On Thinking About the Dissertation AS a Book
by Rachel Shelden*
As a whole I think historians are impressively aware of and interested in problems and changes in our profession. We are constantly self-evaluating, as books by Peter Novick and more recently James Banner have illustrated. We endlessly consider our role in public life; William Cronon’s 2013 AHA presidential address serves as a great example of this. Recent conversations across the internet about Alt-Ac jobs similarly get to the heart of how we as historians represent ourselves and our profession.
Thus it was no surprise to me that the recent controversy over the AHA’s statement on dissertation embargoes has produced an important set of conversations about the role of book publishing and the future of scholarly contributions, the protection of young scholars and the concerns of those young scholars, the difference between Research 1 jobs and those at liberal arts colleges, and a number of others. The level of interest and passion on behalf of many of the parties involved in these posts (and I recommend reading the comments), on Twitter, and elsewhere proves just how important these issues are to scholars at all stages of their careers. Continue reading