AHA Membership Grows Modestly, as History of Religion Surpasses Culture





Despite the hardships in the economy, membership in the AHA actually increased slightly over the past year. In our annual membership snapshot (taken on March 31 of each year), membership rose to over 15,000 members for the first time in 35 years. While this marks an important milestone, in real terms the 15,055 members marked only a modest increase (just 152 more than last year).

And beneath the changes on the surface, there was a troubling loss in the number of members in many of the higher dues-paying categories, as many faculty members and professional historians felt the effects of the economy. These losses were only offset by significant gains in the number of student members (whose memberships are subsidized by senior members). Students now comprise 28.2 percent of the membership—the highest proportion since 1996, when they accounted for 32.0 percent of the membership.

The most notable change in the profile of our membership is the continuing rise of specialists in religious history. More members selected the history of religion as field of specialization (7.7 percent in all) than any other thematic category. Religion surpassed cultural history (selected by 7.5 percent of the membership), which has been the most popular subject category among members for more than 15 years. (Cultural history eclipsed social history as the field of choice in the mid-1990s.)...

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