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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.

Alice Smith Prize in Public History

The Midwestern History Association invites nominations for the Alice Smith Prize in Public History. Named after the director of research at the Wisconsin Historical Society from 1947 to 1965 who authored six books and numerous articles on the state's history, the prize honors a public history project completed in the previous calendar year (2014) that contributes to broader public reflection and appreciation of the region's past. For purposes of the award, "the Midwest" includes the twelve states of the region as defined by the US Census: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Projects by individuals, groups, community organizations, businesses, or other organizations or work done in support of such projects may be nominated. Projects may include, but are not limited to the following areas: Media, Exhibits, Public Programs or Written Works (such as research reports, brochures, working papers, or historical fiction) that broaden public history understanding. Non-fiction books and journal articles are not eligible for this award.

Nominations must include name and contact information of project participants along with appropriate materials documenting the project. For consideration, please submit nomination and materials to Aaron Shapiro, Chair, Smith Prize Committee at ashapi10@uncc.edu or via mail at Department of History, UNC Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28223.

Deadline for submissions: 15 September 2015

Posted: July 16, 2015
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. 

Read more >

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

Librarian of Congress to Retire

James H. Billington, the 13th Librarian of Congress, will retire on January 1, 2016. The former history professor and Rhodes Scholar was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 to oversee the largest library in the world. Billington is credited with expanding the Library's public outreach, including a lead role in the creation of Thomas.gov legislative search engine and the National Book Festival. His 28-year legacy is not without its critics, however, many of which blame Billington for the institution's digital lag. Just this year, the nation's oldest cultural institution came under scrutiny for technology issues that put the Library at risk of a data breach. The new appointee will be nominated by President Obama and requires Senate confirmation.

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

The Smithsonian Welcomes New Secretary

Dr. David J. Skorton became the Smithsonian Institutions 13th Secretary in its 169-year history on July 1, 2015. Previously, Skorton served as president at Cornell University and Iowa University. His background and training is in cardiology, which he taught for twenty-six years. He is the first medical doctor to lead the Smithsonian.

In assuming his new position Skorton stated, "With its diverse collections and staff, the Smithsonian is uniquely positioned to lead a global dialogue on critical questions where the arts, humanities and sciences intersect. The Smithsonian can advance our understanding of the world around us through a distinctly American perspective." http://newsdesk.si.edu/releases/smithsonian-welcomes-secretary-david-skorton

Posted: July 10, 2015
Tagged: 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.

Read more >

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!

Read more >

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

National Endowment for the Humanities Announces New “Humanities in the Public Square” Grants

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced a new grant opportunity, called "Humanities in the Public Square," that will put humanities scholars in direct dialogue with the public on some of the most pressing issues of today— through public forums, community programs, and the development of educational resources.
This new grant opportunity is part of the National Endowment for the Humanities' agency-wide initiative The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which seeks to demonstrate and enhance the role and significance of the humanities and humanities scholarship in public life.
"Throughout its 50-year history the National Endowment for the Humanities has striven to meet the challenge laid out in the agency's enabling legislation, which speaks eloquently of the need to attend to 'the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life,'" said NEH Chairman William Adams. "This new grant program seeks to fulfill that mission in a very concrete way by bringing together scholars and their wider communities to examine how the humanities help us understand the challenging concerns of our time—from the implications of new technologies for public and private life to the modern experience of war and military service."
The NEH Humanities in the Public Square program will award grants of up to $300,000 to institutions for projects that incorporate:

Application guidelines and a list of FAQs for the Humanities in the Public Square program are available at www.neh.gov. The application deadline for the initial cycle of Humanities in the Public Square grants is June 24, 2015.
Applications requesting $150,000 or more should aim to implement ambitious projects with a broad geographic reach and the potential to engage large audiences through extensive collaboration or a larger number of venues. NEH strongly encourages smaller projects focused on local communities and smaller audiences.
Through NEH's Standing Together initiative, which emphasizes the innovative ways in which the humanities can foster engagement with military veterans and their communities, Humanities in the Public Square grants offer resources for work with veterans while also inviting organizations to consider the importance of the humanities for addressing other significant challenges.

