Once again, Historiann’s better-traveled and more in-the-loop friend Classy Claude is at the American Historical Association’s annual meeting, and has volunteered to report back what he’s seen and heard. Here, he updates us on the Doug Manchester/Hyatt boycott, a prominent American women’s history panel, and who puts on the best free reception. Try not to hate him because he’s in San Diego–hate him because he’s beautiful, and employed!
Greetings from sunny San Diego! My view of San Diego Bay from the 17th floor of the Hilton gives some idea of just how lovely and temperate it is here right now (see the photo on the right, by Claude himself.) And the Hilton conveniently provides running maps to cover various distances along the promenade. Historiann, you would love it!
I have no actual idea of the numbers at this year’s AHA, but I can’t help but think that it’s down from recent years. Not one of the panels I have attended so far, for instance, has had its full component of scheduled speakers. Reasons for these absences are manifold. First, the abysmal job market: if there are fewer interviewers and interviewees (the main purpose here for most), then fewer attendees. Second, getting to San Diego is expensive for most North Americans. Combine that with the fact that many colleges and universities have slashed travel budgets and it becomes prohibitively expensive for many. Third, there are the Midwestern storms that certainly have delayed some people’s arrival and may well have stranded them altogether. And fourth, the gay and labor boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt (led by UNITE HERE and Equality California, but with many other organizational supporters) seems to have led some gay would-be attendees to cancel as well.
As many of Historiann’s readers know, before the 2009 meeting it came to the attention of some AHA members that the owner of the Hyatt, Doug Manchester, had given about 100K to the successful Proposition 8 campaign (to ban same-sex marriage in California). Continue Reading »