impact of the National Park Service (NPS) estimates that 279 million visits to the parks in 2011 generated $30 billion in economic activity and supported 252,000 jobs, both in the park service and in communities surrounding the parks.While budget-minded legislators may see historic sites and preservation as luxuries that might be trimmed from an austerity budget, cultural resources offer a good return on investment. National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis notes that the parks contribute $10 to the economy for every $1 in tax money invested in the National Park Service, which “makes good stewardship sense and good business sense.”

  • Originally published 03/05/2013

    AHA addresses historical issues in Supreme Court DOMA case

    Kenneth Pomeranz and James Grossman are the president and executive director of the American Historical Association, respectively.The American Historical Association has joined a group of individual distinguished historians in signing an amicus brief in US v. Windsor, a case before the Supreme Court contesting the validity of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). As is so often the case in legal contexts, the details can get lost in the swirl of broader issues and we want to clarify some important aspects of the AHA’s decision.The brief that the AHA has joined addresses strictly historical issues: in this case, how marriage has historically been regulated in the United States, and the purposes for which marriage has been thought to exist.  In both matters, it replies, in part, to a brief by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives (“BLAG”).

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    The dos and don’ts of live-tweeting at an academic conference: a working draft

    Vanessa Varin is assistant editor, web and social media at the American Historical Association Live-tweeting at conferences is growing in popularity, but should there be limits? While at the annual meeting this year, I had the opportunity to talk with bloggers and self-described “Twitterstorians” who expressed concern over the lack of live-tweeting etiquette. Not sure what live-tweeting is or why historians are concerned? Here is a quick rundown of the issue: