Roundup: Talking About History
This is where we excerpt articles about history that appear in the media. Among the subjects included on this page are: anniversaries of historical events, legacies of presidents, cutting-edge research, and historical disputes.
SOURCE: The Independent (London) (10-20-05)
Since China's State Council designated this year as the year of Red Tourism, an initiative designed to re-kindle faith in the present-day Communist Party (CCP), a booming Shaoshan has become an unlikely must- see on the tourist trail.
Legions of holiday-makers are flocking to the town, eager to learn more about the roots of the man who in his homeland is still regarded as having done more than any other to unify and form contemporary China.
The CCP knows that, now more than ever, faced with a population more interested in the latest mobile phone than political ideology, it needs a hero. And the Chairman fits the bill better than anyone.
China's State Council, therefore, has been trying to persuade...
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Education (10-19-05)
The greatest change in American national politics of the past 60 years has been the transformation of the South from the most solidly Democratic to the most solidly Republican region of the country. In the 1930s and 1940s, Democrats enjoyed a strong advantage in presidential elections because they could count on winning the 127 electoral votes cast by the 11 states of the old Confederacy. Congress was almost always Democratic because Democrats owned all 22 Southern seats in the Senate and all but a couple of the South's 105 seats in the House of Representatives. In other words, the Democrats began every election nearly halfway to the finish line.
Consider how much has changed. In 2004 John F. Kerry ran up a...
SOURCE: USA Today (10-18-05)
The Getty Villa in Malibu, which has undergone a six-year, $275 million renovation, will showcase the museum's collection of more than 40,000 antiquities from classical Greece and Rome. But the top Getty official who led the project, antiquities curator Marion True, won't be there for the opening celebrations in January: She had to resign. Worse, she goes on trial in Italy next month on charges she conspired with European dealers to traffic in looted ancient artworks. She and the Getty deny any wrongdoing.
It's an embarrassing comedown for a mighty institution. The Getty has been the envy of the museum world, with access to billions of dollars in trust accounts, the power to dominate art...
SOURCE: The Courier Mail (Queensland, Australia) (10-18-05)
However, these women paved the way for the flow of Queensland women into the state and federal parliaments in the 1980s and 1990s which, by the new century, had become a torrent.
Irene Longman (Progressive National, 1929-32) was the first woman to stand for, and the first to be elected to, the Queensland Parliament, and 37 years passed before the second woman, Vi Jordan (Labor, 1966-74).
Although Queensland voters had elected a woman (Annabelle Rankin) to the Senate in 1947, before 1989 very few women were elected to the Queensland Parliament.
With the exception of Anne Warner (1983-95), no Labor woman was elected to State Parliament between 1966 and 1989.
Several Coalition women were elected during that time, however, including Vicky Kippin (1974-80) and Rosemary Kyburz...
SOURCE: NY Review of Books (10-20-05)
Most work in the field of Jewish history deals with the almost invariably vast impact of the outside world on the Jews, who are almost invariably a small minority of the population. My concern is with the impact of the Jews on the rest of humanity. And, in particular, with the explosive transformation of this impact in the 19th and 20th centuries: that is to say, since the emancipation and self-emancipation of the Jews began in the late 18th century.
Between their expulsion from Palestine in the first century ad and the 19th century, the Jews lived within the wider society of gentiles, whose languages they adopted as their own and whose cuisine they adapted to their ritual requirements; but only rarely and intermittently were they able and, what is equally to the...
SOURCE: Ottawa Citizen (10-15-05)
"No such thing," I say, hoping it's true.
"Well, these guys," she begins,"they're all dead, right?"
And there it is, the essence, the nub of the quixotic challenge we've laid before the 20 Grade 10 students eyeing me warily in a classroom at St. Mark High School in Manotick.
"They" are indeed all dead -- or all but a handful: all the men and boys who endured the mud and tedium and daily flirtation with death along the trenches that ran like a scar through Belgium and France from 1914 to 1918; all the women and girls in field hospitals tending the men and boys whose endurance, or luck, had run out; all those at...
