Radical History Review (RHR)/Historians for Peace and Democracy (H-PAD) Sessions at the 2022 AHA Meeting –Final Report

Radical History Review (RHR)/Historians for Peace and Democracy (H-PAD)

 Sessions at the 2022 AHA Meeting –Final Report

RHR, with H-PAD, organized ten sessions for the 2022 American Historical Association Conference in New Orleans, January 6-9.  Because of COVID pandemic dislocations and other factors, none of these sessions were presented in person in New Orleans.  Two were cancelled entirely; six were turned into virtual sessions and scheduled as part of the AHA22 Online; February 21 to 27, 2022, and two were scheduled apart from the AHA. Details of the fates of these sessions and the accessibility of several of them, are below. Note that there were some late personnel changes in some sessions that are not indicated.

I. The Two Cancelled Sessions

Gambling with Armageddon, Nuclear Roulette from Hiroshima to the Cuban Missile Crisis . . . and China Today

Chair: Carolyn Eisenberg, Hofstra University

  • Martin Sherwin, George Mason University
  • Lynn Eden, Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation
  • Fredrik Logevall, Harvard University

Note:  This session was cancelled because of the death of Martin Sherwin

Year One of the Biden Administration:  Where Do We Go from Here?

  • Alexander Aviña, Arizona State University
  • Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies
  • Kellie Carter Jackson, Wellesley College
  • Nancy MacLean, Duke University
  • Gabriel E. Winant, University of Chicago

II. The Six Session Held as Part of AHA22 Online

Videos of all of these sessions are available for viewing if you are registered for the AHA meeting. See here for details.  The URLs for the sessions are included in the entries below

Strategic Discussion: What Role Can Historians and Historically Oriented Intellectuals Play in the Current Crisis?

Chair, Kevin A. Young, , University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • Diana Sierra Becerra- University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Karlos Kentrell Hill- University of Oklahoma

    Zoom  of the session: https://aha.confex.com/aha/2022vc/meetingapp.cgi/Session/22923

Note from the chair: H-PAD’s February 21 panel and strategy session . . . It began with two             presentations about how historians can support community-based organizations. Historian Diana Sierra Becerra spoke about We Make History, a public history project that she and two other scholars   designed in partnership with the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Historian Karlos Kentrell Hill      then described his experience working with K-12 teachers and community groups to share the    history of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The latter half of the session involved breakout groups in    which attendees discussed how to apply the lessons of these collaborative projects in their own work.

Teaching Contemporary Controversies in the Secondary School History Curriculum

Chair: Barbara Winslow, Brooklyn College, City University of New York

  • Adeola Tella-Williams, Uniondale High School
  • Pablo Muriel, Alfred E. Smith High School
  • Chris Dier, Benjamin Franklin High School
  • Cynthia Vitere, South Side High School

Comment: Alan Singer, Hofstra University

    Zoom of the session: https://aha.confex.com/aha/2022vc/meetingapp.cgi/Session/22877

Note from the chair: Please include what we have been doing the panel organized by Alan          Singer and me for the 2022 AHA on teaching controversial issues. There we had public school            TEACHERS speaking to these issues.

Debating Israel and Apartheid:  Historical Comparisons and Historical Fallacies

Chair: Alex Lichtenstein, Indiana University

  • Jonathan Alshech, University of Northern British Columbia
  • Sean Jacobs, The New School
  • Areej Sabbagh-Khoury, Hebrew University

   Zoom of the session: https://aha.confex.com/aha/2022vc/meetingapp.cgi/Session/22922

Ellen Schrecker’s The Lost Promise: American Universities in the 1960s

Co-Sponsors: AHA, RHR

Chair: Adam Fairclough, Leiden Universitiy

  • Stefan M. Bradley, Amherst College
  • Dick Flacks, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Donna Murch, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Jeremy P. Varon, The New School
  • Ellen Schrecker, Yeshiva University (retired)

   Zoom of the session: https://aha.confex.com/aha/2022vc/meetingapp.cgi/Session/22170

Free Speech and Koch Money: How to Defend Yourself and Your Colleagues from the Right’s Campus Culture War

Chair: Nancy MacLean

  • Ralph Wilson, Corporate Genome Project
  • Isaac Kamola, Trinity College and University of Connecticut-AAUP
  • Nancy MacLean, Duke University

  Zoom of the session: https://aha.confex.com/aha/2022vc/meetingapp.cgi/Session/22907

