This page includes, in addition to news about historians, news about political scientists, economists, law professors, and others who write about history. For a comprehensive list of historians' obituaries, go here.
SOURCE: New Republic (1-26-06)
Genovese argued that antebellum America had developed into two fundamentally different and antagonistic societies, one based on slavery and one on free labor; that the South had given rise to a powerful and self-conscious ruling class of slave-owning planters, who advanced a worldview and a set of politics critical of the capitalist North and intended to defend to the death the social system over which they presided; that the planters commanded the culture, as well as the politics and economy, of the South, achieving leadership over the free majority of non-slaveholders; and that although the slaves found ways of resisting the worst of their enslavement and laying the groundwork of a discrete African American culture, they never fashioned the politics or the sensibility to attack the slaveholders or slavery directly. Indeed, the slaves' embrace of Christianity--the centerpiece of Roll, Jordan, Roll--came to exemplify the contradictory dynamics of their experience and their struggle.
What held these interpretive interventions together, and made them so remarkable and consequential, was Genovese's sophisticated Marxism. Unlike Western Europe and Latin America, where it flourished and enjoyed a considerable following--notably in the work of Albert Soboul, E.P. Thompson, and Andre Gunder Frank--academic Marxism in the United States, especially in the field of history, was, as late as the mid-1960s, a marginal and besieged current, given over mainly to economic determinism and hounded into obscurity by the culture of the Cold War. Genovese was hardly alone in breathing life into it, and the rise of the New Left created a receptive context. But Genovese helped to provide Marxism with an intellectual credibility that it had never before achieved by employing a sophisticated approach to political economy and, especially, by drawing upon the writings of Antonio Gramsci, who focused on questions of cultural and political authority, civil society, and how ruling classes became hegemonic.
Before long, Genovese's work framed many of the debates in Southern history, captured the attention of those well outside the field of Southern history, and compelled historians to take a serious look at Marxism itself. The political irony was that conservative historians often appreciated the seriousness of Genovese's scholarship and the respect that he showed to his scholarly predecessors (even reactionary and racist ones), while budding Marxist and leftist historians grew increasingly critical of Genovese's apparent admiration for the planter class of the South. Many bridled at his almost celebratory treatment of Virginia's pro-slavery ideologue George Fitzhugh, who believed that slavery was the proper status for all poor people regardless of race; and more than a few felt that Roll, Jordan, Roll, his book on "the world the slaves made," was too much about the world the slaveholders made for them.
Neither Genovese's subsequent book on slave rebellions, From Rebellion to Revolution (1978), nor a collection of essays that he published with Elizabeth Fox-Genovese (a French historian turned Southern historian), Fruits of Merchant Capital (1983), nor Fox-Genovese's own book on the women of the plantation South, Within the Plantation Household (1988), did much to allay the suspicions. And in fact, by the late 1980s Genovese and Fox-Genovese seemed well on their journey down a rightward road, criticizing the main professional organizations for submitting to feminism and multiculturalism, drawing close to the Catholic Church, winning honors and patronage from Republican officeholders, and commemorating Southern conservatism and evangelicalism. Genovese even turned up in the pages of Southern Partisan, a neo-Confederate rag, and several of his recent books--The Slaveholders' Dilemma (1994), A Consuming Fire (1998), and The Southern Tradition (1996)--read like apologetics for the old regime and its vestiges. Fox-Genovese's polemical Feminism Without Illusions (1991) read more as a defense of cultural conservatism than as a brief for feminism.
What happened? Had Genovese and Fox-Genovese switched sides? Or was this the logical outcome of their thought, even in its explicitly Marxist phase? The Mind of the Master Class suggests strong, if not dominant, threads of continuity. Indeed, in a variety of ways, the book seems very much a throwback. It is intellectual history of the most traditional sort, embracing as its subjects a largely male, educated elite, and it takes relatively little notice of recent scholarly trends or of scholarship that has been published during the past fifteen to twenty years. It is learned in an almost relentless way, overflowing with footnotes and commentary (perhaps one-third to one-half of its eight hundred-odd pages are taken up with footnotes), and beset with seemingly endless examples on most every point, somewhat in the manner of a French grand thèse. And most interestingly, it feels as if framed by the old Marxist problematic. The Mind of the Master Class is a study in the intellectual and cultural hegemony of slaveholding planters. It reads like a book that Genovese and Fox-Genovese might have written in the 1970s or early 1980s, and, given the time span of its preparation and their refusal to engage with a rapidly changing literature, much of it may well have been written then.
To a considerable extent, this is good news. The Mind of the Master Class is neither tendentious nor dismissive. It does not conjure up alleged villains in the academy so as to swipe at or to demean them. At its best, the book is a fascinating and painstakingly detailed account of how Southern intellectuals took on the world of political and religious ideas between 1820 and 1860. ...
SOURCE: Connection Newspaper (VA) (1-26-06)
What these two towns had in common, said Loewen, was that they were "sundown towns."
Loewen, the author of "Lies My Teacher Told Me" and "Lies Across America," was speaking at the Green Hedges School for Sunday's service of the Northern Virginia Ethical Society, the local branch of a humanistic religious and educational organization called the American Ethical Union. He had come to Vienna to speak about his latest book, "Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of Racism in America."
A sundown town, he explained, was a town where blacks — and often Jews, Asians and other minorities — were not allowed in town after sunset. Most, he said, were bordered by signs reading, "Nigger, don't let the sun set on you in [name of town]."
Loewen said that as he researched towns with such histories, "to my astonishment, I found 472 sundown towns in Illinois alone," and he asserted that there were about 10,000 such towns across the country, "which makes it actually a majority of all towns in the United States outside the South."
Southerners generally did not understand the concept, he said. "In fact, they thought it was crazy: 'Why would you make the maid leave? Why would you make your agricultural labor force leave?' It made no sense to them."
Hence, there have been few sundown towns in Virginia, and most of those were in Appalachia, said Loewen. However, there have been several such towns in Maryland.
He pointed out that the Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, Md., is surrounded on three sides by houses. This, he said, is because the area in which it stands was originally intended as a working-class district. But when public transportation improved, Chevy Chase decided to become a sundown town and let the black labor force come into town by trolley. Working-class housing development was suddenly stopped in town.
SOURCE: Harvard Crimson (1-28-06)
The dean was fired by University President Lawrence H. Summers, according to four people close to the central administration. Kirby’s announcement, between semesters at the College, leaves the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in limbo as the school contends with a growing budget deficit and a curricular review beset by criticism and delays.
The firing also underscores the ongoing tension between Summers and members of the Faculty, who approved an unprecedented no-confidence motion in the president last spring.
“The events of the past year have posed serious challenges,” Kirby wrote in a letter to the Faculty. “Yet we have continued to focus on the essential business before us. As we look to the future, it will be important for the President and the Dean to work closely together, in collaboration with the Faculty, toward our common objectives.”
Summers planned to fire Kirby last year, but the plan was put on hold amid the Faculty uproar over the president’s own leadership, according to two individuals who discussed Kirby’s status this month with a member of the Harvard Corporation, the University’s top governing board. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the University’s employment decisions are considered private.
In a letter to the Harvard community on Friday night, Summers praised Kirby for guiding the Faculty “through what has been a not-uncomplicated time in the life of the University.”
The president wrote that Kirby, a scholar of Chinese history and culture, will become director of Harvard’s Fairbank Center for East Asian Research this summer. The search for Kirby’s replacement as dean will begin immediately, Summers wrote.
As the city of New Orleans and Tulane University recover from the largest natural disaster in U.S. history, the gift enhances The Latin American Library’s historically preeminent role in the acquisition and preservation of documentation from and about Latin America and making them accessible locally, nationally and to the international academic community. The establishment of the Richard E. Greenleaf Fund and Fellowship continues this tradition by strengthening the ties between the library and the international scholarly community and ensuring the continuation of this legacy for future generations.
Until his retirement in 1998, Dr. Greenleaf served as the France Vinton Scholes Professor of Colonial Latin American History, and as the Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University. He also served as Chair of the Department of History. Dr. Greenleaf grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and took his Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees at the University of New Mexico, where he studied under the dean of Inquisition scholars, France V. Scholes. Dr. Greenleaf's doctoral dissertation, "Zumárraga and the Mexican Inquisition 1536-1543," served as the basis for his many excellent publications on the history of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Latin America.
Dr. Greenleaf has authored eleven major scholarly books, served as co-author of, or contributor to seventeen others, and published almost four dozen articles in the field of Latin American and New Mexico history. He has been the recipient of many distinguished awards, among them the Silver Medal, the Sahagún Prize (Mexican National History Award), and the Serra Award of the Academy of American Franciscan History for Distinguished Scholarship in Colonial Latin American History. In his long and distinguished teaching career in New Mexico, Mexico City and New Orleans, Dr. Greenleaf has served as mentor to 34 doctoral students at Tulane, and countless masters and undergraduate students.
The Latin American Library at Tulane University is among the world's foremost collections of research materials from and about the region. Established in 1924 by the predecessor of Tulane’s Middle American Research Institute, the collection is comprised of more than 420,000 volumes and is one of the most comprehensive of its kind. In addition to unique holdings of rare books, manuscripts, and a photographic archive with some of the earliest examples of photography in the region, The Latin American Library's special collections include original Mesoamerican codices dating from the sixteenth century and beyond, historic newspapers, 4,000 maps and broadsides, over 2,000 rubbings of Mayan stellae by Merle Greene Robertson, and unique designs by William Spratling and other representatives of the Taxco silver renaissance in the early twentieth century.
SOURCE: EJP (1-25-06)
EJP: Over 400 historians have signed a petition demanding the removal of four “historical laws”. One of these texts, voted on February 2005, includes a controversial article on the “positive aspect of colonialism”, but the other three prohibit genocide denial and discrimination. Why would historians want these anti-revisionist laws to disappear?
Yves Ternon (YT): They are putting together three essential laws and a fourth one which is completely incoherent. I think their initiative is wrong and that’s why I’ve signed a second petition denouncing it. Before I explain their motives let’s go over the laws we’re talking about.
The most recent law of the three is the Taubira law* on slavery. It asks school teachers to mention the slave trade in their programmes. However, the law only asks them to teach about slavery after the 15th century, even though it existed before that period. I think this limitation in time is neither justified nor normal. There shouldn’t be a distinction in periods. All of the slavery phenomenon ought to be studied.
The second law concerns the Armenian genocide. It simply says that France recognises the genocide. The law involves no sanctions against revisionists.
Finally, the Gayssot law prohibits discrimination and revisionism. It can lead to sanctions. Genocide denial can also be penalised by a prior legislation, article 1882 from the Penal code, which sanctions those who offend victims.
All three laws are essential. There is no reason to examine their removal.
The fourth law, from February 2005, is very different. It asks teachers to talk about the “positive aspect” of colonialism. I think this law makes no sense and is incoherent. It does not justify the removal of the three other laws.
EJP: Why do you think these respected historians made their request?
YT: They consider that only they are entitled to give their opinion on history. There is arrogance on the behalf of university professors who consider they belong to a different cast and that politicians and legislators can’t express themselves on these matters. They claim that these laws are interfering with their research, but that’s wrong. No historian has ever been penalised by these three laws. No historian has ever been threatened in his research work.
Some historians are just settling scores with legislators who dared to intervene in the past on historic issues. They have been marked by the Bernard Lewis affair.
Mr. Lewis was condemned by a civil court because he denied the murder of Armenians was a genocide. The penal code article that sanctions those who offend victims made it possible to condemn him.
EJP: If prior laws enable to penalise revisionists, what is the use of the three laws that you are defending?
YT: They are useful and have a great significance for various communities. The Gayssot law against revisionism and racist acts was voted in 1990 after the Jewish cemetery of Carpentras was vandalised. The law made it easier to penalise the perpetrators of racist acts and revisionists.
The law recognising the Armenian genocide is a part of a wider initiative launched by the Armenian community across the world. Its aim is to fight Turkish revisionism. The Taubira law was essential for the Caribbean community who insisted on the importance of teaching about slavery in school…
EJP: This protest is getting public attention, but is it really an important movement?
YT: Yes, this movement is very significant among historians. The 19 historians who launched the petition represent hundreds of others. But others disagree. The second petition which denounces the first was approved by historians who specialise in genocide studies.
There is a friction between those who do research on crimes against humanity and other historians. Genocide studies are profoundly affected by revisionism, which can be considered as a virus in research on mass crimes. It should be considered as a legal offence.
EJP: Will this protest made by prestigious historians have an effect on the current legislation?
YT: I don’t think so. This protest won’t get the results it’s seeking. Maybe the laws will be reformulated but they won’t be annulled. These texts are not well formulated and can be improved. But they won’t disappear. Their main quality is their mere existence. I don’t think the legislators will fold to the historians’ demands. They failed to do so in previous cases. They only obtained criticism.
EJP: On the one hand there are those who say these laws are excessive and on the other there are some controversial, some say anti-Semitic, figures like the comic Dieudonne that accuse France of over-commemorating the Holocaust. Do you think that numerous commemorations encourage anti-Semitism in certain communities?
YT: You could always imagine such schemes. But if you consider the Armenian community there is absolutely no such reaction. On the contrary, the Armenian and the Jewish communities see eye to eye in the memorial policies. The same thing can be said about the Rwandan community that is very close to the two others. There is no hostility between the three communities.
We have seen more recently exaggerations and exuberance that resulted from comparisons between the Shoah and much older events such as the massacres in the region of Vendee, or Napoleon’s crimes, mainly slavery. There is a certain unease that must be addressed and explained. You can’t deny that such excessive ideas can lead to anti-Semitism.
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Education (1-26-06)
In August 2004, Mr. Ramadan, an influential professor of Islamic studies and philosophy whose home is in Geneva, Switzerland, was informed that the United States had revoked his visa, a step that prevented him from taking a tenured teaching position at the University of Notre Dame (The Chronicle, September 10, 2004).
Neither he nor Notre Dame was given an explanation. But a representative of the Department of Homeland Security said at the time the visa had been withdrawn on the basis of a provision of the Patriot Act that allows the government to deny a visa to anyone whom the government believes "endorses or espouses terrorist activity" or "persuades others" to do so.
In its complaint, filed in the federal district court in Manhattan, the ACLU said the government is using the provision broadly to deny entry to people whose political views it disfavors. "The government's use of the statute to exclude Professor Ramadan is illustrative of the statute's malleability and reach," the complaint states.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of the American Academy of Religion, the American Association of University Professors, and the PEN American Center, and it also names Mr. Ramadan as a plaintiff. After his United States visa was revoked, Mr. Ramadan accepted a position as a visiting fellow at St. Antony's College of the University of Oxford.
"This concerns us directly," said Barbara DeConcini, executive director of the American Academy of Religion. "We had invited Professor Ramadan to give a plenary talk at our annual meeting," in November 2004, which he was unable to attend. The group has again invited him to its annual conference, scheduled for next November. ...
SOURCE: NYT (1-24-06)
Her death was confirmed by Pamela Green, her successor as executive director of the Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant History.
The story of Weeksville's discovery and preservation sounds like a fairy tale with Ms. Maynard as its guardian angel. The settlement began in the 1830's when escaped slaves and free blacks bought property there. It quickly became a thriving community with schools, churches, an orphanage and one of the nation's first black newspapers, The Freedman's Torchlight.
Among the 19th-century residents of Weeksville was Susan McKinney Steward, who in 1870 became the first female African-American physician in New York State.
But by 1968, few remembered Weeksville, much less where it had been. A historian leading a workshop at Pratt Institute, James Hurley, had seen references to the community in archives, but in many walks he had found no sign of it.
Then, Joe Haynes, a volunteer pilot, took Mr. Hurley up in his plane to make an aerial photograph. It showed four wood-frame cottages hidden in an alley once called Hunterfly Road.
The same year, Ms. Maynard became a founding member of the Weeksville Society and served as president from 1972 until 1974, when she became executive director.
In 1969, college students and students from a nearby public school did an archaeological dig nearby and found artifacts that included a slave's shackles. The following year, a busload of schoolchildren, accompanied by experts, went to the city Landmarks Preservation Commission to ask that Weeksville be given landmark status.
SOURCE: NYT (1-23-06)
Participants in the meeting say Mr. Bush spoke glowingly of the book, a 10-year project by Jung Chang, the author of the hugely successful memoir "Wild Swans," and her husband, Jon Halliday, a British historian. "Mao" has been at the top of best-seller lists in Britain and Germany, and was published to mixed reviews late last year in the United States.
The book might at first seem an odd choice for Mr. Bush, whose taste in biography, like that of other American presidents, runs to previous occupants of the Oval Office. But it is not so surprising given that "Mao: The Unknown Story" has been embraced by the right as a searing indictment of Communism.
Other reviewers have praised the book's brutal portrait of Mao as a corrective to sunnier biographies, even as they have questioned some of its prodigious research and accused the authors of a moralistic, good-and-evil version of history. Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, said last week that Laura Bush gave the book to her husband as a gift, and that the president had just finished reading it.
Asked why Mr. Bush liked the book, Mr. McClellan said he would find out, then reported back on Friday that Mr. Bush had told him that "Mao" "really shows how brutal a tyrant he was" and that "he was much more brutal than people assumed."
Mr. Bush also said, Mr. McClellan recounted, that "millions upon millions were killed because of his policies." On that score, the book is both sweeping and specific, with a first chapter that begins with this sentence: "Mao Zedong, who for decades held absolute power over the lives of one-quarter of the world's population, was responsible for well over 70 million deaths in peacetime, more than any other 20th-century leader."
Ms. Chang and Mr. Halliday said in a telephone interview from Paris on Friday, during a long weekend away from their home in London, that they were "thrilled" that Mr. Bush had read the book. Ms. Chang, whose "Wild Swans," about her family's oppression under Mao, sold 10 million copies worldwide, said she surmised that Mr. Bush was drawn to the book because "it's a very dramatic story about a roller-coaster life." She also said that since Mr. Bush was dealing with the current Chinese leadership, "it's not surprising that he should want to know from what roots this regime has grown."...
(Over the past year Mr. Bush's reading has also included, Mr. McClellan said, "Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women," by Geraldine Brooks; "When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt After the White House," by Patricia O'Toole; and "1776," by David McCullough.)
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Education Forum: 'Becoming' a Nazi to study Nazis? (1-24-06)
SOURCE: CBC News (1-23-06)
David Weale said he made the offer because the class is too big and some students aren't interested in being there.
About 20 students, out of a class of about 100, accepted the guaranteed 70 per cent mark to drop out of the class.
Weale is a retired professor who came back to the university as a sessional lecturer. The course is in the history of Christianity.
Faculty association president Wayne Peters said such a scheme would not be tolerated at any university in the country.
"I was stunned. I couldn't believe that one member of the faculty association could take such an approach. Such a practice is not acceptable. It certainly is not reflective of the faculty and teachers at UPEI."
Peters said Weale's approach calls into question the integrity of the university and its faculty.
The university administration says it has told Weale to reverse his offer immediately and to make sure it never happens again.
SOURCE: AP--Washington Times (1-23-06)
Far from it.
Mr. Branch, in his third and final volume of a narrative history of the civil rights movement, titled "At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years 1965-68," argues that King deserves to stand alongside Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln as among the most important and transformative figures in American history.
"It was against my own instincts, frankly. That's not where I started off. I thought of him as a religious figure or a racial figure," Mr. Branch said in an interview at his Baltimore home.
"The Founding Fathers confronted systems of hierarchy and subjugation in the British monarchy ... and they developed a political approach to help convert that into a common citizenship in the Constitution and a whole new horizontal system of politics based on the vote," Mr. Branch said. "King did the same thing. Because he was so focused on the catalytic role of democracy and democratizing politics, he set in motion things that democratized America far beyond race."
Among those changes: Equal rights for women, economic growth in the South and an influx of legal immigrants from around the globe.
For Mr. Branch, 59, who is white, the journey to reaching such sweeping conclusions about King's legacy began inconspicuously. He was born in Atlanta, and in his middle-class upbringing, he "was taught to be polite and to bemoan segregation but to leave it alone."
A few events jarred him from such complacency. He was 16 when, in 1963, he saw footage of police in Birmingham, Ala., using dogs and fire hoses on girls as young as 8, and hauling them to jail for protesting segregation.
"I was spellbound by it," Mr. Branch said. "I went to my parents and said, 'How can this be?'?"
That question dogged Mr. Branch as he switched his major at the University of North Carolina from pre-med to political science and history, protested the war in Vietnam, and enrolled in a master's program at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
In the summer of 1969, he took a job registering black voters in rural Georgia. Mr. Branch kept a diary of his experiences, excerpts of which were later published in Washington Monthly magazine. The revelations of that trip were what first sparked the idea of a narrative history.
"I formulated this theory that in race relations, when you're across gaps, when you're uncomfortable, that you really learn by personal experience, not by ideas and abstractions," he said....
SOURCE: Daniel Pipes in the NY Sun (1-24-06)
Asked if he was queasy about bin Laden's urging listeners to read his book, Blum replied: "I'm not repulsed, and I'm not going to pretend I am." Quite the contrary, he said: "I'm glad. … It's good publicity for my book." And, indeed, it was: Thanks to bin Laden's promotion, Rogue State ascended from 205,763 to 26 on Amazon.com's ranking of most-ordered books.
Blum explained his response by saying he found bin Laden no worse than the U.S. government: "I would not say that bin Laden has been any less moral than Washington has been." He even refused to distance himself from bin Laden's views: "If he shares with me a deep dislike for certain aspects of U.S. foreign policy, then I'm not going to spurn any endorsement of the book by him. I think it's good that he shares those views."
Blum describes his life mission as "slowing down the American Empire, … injuring the beast." Not surprisingly, Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone, Gore Vidal, and their ilk have lavished praise on his work.
What attracted bin Laden to Blum? This passage (which actually comes from another of Blum's books, titled Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire): "If I were the [U.S.] president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize—very publicly and very sincerely—to all the widows and orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism."
Until his sudden catapult into the public eye, Blum, 72, had lived the quiet life of a second-string America-hater. The child of Polish Jewish immigrants, he grew up in Brooklyn, studied accounting in college, and, as an anti-communist with aspirations to become a foreign service officer, he went to work at a computer-related position in the U.S. Department of State in the mid-1960s. The Vietnam War radicalized him and he resigned from State in 1967 to pursue a career of far-left advocacy and sabotage (he claims to have revealed the names and addresses of over two hundred CIA operatives). For nearly forty years, Blum has written op-eds after articles after books pursuing his hobbyhorse to prove the alleged evil of the U.S. government officials, whom he has compared to "chainsaw baby killers."
He goes so far as to state the existence of an American-sponsored "holocaust" since 1945 that has caused the death of a few million people and condemned many more millions to "lives of misery and torture." David Horowitz, a foremost analyst of the left, sums up this line of thought in his excellent study, Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left (Regnery): for Blum, "America is worse than Nazi Germany." Horowitz also notes that "there is no discernible difference" between Blum's view of the U.S. role in the Cold War and the crudest Communist caricature manufactured in the Kremlin.
Although Blum was childishly delighted by his sudden celebrity and riches, his comrades on the far left reacted more warily to bin Laden's endorsement, aware how it reveals that, as Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media puts it, "bin Laden is counting on a [leftist] fifth column in the U.S. to undermine the war on terrorism and hand him a victory on the battlefield."
Such exposure so worries some on the far left that they have gone so far as to portray the bin Laden audiotape to be "an obvious fake" concocted by neo-conservatives in the U.S. government. But elaborate conspiracy theories cannot undo the fact that the Islamist-leftist alliance, burgeoning for years, has now reached the point that the far left constitutes Al-Qaeda's new mujahideen.
After having failed to mount a massive terrorist operation in the United States in over four years, bin Laden's early but very public Valentine to the far left suggests that he sees it as a critical ally. And he is entirely correct to do so.
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (1-23-06)
As darkness descends upon the thick walls of Vienna's ancient Josefstadt courthouse, the adjacent prison compound comes to life. Shouts and cries echo across the inner courtyard as the inmates talk to each other in a plethora of languages. The elderly Englishman in Block C looks up briefly from the stack of papers that is lying on the small wooden table in front of him and listens before he resumes his writing.
'I'm writing my memoirs - about 20 pages each day,' David Irving tells me the next morning when I visit him in the Viennese prison that has been his home since the Austrian police arrested him in November last year on charges of denying the Holocaust.
I had been sitting in a squalid little waiting room for an hour together with large families arguing with each other and teenage mothers pushing prams around. One of their relatives is behind bars for threatening to kill his wife, another has been arrested for drug offences. 'If only all the inmates were as well behaved as he is,' a prison guard sighed when I asked him about Irving. No, I think, as my number comes up and I enter the high security meeting room, you wouldn't normally expect an historian and writer among the thieves, pimps and drug dealers held here.
But there he is, sitting behind a thick pane of bulletproof glass, smartly dressed in a dark blue suit and tie, telephone in hand. 'It's nonsense to put someone in prison for his views,' he says in impeccable, accent-free German. 'It's like having a law that prohibits wearing yellow collars.'
Irving is referring to Austria's Verbotsgesetz, a constitutional law dating back to 1945 which not only bans National Socialist or neo-Nazi organisations but makes incitement to neo-Nazi activity and the glorification or praise of National Socialist ideology illegal. It also prohibits public denial, belittlement, approval, or justification of National Socialist crimes, including the Holocaust. While other countries such as Germany and Poland have anti-Nazi laws too, Austria's Verbotsgesetz is particularly strict, carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years. With an average of 25 convictions each year, it is also enforced vigorously by the judiciary.
In 1989 the Austrian public prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Irving, who had claimed during lectures in Vienna and Leoben that the 'gas chambers in Auschwitz never existed'. Austria's then Federal Chancellor Franz Vranitzky publicly warned the British historian that 'if he should ever turn up here again, he'll be locked up immediately'.
When I ask Irving why he still accepted the invitation to speak before a right-wing Viennese student fraternity, he feigns surprise. He has been to Austria twice since 1989, he says, to visit Goebbels's ex-lover, Lída Baarová, and there were never any problems. 'Helsinki Sanomat ran an article on it with pictures. You can look it up there,' Irving adds, ever fond of citing obscure sources to bolster his claims.
They treat him well in prison, but, Irving confides, he lacks money and equipment: 'Thank God someone sent me some ink.' Then again, when he doesn't show himself off as an innocent victim pursued by the powerful forces of what he calls the 'enemies of truth', Irving likes to show off his wealth. He may have had to sell his spacious Mayfair townhouse after losing the case against Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin in 2000, but now, he boasts, he has something even better. 'We just moved into a enormous luxury flat near Downing Street. I did that deliberately in order to provoke.' Irving, it becomes abundantly clear, hates Blair, New Labour, and the multi-coloured society of today's Britain.
'My little daughter,' he adds with a sheepish grin, 'of course thinks it's cool that daddy is in prison'; and somehow one cannot help feeling that daddy himself relishes having another big fight on his hands. Irving loves to cast himself as an innocent maverick single-handedly taking on powerful governments, the mighty press and influential lobby organisations. He signed 60 blank cheques before leaving London, and packed six shirts for what was supposed to be a two-day trip.
'The boy scouts, you know,' he says, solemnly. 'Always be prepared, that's my motto.' It is as if his lifelong 'revisionist' mission has been nothing but a Boys' Own-style adventure for an eccentric who never quite grew up. In fact, Irving once praised his fellow revisionists as 'staunch and unflinching soldiers in what our brave comrade [fellow revisionist historian] Robert Faurisson has called "this great adventure".'
Why did he risk going on a journey that he knew might get him into trouble? 'I'm from a family of officers, and I'm an Englishman. We march toward the gunfire,' he snarls into the receiver. Now that he is doing his rounds in a prison yard, however, he finds that he didn't pack the right marching equipment. 'I have very expensive shoes,' he sighs, 'but they are coming apart from walking outside in the yard.'
On 20 February, the day of his trial, Irving tells me, he will wear his blue pinstripe suit. It's the same £2,700 suit tailored at Savile Row for his London trial six years ago, the costume he uses when he plays his other stock role, that of the serious historian and successful businessman, for whom travel bans and anti-Nazi laws are nothing but an infringement of free trade and competition.
'I'm only responsible for my books,' Irving exclaims. 'But I even found a copy of my Hitler biography here in the prison library.' It is a classic Irving manoeuvre. He is a master conjurer of red herrings. By pointing to an apparent inconsistency in the authorities' behaviour, he elegantly glosses over the question of whether he isn't also responsible for the things he says in seedy backrooms and provincial diners. The trouble with him is that, often, three out of four things he says are right. There are few others as adept as Irving at harvesting lies from seeds of truth. The prison library did stock one of his books, the governor tells me later, but it is the one on the Hungarian uprising.
