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: ActiveHistory.ca (3-26-12)
Ian Milligan holds a PhD in Canadian History from York University and currently teaches in the Department of Canadian Studies at Trent University
Online digitized newspapers are great. If you have access (either through a free database or via a personal or library subscription), you can quickly find the information you need: a specific search for a last name might help you find ancestors, a search for a specific event can find historical context for it (i.e. the Christie Pits Riots, or a certain strike), and generally the results are beautiful, render relatively well, and are – crucially – immediate.
In some ways, however, poor and misunderstood use of online newspapers can skew historical research. In a conference presentation or a lecture, it’s not uknown to see the familiar yellow highlighting of found searchwords on projected images: indicative of how the original primary material was obtained....
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (3-26-12)
When my seatmate on a delayed flight turned and casually asked what I did, I braced myself. Over the past 15 years, I have discovered that "historian" ranks high on most people's list of fantasy jobs; their enthusiasm can sometimes be a bit overwhelming.
My seatmate was, as are so many lawyers, a former history major. "And your area of expertise?" he excitedly asked.
"I'm a medical historian. My recent book was on the history of sex education," I replied.
"Wow," he said, "That must be incredibly controversial. You must encounter a lot of taboos and deep, dark secrets."
Well, I have heard countless stories about other people's sex education at birthday parties and Passover Seders, in the gym, and even in the grocery store. But...
SOURCE: Blog for the Society of U.S. Intellectual History (3-26-12)
Ben Alpers is a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma.
As readers of this blog may be aware, I was in Dallas on Saturday where I delivered the keynote address at the 4th annual RAW symposium at the University of Texas at Dallas. Thanks, again to USIH's own L.D. Burnett for inviting to speak on the Future of the Humanities.
Rather than reproduce my entire talk,* I wanted to briefly summarize my main arguments and then re-answer a question from the q&a period, having come to regret the answer I gave at the time (ain't blogging grand!).
I began the talk by suggesting all the hopeful things going on in the humanities these days...and I really think there are many. We're experiencing an explosion of interesting humanistic work beyond the academy. And academic humanities departments are operating in relative internal peace compared to the often nasty...
SOURCE: American Spectator (3-28-12)
Samuel Gregg is Research Director at the Acton Institute. He has authored several books including On Ordered Liberty, his prize-winning The Commercial Society, and Wilhelm Röpke's Political Economy.
SOURCE: American Spectator (3-28-12)
Jonathan Aitken, The American Spectator's High Spirits columnist, is most recently author of John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace (Crossway Books). His biographies include Charles W. Colson: A Life Redeemed (Doubleday) and Nixon: A Life, now available in a new paperback edition (Regnery).
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (3-27-12)
Kenneth O Morgan's books include Callaghan: a Life (1997), Michael Foot: a Life (2007) and Ages of Reform (2011). He is a member of the Labour party and has been a life peer since 2000.
SOURCE: National Review (3-26-12)
Yale Professor Carlos Eire [T. Lawrason Riggs professor of history and religious studies], author of Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy, which won the National Book Award in 2003, wrote this letter and submitted it to the Irish Times in response to plans by the city of Galway to erect a statue honoring Che Guevara. The Times demurred, but it was published in the Galway Advertiser, and Professor Eire has given National Review permission to reprint it on these pages (h/t to the great Cuban human rights blog, Babalú).
As a victim of Che...
SOURCE: Korean Times (3-25-12)
Professor Andrei Lankov was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and now teaches at Kookmin University in Seoul.
SOURCE: WSJ (3-22-12)
Mr. Mingardi is director general of the Istituto Bruno Leoni, a Milan-based free-market think tank.
SOURCE: NYT (3-23-12)
SOURCE: LA Times (3-18-12)
Alec Nevala-Lee is the author of "The Icon Thief," a suspense novel inspired by the work of Marcel Duchamp. He blogs at http://www.nevalalee.com.
One hundred years ago today, on March 18, 1912, two men dressed in black crossed the Seine in Paris to pay a call on their younger brother, an artist who lived alone in his studio on Rue Amiral-de-Joinville. Half a century later, the artist would vividly remember the dark clothes his brothers had worn that day, as if they had come to challenge him to a duel.
The visit, it seems, was brief. Once his brothers had departed, the artist locked up the house and took a taxi by himself to the Quai d'Orsay, where the Salon des Independants was scheduled to begin later that week. Upon his arrival, he retrieved a painting that he had entered into the exhibition, carried it out to the taxi and took it home. And in doing so, he changed the course of art history.
The artist was...
SOURCE: Irish Times (3-19-12)
Paul O’Brien is a writer and critic and the author of Shelley and Revolutionary Ireland (Bookmarks, London)
THE GREAT lyrical poet Percy Bysshe Shelley seems destined to be forever linked to clouds and skylarks – but he was far more than that. Shelley was a republican, an atheist, a feminist, and an egalitarian; he was a poet of the revolution. He was despised when he was alive and patronised when he was safely dead.
For Shelley, born in 1792 in Sussex, the revolutionary upheavals towards the end of the 18th century in France and Ireland were a tradition rather than a personal experience. But he was formed by these events, just as the first generation of Romantics – Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey – were transformed by the reality of those great revolutionary upheavals. Shelley experienced them second-hand through the books of William Godwin and Tom Paine. But his radicalism grew out of a living contact with the brutality of war and imperialism at...
SOURCE: Salon (3-20-12)
Lawrence Douglas is James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought at Amherst College. He covered the Munich trial of John Demjanjuk for Harper’s magazine. His most recent book, "The Vices," was a finalist for the 2011 National Jewish Book Award.
The death of John Demjanjuk in a Bavarian nursing home brings to an end the most convoluted and lengthy case to arise from the crimes of the Holocaust. Demjanjuk’s legal odyssey began in 1977, when American prosecutors filed a motion to strip the Ukrainian-born émigré of his U.S. citizenship. It reached a conclusion of sorts last May, when a German court convicted the 91-year-old defendant of assisting the SS in the murder of 28,060 Jews at Sobibor, a death camp in eastern Poland.
SOURCE: The Atlantic (3-15-12)
Terrence M. McCoy is the Gordon Grey Fellow of International Journalism at Columbia University.
In the 1920s, the lingering specter of World War I and austere German reparations battered Europe's market-based economy, giving rise to class tension and stark inequality. For worn-down workers, socialism and communism started sounding like pretty good ideas. A world revolution -- indeed, the rise of the proletariat -- seemed possible, and the Communist International was stoked.
But the Americans just wouldn't fall into line. The United States had long since passed the United Kingdom as the world's largest industrial power, but hadn't yet plunged into the Great Depression. To members of the U.S. Communist Party, it was a paradox. Why, in the what appeared to be the purest capitalist Western economy wasn't there any desire for egalitarianism? Had Marx been wrong when he wrote socialism would, inexorably and universally, emerge from the ruins of...
SOURCE: WaPo (3-16-12)
John R. McNeill is a professor of history at Georgetown University and a vice president of the American Historical Association.
My 94-year-old father and two of my uncles were among the 16.5 million men and women who served in the American armed forces during World War II. Both uncles, and another who served with the Canadian military in the war, are now dead. I have only snippets of information about their lives in uniform. At my urging, my father recently wrote the story of his life on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1940 to 1946....
Those stories are a form of national treasure. For years, historians, journalists and family members have been collecting letters, diaries, journals and interviews from a few of those 16.5 million. The Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, created by an act of Congress in 2000, has materials of some...
SOURCE: WSJ (3-16-12)
Mr. Zaretsky is teaches at the Honors College, University of Houston, and is author most recently of Albert Camus: Elements of a Life (Cornell, 2010).
SOURCE: openDemocracy (UK) (3-13-12)
Anthony Lock is an academic and freelance journalist based in Sydney. His current research is concerned with the relationship between the sciences and arts, with a particular focus on applying Orwell's work to memetic study.
SOURCE: Financial Times (UK) (3-12-12)
Gideon Rachman is chief foreign-affairs commentator for the Financial Times and author of Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxiety.
SOURCE: Slate (3-13-12)
Jonathan D. Sarna is the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University and chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History. This article is adapted from his new book, When General Grant Expelled the Jews.
On Dec. 17, 1862, as the Civil War entered its second winter, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant issued the most notorious anti-Jewish official order in American history: “The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the department within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order.” Known as General Orders No. 11, the document blamed Jews for the widespread smuggling and...
SOURCE: BBC (3-9-12)
David Cannadine is a British historian, author and professor of history at Princeton University.
In a few days' time, David Cameron will be journeying to Washington to visit Barack Obama, and according to a White House Statement, his visit will "highlight the fundamental importance of the US-UK special relationship and the depth of friendship between the American people and the people of the United Kingdom".
Perhaps it will, and I hope it does, but it's also likely to give rise to at least two challenging questions. Is America's relationship with Britain as special as it used to be? And is it genuinely more special than with any other country?
These matters have been much on my mind of late, because I've recently returned from lecturing at Westminster College, in Fulton, Missouri, where in March 1946, Winston Churchill gave one of his most significant post-war speeches in which he...