Historians discuss the present tense

Margaret DeLacy's picture


Thanks to information from our sister list, H-Hist-Bibl, below is a link to, and excerpt from, a post in the Inside Higher Ed blog discussing a panel that took place during the most recent American HIstorical Association conference in New York.  The participants discussed the role historians should/might play as commentators on current events. So far, the post has collected 55 comments.

"Past as Present: Should more historians weigh in on current policy debates? Panelists at historians' annual gathering say yes." by Colleen Flaherty, January 6, 2020

"Sandi Cooper, professor emerita at the College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, said she’d joined the AHA in 1957 and found that annual meeting discussions rarely tackle anything that happened after the 1940s. This panel -- on the Nazi legacy in the Trump era -- was different, and welcome, she said.

Nodding heads and murmurs of agreement followed her statement, even if it wasn’t technically accurate. The AHA seeks to make its meetings relevant, such as with late-breaking sessions related to current events and plenaries open to the public.

Yet Cooper's comment wasn’t wholly inaccurate, either: AHA meetings aren't known for rousing policy debates. . . ."



Thank you, Margaret, for sharing this AHA message. I intend to share it with my independent scholar group in the SF Bay Area, The Institute for Historical Study.

Joanne Lafler