Announcing American History Now, a US History Research Community

*Editors’ Note: American History Now is the newest journal to be launched as part of the Pressforward Project.

Have you got some research, a small con­clu­sion, an idea or pos­si­bil­ity; some piece of work which isn’t really suit­able for the stan­dard jour­nal for­mat? Maybe a piece which doesn’t fit eas­ily in any sin­gle dis­ci­pline? Would you like feed­back on an idea you’re strug­gling with? Would you like to pub­lish this work in a peer reviewed for­mat with­out wait­ing the years it typ­i­cally takes in a major journal?

Amer­i­can His­tory Now is eager to pub­lish your work.

Have you just taught or read a book for the first time? Or have you just re-examined an old clas­sic in your field? Did you come out of a class full of ideas about the book, ideas that would be valu­able to write down and use­ful to share?

Amer­i­can His­tory Now wants to pub­lish your review right away, not years down the line.

Do you main­tain a blog, and would like that blog to reach a wider audi­ence among his­to­ri­ans and the “his­tory minded?” Have you thought about start­ing a blog, but held off because you were unsure who your read­ers might be? Or sim­ply unsure how to do it?

Amer­i­can His­tory Now wants your blog to find its audience.

At Amer­i­can His­tory Now we are build­ing new forms of “research com­mu­nity,” new forms of aca­d­e­mic dia­logue. We would like to pro­mote faster, more fluid exchange of ideas, less encum­bered by the scarci­ties print imposes. We’re approach­ing that goal from sev­eral directions.

First, the Amer­i­can His­tory Now site col­lects reviews related to U.S. his­tory from around the web. But it also lets any user add a review, of any book he or she has read. It lets other users com­ment on those reviews, to estab­lish a dia­logue about both new books and old classics.

We’ve estab­lished two cat­e­gories of reviews, “first takes” and “sec­ond takes.” First takes are reviews of a book you’ve just read. Sec­ond takes are reviews of books you’ve read before and have recon­sid­ered. If you’ve just read a book and want oth­ers to know about it, you can review it quickly. If you’ve long grap­pled with a clas­sic in your field, you can post your thoughts at AHN.

We are also try­ing to encour­age longer, “deeper” forms of his­tor­i­cal work through we are call­ing “research note­books.” You might think of a research note­book as a blog, a place where you can post ideas, early drafts, inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research, or shorter-form work. Any seri­ous stu­dent or prac­ti­tioner of his­tory can estab­lish a research note­book at Amer­i­can His­tory Now. if you don’t wish to start a blog, you can con­tribute by sim­ply email­ing your work to

It’s vital to stress that con­tri­bu­tions to AHN will be pub­lic, and avail­able for com­ment in real time, by any reader. We seek to build a com­mu­nity in which inter­ested per­sons can engage in con­struc­tive dia­logue; we want to pro­mote open­ness. But just as the pro­fes­sion of his­tory has stan­dards of con­duct and behav­ior which it teaches and enforces, so com­ments at AHN will use held to a strict stan­dard of civil­ity. The edi­tors will actively police com­ments for trolling, per­sonal attacks, and gen­eral discourtesy.

The edi­tors will also vett con­tri­bu­tions to AHN, and reg­u­larly des­ig­nate par­tic­u­larly good work as “Editor’s Choice.” To be selected as an “edi­tors choice, work must be of high qual­ity and demon­stra­ble gen­eral inter­est and value, as demon­strated by the responses of AHN’s com­mu­nity of read­ers and/or as rec­og­nized by the edi­to­r­ial board.

Amer­i­can His­tory Now aims to address some of the short­com­ings and lim­its of print jour­nals. We’d like to end the multi-year delay before reviews appear. We’d like to pro­mote open, lively dia­logue about com­monly used books. And most impor­tant, we’d like to cre­ate a space for re-thinking schol­arly com­mu­ni­ca­tion. We’d like to make peer review a more open process, and to facil­i­tate the kind of vital intel­lec­tual dis­cus­sion that hap­pens in small sem­i­nars, in the halls out­side con­fer­ence rooms, and in con­ver­sa­tion between friends and col­leagues. If you have work that doesn’t fit any­where else, or ideas you’d like to dis­cuss, AHN has a place for you.

This content was selected for Digital Humanities Now by Editor-in-Chief based on nominations by Editors-at-Large: