Spotlight on the 117th Annual Meeting

Margaret Washington and Anand Yang, October 2002

Chicago is for historians, especially this January 2–5, 2003, when the the AHA holds its 117th annual meeting there. The meeting will offer rich intellectual fare for every kind of historian: junior and senior scholars, researchers and teachers, postsecondary and precollegiate teachers, and even amateur history buffs.

One unique feature of the forthcoming program is the six high-caliber presidential sessions that Lynn Hunt has assembled to address major historiographical issues and concerns. "Provincializing Europe," involving Natalie Zemon Davis as chair, Gabriel Piterberg, Ann Farnsworth-Alvear, and Bonnie Smith as presenters, and Dipesh Chakrabarty as commentator, will kick-off the program on Thursday, January 2 at 8 p.m. Two additional sessions-one on new approaches to international history featuring a presentation by Charles S. Maier, and a second session entitled, "Toward a New History of the Self," with a number of presenters-are in the lineup for Friday, January 3. Saturday's three presidential sessions center on a discussion of a paper by Joan W. Scott that will anchor a panel on "The Future of Feminist History," a roundtable on the theme "Writing the History of Western Civ in the Global Age," and a panel, "Enlightenment and Revolution: New Perspectives."

Thanks to the excellent work of this year's Program Committee and the many fine panel proposals we had to choose among, there are also another 162 wonderful panels worth attending. A handful of these are actually the handiwork of various divisions of the AHA.

As always, the overwhelming majority of panels are in the American and European fields of history. But there are also many attractions for colleagues concerned with other areas of history, including Asia, the Middle East, and especially, Latin America. Regrettably, the coverage of Africa is thin, not because we turned down any panels on that region but because we had no Africa-only proposal.

Perhaps because we elected to go themeless in Chicago, the subject matter of panels range far and wide. So do their coverage of time periods, with the modern and medieval periods represented best. A few panel titles will indicate the great variety that the forthcoming AHA meeting has to offer: "Ideal and Reality: Religious Toleration in Colonial British America," "New Perspectives on the Medieval Peasantry," "The German Diaspora in East Central Europe," "Images of Children and Family in Modern European Politics," "The Soul of Black Folk after 100 Years" "Italian Renaissance Humanism and the Middle Ages," "Labor, State, and Politics in the Progressive-Era United States," "Minorities and American Liberalism," "Rethinking the American South in the Age of Imperialism," "Cultural Politics in Post-1968 France," and "Consumption and American Political Economy."

Impressive as well are panels such as "Comparative Approaches to Early Medieval Egypt," "Imperial Players and Colonial Men: Identity, Gender, and Modernity in Princely India," and "Slavery, Rebellion, and Political Authority: Nation Building in Nineteenth-Century Brazil" that promise in-depth accounts of a single region of the world. Many panels also propose to extend the AHA meeting's coverage of the world by doing comparative and/or world history. The list of such sessions is long enough that a few panel titles will have to suffice as examples of what we can expect to enjoy in Chicago: "Collaboration and Empire in the Middle East and North Africa," "Reading the Wartime Diaries of Ordinary People in Europe and Asia, 1937–45," "Modern Medicine, Science, and Technology in the Developing World," "Articulating Discourses of 'Rights' in Non-Western Historical Contexts," Beyond Europe? Japan and the Ottoman Empire in the Birth of Intra-Asian Modernity," "Comparative Perspectives on Migration and Identity," and "History and Nationalism in the Textbooks of East and South Asia."

The diversity of the program has also been enriched by several additions made by the various divisions of the AHA. Their offerings include a Thursday (January 2) panel, "A Time for Change: The AHA and National Efforts to Rethink, Review, and Reform Graduate Education"; the Friday sessions, "Interviewing in the Job Market in the Twenty-First Century," "Scholarly Communication on the Internet," "Strategies for Effective Teaching: Collaboration in the University Classroom," and "Impact on History Courses during and after 9-11"; the Saturday panels, "Increasing the Presence of Minority Graduate Students in the Profession," "Preparing for the Job Market: A Nuts-and-Bolts Workshop," "Plagiarism: What's so Bad About It, Anyway?" "To Build a Profession: Teachers, Historians, and Educators in the Preparation of History Teachers," and "Careers in History"; and the Sunday panels, "Graduate Students Discuss Their Preparation as Future Faculty" and "Using Multimedia for Inquiry-Based Learning in Secondary Education."

The Program Committee urges our colleagues to stay on for the Sunday, January 5, panels scheduled at the 8.30–10.30 a.m. and 11–1 p.m. slots. Some of these sessions have already been highlighted above. In addition, this final day's deliberations feature panels on such topics as "Consumerism in the College World History Survey Course," "Internal Migration and Community: Workers, Women, and Minorities across the Migrant Stream After 1945," "The Making of the English Working Class at Forty: A Roundtable on the Global Impact of a Local Study," "The Power of Violence in Late Imperial Austria-Hungary," "Sex, Violence, and the Subversion of Civil Rights," "The Global Spaces of German Thought: Nation, Region, and Earth in the Twentieth Century," "Modernism/Postmodernism: Critical Approaches from a Transnational Perspective," "The Cross and the Rise of Western Anti-Judaism in the Eleventh Century," "Flights of Fancy: Public Constructions of Air and Space Travel in the Twentieth Century," "Gender, Race, and Nation in African American Memory of the Civil War, 1865–1930," "'Contested Queendom': Beauty, Culture, Race, and Sexuality in Twentieth-Century North America," "Societies, Gender and Power in Modern Civil Wars and Revolutions: Cases and Comparisons from Europe and Mexico," "Festivals and the Construction of American Identities," "Dark Prince? Lyndon Johnson and the World," "Blood, 'Race,' and Lineage in the Early Modern Atlantic World," "Internationalism, Travel, and Study: American Encounters with Europe in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries," "Newspaper Rows: The Press and Public Space in Urban America, 1890–1930," "Gender and the Politics of Ethnic Identity Formation," "Slaves, Servants, and Suspects: Modern French Subjects, 1880–2002," "The Centennial of Korean Immigration to the United States: A Roundtable Discussion on the Scholarship of Wayne Patterson," "African Americans and the Meanings of Freedom during the Early Cold War," and "Images of German Nationhood: Alternative Narratives."

—Margaret Washington (Cornell Univ.) and Anand Yang (Univ. of Washington) are co-chairs of the Program Committee for the AHA's 2003 annual meeting.