Saturday, January 03, 2009

NYC - American Historical Association - Day One

We arrived in New York for New Year's Eve given the great rate the AHA was able to secure for those of us able to fly to the city early. The snow was beautiful and we survived New Year's Eve.

More historians filtered in on Thursday, but it wasn't until Friday that the historians dominated the lobby, including the lobby bar. The atmosphere was that of running into old friends and colleagues mixed with the uncertainly facing not only those seeking new or their first faculty positions but those with positions hoping they would not be cut due to budget constraints before a suitable candidate accepted their positions.

The email information for registration ensured a much faster and smoother registration process - especially for those of us with last names beginning with one of the last letters of the normal groupings. Keep up the great work, AHA staff! We know what a major headache registration glitches can be for everyone involved.

The ever-anticipated Exhibit Hall opened at 3pm and stayed open until 7. My duties at OAH prevented me from spending any real time there so I looked forward to not having rushed time among the books during this convention. Additionally, it's always a good place to run into the people you want to make sure to see, even if just to briefly touch base.

Presidential Professor Carol Berkin was her usual dynamo self running around the convention and checking on her books. She is always surprised by her enthusiastic fans but her fans certainly aren't. Great scholarship that is actually fun to read is not all that common. And her dedication to the profession and her acknowledgment of the importance of teaching despite her scholarly status is most effectively demonstrated by her editorship of History Now.

A member of our Teaching American History grants Teacher Leadership Team was able to fit the meeting into his busy schedule although he has to leave early to return for an in-service on Monday. It's great to see one of our program's graduates take in the complexity of offerings at a professional conference such as the AHA. My first "mentoring" duty was helping him dissect the diverse program.

Spending some time with my major professor/continuing mentor was also enjoyable.

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