The SHA and a Sign of the Times

The jobs report released today was good (117,000 people hired in July). But the economic roller coaster continues. The Dow Jones fell 500 points yesterday, and unemployment is still above 9%. In what is a sign of the times, the Southern Historical Association, which is holding its annual meeting in November in Baltimore, will not have its usual job-fair portion of the conference. Interviewers are invited to bring applicants to the conference. But people who didn’t have an interview lined up and were looking to hand out their CVs to colleges and casually talk to recruiters are out of luck.

Ah, how we long for the days of the mid-2000s, when colleges would post multiple teaching positions on sites like h-net. the chronicle, or the AHA web page. Back in 2004, I had a friend at LSU who went to an AHA conference, did a cold interview for a position in Florida, and got a tenure track job there. Nowadays, any kind of teaching job, let alone a tenure-track gig, is hard to come by. And the academic conference is just another avenue that has become closed for those seeking gainful employment.

The only tenure track job for a position teaching Civil War history that I’ve seen recently is at Princeton University. Amazingly, the University of South Carolina has posted two jobs in the past week for positions above the rank of assistant professor in the field of early American history. I can only imagine how many applications that search committee will get. Hundreds?

To all those looking for work, I say, good luck and God speed.


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