From a distance, of course–Potterville is about 1,137 miles away, 4,659 feet higher, and 70 degrees colder than San Diego this morning. Damn! but I wish I were waking up in the Hotel del Coronado today. It’s -11 here now–but it will be sunny, at least! The sun is about the only thing San Diego will have in common today with the High Plains Sub-Zero Freezer we’re locked in until the weekend. Classy Claude will be filing a first-person report later this weekend, if he can peel himself off the beach, shake the sand out of his drawers, and find a wifi hotspot.
First, the good news: the 2010 annual meeting of the American Historical Association is in San Diego! That’s it for the good news I’ve heard. If you’re there and not interviewing for jobs, interviewing for jobs you’re unlikely to get, or interviewing dozens of candidates for a job at your institution, at least you can do it without wearing boots and lugging a giant coat around a big hotel because you’re stuck yet again in Chicago or Boston. (Who’s with me on pushing the AHA to south and west, friends? We’ll throw Denver in there too, for you winter sports enthusiasts. How about instead of Chicago, Boston, Chicago, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, and Chicago, we have Dallas, Phoenix, San Diego/L.A., Denver, and San Francisco?)
Inside Higher Ed reports that attendance is down at the AHA this year, because of the economy and the related dearth of open positions in history. (There are also fewer drop-ins than there would be in major Eastern cities because of the West Coast location, too, and the additional travel expense for people in the Eastern and Central time zones especially.) And, the AHA itself reported that it’s “A Grim Year on the Academic Job Market for Historians,” because “[d]uring 2008–09 job advertisements fell by 23.8 percent—from a record high of 1,053 openings in 2007–08 to 806 openings in the past year. This was the smallest number of positions advertised with the AHA in a decade. To make matters worse, a subsequent survey of advertisers indicates that about 15 percent of the openings were cancelled after the positions were advertised.” Marc Bousquet at How the University Works takes issue with the AHA report’s conclusion that the problem is an oversupply of history Ph.D.s, and says that it’s not an oversupply of qualified job candidates, but that it’s an undersupply of tenure-track jobs because of university administrators’ decisions over the past 25 years to hire more contingent faculty than tenured or tenure-track faculty proportionally. Continue Reading »