This office is, in effect, a three-year position, since it includes one year as President-Elect, one as President, and one as Past-President. I mention this because I think that the H-Net Community has to always weigh the dynamic balance between continuity (whereby we exploit the energies and experiences of those people who have a long track-record with H-Net) and change (wherein we encourage new participation in the administrative activities and consultative processes of H-Net.)
My H-Net "connection" goes back to 1993 when I became a member of H-URBAN and H-TEACH. Within a few months I had grown excited at the potentials for such a list in my own field of South Asian history. In the event, I joined with Steven Leibo (of the Sage Colleges) to found H-ASIA, which covers Asian history and Asian Studies across the geographic zone from the eastern frontiers of the Middle East through South and Southeast Asia to China, Korea and Japan with some Central Asian interests as well. I have been a list editor of H-ASIA since April 1, 1994. I have also served three years on the H-Net Council, and for the past two years as Treasurer of H-Net. In addition I am a member of the Advisory Board of H-JAPAN. So, using my formula above, I am likely more identified with continuity than with change. In H-Net affairs, I have always been interested in the further potentials of our organization, and at the same time, I have held strong views (sometimes strongly expressed) that in adding other activities, we must not ignore or starve the central core of our mission--which I see as being related to the on-going success of H-Net networks presided over by a large and dedicated group of volunteer editors.
I have recognized the necessities for standards of performance and maintenance of quality on each of our networks, but have also been anxious to preserve and promote the capacity of network (list) editors to judge the content and services appropriate to their particular community of scholars.
Among the problems I foresee H-NET facing in the coming three years, I believe that one of the most pressing will be that of identifying and soliciting new sources of additional funding. It can be very pleasant to sit around and do "blue sky" projections about wonderful new initiatives, but without the resources to do these, there is a risk of demoralization and negativity. This is particularly true in the sense that editing a discussion network requires certain skills and experience, but there is every reason to hope that the activity will continue to attract the excellent volunteers that it has in the past.
Other types of web-based resources, data-bases, archives of teaching resources or blogs or similar productions, will more likely require a regular, trained staffing arrangement. Possibly collaborations with other agencies and scholarly organizations may help to satisfy this requirement, but it will take effort, diplomacy and luck.
My experiences over the past nearly four decades have possibly provided some basis for my successfully meeting the requirements of the office of H-Net President.
I joined the faculty of the University of Washington in Seattle where I taught for 34 years. I retired at the end of 2001 and now divide my living between Seattle and Boulder, Colorado. Since 2003 I have been Managing Director of the Association for Asian Studies' Bibliography of Asian Studies Online. On three different occasions, I served as Director of the South Asia Center at the University of Washington, and also served as Chair of the Comparative Religion Program. Other University service included two terms on the Faculty Senate, election to the College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Council and long service on the Faculty Council on Library Affairs.
By training I am a historian of South Asia, concentrating upon social and cultural history and writing on topics such as caste, religion and religious institutions, urban development--particularly in relation to the history of Bombay/Mumbai, consumer and restaurant culture of Bombay/Mumbai, housing in Bombay and tramways and transit in that city.
At present I am researching and writing a new extended edition of my earlier book, _A Caste in A Changing World: the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmans, 1700-1935_, bringing the story up to the present time. This work focuses upon a caste from the years of its formation in the early 18th century to its experience of colonialism, urbanization and modernization, and now, movement into the diaspora.
Within the profession I have had a fair number of opportunities for service including two terms of service (1979-82, 1989-1992) on the Executive Committee of the American Institute of Indian Studies and also served as Chairman of the Board of the AIIS in 1982-83. I was book review editor for South Asia for the _Journal of Asian Studies_ (1978-80), and am currently on the Editorial Committee of _Contemporary South Asia_ (UK) and _South Asia_ (Australia). I served on the selection panel of the Indo-American Fellowship program of the Indo-U.S. Subcommission on Education and Culture (1984-1993).
In conclusion, I look forward to the opportunity of further service to the H-Net community and the addressing of the new challenges which that community will face in the next three years.