June 2007

Thursday, June 21, 2007 - 8:00am
Council Meeting

Thursday @ 8:00-11:00 am

Franklin Room, Westfields Marriott, Chantilly, VA

Present: Kristin Ahlberg, David Anderson, Frank Costigliola, Craig Daigle, Peter Hahn, David Herschler, Richard Immerman (presiding), Mark Lawrence, Mitch Lerner, Doug Little, Fred Logevall, Robert McMahon, Anna Nelson, Meredith Oyen, Linda Qaimmaqami, Stephen Rabe, Chapin Rydingsward, Robert Schulzinger, Mark Stoler, Jeremi Suri, Sara Wilson, Thomas Zeiler

Business Items


Other Business

  1. Recap of motions passed by electronic ballots Immerman reported for the record that since its last meeting Council had approved via e-mail the following motions:
    1. Resolution recommending restoration of funding to National Archives to facilitate mandated reviews of State, CIA, DOD, and FBI records.
    2. Resolutions reforming the criteria for works selected to receive the Link-Kuehl Prize
    3. Increase in annual allocation to National Coalition for History from $5,000 to $6,000 for a period of three years.
    4. Increase in annual allocation to Diplomatic History editorial office from $14,500 to $40,000.
    5. Approval of Iraq book drive.
  2. Vote on Report of Steering Committee Immerman reported that the Steering Committee had been charged to conceptualize programs and plans for expending anticipated new revenues in pursuit of SHAFR’s academic and intellectual objectives. The Steering Committee recommended the following proposals:
    1. The SHAFR Summer Institute
    2. Dissertation Completion Fellowships
    3. Distinguished Lecture Series
    4. Travel for Council members
    5. Increases to existing graduate student research fellowships
    6. Lesson Plans
    7. Webmaster

    Discussion ensued. Logevall asked for clarification regarding the length of commitment of each proposal. Immerman stated that the assumption of the committee was that each proposal would last as long as the current contract. Hahn pointed out that committees would need to be appointed for each program. Suri supported all of the proposals but expressed concern that the initiatives would result in Council members receiving a significant amount of money. Suri recommended the establishment of a parallel summer institute for graduate students. He also asserted that having a graduate student institute was more important than Council members’ travel and the distinguished lecture series. Immerman noted that the SHAFR committee meets twice a year and that often home institutions only pay for one trip. Nelson stated that her institution provides travel funds only if the faculty member is presenting a paper. McMahon explained that subsidizing Council travel is meant to benefit the organization as a whole. He noted that when Council members miss meetings, financial burdens are often cited. He also pointed out that priority would be given to members who lack travel funds from their home institutions. Logevall stated that Council travel fund would be unlikely to upset rank and file SHAFR members. He also emphasized that travel subsidies for Council members was less important than a summer institute for graduate students. Immerman explained that departments without diplomatic historians would be ideal hosts for the distinguished lecture series potentially raising interest in the subfield. Logevall raised the possibility of following the OAH in not paying the distinguished lecturer. Stoler supported the distinguished lecturer program. He stressed that it would serve as a good advertisement for the discipline and strengthen the field’s reputation and visibility. He also urged that the travel expenses of the lecturer be reimbursed. Hahn and McMahon distributed a prospectus for the 2008 summer institute program. Hahn explained that the Steering Committee recommended Ohio State as the inaugural site to link the institute to the 2008 annual conference in Columbus. This linkage was made in hopes of promoting interest and attendance. Stoler supported the initiative but asked for clarification with regard to the career stage of the 10-12 participants. Hahn answered that most were expected to be assistant and associate professors from non-research institutions thus giving institutional support to scholars who may feel isolated from the larger diplomatic history community. The group might include non-specialists who wish to learn our field. McMahon emphasized that applicants would be required to explain how they would benefit from the summer program and that selections would be made accordingly. Stoler presented the West Point military history seminar as a potential model for the summer institute program. Hahn explained that it would be possible to alternate between a faculty and graduate student summer institute every other year. He also expressed confidence that all of the current initiatives could be approved and that a graduate student summer institute could be introduced the following year as an additional and financially-viable initiative. Lerner supported the graduate student summer institute and identified a similar program at Johns Hopkins as a potential model. Lerner also suggested that the SHAFR teaching committee should be involved with the teaching initiative. Logevall suggested that instead of having one faculty institute and one graduate student institute SHAFR could sponsor one large program including faculty and students. Logevall directed discussion to the question of whether a mix of graduate students and faculty would be more beneficial than two segregated programs. Lerner stated that graduate students are often the most productive. Suri pointed out the benefits of small groups. Suri favored having two separate summer programs with the possibility of future integration and stated that he would be happy to run a graduate student institute in 2009 but that he would also be willing to defer. Immerman asked Hahn and McMahon for their opinions regarding the composition of the 2008 summer institute program. Hahn stated that it might be helpful to welcome both faculty and graduate students applicants to insure an adequate number of applications. Hahn emphasized that an open application during the first year would also give the directors more options when making final decisions regarding the internal composition of the program. The directors would have full discretion over how to organize the program. It was suggested that they start advertising for faculty only and later solicit grad students if applications remained low in number. The first year would be a trial run and the results would be reported to Council for evaluation. Rabe supported the alternating model and thus the creation of a second summer institute in 2009. Immerman emphasized that funding increases could be made in future years. Based on discussion, Immerman proposed the following amendments to the package:

