Steering Committee

Marc Becker I have been involved with H-Pad since its founding as HAW at the AHA in January 2003. I previously served as co-chair (with Jim O’Brien) of HAW’s steering committee, and have long worked on H-Pad’s web page and helped with digital communications. I am interested and willing to continue in that capacity. My motivation for joining H-Pad was to challenge imperialistic policies that run counter to our interests.

Mara Dodge I am a U.S. historian who has taught at Westfield State University in Western Mass. since 1999. I have served on the HPAD executive committee for the past 2.5 years and have been an activist most of my life, from working in the Central American solidarity & So. Africa anti-apartheid movements of the 1980s to prison abolition in the 1990s, local organizing projects, racial justice, Jewish Voice for Peace, and DSA. For the past decade I have served in leadership roles in my local and statewide faculty unions and am active in the MTA caucus, Educators for a Democratic Union (EDU). My areas of academic interest include Women’s History, Labor History, Prison History, civil rights movements & local history. I also serve as editor of the peer-reviewed Historical Journal of Massachusettspublished by Westfield State. I feel that HPAD is an important voice within the historical profession. I believe that part of HPAD’s role is to figure out organizing projects and events that involve more academics in effective political action and support greater activism within both the academy and K-12 classrooms. I am committed to regular, active participation via Zoom, email, and phone.

Rusti Eisenberg I have been an active member of Historians Against War (and H-PAD) since 2004. For much of that time up until the present, I have served on the Steering or Executive Committees. I have been especially active in helping to create various Speakers’ Bureaus, as well as serving on H-PAD panels at conferences. I have assisted Jim O’Brien with his bi-weekly listing of relevant articles and most importantly have served as a Legislative Coordinator for our group. Going forward, I have several goals in mind: to increase our membership, to improve our legislative work, and to strengthen the connection between professional historians and the community of full-time activists.

Van Gosse I teach at Franklin and Marshall, helped found Historians Against the War in 2002, and have been active since then in a variety of ways. In 2014, Margaret Power and I initiated the organization’s work on Israel/Palestine, a main focus for several years.  In 2017, we became Historians for Peace and Democracy, which she and I have co-chaired since then.  I think our main task right now is to figure out our role in the emerging mass left, in particular its struggle with authoritarian white nationalism. Historians have a lot to offer, and we need to engage younger scholars, and a broader multiracial constituency.  I also work with Organizing Upgrade.

Molly Nolan I would like to nominate myself for the HPAD steering committee.  I recently retired from teaching European and transatlantic history at NYU.  I have worked with HPAD, and before that HAW for several years.  Most recently, Prasannan Parthasarathi, Renate Bridenthal and I produced the Empire of Sanctions syllabus for HPAD as an aid to teaching about this key US means of waging war.  We also did a webinar for Massachusetts Peace Action on the history and present use of sanctions.  It has received hundreds of clicks on the MAPA youtube channel. I have been an active member of Brooklyn For Peace since the late 1980s and was an AAUP officer at NYU. I work with the New Sanctuary Coalition in NYC.  I am eager to work with HPAD on combatting the current attacks on the teaching of history at all levels. I can commit to the regular calls and zooms being on the steering committee would entail.

Jim O’Brien I’m nominating myself for membership in the combined H-PAD leadership body, at least for the near future (I recently turned 80). The main strength I would bring is long experience within the leadership of Historians Against the War, starting in 2005, and its continuation as H-PAD starting in 2017. I have a pretty good memory of what HAW/H-PAD has done (and tried to do) over the years, and I think this memory is helpful. Another strength is caution about over-committing myself, so that when I say I’ll do something I’m pretty sure (though not 100%) to actually do it. As a member of the Executive Committee for the past few years, I’ve found the time commitment (to regular meetings and to email correspondence between meetings) to be manageable and would expect to continue in the same vein. Jim O’Brien

