News in American History

News of the Organization

Stay up to date with news of the Organization of American Historians through our “News of the Organization” section.

OAH Receives Mellon Grant for 2018 Annual Meeting

The Organization of American Historians recently received a two-year, $150,000 grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation to increase the reach of the 2018 OAH Annual Meeting.

Read more about the grant and the changes to the 2018 OAH Annual Meeting here.

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Posted: February 17, 2017
Tagged: News of the Organization, Calls for Papers, Meetings, Conferences, Symposia


Organization of American Historians Receives Grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation to “Imagine a New Kind of Academic Annual Meeting”

The Organization of American Historians recently received a two-year, $150,000 grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation to increase the reach of the 2018 OAH Annual Meeting to the public, teachers, students, and scholars interested in American history. Presently, the meeting reaches primarily those teaching history within the university or college setting and is limited to those who attend the meeting in person. The 2018 meeting entitled “Forms of History” will be held April 12-14, in Sacramento, California.

The OAH Amplified Initiative will broaden the OAH’s audience and continue OAH’s conversation beyond the walls of the in-person conference meeting. The Mellon grant will allow the work presented at the OAH Annual Meeting to become available to a broader audience, allowing instructors to engage with new ideas in their classrooms and researchers to access and cite the scholarship presented. Digital audio recordings of the sessions at the 2018 Annual Meeting will provide the foundation for this amplified meeting initiative. Additionally, a video studio will be set up at the conference where select attendees will be interviewed.

The audio and video recordings captured at the 2018 Annual Meeting will be tagged so that they can be searched and combined in new ways—by topic, period, or type of presentation. These files will be made available to select groups who will curate, introduce, and interpret programs for particular audiences. Members will be able to listen to the audio files and participants will be able to download their own sessions.

The OAH is excited to provide this opportunity to amplify the work of historians both inside the historical community and beyond it. According to OAH President Elect Edward Ayers, “This initiative will help with OAH’s effort to build community and share ideas between our members and those studying, teaching, and interpreting U.S. history. In short, this will allow the OAH to imagine a new kind of academic annual meeting and perhaps, serve as an example for other academic associations.”

Posted: January 10, 2017
Tagged: Grants, News of the Organization


Journal of American History Executive Editor Named


The OAH is pleased to announce that Benjamin H. Irvin, associate professor at the University of Arizona, has been named the new Executive Editor of the Journal of American History and associate professor in the department of history at Indiana University, Bloomington. Irvin has worked on the editorial boards or staffs of Common-Place: The Journal of Early American Life, History Compass, and the Journal of American History.

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Posted: October 14, 2016
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession


OAH President Nancy Cott on Texas Textbook Controversy

OAH President Nancy Cott, on behalf of the OAH Executive Committee, has joined with other scholars, concerned citizens, and the American Historical Association to raise objections to the proposed Mexican American Studies textbook under consideration by the Texas State Board of Education. Her letter can be read here.

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Posted: September 30, 2016
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession


OAH Statement on Collective Bargaining and Part-Time, Adjunct, and Contingent History Faculty

The Organization of American Historians has released a statement on Collective Bargaining and Part-Time, Adjunct, and Contingent History Faculty.

Whereas the Organization of American Historians (OAH) is a professional society whose mission is dedicated to the promotion of "excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history," and to the encouragement of "the equitable treatment of all practitioners of history"; and...

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Posted: December 7, 2015
Tagged: News of the Organization


OAH Statement on Campus Carry

The Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians strongly supports the statement endorsed by numerous scholarly organizations expressing deep concern about laws permitting individuals to carry guns in college classrooms and throughout college campuses.

A full list of those scholarly organizations as well as the OAH's full statement can be found here. 

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Posted: December 7, 2015
Tagged: News of the Organization


OAH Executive Committee Issues Statement on Tenure, Academic Freedom, and Shared Governance—and the University of Wisconsin System

The Executive Committee of the Organization of American Historians strongly supports the statement on academic freedom and tenure issued by more than twenty of our fellow scholarly organizations. The academic freedom secured through tenure and a partnership between faculty and administration in governing standards is a linchpin of intellectual inquiry in American higher education. Together, tenure and shared university governance stand at the heart of advanced research and vigorous teaching, as has been recognized explicitly in Wisconsin since its Board of Regents' report of 1894.

The OAH Executive Committee shares the grave concerns voiced by our fellow scholarly associations that the proposed changes to the University of Wisconsin tenure system will irreparably damage protections for free inquiry in one of the nation's most distinguished public universities, undermining its model achievements in research, scholarship, and teaching. A threat to the continuation of tenure at the University of Wisconsin threatens the vitality of all higher education in the United States, for erosion of academic freedom anywhere threatens free inquiry as a principle and practice everywhere.

The statement from the twenty scholarly associations supported by the OAH Executive Committee can be found here.

Update: The OAH has recieved several letters thanking the Organization for our support. 

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Posted: July 10, 2015
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession


OAH LGBTQ Committee Issues Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Obergefell v. Hodges

The Organization of American (OAH) Historians Committee on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Historians and Histories celebrates the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, declaring same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states and making marriage equality a reality.