    1. Summer institute program: SHAFR will add an additional $5,000 for administrative costs.
    2. Distinguished lecture series: SHAFR will provide up to $5,000 for travel expenses to be shared by host institutions. No stipends will be paid.
    3. Travel for members will be offered only to those lacking sufficient travel funds from their home institutions.
    4. Fellowships: total cost should read $9,250.

    Nelson moved to approve package as amended. Council approved the motion unanimously.

  3. Motion to establish a Membership Committee and a Committee on Research and Access to Historical Diplomatic Documentation Immerman moved that SHAFR establish a Membership Committee and a Committee on Research and Access to Historical Diplomatic Documentation. He said that these ideas emerged from discussions in the Steering Committee (noting that they exceeded the Steering Committee’s mandate). As a Steering Committee member, Herschler favored membership committee aimed at institutionalizing membership recruitment. He explained that such a committee would relieve Council from micromanaging the business of the organization relating directly to member concerns. The committee would also seek to enhance the availability of Diplomatic History and Passport by encouraging institutional subscriptions. Herschler also recommended the establishment of a committee on research and access to diplomatic documentation. He stated that the continued issue of classification, increased use of electronic records systems, and the growing complexity of access issues make it imperative that SHAFR have an organizational voice in these matters. Stoler explained that these proposals if passed would be reestablishing previous committees that had ceased to function. Immerman suggested that ex-committee members be contacted in order to determine why the previous committees dissolved. He also clarified that both committees would be composed of three members. One might be international (non-US) and one might be the SHAFR representative to the State Department committee on declassification. The motions passed unanimously.
  4. Membership rates Immerman explained that SHAFR will keep the membership dues as they are now. Regular dues were raised 25 percent from $40 to $50 two years ago. In 2009, SHAFR will consider a new dues structure. It was recalled that in 2005, student dues were not increased.
  5. Closure of Los Alamos Lab to historical researchers Immerman reported on the privatization of Los Alamos National Laboratory and the related declassification controversy. Immerman stated that although officials have claimed that the Lab has not changed its declassification policy significant changes have been made. Prior to privatization, materials were available to researchers if they were unclassified whereas now any document not marked “Approved for Public Release” must be obtained through a FIOA request.
  6. Honorable mention for FRUS series Immerman moved to give special recognition to the Foreign Relations of the United States series. Council passed the motion unanimously.
  7. 2007 annual meeting Rabe reported that the committee was proud of the 2007 program. A large number of high quality proposals were received this year and twenty-five percent of the participants were from abroad. Rabe expressed disappointment with the high number of withdrawals. Immerman recommended that wording could be put into future calls for papers to discourage withdrawals. Logevall suggested that the acceptance letters also have stronger language to discourage withdrawals. Little thanked Sara Wilson for her work as conference coordinator. He also explained that a large proportion of single paper proposals were rejected due to the high number of panel proposals. Wilson reported that the Westfields Marriott was great to work with and that registration was approximately 370 and slightly higher than last year. Immerman proposed a motion to thank the Program Committee (Doug Little and Steve Rabe, co-chairs; Clea Bunch, David Engerman, and Katherine Sibley). Council approved the motion unanimously.
  8. Ad Hoc Committee to Consider Changes to the Annual Meeting Costigliola reported that ACCCAM is composed of David Anderson, William Stueck, Thomas Schwartz, Chris Jesperson, and himself. Costigliola explained the need to prioritize SHAFR’s desire to minimize conference costs, to hold the conference in Washington DC every other year, and to accommodate non-American scholars who tend to have other obligations during the summer months. If SHAFR is moving toward an international framework, he pointed out that Council may want to consider holding the conference in the fall or spring semester. Stoler and Rabe highlighted the linkage between many critical issues such as timing, location, and accommodations. Stoler explained that holding the conference in the fall or spring would eliminate the dorm option and expressed his favor for holding the conference in June. Rabe pointed out that if the conference is not held in the summer, the desirability of Washington DC will decrease because most scholars plan research trips during the summer months. Schulzinger referenced complaints about the Westfields high cost, but strongly emphasized the high degree of convenience inherent in a one-site conference venue. For many people the convenience of a one-site venue is worth the extra money. Schulzinger also stressed that multiple site venues present considerable problems especially for those with access issues and urged that Council remain open to holding future