Posted: May 1, 2015
Tagged: News of the Profession

National Endowment for the Humanities Announces New “Common Heritage” Grant Program

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced a new grant program, called "Common Heritage," that will bring to light historical records and artifacts currently hidden in family attics and basements across the country and make them digitally available to the wider public and for posterity.

NEH invites historical societies, libraries, archives, museums, colleges and other local institutions to apply for the Common Heritage grant program, the first federal grant program of its kind. Grants will support day-long events, organized by community cultural institutions, in which members of the public will be invited to share materials important to their family or community histories, such as photographs, artifacts, family letters, and works of art.

These items will be digitized, along with descriptive information and context provided by the community attendees. With the owner's permission, the digitized materials will be made publicly available through the institution's online collections. Contributors will receive a free digital copy of their items to take home, along with the original materials.
These materials will also be used for public programming – including lectures, exhibits, discussion programs, and film screenings – that celebrates and expands knowledge of the community's past and the diverse histories of its members.

"We know that America's cultural heritage isn't found only in libraries and museums," said NEH Chairman William Adams, "but in our homes, in our family histories, and the stories and objects we pass down to our children. NEH's new Common Heritage grant program aims to capture this vitally important part of our country's heritage and preserve it for future generations."
Application guidelines and a list of FAQs for the Common Heritage program are available at www.neh.gov. The application deadline for the initial cycle of Common Heritage grants is June 25, 2015. The first round of Common Heritage digitization days is expected to take place in early 2016.

The new Common Heritage grant program is part of the National Endowment for the Humanities' agency-wide initiative The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which seeks to demonstrate and enhance the role and significance of the humanities and humanities scholarship in public life.

NEH's Common Heritage program will award grants of up to $12,000 to community cultural organizations to coordinate community events and ensure that a wide range of historical materials can be digitized and contextualized through public programming.

NEH program staff from the Divisions of Preservation & Accessand Public Programs will conduct a webinar for interested applicants on Tuesday, May 5 at 4 PM (EST).

NEH Common Heritage grants webinar information:
May 5, 4-4:30 PM (EST)
Access code: 232-247-517
You can also dial in by phone at: (872) 240-3312

Posted: May 1, 2015
Tagged: News of the Profession

Fulbright Scholar Program Opportunities

This year, the Fulbright Scholar Program is offering over 60 awards in the field of American History. Exciting opportunities are available in many countries including but not limited to:

For further awards in the field of American Studies, American History, and American Literature, please visit Opportunities in American Studies, where you will find award highlights and examples of successful projects in the discipline.

For eligibility factors, detailed application guidelines and review criteria, please follow this link: http://cies.org/program/core-fulbright-us-scholar-program. You may also wish to register for one of our webinars or join our online community, My Fulbright, a resource center for applicants interested in the program.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, and the current competition will close on August 3, 2015.

Posted: May 1, 2015
Tagged: News of the Profession, Awards and Prizes

ACSC United States Congress Online Exhibit

The Association of Centers for the Study of Congress announces the opening of an online exhibition about the 89th United States Congress

The Association of Centers for the Study of Congress announces the opening of "The Great Society Congress," an online exhibition that draws on primary resources to highlight legislation passed during the 89th United States Congress (1965-1966).
The opening of the exhibition coincides with Congress Week, which takes place during the first week of April to commemorate the month in which Congress achieved its first quorums in 1789. The 89th Congress, considered one of the most productive in American history, passed an extensive legislative program as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's ambitious "Great Society" agenda.

The exhibition is a collaborative project of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress (ACSC), an independent alliance of organizations and institutions that supports a wide range of programs designed to inform and educate students, scholars, policy-makers and the general public on the history of Congress, the legislative process, and current issues facing Congress.

