Employing History (EH) is a handbook for graduate students, early career historians and their supervisors. It contains guidance and practical advice on navigating post-graduate study, sharing academic research, and finding work. First published in 1999 and revamped in 2007, this edition reflects the challenges and opportunities for historians in 2020. New and expanded sections will address preparing for different career paths and writing for diverse audiences. You’ll also find updated sections on applying to graduate school and funding.
This version of the guide is the culmination of three years of consultation with CHA membership, including online calls for feedback and panels held at CHA in 2018 and 2019 to discuss the guide. These conversations largely confirmed what the editors were thinking: the career outcomes of academically-trained historians have changed. Earlier versions of the guide reflected the assumption that historians would work in tenure-stream jobs at universities. Over a decade into the academic job “crisis,” universities are fundamentally changed. Increasingly, historians are working outside the academy, applying skills honed in graduate school in new and unexpected ways. The CHA’s new title for the manual reflects this shift, to point to multiple ways history is “employed” and used by graduates.
We appreciate the passion and energy we have received from all of the contributors to the manual. This revision is the product of some simultaneous efforts to reform the guide. At a 2017 CHA Council meeting, president Adele Perry with Alison Norman and Joanna Pearce initiated a discussion on the guide. Carly Ciufo and Rhonda Hinther organized a 2018 CHA roundtable, “So, What Will that Get You? Becoming a Historian in a Changing Job and Academic Market,” to discuss how becoming a historian has changed. We are grateful to the historians who participated in the roundtable alongside Carly, Jenny, and Rhonda: chair Dominique Marshall, Robert Talbot, Jean-François Lozier, Stacey Nation-Knapper, and Andrea Eidinger. The editors also benefitted from the feedback of other historians through their response to the accompanying Active History article on the roundtable as well as a general call through the CHA, including Adam Chapnick, Kristine Alexander, Lorraine O’Donnell, and Franca Iacovetta. During the writing process we also consulted with Sean Kheraj,
Several historians directly contributed sample CVs, tips, and experiences that you will find in the guide. Thank you for sharing your stories: Brittany Luby, Ryan Shackleton, Lorraine O’Donnell, Gillian Leitch, Victoria Lamb-Drover, Sarah Glassford, Alison Norman, Ornella Zindukiyimana, David Tough, Mike Commito, Nathan Smith, Julia Rady-Shaw, Heena Mistry, Jason Friedman, Laurie Dalton, Jess Dunkin, Matthew McRae, Julien Labrosse, Michael Eamon, Heather Steel and Elizabeth Scott.
Michel Duquet at the CHA office has coordinated the project and helped move it forward. We thank him for this work on this project, which will be ongoing as we expand and update the guide in years to come. Lindsay Bilodeau was an essential figure in bringing the project to life. As project assistant she solicited files, edited and wrote large sections of this text. A special thank you, too, to Brittany Luby (Anishinaabe) and Allyson Stevenson (Metis) offering their perspectives as Indigenous peoples on the guide through their peer review.
Several organizations have provided funding and in-kind support to bring this new manual to life. Thank you to the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences for providing an initial grant to start the work. Across the country, history departments contributed funds to the project. Our thanks to York University, Carleton University, University of Manitoba, Mount Allison University, University of Lethbridge, University of Saskatchewan, University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, University of New Brunswick, University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University. University Affairs magazine provided a space to promote the guide and share the project with other academics. Thank you all for the support.
As editors, we stand on the shoulders of other historians who built the first two editions of this manual. In 1999, Franca Iacovetta and Molly Ladd Taylor co-ordinated a collaborative project that produced the first Canadian version of the original American Historical Association (AHA) Becoming a Historian manual on which the first two versions of this guide are based. They were building on the work of Melanie Gustafson, editor of the original AHA manual. Catherine Carstairs, Dominique Clément, Robert Dennis, Lisa Helps, Rhonda Hinther, and Heather Steel undertook a second revision of the manual in 2007.
Each edition works to update the guide, reflecting shifts in the field at large and on the job market. We’ve carried on this tradition of revising, adding to, and amending the previous edition, knowing that this guide will continue to evolve in the years to come.
Canadian Museum of History
Andrew M. Johnston