Presidential Scale in History

AHA Session 1
Thursday, January 5, 2017: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Mile High Ballroom 3A (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Dominic Sachsenmaier, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Scale and Contingency
Daniel L. Smail, Harvard University
The Challenges of Scaling
Patricia Seed, University of California, Irvine

Session Abstract

For the 2017 Annual Meeting, contributors have been encouraged to trace links among scales—spatial, temporal, and topical. The focus on linking historical scales provides one way to seek coherence in the ever-widening range of historical study. In this roundtable session, three leading scholars present their experience in working at multiple scales in history and their comments and questions on issues to be raised in sessions to be presented in the course of the annual meeting.

The possible links among historical scales are immense in number. One may hope to locate an occasional nexus of specific historical factors that combine to bring about change, even if they are at quite different scales. Juxtaposition and interaction of small and large geographical terrains, short and long periods of time, specific topics and wide-ranging topical scope—these are dimensions underlying theme of “scale” in addition to the many specific subjects of panels on research and teaching. Overall, it may be that eclectic links of papers and panels throughout the conference will reveal links across the scales of history, documenting the interdependence of historians working in various specializations.

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