Military History Society Of Rochester
But there is a case to be made for retaining and reinvigorating the term, linking it to the body of innovative scholarship that has been produced in recent years, and continues to be produced today. The first step is open communication and exchange between those inside the field and those outside of it. Within the academy, conversation and education ought to be the first steps towards breaking down stereotypes. The short essay that follows will argue the case for integrating a broadened, revitalized military history subfield into history departments nationwide. McFarland is a leading independent publisher of academic and general interest nonfiction books.
To avoid the study of war is to undermine our opportunity to fully comprehend ourselves—and our evolution over time—in social, political, psychological, scientific, and technological realms. Established in 1933 as the American Military History Foundation, renamed in 1939 the American Military Institute, and renamed again in 1990 the Society for Military History, the Society is devoted to stimulating and advancing the study of military history. Its membership has included many of the world’s most prominent scholars, soldiers, and citizens interested in military history. Military history ought to be a vital component of a liberal education, one that prepares students to be informed and responsible citizens. Since civilian control of the military is a foundational element of American democracy, our civilians must have enough basic knowledge to carry out this function competently and responsibly.
It has over 2,300 members including many prominent scholars, soldiers, and citizens interested in military history. The Journal of Military History, the quarterly journal of the Society for Military History, has published scholarly articles on the military history of all eras and geographical areas since 1937. It publishes articles, book reviews, memoirs, research notes, documents of note, a list of recent articles dealing with military history published by other journals, an annual list of doctoral dissertations in military history, and an annual index. Officers and NCOs who enter the US professional military education system are educated about the responsibilities they hold in a society where civilians control the military and make decisions about where and when to use military force. At the most senior level of PME, for instance, War College students become well-versed in the special responsibilities they hold on the military side of the civil-military equation. Today’s civilians, by contrast, are under- educated about their responsibilities.
Courses in military history tend to fill, not only with history majors and minors, but also with students from other disciplines who are interested in the field. And because military history intersects regularly with the profession’s other subfields, it can serve as an ideal gateway to the other specializations any given History Department has to offer. It may, as well, lure back some of the students who have been drawn away to political science, international relations, and public policy departments.
Soldiers will be fully occupied trying to cope with the intense and ever-changing demands of the battlefield, while civilian policymakers will be fully occupied trying to build and maintain support for national strategy. With both groups working round the clock in their own realms, it is easy for them to begin to drift apart. An intentional and unflagging effort must be devoted to maintaining the ongoing civil-military communication that gives strategy its meaning, and that prevents the nation from engaging in counterproductive or even senseless conflict. This is an unsettling state of affairs, especially since the US military does not send itself to war.
All this gives the field relevance, and, indeed, urgency, inside the classroom. Scholars in our field are well-positioned to draw linkages and build bridges among subfields in history, and to engage in interdisciplinary work. Because warfare has dramatic consequences at every level of human existence, it must be a central element in the way that we understand our own narrative through the ages.
From the wreckage—the broken bodies, the redrawn boundaries, the imperfect treaties, the fresh resentments and the intensified old ones—altered political and social patterns and institutions emerge that may help to prevent future conflicts, or sow the seeds of new ones. All of this creates a difficult, complicated, and fraught historical landscape to traverse. The “moving wall” represents the time period between the last issue available in JSTOR and the most recently published issue of a journal. In rare instances, a publisher has elected to have a “zero” moving wall, so their current issues are available in JSTOR shortly after publication. Individual paper proposalsare also welcome and must include a 300-word abstract of the paper, and one-page vita with contact information and email address. If accepted, individual papers will be assigned by the program committee to an appropriate panel with a chair and commenter.
I shot a note to the Executive Council this afternoon to begin the discussion about cancellation of the conference, and it did not take long to come to a decision. Finally, I’m sad that we will not have the opportunity this year to gather together as a Society and as a community of scholars to learn, meet and greet old colleagues, and make new acquaintances. Conditions, however, have deteriorated to the point that cancellation is the best option available to us. Any use of military force is so consequential on so many levels that it demands serious contemplation and full comprehension by all those in a democratic polity who own some piece of responsibility for it. When Americans go to war, they do so because they have been sent by the elected leaders of the Republic; they carry the flag of the United States, and wear that flag on the sleeves of their uniforms.
Excellent panel, paper, and poster submissions will clearly explain their topics and questions in ways that will be understandable to the broad membership of the SMH, not only to those interested in the specific topics in question. Submissions of pre-organizedpanels are strongly encouraged and will be given preference in the selection process. The Program Committee also accepts panel submissions without chair and commenter. In that case, if accepted, chair and commenter will be assigned by the conference organizers.