News in American History
News of the Profession
“News of the Profession” includes announcements of special interest to American historians and practitioners at all levels. Please submit your announcement using this form.
On March 1, 2019, the National Park Service (NPS) proposed making significant changes to regulations regarding nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. These changes would shift authority away from state, local, and tribal entities and give unprecedented power to federal agencies and large private landowners to stymie local historic preservation efforts.
The NPS is accepting public comments on the proposed changes through April 30. We encourage you to go to regulations.gov and click the "Comment Now!" button to make your voice heard.
During the April 4,2019, board meeting, the OAH Executive Board approved the following statement and sent it to the Acting Secretary of the Department of the Interior.
The Organization of American Historians (OAH) affirms the value of the work of historians in the federal government who were furloughed for over a month due to the partial government shutdown in 2018-2019. These historians’ work is essential to preserving, understanding, and interpreting the vast array of documents, artifacts, buildings, structures, and natural resources that the federal government owns and stewards.
Alert from the National Coalition for History
The California State University (CSU), the nation’s largest university, has proposed to eliminate the system's founding commitment to the “comprehensive study of American history and American government” as the basis for its long-standing “American Institutions” requirement. This program of study has bolstered California’s diverse democracy for 60 years, providing millions of Californians with tools necessary “to contribute to ...society as responsible and constructive citizens.” We’re asking your help in maintaining this essential part of the CSU curriculum.
Under a plan released this month by a CSU General Education Task Force, the system would cut civic education in half, and no CSU student would be required to study the history of American institutions and ideals, including the US Constitution and representative government, or the development of local and state government. This change would reach beyond the 500,000 students of the CSU, to affect over 2 million students in California Community Colleges and 6 million K-12 students whose curricula follow the lead of higher education.
Read more here
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) announced effective March 4, 2019, it is changing the process for public review and comment of proposed records schedules. Under the old process, NARA published notice in the Federal Register of agency records schedules open for comment. People who wished to review and comment on the schedules had to request copies of the actual documents, submit comments, and receive responses via mail or email. Now the public will be able to access the accompanying documents online using the Federal eRulemaking Portal, https://www.regulations.gov. Click here for a NARA summary of the new procedures.
Read more here
The Library of Congress has announced that up to $1.5 million will be provided to one or more organizations to support the development of curricula, instructional materials, and apps/online interactives featuring Library of Congress online resources.
The application deadline is April 22, 2019. For more information about the application requirements and selection criteria, see the “Notice of Funds Availability” at loc.gov/teachers/newsevents/.
Read more here >>
Posted: March 18, 2019
Tagged: News of the Profession
In recent days, misinformation has gone viral on the internet that the Department of Interior is proposing to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) the destruction of valuable historical records having to do with the Endangered Species Act, Fish and Wildlife, energy management and other important environmental issues under the department’s jurisdiction. Conversations with senior officials at the National Archives, as well as colleagues working for several major open government groups and other in the archival community has helped the NCH to clarify the situation. NARA has been most cooperative and agreed to extend the comment period on recently proposed decisions on the disposition of records to November 26, 2018, so all parties have adequate opportunity to prepare responses.
Journalists seeking fresh, fast, and thoughtful insight from the nation's foremost historians can now consult a database of experts assembled by the Organization of American Historians.
It is available here: www.americanhistoryexperts.org.
This free database was made possible by the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The OAH Committee on Academic Freedom has prepared a set of guidelines and best practices, which are now posted on our website.
Recently University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point (UW-SP) announced the elimination of thirteen humanities and social science majors (including history). OAH President Ed Ayers, on behalf of the OAH Executive Committee, sent a letter expressing concern over the elimination of these programs. As noted in the letter, "eliminating the history major along with a full slate of humanities and social science majors fundamentally distorts the mission of higher education and denies students the right to understand and participate fully in their society." The letter was sent to the UW-SP Chancellor, the UW-SP Provost, and the University of Wisconsin (UW) President, as well as being copied to all members of the UW, four-year campuses and the UW Board of Regents.
