Affiliation with the American Historical Association
Approved by AHA Council, January 2008
Currently, over one hundred different historical organizations are affiliated with the AHA. These affiliates are a diverse group that includes the American Studies Association, the History of Science Society, the North American Conference on British Studies, and the World History Association, to name just a few. The Association’s goal in establishing this broad network of organizations is to promote collaboration and communication across the wide history community.
As described in the AHA’s Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct, the history profession is defined by self-conscious identification with a community of historians who are collectively engaged in investigating and interpreting the past as a matter of disciplined learned practice. But this is not defined narrowly, within the confines of academia. Historians work in an extraordinary range of settings: in museums and libraries and government agencies, in schools and academic institutions, in corporations and non-profit organizations. Some earn their living primarily from employment related to the past; some practice history while supporting themselves in other ways. We welcome affiliated societies that represent this diversity of professional workplaces and practices, as well as the full range of topical and field specializations in the discipline.
Requirements for affiliated status are fourfold:
- The organization must be a community of historians, with a formal organizational structure, an identifiable membership, and a commitment to maintaining connections among historians. Any organization seeking affiliation must have been in existence a minimum of three years prior to application: both the leadership and the membership of the applicant organization should include current members of the AHA. (No minimum proportion is stipulated; interdisciplinary organizations that otherwise meet the guidelines are encouraged to apply.)
- There must be clear evidence that the organization monitors, protects, and ensures high quality in both the means and the products of its communications with its members.
- Evidence must be given that affiliation will benefit both the affiliated society and the AHA by establishing a partnership in the practice of history.
- Affiliate status will be conferred only on organizations focused on particular subjects or practices of history. The Association will not consider for affiliation any organization that limits membership based on criteria extrinsic to the study of the past, or otherwise discriminates on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, age, disability, or marital status.
To apply for affiliated status, an organization must complete and submit the Application Form (PDF), along with the following supporting materials, to AHA, 400 A St. SE, Washington, DC 20003.
- A copy of its constitution and/or bylaws.
- A list of elected officers, indicating those that are members of the AHA.
- A membership list (including addresses so that they may be checked for membership in the AHA).
- Copies of the newsletters or other periodical publications and record of conferences.
- A one page description of your organization addressing the four required criteria for affiliation.
Applications will be screened by the AHA's Committee on Affiliated Societies, a standing committee composed of the president‑elect (chair), one Council member appointed by the president, two other members appointed by the Committee on Committees, and the executive director, ex officio. The two members‑at‑large are chosen from among those who have been active in one or another of the affiliated societies and who bring the perspective of the affiliated societies to the work of the committee. The committee will review all applications, usually by mail, and make recommendations to the Council, which will act at its next semi‑annual meeting. The whole process may take as long as six to eight months. The committee may also periodically review affiliated society policies and the status of the societies.
Benefits of Affiliation
The specific nature of the AHA’s relationship with its affiliates varies considerably. In some cases, the ties are close, as evidenced in collaborative projects and publications, joint prizes and awards, and cosponsored meetings and conferences. In other cases, the principal activity is consultation regarding special concerns or referral of inquiries. The following are the most consistent avenues of communication and collaboration:
- An opportunity to contribute to and participate in exciting discussions about new forms of publishing and new ways of doing history through collaborative partnerships with the AHA and other affiliates. Affiliates have free access throughout the year to an umbrella organization that can provide information about speakers, aid in locating meeting space, access to advocacy and lobbying efforts in support of social sciences and humanities, and the like.
- The Association publishes a Directory of Affiliated Societies on the website, which lists each organization’s date of founding; size of membership, website address, and annual dues; names, addresses, and phone numbers of the president, the primary contact, and other appropriate officers and staff; dates and locations of future annual meetings; list of periodical publications; and a twenty‑five word statement on the society's nature and purpose. The Association depends on each organization to provide this information annually in response to a request from the AHA headquarters. Any organization that does not respond to requests for updated information will be subject to suspension as described below.
- Each year several affiliated societies sponsor joint sessions at the AHA annual meeting. Proposals for such sessions must be submitted formally through the AHA Program Committee in accordance with the AHA's Annual Meeting Guidelines. No affiliated society is guaranteed a slot on the program—final authority over the program rests entirely with the AHA Program Committee.
- Affiliated societies can mount their own separate programs parallel to the AHA annual meeting—such activities are not subject to review by the Program Committee. Currently, around four dozen affiliates meet during the AHA's meeting, taking advantage of the Association’s favorable transportation and hotel rates and the availability of meeting space. Each society is responsible for all organizational and financial details for such activities and for keeping the AHA informed of its plans. For a fee, such meetings or sessions can be listed in a special section of the official AHA Program. The AHA does insist, however, that all individuals in attendance register for the AHA meeting. Also, due to the limited availability of meeting space and the large number of affiliates, the Association reserves the right to set limitations or assess fees on usage of meeting space by affiliates.
- For a nominal fee, each affiliate can request a table and seating in a convenient location during AHA annual meetings for dispensing literature and other items. Generally, the timeframe is for three hours on Friday midday, with location in the headquarters hotel.
- All AHA Affiliates are encouraged to submit news items for the “Affiliate News” column of the Association’s newsmagazine, Perspectives on History, and special consideration is often given to affiliate organizations in regard to publishing news in other columns.
Requirements for Continued Affiliation
- To update annually elected officers and primary contact for the organization, and to keep the AHA informed regarding changes in organization status, purpose, and the like.
- No more than once in every five years, the AHA will request one‑time free use of an affiliate’s mailing list of members to seek dual membership from individuals who do not belong to the AHA.
Suspension of Affiliate Status
If over the span of four years a society fails to respond to annual requests for new and updated information for the online directory, and/or have not sponsored a session or event at an AHA annual meeting, their affiliate status will be suspended and all benefits revoked until the society formally requests renewal of their status.