'They burnt my books,' Irving sighs. He knows only too well that book burning is taboo and swiftly slips into the victim's role. When I remind him that some of his books were pulped by the publishers because of legal actions, which isn't quite the same as 'burning books', Irving swiftly moves on to another topic. After all, he has never been reluctant himself to drag his critics to court. He admits that if he is not released in February, things will get difficult for him. But then he feels he's not alone. 'I have received many letters of support already,' Irving claims, proudly.
In the afternoon, I meet his lawyer, Elmar Kresbach, who produces a bundle of letters from his briefcase. Kresbach, a smartly dressed, formidable barrister who normally represents murderers and Mafia members, shakes his head at the incoherent and confused hate mail that has clogged his letterbox since he took over Irving's mandate. 'He doesn't understand that himself,' Kresbach says of his client. 'I think he is becoming fed up with these nutty people, too.' Kresbach maintains that his British client cannot be expected to be familiar enough with the Austrian political scene to know where the groups and societies that invited him stand politically. Irving himself claims to be ignorant of the extreme right-wing ideology of his hosts.
It is a claim that is hard to believe when you visit Willi Lasek in the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance. A balding and softly spoken middle-aged man, the archivist looks every inch the opposite of the bullish Irving as he sits behind his desk in an office crammed to the ceiling with files. And Lasek, unlike Irving, is extraordinarily cautious with his statements. 'I cannot tell you whether Irving actively denied the holocaust recently,' he says as he picks up two bulging files labelled "David Irving" from the shelf, 'but this will show you that his contacts to the Austrian and German neo-Nazi scene go back all the way to the early 1980s.' The boxes reveal a stack of yellowed flyers announcing a 1984 Irving lecture, in which 'the courageous taboo-breaker of history' would reveal 'sensational secrets' about the Third Reich. At the bottom of the page there is a rallying call for 'solidarity with Rudolf Hess', Hitler's one-time deputy.
In 1984, Irving had been invited to Austria by the convicted right-wing extremist Norbert Burger, an honoured alumnus of the Olympia student fraternity, the same society that Irving was supposed to address last year. But then as now, his lecture never took place. As Irving tried to give a press conference in Vienna's Cafe Landtmann, he was arrested and thrown out of the country. 'This gentleman is not welcome here,' a police spokesman told the public. Irving successfully appealed against the decision, but when he returned to Austria in 1989 for a lecture series, his notoriety was already such that all but two of the talks had to be cancelled because of -public protests.
At around that time, Irving notoriously asked why it never occurred to Jews 'to look into the mirror and say, why am I disliked?' Did he ever look into the mirror, I inquire, and ask himself the same question? 'I know what I'd have to do in order to be liked again,' he replies with a grim look, 'but they're not going to get it.' Irving is as obsessed with detail as he is with being right. Then again, he sometimes throws all pretence of being a serious scholar away for a publicity stunt.
Has the German dictator become a surrogate father figure for Irving, who grew up without his father? 'I wouldn't go that far,' Irving answers warily. But what does he make of Hitler? 'He's like the curate's egg - good in parts,' comes the somewhat quaint reply. 'I'm not right-wing, you see,' he continues. 'I do enjoy reading The Guardian.'
Perhaps what some of Irving's critics have claimed is true after all: that the man has no real convictions and no consistent ideological programme. Robert Jan van Pelt, who was a witness in the London trial, thinks Irving is a hysteric. 'He is a fairly good speaker,' van Pelt explains over the phone, 'but he gets all the energy from his audience, and then he says what they want to hear.' And over the past years, van Pelt adds, Irving's company consisted only of right-wing extremists and Holocaust-deniers.
I ask Irving about his spectacular U-turn on the Hitler Diaries in 1983, when, after first denouncing them as fakes, he changed his mind and endorsed them as genuine in a Sunday Times article a fortnight later. 'It was just a joke. It was entertainment. All that had nothing to do with historiography,' Irving grins. 'It's not important who wins, but how you play.'
It comes as no surprise that Irving's view of history is totally devoid of moral considerations. He is too amoral to even comprehend that his statements about the Holocaust may hurt survivors. His view of history is not unlike that of the National Socialists. History, like nature, is red in tooth and claw. The stronger win, and it is only the strong that Irving reserves his admiration for. Someone like 'Bomber' Harris. With his first book, the young David Irving drew attention to the horrors of the Allies' bombing of Dresden in 1945. Yet he admires Sir Arthur Harris as a 'great man'. 'I'm referring to him as a commander, like Dönitz,' Irving exclaims. 'If you can send 20,000 young men to their deaths each day, then you are a great commander.' Small wonder that Irving admires Hitler too.
Suddenly, it all begins to make sense: The Third Reich as a vast playground, his fellow 'revisionists' as brothers in arms and enough material for a host of adventure novels like the ones Irving enjoyed as a child back in the Essex of the Forties. A time when England wasn't a multicultural society yet, the Empire still existed and a small boy listened with dreamy eyes to the stories about his uncle who served in the Bengal Lancers.
Irving misses the Empire and the lost sense of security offered by a society in which everyone knew their place. He is 'naturally, a monarchist' and thinks that the Austrians are 'simply jealous of our monarchy'.
What about your outrageous statements, I ask, like the one about more people having died on the back seat of Ted Kennedy's car than in the gas chambers at Auschwitz? Doesn't he think that's deeply offensive? 'It's the English way, and it's not always polite.' Irving likes such tasteless jokes; he finds nothing wrong with making fun of Holocaust survivors and dressing it up as prankish humour. His desire to cause outrage seems rooted in the sort of reckless arrogance you find in some public school boys who think the world belongs to them. It may not be a coincidence that he hails from a country where jokes about the 'Führer' are still beloved by the tabloid press and where what passes for polite society enjoys cracking jokes about Hitler. There is no doubt that Irving has as many critics in Britain as elsewhere, but he also thrives on the tolerance of the liberal majority in Britain, who tolerate the most tasteless of statements in the name of free speech.
Since Irving's arrest, Austria, too, has witnessed a new debate on Holocaust denial and free speech. The sociologist Christian Fleck, Lord Dahrendorf and others have spoken up against criminalising opinions even if they are as vile as those of David Irving. Even Deborah Lipstadt has suggested that Irving should be let go. 'If you had said to me a couple of months ago that I would be asking for David Irving's release,' she says, 'I would have said you are crazy.' But Lipstadt doesn't want to be on the side of censorship, she says, and she doesn't want Irving to become a martyr to free speech.
The smartly-dressed prisoner behind the thick glass couldn't agree more. 'I would be less hopeful about the outcome of my trial if I didn't know that every intellectual in the world is on my side,' Irving exclaims triumphantly.' In an instant, Irving has changed his costume again and now enters the stage as the reckless gambler who, by deliberately risking his arrest in Austria, has confounded his critics. They now find themselves in the uncomfortable position of appealing for the release of the man whose views they detest. It's a high but perhaps necessary price to pay. Let Irving talk, and he will unravel himself. Perhaps his last costume will be that of the court jester.
SOURCE: Christopher Reed in the Guardian (1-20-06)
Eventually he realised he had seen the same formations on film, and more than once. One rock he noticed was in Gene Autry's cowboy classic Boots and Saddles (1937); it also marked the spot where the chase began in How the West Was Won (1962). So began Holland's chronicling of the place that provided more locations for Hollywood than anywhere else.