SOURCE: Foreign Affairs (11-1-05/12-1-05)
Richard Nixon was elected in 1968 on the assumption that he had a plan to end the Vietnam War. He didn't have any such plan, and my job as his first secretary of defense was to remedy that -- quickly. The only stated plan was wording I had suggested for the 1968 Republican platform, saying it was time to de-Americanize the war. Today, nearly 37 years after Nixon took office as president and I left Congress to join his cabinet, getting out of a war is still dicier than getting into one, as President George W. Bush can attest.
There were two things in my office that first...
SOURCE: Financial Times (London) (10-15-05)
Now the culinary historian and museums adviser is courted by top chefs and is a big draw on the international lecture circuit. His historical cookery courses in roasting, baking and ices, held at his Cumbrian farmhouse using his collection of period kitchen appliances, are booked up a year ahead.
I first encountered Day at the Leeds Food Symposium session on food history and baking traditions in northern England. After regaling us with the intricacies...
SOURCE: The Toronto Star (10-16-05)
At 9: 45 a.m., a wall of water six metres high reached the Piazza del Duomo, home to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the city's most distinctive landmark. It forced its way through the bronze and golden doors of the Baptistery, tore off the marble lid of a Roman sarcophagus, and ripped through the cathedral's administrative archives, which date back to the 14th century. In all, some 6,000 volumes documenting the construction of the cathedral were submerged in mud, rendering large parts of them virtually illegible.
But that was then. Today an international team of scholars, aided by sophisticated imaging technology, is attempting to...
SOURCE: The Gazette (Montreal) (10-17-05)
Faced with declining congregations and stuck with parishes on shaky financial ground, the Quebec government is looking for creative ways to preserve what is left of the province's religious heritage and at the same time deal with the overwhelming number of aging buildings that religious denominations themselves can no longer afford to maintain.
Last week, the National Assembly's standing committee on culture under the direction of MNA Bernard Brodeur held two days of public hearings in Montreal.
"Religious movable property and works of art are also in jeopardy," Brodeur said. "It's urgent that we act now to find a long-term solution, because even five or 10 years from now it may be too late."
Of 246 Roman Catholic parishes in the...
SOURCE: USA TODAY (10-12-05)
For Palestinians, 1948 means something very different. It marks the defeat of the Arab armies, the failure of Palestinians to establish their own state and the beginning of exile. It was the year 750,000 Palestinians became refugees in neighboring Arab countries -- the start of a period they call "The Catastrophe," or al-Nakba in Arabic.
The battle lines of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict extend to the classroom, where the two sides' versions of their shared history diverge sharply. Now, two university professors aim to change the way the conflict is taught by exposing Palestinian students to Israeli history lessons and Israeli students to the Palestinian version of history.
The project is the work of Dan Bar-On, a social psychology professor at Ben Gurion University in...
SOURCE: New Straits Times - Computimes (Malaysia) (10-13-05)
Take for example the eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius in Italy in 79AD. The disaster buried the towns of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Stabiae and Torre Annunziata.
For many centuries, the eruption was largely forgotten. But in the late 1600s, an architect called Domenico Fontana discovered the buried ruins at Pompeii.
Today's archaeologists are still hard at work uncovering relics, each of which is telling us lots of interesting things about how people lived 2,000 years ago. Pompeii and the surrounding area has been declared a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) World Heritage Site.
What do we know about events in 79AD? Apart from the physical evidence, there are eyewitness accounts from people who saw Vesuvius explode into action, and stories that were passed...
SOURCE: Los Angeles Times (10-13-05)
To Indians, Kuruvungna is a sacred site; in the Tongva language, the name means "a place where we are in the sun." To the state of California, it is a registered landmark. To most Angelenos, however, it is the campus of University High School in West L.A., and on Sunday, it will be the site of the Gabrielino/Tongva Springs Foundation's 11th annual Life Before Columbus Day Native American Arts and Crafts Festival.
"It's to show the public, 'Hey, we're still here. We never went away,' " says Gabrielino Indian and foundation spokeswoman Angie Behrns...
SOURCE: Denver Post (10-13-05)
The discs, like iron waffles smushed into the street, are spat upon, smeared with street muck and - worst of all - completely ignored.
