SHGAPE Annual President's Letter

Chelsea Gibson's picture

Dear H-SHGAPE Subscribers,

SHGAPE President Al Broussard (Texas A&M University) will be stepping down in January 2021, and our new president, Nancy Unger (Santa Clara University), will begin her term. Professor Broussard has issued his annual president's letter:


        By any standard, 2020 was an extraordinary year, one that challenged many of us personally and professionally and radically altered the way that we teach our students and fulfilled our professional responsibilities. The new year cannot come fast enough, and the recent approval of an effective vaccine to combat COVID-19 has offered me hope that SHGAPE and other professional organizations may return to some semblance of normal operations in 2021. I remain optimistic, too, that SHGAPE will continue to thrive because of the dedication and willingness of so many of you who agreed to serve on committees and in leadership positions. I want to thank each of you personally who agreed to serve on one of SHGAPE’S book or article prize committees in 2020, including the inaugural H. Wayne Morgan Book Prize Committee, which will be awarded in 2021.    

        I am delighted as well to introduce our newly elected SHGAPE leadership. They include Wendy Gamber, Vice-President/President Elect; Professor Gamber, a distinguished scholar, is Robert F. Byrnes Professor of History and department chair at Indiana University, Bloomington. Kevin Mason, assistant professor of history and department chair for history, geography, and political science at Waldorf University, was elected Treasurer and replaces Stacy Cordery, who served in this role with distinction for many years. The newest council members include Julio Capo, Jr., associate professor of history and deputy Director of the Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab at Florida International University; Lauren MacIvor Thompson, faculty research fellow at the Georgia State University College of Law’s Center for Law, Health and Society; and Helen Zoe Veit, associate professor of history at Michigan State University. Each of us owe a debt of gratitude to Mary Lui and the Nominating Committee for producing an excellent slate of candidates. I wish to thank outgoing council members Davarian Baldwin, Susan Matt, and Paul Kramer for their service and leadership, as well as Laura Crossley who is ending her term as our graduate student representative. Laura will continue to serve as our Social Media Editor, as well as the co-editor of the SHGAPE Blog, along with Chelsea Gibson.  We had other leadership changes this year as well. Alan Lessoff began his tenure as the new editor-in-chief for SHGAPE’S website and has a number of new initiatives planned for the site beyond the Blog. Joseph Locke, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Houston-Victoria, became the new JGAPE book review editor, replacing Elaine Franz. On behalf of SHGAPE’S membership, I want to thank Elaine for her many years of service to the organization. In addition to serving as book review editor for eight years, Elaine has served as a council member, a prize committee chair, and a member of several other committees. For that service and dedication to SHGAPE, Elaine was honored with the Roger D. Bridges Service Award for 2020.

        Despite the challenges that every professional organization faces today, SHGAPE’S membership remains strong, thanks in part to the excellent work of Jeremy Young, who stepped down as membership chair this year. Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, who served on this important committee, now chairs the membership committee. I am pleased to report also that last year’s fundraising campaign did very well, and SHGAPE’S financial picture looks bright, in large measure, due to the excellent work of our treasurer Stacy Cordery.

           The pandemic, regrettably, resulted in the cancellation of the OAH’s annual meeting in 2020, and its decision to move to a virtual format in 2021 will disrupt or eliminate several SHGAPE events. Some SHGAPE-sponsored sessions have been postponed until 2022, while others will take place virtually, including the Lightning Round that will feature ten emerging scholars presenting snapshots of their work, followed by a discussion.

           The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era continues to thrive and is widely recognized as the leading professional journal in its field, thanks to the strong leadership of journal co-editors Boyd Cothran and Rosanne Currarino. Rosanne stepped in on short notice as co-editor to replace C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa and has done a tremendous job. Under Cothran and Currarino’s leadership, JGAPE’s impact factor (IF) has improved, and the journal continues to publish special issues and forums that speak to present-day concerns. In October 2020, JGAPE featured a special issue on the passage and significance of the Nineteenth Amendment at its centennial. That issue also included a roundtable, “Reconsidering the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic in the Age of Covid-19,” organized by Christopher McKnight Nicholas. In recognition of the long history of systemic racism and racial violence directed against African Americans, the journal’s co-editors are publishing a retrospective on the historiography of lynching in the January 2021 JGAPE. I hope this is merely the beginning of many conversations that our co-editors will engage our readers on this important topic.

            Finally, I want to make a special plea to each of you. Professional organizations like SHGAPE will only continue to thrive if each of us support them in a multitude of ways. Thus, I encourage each of you to renew your membership, consider taking out a membership in the name of a graduate student, submitting your cutting-edge scholarship to the JGAPE, agree to serve on a SHGAPE committee, consider serving as a mentor for a younger scholar, and continue to stay active in the profession. To be sure, these may sound like tall orders in the current environment, but they also represent the essential building blocks of a vibrant and progressive professional organization. Nancy Unger, who has served as Vice-President/President for the past two years, will assume the presidency of SHGAPE on January 1, 2021. Some of you may remember Professor Unger when she served as book review editor of JGAPE. She is also a former council member, and knows our organization well. An outstanding scholar in the Progressive Era, Nancy will, no doubt, bring her own vision and leadership style to the presidency of SHGAPE. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as president of SHGAPE the past two years, and I am especially appreciative of the support and counsel of SHGAPE’S Executive Secretary Professor Amy Wood. The best is yet to come.


Albert S. Broussard

President, Society for the Gilded Age and Progressive Era


Texas A&M University