Cliopatria Does the OAH
Since the Organization of American Historians includes only historians of the United States in its membership, many of the Cliopatricians were not in Washington, DC, for its convention this past week. Rick Shenkman gives the convention more systematic coverage elsewhere on HNN. But Cliopatria was there in quality, if not in quantity. Three of our contributing editors – Jim Cobb, Michael Kazin, and Scott McLemee – were there. Oscar Chamberlain, Caleb McDaniel, and I were also at the convention. I ran into Jim Cobb and Caleb in the book exhibits; and, accidentally, found Kazin while I was off to lunch with a couple of young friends and he was taking a breather between two book signing events.
The largest gathering of us was on Thursday evening, when Inside Higher Ed played host for dinner. HNN's Rick Shenkman joined us; and I enjoyed meeting Oscar Chamberlain, Scott McLemee, and IHE's Scott Jaschik for the first time. At least, I think, I enjoyed meeting Oscar. So, we're enjoying our meal, and I'm running my mouth about having been at the Atlanta airport on Wednesday when it was closed for two hours because of a bomb scare; and being at the Library of Congress Thursday afternoon when one of its buildings was evacuated because of an unidentified package. So, Oscar asks:"Who is known to have been in both places?" Henceforth, thanks to Oscar, I'll be remembered as"Ralph Luker, historian and terrorist-suspect."
I had a terrific time at the convention: chairing a remarkably good session on"Memory, Place, and Race: African American History in the American Landscape," celebrating the publication of Joyce Appleby, ed., The Best American History Essays, 2006 (Palgrave/MacMillan), and enjoying meals, drink, and conversation with the good folk at IHE, with my former students, Amani Whitfield, who teaches now at the University of Vermont and is about to publish his first book, and Nick Turner, who's just left a position at George Washington University, and with my virtual son, Andrew Ackerman, who is a journalist in DC.
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