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Posted: June 29, 2015
Tagged: Advocacy, News of the Organization, News of the Profession


U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Same-Sex Marriage

In a historic civil rights ruling issued today in Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage a right available to all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation. The OAH Executive Board submitted an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the petitioners written by historian and OAH member George Chauncey on the history of discrimination against gay men and lesbians in America. This brief was cited specifically by Justice Anthony Kennedy in his majority opinion in today's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, as was the historical scholarship of OAH president-elect Nancy Cott and other prominent American historians.

Read the OAH LGBTQ Committee statement here.

Read the U.S. Supreme Court decision here.

Read the amicus curiae brief here.

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Posted: June 26, 2015
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession, Advocacy


OAH Members Honored as Pulitzer Prize Winner and Finalist

OAH member Elizabeth A. Fenn, an associate professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder, has received the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in history for her work, Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People (2014). Fenn's study explores the history of the Mandans, a Native American tribe in the Dakotas. She holds the Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Chair in Western American History. Fenn is also the coauthor, with Peter H. Wood, of Natives and Newcomers: The Way We Lived in North Carolina before 1770 (1983) and the author of the award-winning Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 (2001).

Sven Beckert, also an OAH member, was nominated as a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Empire of Cotton: A Global History (2014), which argues that slavery was crucial to the dynamism of the industrial revolution. He is the Laird Bell Professor of History at Harvard University.

Please join us in congratulating OAH members Fenn and Beckert on their accomplishments!

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Posted: May 1, 2015
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession, Clio's Kudos


OAH Executive Committee Issues Statement of Opposition to Indiana's "Religious Freedom Restoration Act"

On Thursday, March 26, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" despite exceptionally strong protests of the Republican Mayor of Indianapolis, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA, headquartered in Indianapolis), Visit Indy (the Indianapolis convention bureau), churches, and many individuals presenting multiple petitions. As the statements of these individuals and groups indicate, the Act does not reflect the views of the overwhelming majority of Indianapolis and Bloomington residents or of Indiana's many other cities that have worked hard to welcome residents of many backgrounds and views, creating a highly diverse state. The OAH Executive Committee has issued the statement below regarding the Act and is writing the Governor and the leaders in the Indiana House and Senate indicating its strong disapproval of this Act.

"The Executive Committee of the Organization of American Historians, headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, strongly urges the Indiana Legislature and Governor Mike Pence to repeal the 'Religious Freedom Restoration Act' signed into law March 26, 2015. The Act carries alarming potential for abuse in the form of discrimination on many grounds--religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation. The OAH strongly condemns any legislation that can be employed to discriminate against any person, whether on the basis of 'any exercise of religion' or simple personal ethnic or racial prejudice. The OAH Executive Committee urges the immediate repeal of this Act to ensure fair and equitable treatment of all residents of the State of Indiana and visitors to the state."

An article was written in The New York Times on the reactions of Indiana citizens and businesses. That article can be read here. 

The Organization of American Historians is an external agency of Indiana University and is housed on the Bloomington, IN campus. The President of IU, Michael McRobbie, issued a statement about the passing of the new law. It can be read here.

In an unusual move, the Indianapolis Star on March 31, 2015 placed an editorial on its front page demanding that this bill be fixed - read more here.

Earlier articles in the Indianapolis Star about the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act":

The text of the new law can be read in full here.

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Posted: March 28, 2015
Tagged: News of the Organization, Advocacy


OAH Amicus Brief Filed in Same-Sex Marriage Case

The OAH has submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the same-sex marriage case, James Obergefell, et al. vs. Richard Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Public Health. Written by OAH member George Chauncey, professor of history and American studies at Yale University, the brief focuses on the history of discrimination against gays. Opening oral arguments are expected to be heard in the last week of April, with a decision to be issued the last week of June. 

Read the brief in full.

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Posted: March 9, 2015
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession, Advocacy


Actions of the OAH Executive Board, Fall 2014

The OAH Executive Board held its fall meeting November 1–2 in St. Louis, Missouri, and approved several agenda items including the minutes from its spring meeting, the Committee on Committees' recommendations for appointments to OAH service and award committees, and an update to the 1990 statement on session participant diversity at the OAH Annual Meeting. Read more>>

Posted: January 27, 2015
Tagged: News of the Organization


OAH Issues Statement Regarding Steven Salaita

The OAH Executive Committee was authorized to prepare a statement addressing Steven Salaita’s termination at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After preparation of the statement, the OAH Executive Board approved sending the statement to the Chancellor at the University of Illinois and representatives at the American Association of University Professors.

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Posted: December 16, 2014
Tagged: News of the Profession, News of the Organization


The OAH Strongly Urges Support of the Adjunct Faculty Loan Fairness Act of 2014

The Organization of American Historians strongly urges support of S. 2712, the Adjunct Faculty Loan Fairness Act of 2014, recently sponsored by Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois to allow adjunct, contingent and other part-time faculty to participate in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. As it currently stands, the PSLF program encourages graduating students to apply for and continue to work full-time in public service jobs.  After making 120 payments (10 years of student loan payments) graduates may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on their William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program while employed full-time by selected public service employers in such careers as the military, public education, public health and law enforcement.