Rethinking Civil Rights and Black Politics in the Antebellum North

Co-Sponsor: African American Intellectual History Society

Chair Van E. Gosse, Franklin & Marshall College

  • Kate Masur, Northwestern University
  • Comments: Christopher James Bonner, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Christy Clark-Pujara, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Sarah L. H. Gronningsater, University of Pennsylvania
  • Chernoh Sesay, DePaul University

Zoom of the session: https://aha.confex.com/aha/2022vc/meetingapp.cgi/Session/22871

III. Sessions Rescheduled Apart from the AHA

Radical Biography: Confrontations of Race, Gender, Power, and Privilege

Chair and comment: David Nasaw, Graduate Center of the City University of New York

  • “We Do Not Become Refugees by Choice”: From Occupied Poland to California
    Teresa A. Meade, Union College
  • In This Land of Plenty: Mickey Leland and Africa in American Politics
    Benjamin A. Talton, Temple University
  • The Most Remarkable Woman: The International Life and Diplomacy of Madame Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Manu Bhagavan, Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Thomas Sankara: A Revolutionary in Cold War Africa
    Brian James Peterson, Union College

     Zoom of this program is available  here

            Note: This session was rescheduled initially as an in-person event at the Leon Levy Center           for Biography at the CUNY Graduate Center; it later became a virtual event at the center.  It was       quite successful with at least 43 registered online attendees online.  The zoom video of the        event is available free at the above URL.

Albert Woodfox and Black Resistance to the Carceral State

  • Margaret M. Power, Illinois Institute of Technology (Chair)
  • Albert Woodfox, independent scholar
  • Rhonda Williams, Vanderbilt University

Note: This session will be scheduled as an online zoom and the video will be made available soon afterward

IV. Brief Thoughts

  1. For the 2020 AHA Meeting in New York, RHR and H-PAD conducted what we referred to as an experiment: we organized a number of RHR affiliate sessions for the conference.  We surprised ourselves by constructing eleven.  The pandemic precluded organizing sessions for a 2021 AHA, but, although the pandemic  continued through 2021, we decided again to sponsor a set of sessions for the 2022 conference.  We were again surprised.  Despite Covid-19, and despite the conference location in New Orleans, (which is within an region with a lower concentration of historians than New York) we rapidly put together ten session.  Moreover these ten sessions promised to be successful as those of the New York experiment.  In our sum-up of our offerings for the 2020 experiment, we wrote “our sessions were . .   .  we feel, quite effective in offering politically-inflected scholarship, stimulating radical historical and political discussion, addressing organizing opportunities and imperatives for historians in the current crisis, and raising the scholarly and political profiles of both RHR and H-PAD.”  Our 2022 session promised to be as effective as 2020 in precisely the same ways.
  2. Then of course, Covid flared, and, as explained above, seven of our ten sessions were ultimately moved online, and an eighth will be zoomed in the next few weeks. The transformation of these sessions was not easy, and our session organizers and presenters worked hard and with creativity to make needed changes.  Viewing online our seven sessions that are currently available over the internet will demonstrate, I believe, that they much fulfilled their promise, if in a somewhat different way than originally envisioned.  We don’t have accurate numbers for those attending our 2022 sessions virtually, but it appears that the per session average, including presenters, was at best in the very low double digits; the average for 2020 sessions was about twenty-five per session—two, to two and a half times the size.

The AHA must be congratulated for so effectively mounting AHA22 Online, especially Debbie Doyle, the organization’s meeting manager. Our only real criticism of the AHA in this regard is that they signed a contract with a provider of zoom-based conferences services that precluded the possibility of us offering our sessions as webinars or podcasts, as we have occasionally done in the past. And although zoom videos of good quality are available on the AHA website until June 20 (the URLs, again, are listed above), they can only be accessed by those who have not paid the conference registration.  This policy significantly restricts the availability of our sessions, and of all the other session, to historically-oriented students and intellectuals.

  1. The final question to raise here about RHR/H-PAD affiliate sessions is should we do them again for 2023? (The 2023 AHA meeting will be in Philadelphia, January 5-8.) If we had to again do them virtually, despite our relative success this year, such a repeated effort for 2023 would be unattractive. But since the likelihood is that AHA 2023 will be held in person, and since we really know the ropes of organizing affiliate sessions, the recommendation here is that go for a set of session for the next conference. The deadline for the submission of 2023 affiliate sessions is May 31, 2022 (see here).  So we have some time, but we need to get started.

Submitted, Andor Skotnes, 3/25/2022