From the AHA Activities column in the January 2013 issue of Perspectives on History
Report of the 2012 AHA Nominating Committee
Page Herrlinger, January 2013
On behalf of the Nominating Committee, I am pleased to report the results of the 2012 election for AHA offices. The committee is extremely grateful to all the candidates who agreed to stand for Association elective office and committee positions despite their many other obligations. The Association depends for its continued well-being on the willingness of its members to serve. Elected candidates are indicated in blue/boldface.
President (1-year Term)
Kenneth Pomeranz, Univ. of Chicago (late imperial and modern China; world and comparative history; social, economic, and environmental history; state formation; popular religion)
President-Elect (1-year Term)
Geoff Eley, Univ. of Michigan (modern Germany, Britain, Europe; historiography; history and film; nationalism; fascism and the right, history of the left)
Jan Goldstein, Univ. of Chicago (modern European intellectual and cultural history in social and political context; modern France; history of the human sciences, including medicine; history of women, gender and sexuality; historiography)
Vice President, Teaching Division (3-Year Term)
Amy Nelson Burnett, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln (early modern Europe: printing and popular reception of the German/Swiss Reformation; preaching and confessional formation; late humanism, universities and history of education, Eucharistic controversy)
Elaine Carey, St. John's Univ. (Latin America, borderlands, Mexico, history of crime and drugs, human rights, gender)
Council/Divisions (3-Year Terms)
Mary Louise Roberts, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison (modern European history, gender and women, French history, Second World War)
Daniel Lord Smail, Harvard Univ. (medieval Europe, deep history, history and anthropology)
Ross Frank, Univ. of California, San Diego (Native America, culture, and epistemology; northern New Spain and U.S. borderlands; West, comparative and relational race and ethnicity)
Randall M. Packard, Johns Hopkins Univ. (history of medicine, public health, history of international health, African history, history of disease)
Brian Phillips Murphy, Baruch Coll., CUNY (colonial America, early national U.S., political economy, state formation, institutional corruption)
Joshua L. Reid, Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston (American Indians, cultural meanings of space and place, the American and Canadian Wests, the environment, borderlands, the indigenous Pacific)
Committee on Committees (3-Year Terms)
Mark D. Steinberg, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Russia, urban, religion, emotions, revolution)
Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, Univ. of California, Irvine (modern China, world, urban, gender, comparative revolutions and protest)
Nominating Committee (3-Year Terms)
Paul M. Cobb, Univ. of Pennsylvania (Middle East, Islam, medieval, Mediterranean, world)
Takashi Fujitani, Univ. of Toronto (Japan, East Asia, Asian American, Asia Pacific studies)
Mary Kupiec Cayton, Miami Univ. of Ohio (American intellectual, cultural, religious; interdisciplinary models and approaches to history; curriculum, pedagogy, and professional preparation)
Thavolia Glymph, Duke Univ. (19th-century U.S. South; social, economic and labor history; southern women and gender; slavery, Civil War and Reconstruction; comparative emancipation; global history)
Lisa A. Kirschenbaum, West Chester Univ. of Pennsylvania (modern Russia and the Soviet Union, women and gender, childhood, urban, the culture of international communism)
Sophia Rosenfeld, Univ. of Virginia (early modern Europe, especially France; intellectual and cultural; history of political theory; age of revolutions)
Election Process and Results
Ballots were mailed to 14,234 members, with 3,146 casting ballots before the AHA constitution's deadline of November 1. This was 22.10 percent of the total receiving ballots, compared to the 22.98 percent casting ballots in 2011. With the advent of e-voting, there have been higher levels of participation in AHA elections than the preceding two decades. The rate of return fits closely to the median range of voter participation in major associations, which is 24 percent.
The 2012 election marked the eighth year that AHA members had the opportunity to vote online to elect the Association's officers. The AHA returned to previous vendor Survey & Ballot Systems (SBS) of Eden Prairie, Minn., to prepare and distribute election ballots to AHA members and to receive, validate, and tally the votes. The AHA had employed Election Services Corporation but was able to obtain a more competitive bid for the service due to advances in online balloting. Members who furnished valid e-mail addresses and agreed to receive messages from the Association were asked via e-mail their preference for online or paper ballot. The vast majority of AHA members—more than 98 percent—voted online. Members were also invited to rate the voting process.
Slightly fewer than 92 percent were either "very satisfied" (59.5 percent) or "satisfied" (32.3 percent).