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Posted: October 23, 2014
Tagged: News of the Profession, News of the Organization


OAH Statement on the AP Test

The Organization of American Historians supports the Revised Framework for the Advanced Placement and U.S. History Course and Exam. In response to recent criticism of the College Board, the OAH affirms that expert teachers and scholars of good will designed and conducted the extensive process of revision. The OAH is proud to be associated with these dedicated and professional teachers and historians. Many are OAH members.

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Posted: August 29, 2014
Tagged: News of the Profession, News of the Organization


From the OAH President: "Professors—I Need Your Help!"

Patricia Limerick (Photo courtesy of Honey Lindburg)I am eager to do what I can to deepen public appreciation of you and your work. To pull this off, I need your help—which I will beg for a few paragraphs from here.

On February 15, 2014, The New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof started his column by using sixteen words to flatter academics, and then using eleven words to wound and dismiss them. "Some of the smartest thinkers on problems at home and around the world are university professors," he said. And then he moved in for the kill: "but most of them just don't matter in today's great debates." Read more >

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Posted: May 21, 2014
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession


In Memoriam: Felix Armfield

We wish to thank our colleagues at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) for allowing us to share this remembrance of Professor Felix Armfield, professor of history at Buffalo State, The State University of New York. Armfield was a longtime member of the Organization of American Historians, joining in 1996, and he served on the OAH Committee on Public History from 2001-2005.

May 6, 2014

Felix ArmfieldIt with great sadness that the ASALH family announces the loss of our former Executive Council member, Dr. Felix Armfield. Felix was an active and dedicated life member of ASALH and had been a member of the association for over thirty years.

A dedicated teacher-scholar, Dr. Armfield has been recognized for his teaching and service at Western Illinois University and Buffalo State College. Most recently, he was awarded the Hero Award from the Disability Services Office, The Students' Award for the Promotion of Respect for Diversity and Individual Differences, and the William Wells Brown Award from the Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier.

Dr. Armfield was an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He was very passionate and dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of the fraternity. His most recent publication, Eugene Kinckle Jones: The National Urban League and Black Social Work, 1910-1940, honors the legacy of this important Black leader of the early twentieth century, but it also honors the legacy of one of the jewels of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Felix Armfield is survived by his father, Jasper Armfield, Jr. (Shirley), Belvoir, NC; his grandmother, Mrs. Christine Armfield, Greenville, NC; his sisters, Kimberly Armfield, Upper Marlboro, MD and Sandy McKenny, Fredricksburg, VA; one brother, Jeffrey Armfield (Venetia), New Haven, CT; his loving godmother, Shirley Hunter, Greenville,NC; and a family of aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, cousins, and loving friends, including Quince Brinkley, Jacqueline McLeod, Bonita Durand, Ron Stewart, Diane "Cookie" Williams, and Bettye Gardner.

Services will be held on Saturday, May 10, 2014. The viewing/wake will be held at noon and the funeral will follow at 1 p.m. EST at Holly Hill Free Will Baptist Church, 755 Porter Road, Greenville, NC 27834 where Bishop James E. Tripp, Jr. presides. The burial will be at Burial Dancy Memorial Cemetery.

Expressions of sympathy can be sent to his grandmother, Ms. Christine Armfield, 563 Lake Road, #104, Greenville, NC 27834.

Felix possessed an unwavering commitment to his alma mater, 'dear ole NCCU', and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Therefore, instead of flowers the family requests that you send donations to the Felix Armfield ASALH-NCCU Fund that will support NCCU students' continuous participation in the ASALH. You may send your donations to: The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, 2225 Georgia Avenue, Suite 331, Washington, DC 20059. E-mail: info@asalh.net

Sylvia Y. Cyrus, Executive Director
Association for the Study of African American Life and History

Posted: May 8, 2014
Tagged: News of the Organization, In Memoriam


OAH Executive Board Endorses Revisions to Part-Time, Adjunct, and Contingent Employment Standards

At its 2011 spring meeting on March 17-20, the OAH Executive Board endorsed standards and "best practices" developed by the OAH Committee on Part-Time, Adjunct, and Contingent Employment (CPACE) prescribing how colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education should employ and utilize non-tenured and non-tenure-track history faculty.

At its spring meeting in 2014, the OAH Executive Board endorsed the CPACE's revisions to the standards which are designed to more clearly distinguish teaching from nonteaching contingent historians, andindicate "best practices" that apply specifically to nonteaching contingent historians. Read more >

Posted: May 7, 2014
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession


Actions of the OAH Executive Board, Spring 2014

At its spring 2014 meeting held at the Hilton Atlanta on April 10, the OAH Executive Board took actions on its agenda including approving minutes from its fall 2013 meeting, endorsing the new membership magazine, The American Historian, approving the new publishing agreement with Oxford University Press, approving the organization's fiscal year 2015 budget, and more. Read the full list of action items > 

Posted: April 28, 2014
Tagged: News of the Organization