As with any academic discipline, history operates on an informal calendar that coincides with the school year. Here are a few dates to be on the lookout for as a grad student, prospective academic, or junior faculty member:
August-September – If you are going on the academic job market, September is usually the peak month in which departments post their new positions in history (though some listings are posted as early as mid-summer). The best place to find this information is the American Historical Association’s job board (membership required for login), though your department may also maintain an internal list of job opportunities they have received.
October 1 – This is usually the beginning of submission deadlines for book, dissertation, and article awards in history covering publications that appeared in the current calendar year, as well as some smaller research grants. The Organization of American Historians maintains its awards, though this also varies depending on the prize and organization. Check with specialized organizations in your subfield for due dates. If you wish to submit your book for a prize, stay in contact with your publisher and alert them well in advance of the deadline.
October-November – Though each listing is different, most job applications from the late summer/early fall posting period are due in these months. Make a calendar of application due dates well in advance so you don’t accidentally miss a date. Also, be certain to allow time to line up your reference letters or anything else that depends on an outside submission from another person.
October-November – This is usually when regional associations in history hold their conferences. For example, the Southern Historical Association meeting is in late October/early November
December – If you’re on the job market, you can probably expect to start hearing back from the first wave of prospective departments before the winter break. This is particularly true for departments that will be interviewing at the AHA meeting in January, though it also reflects the simple fact that review committee members start to pay attention to their mounting stacks of applications once the teaching portion of the semester winds down.
January 1 – This is usually the next major deadline for awards and small research grants targeted to graduate students – particularly those which fund research at a specific archive or institution. Exact dates vary, so be sure to keep a calendar.
Early January – The AHA’s annual meeting is usually held during the first week of January. For job applicants, this is the largest history conference by far at which interviews will be conducted. It is also considered one of the two “premier” conferences in the discipline for panel presentations, along with OAH. Of the two organizations, AHA has the broader focus and encompasses all fields and subfields of history. Please note though that panel submissions are typically due almost a year in advance of the AHA meeting.
February – The call for papers at the next AHA meeting usually hits around this time. February is also a common month for smaller regional and state-based historical societies to hold their conferences.
March/April – The Organization of American usually holds its conference in these months, typically depending on the holiday and spring break calendars. It is the second major history conference and, unlike AHA, emphasizes United States history only. In strong job market years, the OAH will also host interviews for late-posted academic positions though in recent times these have been relatively few compared to AHA given the recessionary economy. Like the AHA, calls for papers at the OAH often go out a year in advance and are due shortly after the current year’s meeting concludes.
May-July – If your subfield has a topic-specific scholarly organization affiliated with it, the chances are strong they will hold an annual or biennial conference. While these can be spread out across the year, the stretch from late May to mid July is a popular time for topic-specific conferences. Finally, the summer months are also time for IHS Seminars.