From the AHA Activities column of the November 2008 issue of Perspectives on History

What Does the AHA Do?

AHA Staff, November 2008

Publishes the American Historical Review, now in its 113th year as the premier journal in the field, and the only journal that brings together scholarship from every major field of historical study cutting across time periods and geographical boundaries.

Advocates for history and historians with regard to public policies that affect the profession, such as access to federal and presidential records; appropriations for the National Archives, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Library of Congress, the National Park Service, and other agencies that support historians and historical research; and government regulations that affect historical research.

Maintains an increasingly popular web site (www.historians.org) with several Web 2.0 features, including a daily newsblog (blog.historians.org), an Archives Wiki (http://archiveswiki.historians.org), and other services that disseminate news and information relevant to the profession and provide access to a vast array of useful resources.

Publishes Perspectives on History, an important newsmonthly for the historical profession, featuring regular reports on the profession, active learning techniques, employment in history, films, computers, graduate programs, and history and historians in the news.

Organizes an annual meeting that brings together more than 5,000 historians to discuss and debate scholarship, teaching, and professional matters; offers exhibit space to more than 150 publishers looking to display their titles and to meet prospective authors; and provides complimentary meeting space to the Association’s affiliated societies.

Brings historical research to public audiences through the activities of the National History Center—an AHA initiative launched in 2002—that include briefings on the historical context of current issues for congressional staff and public lectures cosponsored with the Council on Foreign Relations; publications targeted to a general audiences on the need to reinterpret historical events; and conferences of policy and decision makers to explore various aspects of history education policy, including teacher training, student learning and assessment.

Provides services for history departments by organizing conferences, seminars, and workshops on the curriculum, graduate education, professional standards and other topics of concern; publishing a Directory of History Departments, Historical Organizations and Historians; maintaining a database of employment opportunities and interviewing facilities at the annual meeting, facilitating consulting services to departments undergoing review; and tracking trends in education of historians and their employment.

Publishes and disseminates—online and in print—the Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct which affirms ethical and scholarly standards in historical research, writing, and teaching.

Interacts intensively with organizations engaged in shaping higher education policies, such as the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Humanities Alliance, and the Consortium of Social Science Associations, and supports efforts such as the National History Day program for promoting history education at all levels

Develops and publishes a wide array of pamphlets on historical teaching and research such as the Essays on Global and Comparative History, New Essays on American Constitutional History, and Teaching Diversity series, as well as valuable professional pamphlets including Careers for Students of History and Becoming a Historian.

Recognizes excellence in the profession by sponsoring two major fellowships, several awards for recognition of scholarly and pedagogic distinction, 24 book prizes, and more than 100 research grants to graduate students and junior faculty members for research and travel.

Develops advisory documents and guides to best practices that address professional standards, employment, and other professional issues.

Addresses issues of concern to particular groups of historians through dedicated committees such as the Task Force on Disability and the Working Group on Evaluating Public History Scholarship.

Continues discussions with the more than 100 specialized historical organizations now affiliated with the AHA, seeking ways to support each other’s professional interests.

Organizes conferences, seminars, and workshops such as the “Globalizing Regional History” conferences and the summer workshops for directors of graduate studies.

Continues to work with the National Coalition for History to help widen access to the historical record through legislative measures and to improve the professional standards of federal employees and contractors involved in historic preservation through.

Works to ensure both fair use and equitable cost recovery measures to enable continuing dissemination of research and to protect the interests of historians as users and producers of intellectual materials.