Historians Behaving Badly: Intellectual Citizenship, Professional Behavior, and the Public Good

AHA Session 28
Thursday, January 4, 2018: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Washington Room 1 (Marriott Wardman Park, Exhibition Level)
Suzanne Lynn Marchand, Louisiana State University
Jeremy I. Adelman, Princeton University
Thomas Cogswell, University of California, Riverside
Lloyd S. Kramer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Sarah C. Maza, Northwestern University

Session Abstract

This roundtable features presentations by former chairs and senior scholars in the profession who have witnessed significant amounts of the good, the bad, and the ugly in professional behavior over the course of their careers. In this session, each will share some thoughts about the way in which various forms of bad behavior on the parts of faculty members, administrators, or grad students have deleterious consequences for the public good and the professional community. Subjects covered will include bad behavior (on both sides) in the job market encounter, the corrosive effect of resentment or selfishness on departmental or institutional morale, breaches of civility or discretion with respect to journal, book, or conference submissions, awkward situations created by administrative higher-ups, discourteous treatment of staff and students, and more. We hope in this way to show how important are values such as commitment to civility and the common good, understanding of others’ perspectives and needs, and appreciation of the many benefits of academic life to our collective success as teachers, colleagues, and scholars.

A first round of contributions (6 minutes each; 30 minutes) will treat these subjects; contributors will describe how the public good is harmed by various forms of bad behavior. Each panelist’s contribution will be further anonymized by having someone other than the author read his/her contribution. A second round (5 minutes each; 25 minutes) will feature each panelist briefly detailing one of his/her own instances of "bad behavior." The floor will then be turned over to the audience for as many rounds of questions as possible. It is hoped that the panel will remind historians young and old of the importance of being a good citizen of the profession.

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