Thanks to Michael Limberg for his posts this weekend. Here is his latest. It’s a good one–JF
|Julian Zelizer, Princeton University|
On Saturday afternoon I attended a session at AHA 2015 entitled “Being a Public Intellectual: Historians and the Public.” There were some high-powered historians on this panel, including Peniel Joseph, Claire Potter, Julian Zelizer, Eric Foner, and Michael Kazin. The place was packed–standing room only.
I thoroughly enjoyed this session–even found it inspiring.
In the end, the members of the panel seemed to have differing views on what the role and responsibilities of a “public intellectual.” Peniel Joseph and Claire Potter were clearly historian-activists. Zelizer called himself more of a “commentator” than an “activist.” (Joseph insisted that we can do both–comment and act). Foner approached his role as a public intellectual from a more traditional historical perspective. He believed that good scholarship could lead to social change. Kazin seemed to be somewhere between Joseph/Potter and Foner.
|National Archives Building|
Tomorrow I’m starting the day with the Women in Theology & Church History breakfast, which I’ve never done before. I’m really looking forward to it. After that, I head to “Doing More with Less: ThePromise and Pitfalls of Short-Form Scholarship in the Digital HistoryAge,” followed by a break in the afternoon to trim a hundred words or so from my paper so John doesn’t have to give me the “stop talking now” sign on Sunday morning. If I get lucky, I might even find a lanyard somewhere along the way.
Diane Burrowes of Harper Collins Publishers passed this list out today at AHA Session #38: “Buying and Selling History: Some Perspectives on the Marketplace.” See our post on the session here. See our storified tweets here.
Thanks to Marla Miller for posting this to twitter:
|One of the books discussed in today’s session|
I had a tough decision to make at the 3:30-5:00 slot this afternoon. I really wanted to attend a session on “Doing History” at the American Society of Church History meeting. I was particularly interested in what David Hall had to say about storytelling and Catherine Brekus had to say about agency and American religious history.
But I opted instead for AHA Session #38: “Buying and Selling History: Some Perspectives on the Marketplace.” Here is the session abstract:
What topics, approaches, and subjects have been more successful—however success is defined—than others in the marketplace for history titles? What generalizations can be made about the nature of that marketplace? What challenges do those who publish history titles face both in retail and at institutions and libraries? These are some of the questions that participants in this session, which is entitled “Buying and Selling History,” will address. All of the participants are directly involved in marketing and sales efforts for their houses, and as such actively involved in promoting and placing history titles—academic and trade and crossover—in the various channels, from the large retail chains to the small independent bookstores, from the smaller public libraries to the larger research institutions whose acquisition policies and procedures have changed radically over the last few years, in part because of the effects of patron-driven acquisition. Represented will be three large trade houses and one university press. The composition of the panel is not accidental, for the perspectives offered here are intended to reflect upon the general market for history titles, and the strategies employed by those who are committed to helping their books reach the widest possible audience while also adhering to scholarly standards and disciplinary rigor.
The panel included editors and salespersons from Oxford University Press, Random House, Knopf, Harper Collins, and New York University Press.
I thought the session was very informative, but also kind of odd. I was hoping to glean some tips about how academic historians might bring solid historical scholarship to public audiences. Keith Goldsmith of Knopf offered the best advice in this regard. The representatives from Harper Collins and Random House did not seem interested in this question. Instead, they told stories about how journalists, nature/travel writers, and other authors of books set in the past were able to market their projects to mass audiences. Timothy Bent (Oxford University Press) and Mary Beth Jarrad (NYU Press) were much more connected with the concerns of the largely academic audience.
Rather than doing an entire post on this session, I decided to Storify my tweets and offer some brief commentary. Check it out here.
|The Hilton Midtown: AHA Conference Headquarters|
As I type the first day of the 2015 AHA annual meeting is winding down. I arrived around 1:30 this afternoon and checked into my hotel without any drama. Earlier today there were some problems with both the Hilton and the Sheraton, prompting AHA director James Grossman to send out a letter to let everyone know that he and his staff were working to remedy the problem. Apparently the Sheraton told some conference-goers that they did not have any rooms available. I also noticed a very long check-in line at the Hilton. I hope Hotelgate 2015 was avoided.
Conference registration was fast and painless. I used the bar code on my mobile phone and had my badge within seconds. Now all I need to do is fine a lanyard–my preferred method of wearing my badge.
