Sessions at the 2020 American Historical Association Meeting

Historians for Peace and Democracy (H-PAD) and Radical History Review (RHR)
Sessions at the 2020 American Historical Association Meeting

RHR, H-PAD, and, previously, Historians Against the War (HAW), have together organized, over the years, affiliate organization sessions at annual meetings of the American Historical Association (AHA). In the past we have sometimes mounted only one or two such sessions in any given year. For the forthcoming 2020 AHA meeting, January 3-6, in New York City—which will be accessible to many people who don’t usually attend this conference–we decided to do something different. In an attempt to increase the presence of, and raise the profile of radical history at the AHA in this era of Trumpism, we decided to sponsor a much larger number sessions.

The submission deadline has just passed, and, under the umbrella of the Radical History Review affiliate organization, we are scheduling eleven sessions of several types. Five will focus on discussions of immediate strategy, activism, and history. Three will take the form of historical roundtables on several topics. And three will be more traditional historical sessions, with scholarly papers and comments and the like. Of the eleven, two are co-sponsored with the Committee on Latin American History (CLAH), and three are based directly on recent or forthcoming issues of Radical History Review.

Our eleven sessions are summarized below; dates and times are not yet assigned to them, and won’t be for a while. It is of course some six months until the 2020 AHA, but it’s not too early to begin spreading the word on our sessions, and encouraging historians, radical intellectuals, and historically-oriented activists to attend and participate in them. We plan to do do major publicity on our sessions as the time for the AHA approaches, and to call on all to help.


Historians and the Current Crisis: H-PAD Strategy Roundtable

Across the country, historians and other intellectuals have become increasingly involved in social and educational responses to the current political crisis. Some of these activities culminated on May 28, 2019, in a National Strategy Meeting of Historians supported by over 200, and held in New York with nearly 50 attending. This strategic roundtable is an extension of the May 28 meeting. We will again review the roles historians can and should be playing during the ongoing crisis, discuss actions and initiatives taken since May, and strategize for the coming months. The meeting is open to all interested historians and historically-oriented activists.

  • Chair: Margaret M. Power, Professor of History, Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Alexander Aviña, Arizona State University
  • Barbara Epstein, University of California, Santa Cruz (retired)
  • Prasannan Parthasarathi, Boston College
  • Kevin Young, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Organizing T-12 teachers, Academics, Students and Activists

All K-12 teachers, academics and school activists are invited to join this conversation! This roundtable brings together all involved parties to discuss strategies for creating socially responsible curriculum (ones that can meet various state standards and be taught in public schools), finding ways to connect schools and the academy as well as how to organize and fight for greater support for public education.

  • Chair: Barbara Winslow, Professor Emerita, Brooklyn College
  • Alan Singer, Ph.D. Program Director, Secondary Social Studies Education, Hofstra University
  • Adeola Tella-Williams, High school government and world history teacher, Long Island

The Koch Network & Democracy: Disrupting Today’s Academic Capture

The Koch network views our nation’s colleges and universities as grounds for the production of the ideas and talent needed to achieve the widespread cultural change upon which the right’s ideological goals rest. Charles Koch himself admits that the foundation of his political success lies within the manipulation of our higher education system. This session will review the history of the radical right’s manipulation of colleges and universities to destroy our democracy, the impact donor influence is having on our nation’s campuses today, and the ongoing activism to combat the corporate capture of academia.

  • Chair: Elizabeth Mathews, History Graduate of George Mason University
  • Nancy MacLean, History and Public Policy, Duke University
  • Matthew Garcia, Ralph and Richard Lazarus Professor, Dartmouth College

Meeting on Organizing Students to Vote: History and Best Practices

This meeting will focus on strategies and tactics employed in the nation-wide campaigns to mobilize the student vote in past and recent elections, and for the upcoming 2020 elections. Students and others who have been or are now engaged in these campaigns will be invited to share their experiences; all others are invited to join in a wide ranging discussion of the topic.

  • Chair and Moderator: Van Gosse, Co-Chair of the F&M Votes Campaign, Franklin & Marshall College

Creating an Online People’s Encyclopedia—Roundtable

Recently, there has been some discussion of creating an Online People’s Encyclopedia—a kind of historical Wikipedia of the left. Moderators at Portside, a progressive online media center, have been promoting this idea, and they approached the Radical History Review collective and the Executive Committee of Historian for Peace and Justice to discuss it. We in turn have organized, with the Portside moderators, a roundtable here at the AHA to publicize the idea, to gauge interest in it, to get feedback.

  • Chair: Andor Skotnes, The Sage Colleges
  • Barry Cohen, Moderator at Portside
  • Jay Schaffner Moderator at Portside
  • Marc Becker, Truman State University
  • Van Gosse, Franklin & Marshall College


A Right to Bear Arms? The Contested Role of History in Contemporary Debates on the Second Amendment

This roundtable explores the way history itself has become a contested element within the current national legal debate about firearms. Featuring a discussion with the authors of a newly released book of essays published by the Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, the session will explore important and often overlooked dimensions of the applications of history in legal debates over firearms and touch on contemporary aspects of historical research about firearms more generally including as a case study in public history.

  • Chair: Jennifer Tucker, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CN
  • Saul Cornell, Fordham University, Bronx, NY
  • Joyce Malcolm, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
  • Patrick J. Charles, Senior Historian, Air Force Legislative Fellow, United States Air Force,
  • Kevin Sweeney, Amherst College, Greenfield, MA

 50th Anniversary: Cambodia and the Campuses: Lessons Learned and Unlearned

At the time, few doubted that the American invasion of Cambodia, the killings at Kent State and Jackson State, the eruption of student protest across the country were historic events. Fifty years later our Roundtable will reflect on their significance. What has been the lasting meaning and impact of that tumultuous time? The participants will approach this from diverse perspectives: that of Kent State survivor and historian Tom Grace and historians Chris Appy, Ellen Schrecker and Carolyn Eisenberg, who will consider the long-term impact on Cambodia, the Vietnam War, the situation on campuses and the evolution of the antiwar movement.

