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Historically Speaking November 2002 PRESIDENT'S CORNER George Huppert It seems fitting, as my term of office has come to an end, that I should say a few words about how we are doing as an association. Perhaps I should also provide a few candid observations regarding my experiences while in office. It was in June of 2000, at our second national conference in Boston, that I found myself nominated for the office of president of our society. I accepted, not without some reluctance. Now, two years later, I have to confess that this has been a pleasurable and instructive experience. Of course, there is some fairly time-consuming work involved, but the net benefit, which I had not counted on, has been a remarkable widening of my horizon. As a historian of Renaissance France, I have maintained relations over the years almost exclusively with other specialists in my field, both here and in Europe. I rarely used to read books or articles unrelated to my research. This is not something I am proud of, but somehow there was never enough time to stray from my own work. This failure of mine is probably not unique in our profession . Over the course of the past two years, things have been quite different. Inevitably, mixing with all kinds of historians, I have come into contact with any number ofinteresting colleagues whose work, ofnecessity, I had to sample, at least in passing. This has turned out to be an exhilarating experience. I recommend it highly. During my tenure, the Historical Society has matured, and in the process, undergone considerable changes. We started out, four years ago, in reaction to trends in die profession that concerned us. As we went along, talkingto each other and inviting contributions to our meetings and publications, we gradually realized thatwe were creating a new forum and a new community. We may have started out like angry prophets in the desert, calling the wrath ofheaven down on miscreants who were wrapping trivia in the swaddling cloth ofideology. But now, four years later, we have created a unique organization , a smaller, calmer meeting ground, where we can talk to each other "in an atmosphere of civility, mutual respect, and common courtesy." This we have achieved. The next step is to overcome fragmentation. This is the daunting taskwith which I have saddled the program directors for our next conference. As it happens, one ofdie program directors , Peter Coclanis, is the new president of die Historical Society. We could not have . chosen a better man for die job. Peter is one ofdie many colleagues whom I would never have gotten to know had I not accepted the job ofpresident. In die past twoyears, I have not only read his work, which is first-rate, butalsoworked closelywith him and learned to appreciate his affable and supportive presence . I look forward to further close collaboration widi him. George Huppert isprofessor ofhistory at the University ofIllinois at Chicago. His book After die Black Deadi: A Social History of Early Modern Europe (Indiana University Press, 1986) is now available in a second, expanded edition. CORRECTION We apologize for a line of text missing between pp. 2 and 3 from George Huppert's "President's Corner" in the September 2002 Historically Speaking. It should have read: .... He [Lucien Febvre] spoke of a managed history, "une histoire dirigée," and went about commissioning a series of articles that tried to provide answers to the perplexities of his day—the 1929 Wall Street Crash for instance. Within reason, I urge you to connect your own expertise with broader issues .... The Editors ...


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