Pacific Coast Branch 2011

Submitted by Peter J. Blodgett, Executive Director, Pacific Coast Branch

The 104th annual meeting of the Pacific Coast Branch, American Historical Association, took place at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel in Seattle WA on August 11-13, 2011. The conference had 230 registered attendees, who participated in fifty-two different sessions. During the conference,Kelly Lytle Hernandez (University of California, Los Angeles) spoke to the Latina/o Scholars Luncheon on the topic “‘The Jail is our Weapon’: Ricardo Flores Magón and the Radical Possibilities of Incarceration, Los Angeles, 1908-1911” and Rebecca Jo Plant (University of California, San Diego) spoke to the Western Association of Women Historians luncheon on the topic “Mom: The Transformation of Motherhood in Modern America, 1920-1965”while President Janet Fireman (California History) presented her presidential address, “Between Horizons: Traveling the Great Central Valley.” The presidential address shall appear in expanded form in the February 2012 issue of the Pacific Historical Review.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Council of the Pacific Coast Branch, American Historical Association, the North Room, Third Floor, Renaissance Seattle Hotel, August 11, 2011.
President Janet Fireman called the meeting of the PCB Council to order at 2:21 p.m. Following approval of the 2010 minutes and a brief discussion of the 2011 local arrangements, the Council thanked 2011 Program Committee co-chairs Steve Hackel (University of California, Riverside) and Kevin Leonard (Western Washington University) and their committee members for their exceptional efforts in developing the 2011 program. Co-chair Leonard also offered the thanks of the Program Committee to PCB Executive Assistant Cynthia Scott for her splendid organizational skills in facilitating the Program Committee’s work.

Executive Director Blodgett followed the discussion of the 2011 program with a report on the current financial state of the PCB. Having retained all its assets in cash through the year, the PCB has avoided any financial losses for a second year and has maintained complete liquidity of all its funds. On the other hand, both the 2011 interest rate for the Business Market Rate account and the income from advertisers and exhibitors at the annual meeting have stabilized at regrettably low levels. Nonetheless, while the larger economic climate has had a noticeable impact upon the circumstances of the PCB since 2008, its finances remain stable and its economic health is sound.

Pacific Historical Review Managing Editor David Johnson then presented the report of the journal in which he noted that between July 31, 2009 and August 1, 2010, the journal received fifty-three submissions, accepted thirteen for publication, and published eighteen. Over the year, 120 scholars served as external reviewers for the journal. The journal published 102 book reviews with 102 reviewers representing 83 institutions. At Johnson’s request, the Council then approved a slate of individuals whom the editors proposed as new PHR editorial board members and expressed its thanks to those board members whose terms had concluded. Discussion thereafter ensued concerning efforts to further publicize the work of the journal through such steps as establishing a link from the PCB website to that of the UC Press’ Journals Division and to featuring the Pacific Historical Review in an article for a future issue of the AHA’s Perspectives on History.

Executive Director Blodgett and incoming President Kyle Longley then offered preliminary details about the 2012 annual conference. The meeting will take place at the Joan Kroc Center on the campus of the University of San Diego on August 9-11, 2012. President Longley announced his selection of Jason Colby (University of Victoria) and Matt Garcia (Arizona State University), as well as the conference theme “New Beginning or Beginning of the End?”

Under the heading of “old business,” immediate Past President Barbara Molony, representing the Presidents Travel Award Committee of herself, Rachel Fuchs and Al Camarillo advanced a proposal to expand the scope of the “Presidents Travel Award” to include unemployed recent Ph.D. recipients as well as currently enrolled graduate students. Discussion ensued among members of the Council, leading to a request from current President Janet Fireman that the Travel Award Committee members draft language embodying their proposal for Council’s review and discussion online.

Still under the heading of old business, Pacific Historical Review editor David Johnson described a proposed extension to the existing Memorandum of Agreement between the Pacific Coast Branch and Portland State University that provides for the hosting the PHR by that institution. The two-year extension, just recently approved by the PSU administration, would provide a period during which arrangements for the transition to a new editor of the journal would be completed. Council approved the extension of the memorandum of agreement.

After Executive Director Blodgett reported incoming President Longley’s selections for new members of the PCB award committees and the new chair of the Nominating Committee, the Executive Director announced that, upon completion of his four-year term in office, he wished to begin planning for his departure. He proposed a two-year extension of his term (until December 31, 2013), during which an Executive Director designate would be given the opportunity to become familiar with the demands of the position. He also reported that Kevin Leonard (Western Washington University) had expressed considerable interest in the position. Discussion ensued among Council members, at the end of which Council approved the extension of Executive Director Blodgett’s contract for the period stipulated, authorized an increase in his annual stipend in recognition of his dedication to the organization and requested that Kevin Leonard continue discussions with the administration of Western Washington University to assess their level of interest and support, with an eye to finalizing his appointment by the next Council meeting.

No further issues awaiting discussion, President Fireman then declared the Council meeting adjourned at 4:40 PM.