Thank you to all OAH members who wrote or called their members of congress to voice their concern about proposed cuts to the NEH earlier this year. The National Humanities Alliance (NHA), of which OAH is part, has prepared a report detailing their efforts and those to come. To read NHA Executive Director Steven Kidd's entire report, click here.
The OAH Executive Committee has endorsed the AHA Statement on Confederate Monuments. We would especially like to emphasize that:
"To remove a monument, or to change the name of a school or street, is not to erase history, but rather to alter or call attention to a previous interpretation of history," and
"To remove such monuments is neither to 'change' history nor 'erase' it. What changes with such removals is what American communities decide is worthy of civic honor."
We are grateful for the many OAH members who have spoken on this issue.
The Organization of American Historians (OAH) is pleased to announce a new resource for members of the media. With over 7,000 member historians, the OAH can connect you with subject matter experts on topics ranging from the Electoral College, executive orders, U.S.-Russian relations, and everything in between. In these contentious times, understanding our nation’s history is of critical importance.
Edward L. Ayers began his term as the president of the Organization of American Historians (OAH) for 2017-2018 on April 8.
Ayers is Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and President Emeritus at the University of Richmond.
"The OAH has been doing important work for over a century," Ayers said, "and plays a critical role in the nation today. We will be undertaking ambitious projects in the coming year, so I hope people will stay tuned."
The following statement was unanimously approved by the OAH Executive Committee on March 29, 2017:
The Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians strongly urges the U.S. Congress to include funding for the National Endowment of the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts at similar or higher levels than in the past in the upcoming national budget. We urge the Congress to resist efforts to defund and eliminate these essential agencies, which have been crucial in bringing the benefits of the arts and humanities to the American public for over a half-century. The Organization of American Historians applauds the way that communities across the United States—in every state and every district—have shared in the excitement of learning about their own histories through the collaboration of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Immigration historians associated with the Immigration History Research Center and the Immigration and Ethnic History Center have launched the #ImmigrationSyllabus website, an educational resource that offers historical context to today's immigration debate.
Additionally, they have annotated and analyzed the Trump Executive Order banning immigrants. It can be seen here.
Read more about the project here.
Access the syllabus here.
Posted: February 24, 2017
Tagged: News of the Profession
The Executive Board of the OAH has endorsed and joined with the American Historical Association in its statement opposing President Trump's January 27 executive order. Thirty AHA affiliated history organizations have done likewise and over thirty ACLS Member Societies have also spoken out against this presidential order.
Collective Statement by Scholars in U.S. History and Related Fields on Civil Rights and Liberties in Dangerous Times
As scholars of United States history and related fields, we have experienced concern and alarm as we went from a divisive campaign season to the election of Donald Trump as our president-elect. On the eve of a new administration whose key players have traded in hateful rhetoric and emboldened the harassment of various targets, we urge Americans to be vigilant against a mass violation of civil rights and liberties that could result if such troubling developments continue unchecked.
We sign this statement as individual scholars. Institutions are listed for identification purposes only.
Click here to see the full statement as well as the list of over 1,200 scholars who have signed.
Posted: December 15, 2016
Tagged: News of the Profession
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.
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.
Several months ago, the OAH learned that the Board of Curators at Lincoln University decided to deactivate its history degree programs, thereby preventing students from enrolling in these programs. In response to this news, OAH President Nancy Cott sent a letter to Lincoln University President Dr. Kevin D. Rome Sr. urging the Board of Curators to reconsider their decision.
On Thursday, September 29, the OAH heard that LU Faculty Senate members have supported a "no confidence vote" on the work of Said Sewell, the university's provost and vice president for academic affairs. The Jefferson, Missouri, News Tribune noted that OAH had urged the university to reverse its decision and reactivate its program quickly. President Cott's letter was heavily cited in the newspaper article, which you can read here (http://www.newstribune.com/news/story/story/2016/Sep/29/curators-history-degree-decision-questioned/642415/)
Posted: September 29, 2016
Tagged: News of the Profession