Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Goodbye AHA

Its object shall be the promotion of historical studies through the encouragement of research, teaching, and publication; the collection and preservation of historical documents and artifacts; the dissemination of historical records and information; the broadening of historical knowledge among the general public; and the pursuit of kindred activities in the interest of history. -- Article II, Constitution of the American Historical Association

Resolved, That the American Historical Association urges its members through publication of this resolution in Perspectives and other appropriate outlets:

1. To take a public stand as citizens on behalf of the values necessary to the practice of our profession; and

2. To do whatever they can to bring the Iraq war to a speedy conclusion.

Resolution on United States Government Practices Inimical to the Values of the Historical Profession, March 12, 2007.
When the second quoted item--the AHA's Iraq War resolution--was passed, I wrote,
I don't think the average person gives a crap about what the AHA has to say about Iraq. And I guess I don't either. My only decision is whether or not such an organization deserves my dues.
Since then, I've neither seen nor heard anything from the AHA regarding standing-up for the profession other than when it is against the Bush Administration and an Imperial Presidency. Nothing about the Clinton's stonewalling the release of records or of their former crony Web Hubbell absconding with historical documents from NARA. No hue and cry about the history lost. Oh, they reported it in one of their "Inside Washington"-type columns, but didn't see fit to decide or "resolve" over it. I guess actually stealing and destroying documents isn't as bad as putting a hold on them while we are at war. I'm sure the AHA was all over FDR for the same things.

Anyway, enough is enough. I'm letting my membership lapse and am discontinuing my affiliation with the AHA. I'm fed up with their inability to resist immersing themselves in ideological politics while under a veneer of doing so to safeguard the "values necessary to the practice of our profession." Sure, there are other, practical ($) reasons why I'm checking out of the professional side of the, er, profession. Basically, the services the AHA offers an "Independent Historian" like me (basically, access to book reviews and a few articles in AHR) are easily found (for free!) here on the web. Frankly, because I wasn't going to be going for a PhD or teach any time soon, it was never a perfect match to begin with. Face it, the AHA is of, for and by the PhD's, all of their wailing and gnashing of teach about the "role of the MA" or "public historians" aside. And that's fine, but ain't for me. No harm, no foul....and no more money from me.

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