Friday, January 4, 2013

History News Network Wraps Up Day 1 at the AHA

And gives us a nice shout-out.  Thanks David Austin Walsh!

Here is a taste:

Was there ever an odder successor to the Sugar Bowl? As the triumphant Louisville Cardinals left the New Orleans Marriott after a 33-23 victory over the Florida Gators, they traded looks of astonishment with gaggle of bow-tie beclad historians checking in for the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association. Baseball is more than a game came of bow-tie wearers, anyway (just ask George Will, though he seems to have eschewed the look recently) and it's a John Sayles film festival, complete with a screening of Eight Men Out earlier today, which is playing for meeting-goers.

And there were lots of historians today -- the line to register snaked around two corners at the Marriott headquarters. Around five thousand attendees are expected, a number ordinarily expected from a conference on the East Coast. Perhaps it's the theme of the conference, "People, Spaces, and Stories." Perhaps it's the city of New Orleans itself, with a balmy climate and a deep, rich history dating to the beginning of the eighteenth century.

Or perhaps it's more recent, more painful history. And while it's true that New Orleans historians are engaged both with the local community and the broader scholarly community in remembering -- and studying the remembrance of -- Hurricane Katrina (though there's only one session this year, out of over a dozen on local history, dedicated to post-Katrina New Orleans), the hurricane devastated the city a scant seven years ago, hardly time for the pain to have healed. As at every AHA, there are nearly a dozen different tours out to local historical sites -- and New Orleans certainly doesn't want for historical sites, spanning from slave markets to the French Quarter to the National WWII Museum -- but none are specifically about Hurricane Katrina. The closest was a tour led yesterday by Tulane historian Richard Campenella entitled "The Historical Geography of New Orleans." "We will visit key sites of the Katrina-induced flood," the description read in the AHA program, "but will otherwise contextualize the 2005 catastrophe within the 300-year-history of the city -- this is not a disaster tour." Still, with a conference theme like "People, Spaces, and Stories," the singular event of Katrina will no doubt be on many minds.

Read the rest here.