But downtown Denver's thousand-odd manhole covers - and, more specifically, the few hundred laid by telecommunications companies - are like rare dinosaur bones.
Taken together, they tell the story of a relentless stream of acquisitions, mergers and bankruptcies in America's communications industry that began not long after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876.
Colorado, in particular, was one of the world's centers of the telecom industry in the 1990s until the merger mania and bust of the past five years.
The number of Colorado telecommunications workers fell from 46,862 in 2001 to 32,529 in 2004, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"Manhole covers are about history," said Denver telecommunications...
SOURCE: The Boston Herald (10-13-05)
A simple recitation of the facts does not do justice to the significance of the 8,000-mile round-trip journey of the two soldiers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Their names are woven into the fabric of American history. At the behest of President Jefferson, they led a party of 45, collectively known as the Corps of Discovery, on a journey of exploration into the Pacific Northwest, an area about which little was known other than the fact that it was rich in animal furs and...
SOURCE: The Australian (10-13-05)
T.E.Lawrence, the British colonel whose wartime collaboration with the Arabs against the Turks was immortalised in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, attempted to reward Britain's Arab allies by dividing territory between them.
His sympathy for the cause of Arab self-determination is well known, but the details contained in the map eluded historians because it was filed at Britain's archives under the wrong date.
The map shows his proposals for a state in northern Iraq similar to the one now being demanded by Kurdish separatists, and a large territory uniting what is now Syria, Jordan and parts of Saudi Arabia.
Lawrence, who encouraged the Arabs to rise up against their Turkish rulers, wanted to award territories to the sons of his ally, Sherif Hussein of Mecca. He was thwarted by a secret Anglo-French plan to carve up the Middle East...
SOURCE: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (10-13-05)
Campbell Coxe, a tall, sunburnt farmer, stepped up to the microphone.
"This isn't whiiiite rice," he said, drawing out the "white" with an exaggerated accent. "This is a gourmet rice."
Carolina Gold rice is that, and more. It's a grain with a past gilded in wealth and shadowed by slavery. Once so prevalent in South Carolina that it inspired a cuisine --- as well as innumerable rice poster beds --- Carolina Gold slipped virtually out of existence for much of the last century.
Long-grain white rice is a staple food for much of the world. Carolina Gold, just one variety of thousands of long-grain rices, is a passion. An alliance of rice growers, historians and agricultural...
SOURCE: New Republic (10-12-05)
Some people are hard to imagine as ever having been young. When Henry Adams referred to himself in old age as an "octogenarian rat," it was as if he had finally arrived at the role for which he had rehearsed all his life: the superannuated pest. It pleased him to witness age triumphing over youth, as when he explained in a letter to his niece how the financier Levi P. Morton, a man "hovering in or about the nineties," survived a railroad accident, then
crawled out from the dead bodies through an upper window, got a cab nearby, drove two hours, caught another train, and got to Paris at eleven o'clock, while his daughters were turning over all the corpses on the field to find him. There's some style in that--when your daughters are handsome and named Edith Swansneck or something, and adore kings or dukes. The old man knew better than to be killed, and leave his daughters ten million apiece. No Lear about him!
In an earlier...
SOURCE: Japan Focus (10-12-05)
... More than at any other period in modern times, there now is a real opportunity for Central/Inner Asia to become once again “Central”, as famously discussed by the late world systems theorist Andre Gunder Frank.  He argued that twice in history strong energy outbursts from Central/Inner Asia powerfully reshaped the world. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, of course, there is no military power indigenous to the region that the rest of the world needs to reckon with, but Central/Inner Asia has become a zone of great significance and profound upheaval, not only because of its strategic location in the US-led war in Afghanistan and Iraq, but equally...
SOURCE: American Heritage (10-1-05)
“I hate the Baby Boomers,” writes the former Clinton adviser. “They’re the most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self-aggrandizing generation in American History… .”
Begala, himself a late boomer (1961), would have been six when I went to jail. He worked for the early boomer Bill Clinton (1946), which may help explain his fury. But then Begala is not alone.
When was it agreed that we are the absolute worst? Was a vote taken when I was out sick? What is it about my birth cohort —outside of the size and the...