• Session proposal: No More Plan B?

    You may have seen “No More Plan B,” in which AHA president Anthony Grafton and executive director Jim Grossman argue that it’s time to devote serious attention to preparing history grad students for jobs outside the professoriate.

    You may also have seen the responses: one from grad student Dan Allosso, one from historian Rohan Maitzen, one from Tenured Radical, and a response-to-the-responses from Grafton and Grossman.

    THATCamp AHA seems like the perfect place to discuss our own responses to this line of thought. I’m particularly interested in:

    • what it means to prepare grad students for non-traditional careers. What has to change?
    • what these careers might be.
    • what the AHA’s role might be.
    • whether this direction marks an accommodation to academic casualization, as some have argued (for example, in the comments here).
    • how we might create mentoring and advocacy opportunities for history grad students who are dealing with this unsettling time for the profession.


  1. This sounds like a terrific session. I’m particularly interested in discussing how history programs might work in conjunction with other programs and fields outside of traditional history to train students for multiple jobs.

    One of the responses to Grafton and Grossman’s proposal has been from people and schools in those other fields who are a little concerned about a flood of history PhD’s headed the way of their own tight job markets.

    Looking forward to this one.

  2. I love this, because I always think that grown-up professionals have too few chances to get together and discuss texts the way we did so often in school. I made up a THATCamp session genre once called a “Readathon,” but it was kind of a failure because in a non-hierarchical structure you can’t assign people reading, so no one did the reading beforehand. 🙂 Still, when it’s a piece that probably a lot of people have already read, like the Grafton piece, and if people are willing to summarize for and forgive those who haven’t read it (or give them time to read it in the session!), then I think it’ll be a smash.

    So go all seminar on this thing!

  3. Jill Anderson says:

    Jeffrey McClurken’s point about people in other fields having concerns about PhDs entering their already tight fields is an important one. (I say this as a fairly new librarian who went back to school to get an MLS 7 years after the history PhD). This blog post gives a good overview of that transition: sarantakes.blogspot.com/2009/10/blog-xxxi-history-phd-as-libarian.html

    There is definitely some resentment of PhDs, not necessarily across the board, but it is there. This controversy erupted last spring, worth looking at for how some librarians talk about PhDs in libraries: scienceblogs.com/confessions/2011/05/mcmastergate_in_chronological.php (blog post is a roundup of responses to a university library’s director’s controversial stance re apparently hiring PhDs over MLS-degreed librarians).

Skip to toolbar