The American HIstorical Association discusses access to resources

Margaret DeLacy's picture


The latest issue (January 10, 2020) of the newsletter of the American Historical Assocaition, Perspectives on History includes a discussion about access to research resources by Jim Grossman and Becky Nicolaides entitled "Research Access and Scholarly Equity."  Reiterating the findings of the survey the AHA carried out in 2017, which showed that the profession as a whole is handicapped when many of its members lack equitable access to scholarly materials, the discussion concludes with the following recommendations:

"The AHA encourages history departments to provide full library access to their own scholar alumni and to unaffiliated historians in their regions. History departments and academic units can play a positive role by supporting the scholarship of their alumni and by bringing more unaffiliated scholars into their orbit. Providing these historians a university affiliation—whether as a visiting scholar or by whatever means is feasible—will help close the gap between those with and without adequate research access. These actions will enable every historian to fully realize their potential as scholars and contributors to our discipline."

[Margaret comments]: perhaps it would be worth while creating a petition to make this an official AHA policy, instead of just an "encouragement."  One further step would be to take this same set of recommendations to the American Association of University Professors.
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Dear Margaret,

Thank you for posting this information. I agree, mostly strongly, that it should be an official policy instead of merely an "encouragement." Where do I sign up?

The AHA Council actually did approve a statement exactly along these lines early this month - so it now is official AHA policy. They will be publicizing this in the February issue of Perspectives magazine. But in the meantime, here is the link:

Becky Nicolaides

Most of my work in history involved the well-being of American society and its members as part of economic, health, and safety regulation. Consequently, I suggest adding the words in brackets to the final sentence of the AHA statement.

These actions will enable every historian to fully realize their potential as scholars and contributors to our discipline, [and help ensure the economic, health, and safety well-being of our communities, our nation, and international relations.]

There should definitely be more resources available to alumni, and I applaud AHA's efforts, but they certainly need to include those with master's degrees as well as PhD holders. Where's the inclusivity?