conferences at the Westfields. Logevall reported that the committee sought to obtain a venue on the Metro but that such sites prove markedly more expensive. Anderson reported that University venues in DC are also very costly and that universities tend to avoid early commitments. Suri emphasized that the annual conference is SHAFR’s keynote event and thus should be discussed in terms of outreach. He urged that the DC conferences be held on a Metro line even if it would require subsidizing the higher cost. He agreed that a self-contained venue is ideal but that being able to access the city is also important. Logevall proposed a motion encouraging Immerman to book the 2009 conference in the DC area at a venue on a Metro line and with accommodations similar to the Westfields, it being understood that SHAFR may need to subsidize the higher cost. The Westfields would also work if no other suitable site were found. Council approved the motion unanimously.
  9. 2008 annual meeting Hahn reported that the 2008 SHAFR conference will be held in Columbus, Ohio from June 26 to 28. The Blackwell Inn will host the conference and dorm space will be available. Hahn noted that concentrating the entire conference at the Blackwell would limit the amount of space for book exhibits and curtail slightly the number of sessions. The second option is to move some or all of the panels and the exhibitors’ space to a nearby classroom building. This second option would save considerable expense but also force attendees to walk to other buildings. Suri move to concentrate the conference at the Blackwell Inn while leaving open the possibility of obtaining classroom space if the number of panels makes overflow space necessary. Members indicated a strong consensus for this proposal.
  10. Endowment On behalf of Endowment Liaison Jim Matray, Hahn reported that the endowment experienced a rate of growth of approximately 5.7 percent in January-May 2007 and that the actual increase, when factoring in a $35,000 withdrawal needed to cover Bemis fellowships this spring, was 2.8 percent.
  11. Diplomatic History Schulzinger stated that a 20-page annual report has been prepared and will be submitted to Council members in the near future. He discussed the recently published 40th anniversary edition and highlighted the new cover design. A special issue on the environment edited by Kurk Dorsey is one of several topical issues anticipated for the near future. Others special issues will include one on biography edited by Frank Costigliola and one on the end of the Cold War. Immerman reported that back issues of Diplomatic History are online as negotiated in the Blackwell contract. Electronic issues must be accessed through the membership services link on shafr.org.
  12. SHAFR Guide Zeiler reported that the electronic version of the Guide will be ready in August and encouraged members to promote the Guide to their home institutions. He also assured Council that ABC-Clio will be promoting sales of the Guide.
  13. Passport Lerner reported that Passport had a fine year and that in 2006 it experienced higher revenues than costs. He noted that the Mershon Center at Ohio State had renewed its grant for next year but cautioned that this source of funding is not guaranteed in future years. Beginning in January 2008, the printing and mailing of Passport will be transferred from Ohio State to Blackwell. Lerner also reported that EBSCO had contacted Passport and expressed interest in publishing the newsletter electronically. Hahn asked if anyone would object to him negotiating a contract. He emphasized that any contract with EBSCO would be a non-exclusive agreement. Council unanimously supported Hahn in any negotiations he seeks to pursue.
  14. Unterberger Prize Committee Qaimmaqami reported that Jennifer Heckard will be awarded the Unterberger Prize. She also noted that submissions were down from 14 to 8. The decrease might be related to the prize’s biannual status and Qaimmaqami suggested that the prize be advertised in the off year to encourage submissions.
  15. Motion to pass resolution on action by British Association of University Teachers Immerman moved that Council approve the following resolution:

    The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) considers the decision of Britain's National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) to boycott Israeli higher education institutions deplorable. SHAFR is committed to the free exchange of ideas among academics without regard to the policies of their respective governments. We reject proposals that curtail the freedom of teachers and researchers to engage in work with academic colleagues, and we reaffirm the paramount importance of the freest possible international movement of scholars and ideas. SHAFR urges the NATFHE to reverse its position in the interest of academic freedom.

    Immerman noted that Council passed a similar resolution in June 2005—one that approved the suspension of a boycott proposed by another British group. He composed the current resolution on the basis of the 2005 text. He further noted that Mel Leffler and Arnold Offner encouraged Council to pass the resolution. Council approved the resolution unanimously.

  16. Resolution acknowledging Local Arrangements Committee. Immerman moved that Council acknowledge and thank the 2007 Local Arrangements Committee (David Painter, Chair; Kristin Ahlberg, Hope Harrison; Sara Wilson, Conference Consultant). The resolution was approved unanimously.

Respectfully submitted, Peter L. Hahn Executive Director PLH/cr