This afternoon I attended a session entitled ““Buying and Selling History: Some Perspectives on the Marketplace” You can check out my tweets @johnfea1 and the tweets of other in attendance at #aha2015. I hope to do a post soon.
Before dinner I made a quick stop at the reception for bloggers and twitterstorians. It was good to meet some of the readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home and some of the bloggers and tweeters that I read on a regular basis.
Stay tuned for most posts throughout the night.
Are you an early American historian who is attending the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in New York this weekend? If so, Joseph Adelman has put together a list of all the session related to early American history. Check it out at The Junto. Enjoy!
Here is a taste:
Saturday, January 3
69. Doing More with Less: The Promise and Pitfalls of Short-Form Scholarship in the Digital History Age, New York Ballroom East (Sheraton New York, Third Floor)
71. Geographies of Identity, Solidarity, and Belonging in the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic, Gibson Suite (New York Hilton, Second Floor)
76 (SCWH 3). James McPherson’s Battle Cry after a Quarter Century, Murray Hill Suite B (New York Hilton, Second Floor)
80. Slaves and Mistresses: The Female Slaveholder in the Americas, Liberty Suite 3 (Sheraton New York, Third Floor)
90. Lessons Learned from the AHA’s Bridging Cultures Program, Part 1: PechaKucha 1: Incorporating the Atlantic and Pacific Worlds into the U.S. History Survey Course, Sutton South (New York Hilton, Second Floor)
91 (CLAH 13). New Perspectives on the Spanish Atlantic: The Slave Trade to Spanish America, Part 1, Empire Ballroom West (Sheraton New York, Second Floor)
ACHA 7. Negotiating the Atlantic: Catholic Networks in the Early American Republic, Madison Suite 4 (Sheraton New York, Fifth Floor)
As usual, The Way of Improvement Leads Home will be providing extensive coverage of the annual meeting of the American Historical Association this weekend in New York City. Check the blog often for updates on sessions and other conference happenings. We will be blogging at all hours. Follow us on Twitter @johnfea1 and keep an eye on the conference hashtag: #aha2015
Check out some previous coverage of AHA conferences: 2013, 2014
This year, we have five correspondents who will be writing posts throughout the weekend. They are:
- Erin Bartram is a Ph.D candidate in history at the University of Connecticut. She is working on a dissertation which examines privileged New England women converts to Roman Catholicism. Erin is writing under the direction of Richard Brown. Check out Erin’s posts from the 2013 AHA.
- Christian James is a MLS Candidate at University of Maryland, College Park and Digital Curation Fellow at the National Agricultural Library. He earned his MA in History from George Mason University and has worked for the Center for Population Economics at the University of Chicago and ProQuest
- Christine Kelly is a Ph.D student in history at Fordham University and a graduate of the History Department at Messiah College. Her recent research addresses the role of folk song as political activism in what historians call the “new folk revival” as it operated within these movements. Check out Christine’s posts from the 2014 AHA.
- Michael Limberg is a Ph.D candidate in history at the University Connecticut. He is working on a dissertation entitled “The Best Versions of Themselves: U.S. Aid and Development in the Middle East, 1919-1939.”
- Mandy McMichael is Assistant Professor of Religion at Huntingdon College. She is currently working on a book based on her Duke University dissertation (supervised by Grant Wacker): “From the Runway to the Altar: Religion and Pageantry in the American South.” Mandy will be doing most of her reporting from the meeting of the American Society of Church History.
American Society of Church History 3
American Society of Church History 5
AHA Session 82
AHA Session 99
American Society of Church History 11
AHA Session 130
American Society of Church History 15
Conference on Faith and History
Conference on Faith and History
AHA Session 186
AHA Session 216
AHA Session 219
American Society of Church History 29
I am looking for readers who are going to the conference and might be interested in serving as “correspondents.” I can’t pay anything, but I can promise the fame associated with your words and by-line appearing on this blog!
What am I looking for out of these reports? Frankly, anything. Let the spirit move you. I would love to get general observations, reports on sessions you attend, job market updates, or any other kind of stuff you might have the time or inclination to write about.
Feel free to be as creative and journalistic as you want. If at all possible I would like to get some stuff as the conference is going on, but general summaries would also work. Feel free to write as few or as many as you would like. I will try to get stuff posted here in real time (or thereabouts) during the conference.
As for your identity, we can go one of two ways. You can identify yourself and we can introduce you with a little bio. Or you can remain anonymous and write under a pseudonym. The choice is up to you.
Check out some of the work of our previous correspondents: