January 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009 - 8:00am
Council Meeting

8:00AM @ Hilton Harlem Suite, New York, NY Present: Kristin Ahlberg, Frank Costigliola (presiding), Jeffrey Engel, Brian Etheridge, Catherine Forslund, Peter Hahn, David Herschler, Mark Lawrence, Erin Mahan, Robert McMahon, Kenneth Osgood, Jaideep Prabhu, Andrew Rotter, Chapin Rydingsward, Thomas Schwartz, Katherine Sibley, Jeremi Suri, Randall Woods, Thomas Zeiler Costigliola called the meeting to order at 8:00 A.M. and thanked everyone for attending. 1. Discussion of SHAFR representation on State Department Historical Advisory Committee (HAC) Costigliola welcomed David Herschler and Kristin Ahlberg of the State Department's Office of the Historian (HO). Herschler highlighted the HO's statutory obligation to cooperate with the Historical Advisory Committee (HAC); expressed gratitude for the advice and criticism provided by the HAC; and emphasized that the HO will continue to work with the HAC and by extension the SHAFR community and Council members.  He concluded by requesting that in light of the internal review panel recently appointed by the Secretary of State, Council refrain from taking action beyond the text of the draft resolution that had been circulated prior to the meeting.  Costigliola thanked Herschler for his report. Costigliola moved Council into Executive Session. Mahan recused herself from the discussion. Council heard a lengthy report from Robert McMahon, SHAFR representative to the HAC, and Katie Sibley, former Council member and at-large member of HAC, on recent controversy involving the HO and its relationship with HAC. After lengthy discussion, a consensus emerged around the following motion: The SHAFR Council believes that the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series is crucial to transparency in democratic governance and to informed citizenship. In light of recent problems in the State Department's Office of the Historian (HO) that may affect the future of the FRUS series, SHAFR expresses its strong support for the Secretary of State's decision to name an outside Review Team to assess the situation in the HO. SHAFR looks forward to a public report and to the HO's maintaining its mission of producing accurate, reliable FRUS volumes in a timely manner. Given the concerns expressed by the Historical Advisory Committee (HAC), SHAFR Council will continue to monitor this situation. Mahan and Schwartz recused themselves from the vote. The motion passed unanimously. Discussion ensued regarding a second resolution conveying SHAFR's support for the work of the HAC and its concern with developments therein. A consensus emerged around the following motion: We affirm our support for the work of the Historical Advisory Committee (HAC), its independence, and its integrity. We express concern over the recent resignations of two members of HAC and the abrupt non-renewal of a third member.  External oversight is fundamental to the successful operation of the Historian's Office and part of its Congressional mandate.  We look forward to the Department's continuing attention to this matter. Schwartz recused himself from the vote. The motion passed unanimously. 2. Resolutions of thanks to retiring Council members Costigliola introduced a resolution thanking retiring Council members Stephen Rabe, Mark Lawrence, David Anderson, and Craig Daigle for their valuable service.  The resolution passed unanimously. 3. Recap of motions passed by e-mail vote Costigliola reported on the five motions approved by Council via e-mail since the June Council meeting.  Council approved of a resolution on FOIA proposed by the National Security Archive; increased the annual stipend to executive director; agreed to sponsor the graduate student breakfast at 2009 OAH meeting; approved the establishment of the Oxford University Press Dissertation Prize; and signed on as co-plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) against the Vice President of the United States over records retention. 4. Motion to accept 2008 financial report Hahn presented written and oral reports on SHAFR's finances. He pointed out that while the SHAFR endowment had lost 28% of its value between November 30, 2007 and November 20, 2008, the endowment gained modest value in December 2008. It was noted that SHAFR was able to cover its operating expenses without withdrawing any funds from the endowment. Hahn highlighted certain revenues and expenditures in 2008. He noted that new revenues enabled SHAFR to double spending on fellowships and establish the Summer Institute, the dissertation completion fellowships, the web editor, and the director of secondary education in 2008.  Hahn invited Council members to examine the detailed written report and indicated that he would answer questions at any time. Osgood asked if Council needed to be more conservative in the future since increased spending in 2008 was intended to utilize the dividend funds generated by the endowment. Hahn replied that after recent conversations involving with SHAFR's CPA, David Kirkey, and SHAFR's endowment managers in New York, SHAFR is on relatively solid financial ground given that its recent expenditures were not directly dependent on Endowment revenues. Hahn also noted that Wiley-Blackwell representatives had assured him that the revenues stream remained healthy despite the economic recession. Hahn recommended that Council maintain the current level of spending but that it should proceed cautiously and avoid any major new initiatives. Although there is a risk of running a deficit in 2009, Hahn emphasized that alternative funds were available to cover it. He noted that the Society finished 2008 with a net gain of $36,500. Costigliola supported Hahn's recommendation and also pointed out that the guaranteed minimum revenue from major revenue source would increase in 2009 over 2008. Council unanimously passed a motion to accept the 2008 financial report. 5. Motion to raise annual subsidy to Diplomatic History A motion to raise the annual Diplomatic History subsidy by 5% (from $40,000 to $42,000) in 2009 passed unanimously. 6. Motion to set disbursement amount for Bemis Research Grants in 2009 Hahn briefly summarized the Bemis Research Grant program, which was created in part to protect SHAFR's public charity status. Council allocated $35,000 in 2007 and $32,000 in 2008 for Bemis Grants. The Ways & Means Committee recommended that Council allocate $32,000 in 2009. The motion passed unanimously. 7. Discussion of action plan to reform graduate student grants and fellowships Hahn and Osgood discussed the plan approved in June to reorganize the structure of the graduate student grants and fellowships.  As directed, Osgood, Etheridge, and Hahn devised a strategy to create a single committee to administer the awards. They also recommended that the proposed committee be composed of 3-5 members. After discussion, Council indicated approval of a committee with 3-5 members. Hahn asked Council to define "junior faculty" as it pertains to the guidelines of Bemis Faculty Grants. Woods and Osgood suggested that Bemis awards should be limited to those working on first books. Forslund noted that scholars teaching at "teaching" colleges and universities generally needed access to research funds for second books. Schwartz suggested that the Ways & Means Committee could contemplate establishing a separate award for scholars at such institutions. Council approved an amendment to include "scholars working on their first monograph" to the definition of the Bemis Junior Faculty Grant. Osgood suggested a later discussion of renaming the faculty awards to avoid confusion with the graduate student awards. Costigliola moved to approve the proposed package as amended.  The motion passed unanimously. 8.  Discussion of travel funds for Council members Costigliola instructed Council to devise a clear policy regarding travel funds for Council members attending Council meetings in January and June. A consensus emerged that SHAFR should provide travel funds to include airfare (or its equivalent in mileage), hotel accommodations for 2-3 nights (3 in cases where the member is also presenting a paper scheduled to necessitate the third night stay), and a per diem based on federal rates for all Council members attending such Council meetings who are unable to obtain financial support from their home institutions. If the home institution provides partial reimbursement, then SHAFR would cover only the unreimbursed portion of expenses.  A motion so directing passed unanimously. 9.  Motion from Ways & Means Committee Schwartz informed Council that the Ways & Means Committee recommended $200 per year for three years in a new allocation to the Southern California Network for Historians of Foreign Relations. The network would use the funds to create an electronic network of students and scholars in the field in southern California and facilitate occasional meetings of the group. The allocation would be contingent on cash or in-kind expenditure of the same amount by the Network and the Network would be asked to report annually on its involvement of graduate students and ability to procure matching funds. Woods suggested that Network use SHAFR funding to leverage ongoing funding from state-level sources. A motion supporting the proposal passed unanimously. 10.  Motion to elevate ad hoc committee on women in SHAFR to permanent status Costigliola introduced a motion to elevate the ad hoc committee on women in SHAFR to permanent status.  The motion passed unanimously. 11.  Discussion of venue for 2012 annual meeting Costigliola recognized Rotter as acting chair. Rotter proposed holding the 2012 SHAFR conference in Connecticut, sponsored by the University of Connecticut. Costigliola noted that UConn President Michael Hogan had offered $5,000 to subsidize such a meeting. Costigliola explained that the conference would be based in Hartford and a plenary session and other SHAFR events would take place on the university campus in Storrs. He highlighted Thomas Paterson's papers housed at the University of Connecticut and the archival at nearby Yale and Harvard Universities; he also noted that the FDR Library is within driving distance.  Woods moved to accept the proposal to hold the 2012 meeting in Connecticut. The motion carried unanimously. Costigliola resumed the chair. 12.  2009 annual meeting Paul Kramer reported that the 2009 meeting is scheduled for June 25-28 at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church, Virginia.  At the June meeting, Costigliola called for a concerted effort to broaden the audience and participant pool for the 2009 conference. In response, the conference committee (Paul Kramer Chair, Carole Anderson, Dirk Bonker, Anne Foster, Amy Greenberg, Naoko Shibusawa, and Salim Yaqub) drafted a call for papers that appealed to scholars interested in the interplay between foreign relations and immigration, cultural, and gender history. The CFP had been widely publicized in print journals as well as on sixty H-Net listservs. In response to its outreach, the committee received an unprecedented number of proposals including 99 for panels and 45 for individual papers. High quality proposals were also received from overseas. Given the high quality of the applicant pool combined with SHAFR's desire to reach out to a broader and more diverse audience, the 2009 conference committee recommended increasing the number of panels from 48 panels to 80.  Discussion ensued.  It noted that expanding the conference in this manner would minimize any potential backlash that might result from increased competition between the new recruits and SHAFR's traditional constituency.  Kramer also introduced the idea of a cocktail hour to welcome first-time attendees. After some discussion a consensus emerged in favor of expanding the 2009 conference. Woods expressed support for the cocktail hour. Costigliola noted that the potential benefits in terms of outreach would be well worth the costs of expansion. Kramer pointed out that the completed results of the enlarged program would be publicized on the listservs.  Schwartz supported the idea of expansion but recommended gathering information during the conference to evaluate potential issues. It was suggested that panel chairs could be directed to record and submit turnout numbers to gauge the potential drop in average panel attendance. Schwartz added that the Ways & Means Committee supports offering reduced membership rates to unsuccessful applicants. 12.  Report of the 2009 Local Arrangements Committee Ahlberg reported that the 2009 Local Arrangements Committee is planning a SHAFR cruise on the Potomac after the formal wrap-up of the conference.  The LAC will recommend that SHAFR subsidize a portion of trip to lower the cost to graduate students.   The LAC will also issue a local activities and dining guide. 13. Oxford Dissertation Prize Hahn reported that the Oxford University Press-USA Dissertation Prize is now operational and that the first prize will be awarded in 2010. The prize originated in a $25,000 gift from OUP to SHAFR. 14.  SHAFR website re-launch Etheridge reported that shafr.org has been successfully reformatted and is now live. The information on the previous site has been reorganized and several new features added, including blogs, op-eds, and RSS feeds.  Etheridge was happy to report that Bob Buzzanco, William Stueck, and George White Jr., have joined the inaugural team of bloggers, but reported difficulties in recruiting scholars to write op-eds.  Osgood raised the possibility of funding an annual prize for the best op-ed published on shafr.org.   Etheridge also noted that an undergraduate teaching page as well as a research tab with links to resources and available funding has also been added to the site. Etheridge highlighted the potential for the expanded website to serve as a platform connecting the SHAFR community to the broader public while underscoring the value historical thinking to current affairs and foreign policy issues.  The new website will be publicized in Passport and H-Diplo. 15.  2009 Summer Institute Costigliola  reported that Suri and Logevall will chair the 2009 Summer Institute in Madison, Wisconsin. Schwartz emphasized the need to issue a call for the 2010 Institute.  He also reported that the Oversight Committee recommends that Council extend funding for the Institute to 2012.  Others supported the idea of holding the institute in future years in the host city of the SHAFR conference.  Woods moved that Council extend its funding of the Summer Institute to 2012. The motion passed unanimously. 16.  Gelfand-Rappaport Fellowship Forslund reported that the Gelfand-Rappaport Fellowship would be awarded to Candace Sobers at the University of Toronto and that an Honorable Mention would be granted to Tao Wang of Georgetown and Yveline Alexis at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. 17.  Bernath Dissertation Grant Forslund reported that the Bernath Dissertation Grant would be awarded to Christopher Dietrich from the University of Texas-Austin and that an Honorable Mention would be granted to Kevin Arlych at New York University and to Kelly Shannon of Temple University. 18. Link-Kuehl Prize Hahn on behalf of Ted Keefer announced that the Link-Kuehl Prize would be awarded to David C. Geyer and Douglas E. Selvage for their edited volume Soviet-American Relations: the Détente Years, 1969-1972; and that an Honorable Mention would be awarded to Richard Breitman, Barbara MacDonald Steward, and Severin Hochberg, eds., Advocate for the Doomed: the Diary of James G. MacDonald. Council adjourned at 10:55 am. Respectfully submitted, Peter L. Hahn Executive Director PLH/cr