Candidate statement for September 2017 ACHA Election
Dear Colleagues: I appreciate the opportunity to stand for election to the ACHA Executive Council. I believe the ACHA to be a very well managed organization, blessed with strong and dedicated leadership, and an active and engaged membership. That said, it is also an organization facing some urgent challenges, not least the conflict with the American Historical Association over annual meeting policies; the rapidly evolving demographics of the Church, nationally and especially in the South, West and Southwest; and the even more rapidly changing realities of historical research. I think I would bring helpful experience to the Council in all three of these areas.
As the associate director of the National History Center of the AHA from 2011 to 2014, I shared office space with the AHA staff. I developed an understanding of the workings of the organization, the personalities involved, and the sometimes problematic ways in which the association reacts to its own challenges. While my allegiance would of course be to the ACHA, I think this knowledge could be of value as our leadership wrestles with the relationship between the two groups. I would also bring to the Council both a personal and scholarly focus on the American Southwest and the transformation of the Church in that region. I am physically located in Texas, the archive I direct documents the Catholic experience in Texas, and my dissertation, “How the Irish, Germans, and Czechs Became Anglo: Race and Identity in the Texas-Mexico Borderlands,” concerns the ways that many aspects of life, including religion, have changed this region and been changed by it. Finally, as an active member of the Association of Catholic Diocesan Archivists, I am very aware of the ways that technological advances, particularly digitization, are transforming what it means to be a Catholic historian as well as a Catholic archivist. For all these reasons, I believe I would serve the Association well at this juncture and I ask for your support.
Marian J. Barber, PhD
Director, Catholic Archives of Texas