From the Letters to the Editor column of the January 2007 Perspectives

Linda Kerber's Response to "Categorical Imperatives?" and "What's in a Subspecialty's Name?"

Linda K. Kerber, January 2007

Linda K. Kerber, AHA president for 2006, responds to say that psychohistory will stay on the printed renewal form:

The decision to omit psychohistory from the list of fields of specialization printed in the membership renewal form did not indicate a new disciplinary stance minimizing the significance of the field. I—and members of the Council—agree that psychohistory (or history informed by psychological perspectives) is a serious and important area of historical research. The decision was dictated purely by practical considerations—how to make space available in the printed form for new fields that scholars were declaring as their fields of interest. The only way to do this (without reducing the type size beyond legibility or increasing the size of the form) was, it seemed, to de-list the fields with the fewest adherents. Psychohistory, which was a field selected by only four—out of 14,000 people who can each make up to three choices—thus appeared to be an ideal candidate for exclusion from the printed form.

However, it now turns out that thanks to the technical wizardry of our designers, psychohistory can—and will—remain on the printed forms.

I should add that no deletions were planned, in any case, for the online form—which we expect more and more members to use in the coming years, and where space for listing diverse and unique fields of specialization will never be an issue.

—Linda K. Kerber