All AHA members who opted to vote electronically received an e-mail message with a unique computer-generated user name and password, good only for the online balloting system. Once successfully logged in, members could read the election rules and link to the ballot, which was also linked to candidate biographies. Members who lacked a valid e-mail address, or who requested the paper ballot, were mailed a paper ballot no later than September 1. The procedures for paper ballots were essentially the same as in previous years: after filling out the ballot, members returned it to SBS, which entered the information into the system. In theory, a member could receive both an e-mail and a paper ballot. Since the system tracked whether someone voted, separate from specific votes, the system accepted the first vote received and entered it into the system (but without identifying the specific voter).
Individuals who renewed their membership or joined the AHA for the first time after the initial mailing of ballots were also allowed to vote in the election. Anyone who renewed or joined before October 21 was able to vote online or to request a paper ballot. Although no paper ballots were mailed after October 21 (because the remaining time would be insufficient for members to receive and return the ballots to SBS before the constitutionally mandated deadline of November 1), those who renewed or joined before October 21 could vote online until midnight of November 1.
The Nominating Committee met in Washington, D.C., on January 28–29. Present were Page Herrlinger, Bowdoin Coll., chair; Sandra E. Greene, Cornell Univ.; Pekka J. Hämäläinen, St. Catherine's Coll., Univ. of Oxford; Moon-Ho Jung, Univ. of Washington; Dane Kennedy, George Washington Univ.; Jan Ellen Lewis, Rutgers Univ.-Newark; Alida C. Metcalf, Rice Univ.; Raúl A. Ramos, Univ. of Houston; and Julia Adeney Thomas, Univ. of Notre Dame. Also attending the meeting were James Grossman, executive director, and Sharon K. Tune, director, administrative operations.
Deliberations began at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, continuing through mid-afternoon on Sunday. Members also circulated names and c.v.'s of potential nominees via email prior to the meeting. The committee's next meeting is February 9–10, 2013, and the chair of the 2013 Nominating Committee will be Raúl A. Ramos.
The Nominating Committee moved to its principal task: nominating candidates for office. As in the past, the committee was very concerned that all AHA members should have input into the process. Every year the Nominating Committee issues several appeals to the membership at large for nominees. These appeals also stress the committee's commitment to diversity of all kinds. In addition to soliciting nominees in an open letter published in the January 2012 Perspectives on History, this year's chair again urged committee members to poll as many of their colleagues and associates as possible for nominees and to gather vitae before our February meeting. A number of AHA members responded to the open letter with suggestions; others, with expressions of willingness to serve. The committee also retained and reviewed suggestions and vitae of people considered over the previous five years. The nominations we received reflected the diversity of our organization with respect to gender, race, type of institution, field, and rank. In our deliberations, however, the committee expressed a special need for assistance in identifying candidates at the secondary-school level and those engaged in museum work. As in the past, we would also like to remind our colleagues to renew their membership in the organization before the end of the calendar year, if they would like to be considered for nomination.
Fulfilling its constitutional responsibility, the committee selected two nominees for each Association office and elective committee position to be filled by election in fall 2012, with terms to begin in January 2013. The committee sought to identify able and energetic members who could work well with colleagues, and who were, where relevant, familiar with broad sections of the profession beyond their immediate fields of expertise. In the case of the president and other top positions, the committee recognized the importance of selecting nominees who could represent the interests of historians to the public at large, and who had demonstrated some degree of administrative skill. In all its selections, the committee was anxious to reflect the broad diversity of the historical profession in terms of type of institution served, geographic location, sub-discipline, interests, gender, and cultural background.
This year the committee's deliberations benefitted from a new change in procedure, approved at the June 2011 meeting of the AHA Council. In the past, a number of excellent candidates for the position of president had to be precluded from consideration because of the prohibition against duplication of institutions. For the first time this year, however, the incoming president's institution was exempted from this otherwise important rule, and thus we were able to consider the widest and most diverse range of candidates.
Before concluding, the committee wishes to thank the staff of the Association for their support of our efforts. We also want to express our gratitude to our executive director, Jim Grossman, whose sage advice, positive energy, and hands-on assistance were invaluable to our deliberations this year. As always, we are especially grateful to Sharon K. Tune, director, administrative operations, for her consistently outstanding guidance and advice, as well as her patience and good cheer. Last but not least, I would personally like to thank the other members of the committee and the members of the past two Nominating Committees. Their good humor, hard work, good judgment, and broad knowledge of the profession made it possible for us to work swiftly and effectively. It was a great pleasure to have served with them.
Chair, 2012 AHA Nominating Committee