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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.

Proposed Destruction of Department of Interior Records

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.

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Posted: October 26, 2018
Tagged: Advocacy, News of the Profession


Organization of American Historians Announces New Resource for Members of the Media

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.

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Posted: September 14, 2018
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession


OAH Issues Academic Freedom Guidelines and Best Practices

The OAH Committee on Academic Freedom has prepared a set of guidelines and best practices, which are now posted on our website.

Read more here >>

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Posted: July 31, 2018
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession


OAH Responds to UW-Stevens Point Eliminating Humanities Majors

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.

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Posted: March 16, 2018
Tagged: News of the Profession, News of the Organization


National Humanities Alliance Update

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.

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Posted: September 28, 2017
Tagged: Advocacy, News of the Profession


OAH Endorses AHA Statement on Confederate Monuments

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.

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Posted: August 31, 2017
Tagged: Advocacy, News of the Organization, News of the Profession


The Organization of American Historians Launches New Media Resource

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.

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Posted: July 27, 2017
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession, Advocacy


Edward L. Ayers Begins Term as OAH President

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."

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Posted: April 18, 2017
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession


OAH Executive Committee Issues Statement in Support of NEH and NEA

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.

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Posted: March 29, 2017
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession


#ImmigrationSyllabus - A New Project by the Immigration History Research Center

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. 

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Posted: February 24, 2017
Tagged: News of the Profession


OAH Endorses AHA Statement on Executive Order

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.

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Posted: February 20, 2017
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession


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.

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Posted: December 15, 2016
Tagged: News of the Profession


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 President Nancy Cott's Letter to Lincoln University

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/)

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Posted: September 29, 2016
Tagged: News of the Profession


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 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