Presidential Did We Go Wrong? The Past and Prospects of the History Profession

AHA Session 35
Friday, January 6, 2012: 9:30 AM-11:30 AM
Sheraton Ballroom V (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)
Barbara D. Metcalf, University of California, Davis, emerita
A Long View: Graduate Education in America
James Axtell, College of William and Mary
By the Numbers: Professors, Doctors, and Jobs from the Beginning
Robert B. Townsend, American Historical Association
History, Humanities, and a Crystal Ball
Thomas Bender, New York University
The Audience

Session Abstract

Abstract:  Tony Grafton asked us to mount a Presidential Session for Chicago that would address the current employment situation in History via an historical survey of American graduate education, in general and in history. The number of jobs available at this year’s meeting in Boston was the lowest in many years, and was far exceeded by the number of members seeking them. The great recession of 2008 and university cutbacks are part of the explanation, of course, but commentators have also suggested that American research universities are overproducing overspecialized Ph.D.s for the existing market and have been for some time.  The panel will test these hypotheses and speculate cautiously about the future state of both graduate education and the professional market for our graduates.

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