I am proud to have made the decision, at the invitation of Harold Marcus and Mark Kornbluh, to join H-Net as a founding editor of H-Africa more than a decade ago. I have also been privileged to serve my fellow editors on the H-Net Council at several times since then and also to have been involved in other H-Net activities. Perhaps none of these experiences shaped my appreciation of what H-Net has now become more than a brief term as Treasurer-at a time when H-Net had no revenues of its own! Rather then detail them here, you may read about my H-Net involvements and my other professional activities on the Editor's Page.
Some who know me will perhaps be surprised that I write the following, but I have generally been a conservative voice for measured change in the organization. Nonetheless, I am fully supportive of the recent decisions of Council-which I did not participate in-to restructure the organization to realize its potential in the future. I have accepted nomination to once again be a member of Council by drawing on that longer, somewhat conservative, perspective I have about what H-Net is and can become.
After the nomination period was in full swing, I had a chance to look at the program for the 2006 American Historical Association annual meeting in Philadelphia. I was greatly disappointed to see only one H-Net function listed (and no display exhibit listed for the organization), a far cry from the active program of corollary activities in previous years. That same day, I read Peter's explanation concerning the high financial cost of maintaining the same level of H-Net activities at the AHA annual meeting as in the past. On the one hand, I do understand that view; on the other, I was also distressed to read not one mention of the AHA in the new H-Net Strategic Plan statement.
Other candidates have spoken of the place of H-Net within an integrated academic community, not an isolated or even dominating presence. I agree with them. But none have spoken about what that means regarding H-Net's relationship with the American Historical Association. The Strategic Plan mentions cooperation with the Organization of American Historians, a fine organization which does much good work; we should seek cooperative endeavors with them. But I believe we MUST also maintain and rebuild our relationships with the AHA, including as full participation in their annual meetings as possible.
The AHA is the official representative of the historical profession in the United States in international academic contacts, including the body representing the U.S. to the International Congress of Historical Sciences. Certainly H-Net is broadly international, as the candidacy of my fellow African list editor, Charles Becker, makes clear, as does the long standing involvement of my friend Paul Turnbull in the organization. I mention only two, and there are many others! If for no other reason, that is enough to make the case for a renewed involvement with the American Historical Association.
If elected, I will bring my perspectives of many years with H-Net to the Council. And I will be a consistent voice for close cooperation between H-Net and the AHA-as well as relationships with other broad-based professional organizations. If you want to be sure that voice continues to be heard on the H-Net Council--and remains a part of the counsel provided to officers of the organization--I would appreciate your vote.