The University of Delaware Library is hosting this multi-institutional digital exhibition, which was created using the web publishing system Omeka. Omeka, a project of the Center for History and New Media, provided the platform for this groundbreaking collaboration.

Widely considered among the most effective in American history, the 89th Congress enacted the most extensive legislative program since the New Deal between January 1965 and December 1966. The Voting Rights Act, Immigration and Nationality Act, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the Social Security Act of 1965 each were transformative pieces of legislation and cornerstones of the Great Society. They are also but a few of the many significant laws passed during the two sessions of the 89th Congress that are still felt and debated in America today.

The online exhibition uses images, government documents, press releases, personal correspondence, and other materials contributed by more than ten ACSC member collections. "The Great Society Congress" explores the central role that the 89th Congress played in the construction of the Great Society and how some of the most impactful pieces of legislation in American history were shaped. The exhibition will be released in phases with content corresponding with legislative anniversaries and is available at: http://acsc.lib.udel.edu/great-congress.

ACSC institutions that contributed to the project are the:

· Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center, University of Oklahoma

· Center for Legislative Archives, National Archives and Records Administration

· Everett McKinley Dirksen Congressional Leadership Research Center

· The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

· Indiana University Libraries Modern Political Papers

· John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress, New York University

· Office of Art and Archives: U.S. House of Representatives

· Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia

· Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies

· Robert J. Dole Archive and Special Collections, University of Kansas

· South Carolina Political Collections, University of South Carolina

· University of Delaware Library

· W.R. Poage Legislative Library, Baylor University

· United States Senate Historical Office

Co-curators for this exhibition are Danielle Emerling, Assistant Librarian, University of Delaware Library, and Jay Wyatt, Director of Programs and Research, Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies. The exhibition project team members are Hope Grebner, Political Papers Archivist & Assistant Professor of Librarianship, Drake University, and Evan Hocker, Registrar, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. Audrey Hamelers, Assistant Librarian and Digital Humanities and Web Services Librarian, University of Delaware Library, implemented the Omeka site's design.

Posted: April 17, 2015
Tagged: News of the Profession

War, Words, Wisdom: A Veteran Experience Series Sponsored by John & Penny Barr

At the Walt Whitman Birthplace, Free & Open to the Public

Five part series of meaningful conversations about WARS through the WORDS and texts of Veterans, Soldiers, Scholars, and Composers to derive WISDOM about conflict and Democracy from the collaborative learning experience.

Join the conversation as we explore the Civil War, WWII, Vietnam, and Iraq.

For more information:

Posted: April 17, 2015
Tagged: News of the Profession

The John M. Collier Award for Forest History Journalism

The Forest History Society annually confers the John M. Collier Award for Forest History Journalism. The award recognizes the author of the best article on forest and conservation history published in newspapers, trade press, or general circulation magazines. An independent panel of judges considers depth of research, quality of analysis, clarity of expression, and overall significance when evaluating submissions.

The winning article will receive a $1,000 prize along with an opportunity to visit the Forest Historic Society Library and Archives or arrange for the presentation of the award plaque at a mutually agreed upon meeting or convention.

An original printed piece (photocopies are acceptable) or an electronic version of the nominated article(s) from the previous year's (2014) publications must be submitted to the Forest History Society postmarked no later than April 15, 2015. Author, publisher, and date of article must be included. Electronic versions should be sent to: andrea.anderson@foresthistory.org. A hardcopy of printed matter may be sent to Andrea at 701 William Vickers Ave., Durham, NC 27701.

John M. Collier was a working journalist. After many years of newspaper work, Collier completed his journalistic career with the Southern Forest Products Association. He also served on the Forest History Society Board of Directors. Following his untimely death, his friends arranged for an endowment to underwrite the costs of this memorial.

The award is open to any newspaper or general circulation magazine; professional or freelance journalist in North America. 

For more information: http://www.foresthistory.org/Fellowships/CollierAward.html

Posted: March 23, 2015
Tagged: News of the Profession, Awards and Prizes

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.

Read more >

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

Call for Papers: 2015 National Underground Railroad Conference

The National Park Service, the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Project, and its partners, including the OAH, will host the 2015 National Underground Railroad Conference in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina June 17-20, 2015. Read More>>

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Posted: February 3, 2015
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession

OAH Member Yuksel Atillasoy Publishes Book on Turkish Republic

OAH member Yuksel Atillasoy has published the book, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk: First President and Founder of the Turkish Republic and the Turkish War for Independence (2009). Atillasoy previously published Directory of the Fifty States: Puerto Rico and District of Columbia (2002) and Directory of American Presidents (2001). All three titles are available from Amazon.

Posted: January 29, 2015
Tagged: Clio's Kudos, News of the Profession

New 2015 OAH Summer Regional Workshop

The 3-day workshop, titled Diversity in the American West, will be held on the campus of Glendale Community College, located ten miles north of downtown Los Angeles, from Friday, July 17 through Sunday, July 19, 2015. The Program Committee invites proposals from college faculty (from both two-year and four-year institutions); high school faculty, including AP History instructors; historical researchers and writers; librarians: museum curators; public historians; advanced graduate students; and other educational professionals. Read More>>

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Posted: January 19, 2015
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession

The AASLH Announces New Leadership

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) announced today their new leadership. Dr. John Dichtl will lead the AASLH, becoming President & Chief Executive Officer of the 6,000 plus member association effective May 1st. Bob Beatty will be appointed Chief Operating Officer.

Dichtl has served for the last nine years as Executive Director of the National Council on Public History, and is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of History at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. Beatty has been director and then Vice President for Programs at AASLH since 2007. He currently serves as interim President & CEO until May 1, 2015.

John Dichtl holds an MA and PhD in United States history from Indiana University and a BA in history from Carleton College. For the last nine years he has served as Executive Director of the National Council on Public History and was Deputy Director of the Organization of American Historians from 2000-2005. Prior to the Indiana-based OAH and NCPH, Dichtl had two years of direct Capitol Hill experience as a staff member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

Dichtl is the author of Frontiers of Faith: Bringing Catholicism to the West in the Early Republic (University Press of Kentucky, 2008). At NCPH, Dichtl has edited Public History News and helped edit the blog History@Work. He has written encyclopedia entries, book and exhibition reviews, and a variety of articles and reports in history publications.

For more information on the AASLH, visit www.aaslh.org.

Posted: January 16, 2015
Tagged: News of the Profession

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Monday, January 19, 2015, marks the 30th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday. The inspirational and influential civil rights leader, who was born on January 15, 1929, is the only nonpresident honored with a federal holiday.

Dr. King was instrumental in America’s modern civil rights movement and is recognized as one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history. The Baptist minister spent his adult life striving for racial equality until his assassination in 1968 at the age of 39. He played pivotal roles in the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, in the 1964 March for Jobs and Freedom on the Washington, D.C., national mall, and in multiple peaceful resistance campaigns for which he was jailed more than two dozen times. Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, the same year Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, followed the next year by the Voting Rights Act.  

President Ronald Reagan signed legislation in 1983 establishing the Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday on the third Monday of every January (beginning in 1986). Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, led the 15-year effort, which included support from Congressman John Conyers, Senator Ted Kennedy, Congressman Jack Kemp, and Stevie Wonder, among others. 

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Posted: January 16, 2015
Tagged: News of the Profession

Funding Opportunity - University of Hull (UK) Doctoral Awards

The University of Hull is offering the following fully funded doctoral awards over three years. The closing date for applications is February 2, 2015.

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Posted: January 14, 2015
Tagged: News of the Profession