Professor of History Carol Lasser has been named president-elect of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR). Established in 1977, SHEAR is an association of approximately 1,000 scholars dedicated to exploring events in United States history between 1776 and 1861. SHEAR’s mission is to encourage the study of the early republican period among historians, students, and the general public, as well as cultivate productive exchanges between scholars at every level of experience.
Lasser has attended SHEAR conferences since 1983, and has served on the Conference Planning Committee, the Advisory Council, and the Editorial Board of SHEAR’s quarterly publication Journal of the Early Republic. She will be inaugurated as president at its next annual meeting in July 2016.
Lasser is passionate about studying the early American republic because of the time period’s sense of possibility. “There were all of these people who were full of optimism, who were thinking creatively about how to move forward in the world, and some of them succeeded. There’s no question there was imperialism, there was racism, there was human enslavement, and there was a lack of human rights—all of those things are true—but there were these people who were beginning to think differently about how you can organize a society for a greater social justice.”
She also looks forward to sharing her excitement about the time period in her new role at SHEAR. “I am excited to be working with an organization that is so committed to making sure the history of the republic is a vibrant part of the conversation—not as a monument to the past, but as something that can really help us understand the kinds of issues the people of the early republic were dealing with, and how those issues inform us today and can help us think more broadly.”
As president, Lasser says she wants to make sure SHEAR continues to attract scholars of differing levels of experience. “Maintaining the participation of younger scholars is always one of the things that we find really important, so we need to continue to find strategies that keep us a vibrant, diverse, and innovative organization.”