Jose Juan Perez Melendez My name is José Juan Pérez Meléndez and I am self-nominating for a seat in H-Pad’s Steering Committee. After early incursions into environmental causes in Puerto Rico, I came of age politically  in counter-recruitment activities in New York City during a time when US armed forces were targeting low-income, Black, and Latinx students for conscription in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. As an assistant professor of History at UC Davis, I have more recently focused my energies on promoting equity, solidarity, and awareness in various social and environmental justice issues on campus. As a committee member, I would commit to SC meetings as opportunities to continuously assess H-Pad’s strategic priorities and chart paths for achievable outcomes in different spheres of activism. I am particularly interested in bolstering calls for environmental accountability in universities and professional associations. I am likewise committed to strengthening immigrants’ rights platforms by applying our skills and resources as historians toward a robust oversight on and ready response to ongoing migrant detention and persecution crises. Among other areas of intervention that figure high on my list: mounting a strong public response to US colonialism, particularly but not exclusively in relation to Puerto Rico; and crafting spaces to think critically and practically about the history and present-state of the Left. With these issues and commitments in mind, I hope to promote an inter-generational exchange of ideas and modalities of activism by testing ways of increasing H-Pad’s graduate student membership. I would also like to harness the know-how of more experienced members in order to run effective campaigns that allowed H-Pad to present successful resolutions at the AHA on a yearly basis that compelled our core professional association to enact its intellectual and social commitments in a more ambitious and in-depth manner.

Margaret Power Margaret Power has been an active member of first Historians against the War then Historians for Peace and Democracy since 2002. I have served on the Steering Committee of both organizations and also as co-chair for more years than I can remember. I am committed to H-PAD because I think we have done good work in the past and will do more good work in the future. I firmly believe historians need to be politically engaged in our professional organizations, our communities, and our world. I like being involved with a group of activist historians. I am a professor of Latin American history who is currently finishing a manuscript of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party and embarking on a new study on race and race relations in Southwest Pennsylvania. I teach at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Ellen Schrecker I am running for the H-PAD Steering Committee because….. The current right-wing attack on the teaching of critical race theory and “divisive concepts” in our schools and colleges directly challenges H-PAD and its members to become more proactive than ever before. As someone who has spent years studying and writing about political repression and academic freedom, I fear that today’s culture war – with its outrageous refusal to confront the racism that has so disfigured America’s past– may prove even more virulent than McCarthyism. Since we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, H-PAD should establish and reinforce our connections with such other organizations as the Zinn Education Project, the African American Policy Forum, the AAUP, and other academic groups and unions. There is much that we can do as historians within a coalition that fights against the forces of racism and reaction and supports the brave teachers at every level in the front lines of that struggle.

Andor Skotnes I was a founding member of Historians Against the War (HAW) in 2002 and was a first co-chair.  I was continuously involved in HAW, working on its steering committee (except for a period while completing a book), and was one of those advocating the transformation of HAW into Historians for Peace and Democracy (H-PAD) with the rise of Trumpism.  I have been among the leadership of H-PAD ever since. Although implementing the HAW/H-PAD vision has been difficult, I believe that uniting radical intellectuals and historically-oriented activists to employ history against imperial, racial, gender, and class oppression is a crucial task.

Kevin Young During my four years on the Steering Committee I’ve focused on expanding H-PAD’s public reach by co-editing the “Broadsides for the Trump Era,” co-producing the video interviews in the “Liberating History” series, trying to secure podcast interviews for H-PAD members, and building relationships with other organizations doing similar work. Some of these efforts have been quite successful, others less so. If reelected my top priority would be providing training and resources for H-PAD members to help them increase their public impact. I’m especially interested in finding ways to use new media forms like podcasts, TikTok videos, and Instagram posts to reach younger audiences. This work can also help us recruit new members. In some cases, we could produce our own materials, while in others we could simply amplify the work of other organizations rather than trying to develop our own materials or social media followings. With its base in higher education and its substantial network of experts, I believe H-PAD can be an important node in the broader landscape of radical history organizations. For more info about me see my website.