The American Historical Association 2019 Annual Meeting wrapped up yesterday.
Historians from across the United States (and beyond) met for four days in Chicago to discuss new research, graduate education, undergraduate education, professional concerns, and public history.
I attended sessions on French, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Global history, learning about historical research. One of the highlights of the conference was Lauren Benton’s Toynbee Prize Lecture on “Law and Conquest in World History,” sponsored by the Toynbee Foundation.
I enjoyed meeting with numerous friends and colleagues in early modern history, historical publishing, and digital humanities. Many of my faculty and graduate student colleagues from Northern Illinois University were able to participate in the conference and I was able to reconnect with old friends at the reception hosted by the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, my doctoral alma mater.
I was able to spend some time in the AHA book exhibit, examining potential course adoptions and gauging current trends in historical publishing.
Each year, the American Historical Association (AHA) organizes a series of sessions to provide historical perspectives on contemporary issues. Some of the current issues that historians considered this weekend included refugees, migration, populist politics, and gender issues. Historian Rachel Van Bokkem provides a summary of a plenary session on displaced persons on AHA Perspectives. Another panel on gender history at the conference is assessed elsewhere on AHA Perspectives.
Many professors and graduate students at AHA were discussing the state of the discipline and concerns about the recent nationwide decline in History majors. Liz Lehfeldt, my friend and early modernist colleague, responds to this discussion with an essay on “Why Study History?” in Inside Higher Ed.
Although academic job interviews are moving increasingly to video phone interviews at this point, some interviews are still held at the AHA. There are also numerous professional sessions at the AHA on the CV construction, interviewing skills, and professionalization issues, and the state of the job market in History. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the job market in the humanities fields, based on sessions at the AHA and the MLA last week.
This conference seems to have attracted fewer blog and twitter posts than previous conferences, perhaps due to the end of the AHA Today blog, which ceased activity in Summer 2018 and has been replaced by AHA Perspectives Daily. The twitter traffic can be found at hashtags #AHA19 and #AHA2019.