  • Chair: Andor Skotnes, The Sage Colleges. Troy, NY
  • Carolyn Eisenberg, Hofstra University
  • Ellen Schrecker, Yeshiva University (retired)
  • Chris Appy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Thomas N. Grace, Casualty of National Guard gunfire at Kent State, SUNY-Erie

 Radicalism in Sport—Past, Present, Future

This session brings together panelists who contributed to the Radical History Review issue, “Historicizing the Politics and Pleasure of Sport,” which appeared in 2016. The panelists will discuss what constitutes a radical history of sport, as well as a history of radicalism within sport. Given the explosion of high-profile protests in sport, including the USWNT lawsuit for equal pay, Alex Cora’s refusal to go to the White House, and, especially, #BLM, it’s important to reflect upon their significance for understanding popular politics.

  • Chair: Brenda J. Elsey, History, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
  • Amira Rose Davis, History and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Penn, State University
  • Steven Thrasher, Daniel H. Renberg Chair on Social Justice, LGBTQ Media Studies, Northwestern University
  • Brian D. Bunk, Department of History, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • David Clark LaFevor, History, University of Texas, Arlington
  • Ben Carrington, Sociology, University of Southern California


U.S.- Asia Policy Pivots: Past and Present

In 2011, the Obama administration announced a new Pivot to Asia policy; a military buildup in the Asia Pacific that has been extended by President Trump. This panel will attempt to provide a historical perspective by examining the original pivot to Asia in the late 19th century following the U.S. colonization of the Philippines, and assess the American Century in the Asia Pacific. We will in turn analyze how the Obama and Trump administrations have promoted a usable history that erases many dark features of U.S. foreign policy intervention as a precondition for promoting their renewed military buildup.

  • Chair: Rebecca Karl, Professor of History, New York University
  • Past pivots to Asia: Imperial beginnings, Roger Peace, Coordinator of U.S. Foreign Policy History & Resource Guide, Tallahassee Community College (retired)
  • The China Pivot: FDR, the State Department, and the Cold War, James Swarts, State University of New York at Geneseo (retired)
  • Obama’s Asia Pivot and the Distortion of History, Jeremy Kuzmarov, Tulsa Community College
  • Pivoting on a Dime: Donald Trump’s Reckless Pivoting to and from Asia, Peter Kuznick, Nuclear Studies Institute, American University

The Other 9/11: Struggle and Transformation in Authoritarian Chile, 1973-1990

The violent overthrow of Chilean president Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973 marked a watershed in global cold war politics. It ended aspirations for democratically-achieved socialism, initiated seventeen years of military rule, and created the world’s first neoliberal nation. This panel examines transformations and social struggle in Chile before and during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973- 1990) and their significance for Chile’s transition to democracy. Building on “The Other September 11” (Radical History Review 124), it includes new topics: urban youth movements, NGOs and the Catholic Church, U.S. foreign policy, and rural women in Chile’s abrupt shift from socialist agrarian reform to a neoliberal export economy.

  • Chair: Angela Vergara, California State University, Los Angeles
  • Struggles in the Countryside: Gender Politics and Agrarian Reform in Democracy and Dictatorship, Heidi Tinsman, University of California, Irvine
  • Taking the Country into the Future: Insurgent Youth in Popular-Sector Santiago, Chile, Alison Bruey, University of North Florida
  • The Socialization of Children and Youth in the Anti-Regime Opposition, Marian Schlotterbeck, University of California, Davis
  • Strategic Changes in the Foreign Policy of the United States: From Dictatorship to Democracy in Chile, 1985-1990, Pablo Rubio, Biblioteca Congreso Nacional / Georgetown University

Revolutionary Positions: Global Legacies of Gender and Sexuality in the Cuban Revolution; Companion Panel to Radical History Review Issue 136

This panel seeks to forge new directions in the historiography of the Cuban Revolution by showcasing research with a thematic focus on gender and everyday life embedded within the transnational dynamics of the Cold War and its aftermath. The papers in this panel focus on the way transnational flows and influences shaped everyday life under Cuban socialism with an emphasis on basic necessities as seen through the prism of gender, family, and childhood. Drawing on interdisciplinary methods and a variety of sources, the papers offer subtle, fine-grained analyses of how gender was lived in socialist Cuba.

  • Chair: Michelle Chase, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Pace University
  • Commentator: Heidi Tinsman, Professor of History, University of California, Irvine
  • Creativity, Optimism, and a Little Bit of Magic: Nitza Villapol and the Cuban Diet, 1959-1980, Alexis Baldacci, Lecturer in History, History Department, Bates College, Lewiston
  • The Montoneros’ ‘Nursery’ in Cuba: Childhood, Everyday Life, and Politics in the Cold War, Isabella Cosse, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) and Universidad de Buenos Aires
  • “You Don’t Understand, They Won’t Give an Apartment to a Single Man,” Se Permuta and the History of Housing Policy in the Cuban Revolution, William Kelly, PhD Candidate, Department of History, Rutgers University, New Brunswick
  • Pains and Pleasures of Bicycling in the Special Period, Jennifer Ruth Hosek, Associate Professor, Queen’s University, Ontario