His search turned into the annual Lone Pine film festival, held in the small town that served as a movie-making centre for such stars as John Wayne, Virginia Mayo, Gary Cooper, Audie Murphy, Susan Hayward, Robert Mitchum, Randolph Scott and Roy Rogers....
Holland, author of From Out of the Past: A Pictorial History of the Lone Ranger (1989), combined his research in a 1990 illustrated guide, On Location in Lone Pine. His success in persuading stars to visit his festival came from his former Hollywood career, as a reporter, drama critic and editor of the Valley Times of LA. He later worked as a press agent and film production manager.
Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, Holland grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, moving to LA in 1958 after two years at Auburn University, Alabama, and time in the navy as a photographer's mate. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Holly, and their son and daughter.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-20-06)
Grierson's teaching career was that of a general historian of medieval Europe, in particular the Carolingian Empire, though it was as a numismatist and expert on medieval coinage that he was most renowned. He held chairs in the subject at Cambridge and at Brussels University. In addition he served as honorary Keeper of Coins at the Fitzwilliam Museum and adviser in numismatics at the Dumbarton Oaks Center of Byzantine Studies in Washington. Over his lifetime, Grierson built up a collection of some 20,000 medieval coins, which he bought out of his salary as an academic. He bequeathed the entire collection, thought to be worth between pounds 5 and pounds 10 million, along with his specialist library, to the Fitzwilliam Museum.
Other numismatists have equalled Grierson's technical expertise, but no one has shown equal mastery of the monetary, economic, historical and technical aspects of coins and coinage, a combination which enabled him to shed light on many a knotty historical problem.
In 1960 he published an article in the Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient entitled The monetary reforms of Abd Al-Malik: their metrological basis and their financial repercussions, which overturned prevailing theories that the shift from gold to silver coinage in 9th century Europe had been caused by the depredations of Islam. Grierson showed that the Caliph's reforms caused a shift in the relative values of gold and silver at the turn of the 7th and 8th centuries, leading to a flight of silver to the West and gold to the East.
The main centre of Grierson's work as a numismatist lay in the coinage of Byzantium and the West and its historical context from the 4th to the 15th centuries, though he ranged further afield into Roman coinage and counterfeiting. Metrology and metallurgical analysis was fundamental to his achievement. His papers on the nature of commerce in the Dark Ages and the social function of money in early Anglo-Saxon England set researchers on new paths, and he opened up new fields of enquiry in his study of the effects of fresh supplies of bullion on European coinage and economy in the 15th and 16th centuries.
SOURCE: Wa Po (1-21-06)
Blum, who at 72 is accustomed to laboring in relative left-wing obscurity, checked his emotions and pronounced himself shocked and, well, pleased.
"This is almost as good as being an Oprah book," he said yesterday between telephone calls from the world media and bites of a bagel. "I'm glad." Overnight, his 2000 work, "Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower," had become an Osama book.
In gray slacks, plaid shirt and black slippers, Blum padded around his one-bedroom apartment on Connecticut Avenue. A portrait of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the '50s hung on his kitchen wall. Bookshelves bowed under the weight of secret histories of the CIA. The cord on his prehistoric phone let him roam across the living room. He'd already done CNN and MSNBC. A guy from the New York Post knocked on the door to take pictures. The BBC rang, then Reuters and Pacifica Radio stations on both coasts.
From Blum's end of the conversations, you could tell the reporters were expecting him to express some kind of discomfort, remorse, maybe even shame. Blum refused to acknowledge feelings he did not have.
"I was not turned off by such an endorsement," he informed a New York radio station. "I'm not repulsed, and I'm not going to pretend I am." He patiently reiterated the thesis of his foreign-policy critique -- that American interventions abroad create enemies.
You could almost hear the ticking of a stopwatch. These were Blum's 15 American minutes, brought to him by a murderous zealot on the other side of the world who had named him to a kind of Terrorists Book-of-the-Month Club. The CIA duly verified the audiotape from bin Laden, and there it was: Blum had a bona fide book blurb from the evil one.
Now it was time for the soft-spoken, bespectacled radical son of Brooklyn to look thoughtful for the cameras -- "I don't have a good smile" -- and sound pithy for the microphones. Better known in radical circles and on the college lecture circuit than he is among most readers of American history, Blum is a former underground journalist who specializes in sharp critiques of foreign policy. Published by a small outfit in Maine, he also sells his books over the Internet and issues a free monthly e-mail newsletter called the Anti-Empire Report.
What bin Laden said was this, as translated from Arabic by the Associated Press:
"And if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book 'Rogue State,' which states in its introduction: 'If I were president, I would stop the attacks on the United States: First, I would give an apology to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured. Then I would announce that American interference in the nations of the world has ended once and for all.' "
By last night, "Rogue State" shot up from 205,763 to 26 on Amazon.com's index of the most-ordered books.
SOURCE: Judy Stoffman in the Toronto Star (1-21-06)
Her fourth book of history, Court Lady and Country Wife: Two Noble Sisters in Seventeenth-Century England, has recently been published by Harper Collins in Canada, Morrow in the U.S., and Wiley in the U.K. to good reviews. British biographer Jane Dunn, author of Elizabeth & Mary, called it "popular history at its best."
Two more books she is not ready to talk about are in the works.
Betcherman, 78, owns one of the best minds in Toronto, along with admirably disciplined work habits. Though she's kept a low profile, she has had successful parallel careers as a labour arbitrator and independent historian for some 33 years. Few women have made an equal contribution to the here and now while letting their imaginations dwell in the distant past.
"It worked out very well having two careers," she says. "When I'm into research and writing, I can cut back on the arbitration." We are sitting in her immaculate living room high up in a Harbourfront condo she shares with her husband, Irving, admiring the panoramic view of Lake Ontario. She is dressed in a crisp navy trouser suit, her white hair stylishly short.
Before writing about the beautiful, manipulative Percy sisters, Lucy, Countess of Carlisle, and Dorothy, Countess of Leicester, and their behind-the-scenes role in the English civil wars, she produced The Swastika and the Maple Leaf: Fascist Movements in Canada in the Thirties (1975); The Little Band: Clashes Between the Communists and the Political and Legal Establishments in Canada, 1928-1932 (1982); and Ernest Lapointe: Mackenzie King's Great Quebec Lieutenant (2002).
Only Court Lady and Country Wife has been published outside Canada.
"My interest in the 17th century goes back very far," she says. "I approached it first through reading the diaries of Samuel Pepys, and I thought it (the period) was quaint. But it's not quaint; it's really the genesis of modern times."...
SOURCE: Irish Times (1-21-06)
The most prominent picture is a large black-and-white photograph of Bertrand Russell that stands on top of a filing cabinet just inside the door. Below it is a quotation from the British philosopher's autobiography: "Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind."
Tall piles of books occupy the entire surface of his desk and we sit at a small, round table in the centre of the room, Chomsky wearing a baggy grey jumper and his familiar, Woody Allen-style glasses.
His manner is exceptionally polite and gentle, an effect enhanced by the softness of his voice, which often falls to a whisper during our hour-long conversation. He has worked at MIT for 50 years, teaching linguistics and the philosophy of language and developing his influential theories of universal grammar.
At 77, Chomsky is not only the world's most famous public intellectual but one of the most energetic, writing more books and articles, giving more interviews and making more public appearances than ever.
Best known as a critic of American foreign policy, he has also condemned communist tyranny and in 1993, the last time he visited Ireland, he spoke out in west Belfast against the IRA's armed campaign.
As an advocate for social justice who admires free market icon Adam Smith and a progressive educator who rejects post-modernism and defends Enlightenment values, Chomsky can be as awkward a thinker for some on the Left as for the Right....
Q Let's talk about it a different way and speak about the use of force or military intervention. Are there benign examples of the use of military force that you can think of?
A It depends on how you define them.
There's very extensive legal literature on so-called humanitarian intervention. There are extensive studies. If you work through them, it's extremely hard to find a genuine example.
I mean, there are examples of the use of military force which had benign consequences, definitely. In fact, in the last 50 years the two most dramatic cases are India's intervention in East Pakistan which did stop atrocities, and Vietnam's intervention in Cambodia which terminated Pol Pot's atrocities in fact just at the point that they were peaking.
Those are the two most striking examples in the last half century of military intervention with benign consequences. And how did the West react? The US was infuriated in both cases. It imposed sanctions against India and sent the Sixth fleet to the Bay of Bengal, threatening.
Kissinger was totally furious. The reason was that it spoilt some photo-ops he was hoping to get on a secret trip to China through Pakistan.
But the reaction was very harsh and punitive. In the case of Vietnam it was worse. In the case of Pol Pot, the US and Britain immediately turned to supporting the Khmer Rouge. They supported a Chinese invasion to punish Vietnam for the crime of having terminated Pol Pot's atrocities.
The press was denouncing them as the Prussians of Asia. The US imposed very harsh sanctions.
So here are two cases. Now I wouldn't call those humanitarian interventions. They didn't intervene because they were trying to help people. They had their own reasons of state. In fact, in Vietnam's case, it was really defensive. Pol Pot was carrying out atrocities inside Vietnam and along the border so it was kind of a defensive reaction.
But the consequences were very benign. And the West reacted with extreme harshness. I can't think of any other examples....
SOURCE: Frontpagemag.com (1-20-06)
Joan Wallach Scott is a distinguished member of the academic profession as it is currently constituted. She holds a tenured chair – itself an honorific – in History at Princeton’s Institute of Advanced Studies, one of the most prestigious academic institutes in the United States. She is also a Professor of History at Rutgers University. In addition to her prestigious academic posts, Joan Wallach Scott holds a key national position as a guardian of academic freedom. From 1999 until 2005 she was the chair of Committee on Academic Freedom -- the famous Committee “A” -- of the American Association of University Professors, which is responsible for the academic freedom guidelines which most colleges and universities follow and which was the direct inspiration for the creation of the Academic Bill of Rights.
According to Professor Scott, she is now a consultant to Committee “A” and – in her own words: “Issues of academic freedom remain central to all my professional work.” Without question the views of Professor Scott are not merely the opinions of a single individual but represent views of an individual at the heights of the academic profession and at the center of its views on academic freedom.
In her testimony (168-169) Professor Scott noted that the Pennsylvania legislation (HR 177) was concerned with three areas: First, whether professors are hired according to professional c``academic standards or whether political factors enter into the hiring process; second, whether there is intellectual diversity in the classroom; and third, whether ideological considerations are involved in grading and how discussions are conducted in the classroom.
On the first question concerning faculty diversity, Professor Scott dismisses – without evidence or argument -- all studies that have recently shown an overwhelming preponderance of faculty across the range of American colleges and universities with views that can reasonably be associated with the political left. These studies were conducted using several different scientific methodologies. They show ratios of leftwing to rightwing professors in the humanities and social sciences ranging from 5-1 to as high as 30-1.
Some of these studies depend on reviewing the party registrations of faculty who have voted in primary elections. But the same conclusions have been reached in the studies that do not depend on party registration by Klein, Western, Rothman, Lichter and Nevitte. These more scientific studies depend on thousands of interviews of professors about their beliefs. They demonstrate that the percentage of conservative faculty has been diminishing over time, and that, in general, professors with conservative beliefs are teaching at institutions below the level at which one might expect to find them. This would suggest an active –and political -- principle of exclusion at work.
Neither Professor Joan Wallach Scott nor the American Association of University Professors have offered any reasoned critique of the studies by Rothman, Klein and others which suggest that the academic hiring process is biased in its core. Professor Scott merely dismisses the scientific data with a wave of her credentialed hand, as though the fact that she has been the head of an academic freedom committee has made her an authority on the subject. According to Professor Scott, there is no problem of political prejudice or ideological preference influencing a hiring decision in today’s academy.
In place of an argument she merely asserts: “The considerations that enter hiring decisions have everything to do with scholarship and with what might be called disciplinary politics.” Further along in her testimony she again asserts, “The evidence suggests that there is no party line being used either to hire teachers or to inform their teaching.” But if this is so, why would the mission statement of the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh – to take one of many examples offered in the testimony of Stephen Balch – include a statement that “the school is committed to promoting the values of social and economic justice.” Both terms -- “social justice” and “economic justice” -- are widely recognized to be anti-free market catch-phrases of the political left. (Those who accept the market system are generally opposed to correcting its inequalities through political interventions in the name of “social justice” or “economic justice.” Further, supporters of free markets would argue that systems which rely on criteria like “social justice” to determine the distribution of economic goods – as socialist economies do – produce more injustice rather than less.)
Despite Professor Scott’s cavalier dismissal of problems related to political factors entering the hiring process, others in the academy recognize their existence. The editors of the Chronicle of Higher Education, which is the leading journal for university administrators, regard the problem seriously enough to have commissioned a front-page article by Professor Mark Bauerlein of Emory University on the subject. Bauerlein described how political prejudice actually works in academic hiring and the formation of the academic curriculum. The Chronicle would hardly have placed this article so prominently, nor commissioned it in the first place, if there was not a generally recognized problem to explain. President Ruth Simmons of Brown University (the first black and first female president in Brown’s history) announced at the beginning of spring semester 2005 that she was instituting a special fund to bring conservative speakers to the Brown campus, and said this was being done specifically because of the lack of intellectual diversity on the campus. This was the subject of her Opening Address to the university that January. The amount of money in this “Kaleidoscope Fund” is $100,000 and the first invited speaker (in March 2005) was conservative writer Dinesh D’Souza.
I happen to have recently completed a book -- The Professors – to be published next month, which profiles a hundred academics. The Professors addresses the very questions this committee is concerned with, including the question of whether politics – in the sense of the politics that divides our country – might enter into hiring decisions. If I may, here is a passage from my book:
"The bitterly intolerant attitude of the current academic culture towards conservatives is also inevitably a factor in the blacklisting process. In the spring of 2005, the Skidmore College News published an article called, “Politics in the Classroom,” which quoted anthropology professor Gerry Erchak to this effect: 'In the hiring process you’d probably be wise not to mention your political views. If you say, ‘Oh, hey, I really think Reagan was great,’ or, ‘I’m a Bush guy,’ I can’t say a person wouldn’t be hired, but it’s like your pants falling down. It’s just horrible. It’s like you cut a big fart. I just don’t think you’ll be called back.'
"The faculty prejudices reflected in Erchak’s comment are a pervasive fact of academic life. In the same spring, Professor Timothy Shortell was elected by his peers to the chair of the sociology department at Brooklyn College. His election became a news item when it was discovered that he had written an article referring to religious people as “moral retards” and was on record describing senior members of the Bush Administration as “Nazis.” The recent eruption of the Ward Churchill controversy in Colorado had made Shortell’s extreme attitudes newsworthy. On the other hand, the same attitudes had not impressed his department peers as the least bit unusual. Departmental chairs at Brooklyn College exercise veto powers over faculty hiring decisions. Is it reasonable to think that someone with views like Shortell’s would approve the hiring of a sociology candidate with religious views or Republican leanings? According to the survey of 1700 academics by Professor Daniel Klein and Andrew Western, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans in sociology departments nationwide is 28-1.
"When apprised through press reports of Shortell’s views, the administrative leaders of the City University of New York system (CUNY), of which Brooklyn College is a part, sprang into action. The President of Brooklyn College rescinded Shortell’s chairmanship, thus preventing him from vetoing future conservative and religious candidates for appointments in the Sociology Department."
At the time the Shortell case became public, Joan Wallach Scott was the chair of the American Association of University Professors’ Committee on Academic Freedom. What was the response of Professor Scott to the appointment and removal of a department chair who regarded religious people as “moral retards” and Republicans as “Nazis?” According to the trade magazine InsideHighered.com, “Scott, the chair of the AAUP’s academic freedom committee, said that she was concerned about CUNY leaders ‘readily capitulating to outside pressures,’ and she said that whenever university leaders do that, ‘others are emboldened’ to attack faculty members.”
In other words, whatever professors say or do is fine with Professor Scott, who showed no concern at all that an individual so prejudiced against religious people and Republicans would have veto power over all hiring in Brooklyn College’s department of sociology, a field where conservatives were already outnumbered 28-1. Scott’s academic freedom concern was to that the President of Brooklyn College had decided Professor Shortell was probably too prejudiced to hold such a position and had removed him.
In her testimony Professor Scott suggests that “good social scientific research” would suggest that the scarcity of conservatives on university faculties reflects factors other than political prejudice. She suggests, as a more likely factor, “the preference for more economically lucrative work on the part of Republicans.” The average full professor at Princeton – and Joan Wallach Scott is not average – makes $151,000 a year – and that doesn’t include remuneration for speaking engagements, books and the odd extra faculty job. Am I wrong in assuming that this income might compare favorably with the job-related income of the average Republican legislator on this committee?
In fact, Professor Scott and the American Association of Professors have focused of late on a very select group of professors whom it perceives to be under attack, namely Islamic radicals accused of connections to terrorism. These include Tariq Ramadan, a Muslim academic who was hired by Notre Dame but denied a visa by the State Department because of his connections with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, and Professor Sami al-Arian, who is a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group responsible for the suicide bombings of more than 100 individuals in the Middle East, including two American citizens. A media account of a lecture Professor Scott gave at Princeton on September 18, 2005, in which she defended Ramadan and al-Arian, summarized what she said about AAUP’s defenses of academic freedom this way: “Of the incidents the AAUP has tracked since 9/11, Scott said, all but one have been instigated by the pro-Israel bloc.”
The anti-Semitism in these remarks (notwithstanding the fact that Professor Scott herself is Jewish) is apparent and is not confined to this one occasion. Elsewhere Professor Scott has falsely described the Academic Bill of Rights as a “call for balance,” and “an affirmative action program for neo-conservatives,” and has falsely linked neo-conservatives to the Prime Minister of Israel. In Scott’s own formulation “The call for ‘balance’ has also come from neo-conservatives, led by David Horowitz and his campaigners for the ‘Academic Bill of Rights.’ There is, of course, a connection between the pro-Sharon lobby and many of these campaigners on substantive grounds and in their self- representation as victims of discrimination, when in fact they represent a majority viewpoint in American society.”
It is too bad that the Select Committee did not question Professor Scott about her remarks at the Princeton event. In the time span since 9/11, others outside the AAUP have noted the termination of adjunct professor Ted Klocek at DePaul, after he got into an argument on the campus quad with a radical Palestinian student organization; the termination of adjunct professor Philip Mitchell at the University of Colorado (after fifteen years of service) because he assigned an overtly Christian book from the 19th Century in his American history course; the denial of tenure to a noted and widely published conservative, Peter Berkowitz, at Harvard, and other cases where academic freedom had been potentially abused but in which Professor Scott and the AAUP have not shown an interest. One might conclude from the evidence that political considerations shape the interest of Professor Scott and the AAUP in matters of academic freedom.
In her testimony, Professor Scott promised the committee that if it so desired she would “describe the elaborate procedures followed by hiring and search committees and by tenure committees,” which in her view prevent political considerations from entering the hiring and promotion process -- “the outside letters solicited (from members of the profession) the ways their recommendations are scrutinized by all university committees, as well as by deans, provosts and presidents. There is no short, quick, dirty way to get hired or tenured in an American university.” (175)
Professor Scott is right about the elaborate procedures for hiring and promotion, but it is the very existence of these procedures that suggests the process itself is corrupt, and that there has been a corruption of entire departments and fields, with academic standards being abandoned in favor of ideological and politically one-sided prejudice. Take the famous recent case of Professor Ward Churchill, with whose outlines everyone is familiar. Churchill was formerly the chairman of the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and – despite everything that has been revealed about him since – is still a full professor of Ethnic Studies at Boulder, even though the president of the university has had to resign over the scandal created by his behavior.
The reason Colorado University president Elizabeth Hoffman had to resign is that Ward Churchill has been exposed as an academic fraud on several counts. Ward Churchill was an affirmative action hire for a faculty position reserved a Native American candidate. Despite his claims in applying for the job and maintained ever since, Ward Churchill is of Anglo-Saxon descent entirely, has no Indian heritage and has been repudiated by the Indian tribe to which he claims to belong as an honorary member. Moreover, despite his full professorship in Ethnic Studies, Ward Churchill has no degree in a field related to Ethnic Studies. Ward Churchill received an M.A. in graphic arts (he is a painter) at an experimental college in the Midwest that did not even award grades at the time. Further, it has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of reporters at the Denver Rocky Mountain News, which ran a six-part series on Churchill, that he is a plagiarist; and it has further been demonstrated to the satisfaction of experts in the field of American Indian history that he has simply made up key historical incidents in his work. Nonetheless, Churchill’s present university salary is $120,000 a year, not including his speaking engagements and books, and apparently, because he is tenured, he has a lifetime job no matter what he does. Many Republican intellectuals, who Professor Scott claims spurn the economic rewards of academics, would actually covet privileges like that.
Yet even though he lacked a Ph.D., which is the normally required credential for professorships, Ward Churchill managed to secure an appointment as an assistant professor of Ethnic Studies and then a promotion to associate professor of Ethnic Studies, and then a promotion to a second tenured position as a full professor of Ethnic Studies. Each of the latter two promotions would have required letters of approval from at least six members of the Ethnic Studies field in schools other than the University of Colorado. In other words, not one of the twelve tenured Ethnic Studies professors in universities across the country saw anything seriously wrong in Churchill’s academic credentials or academic work, though his work is now discovered to have been riddled with plagiarized passages and made-up facts, and though its central theme is that America is, in its essence, a genocidal nation, comparable to Nazi Germany.
Subsequently, this same academic fraud with extremist ideas received a promotion by a vote of the majority of tenured professors in his department and approval by the University of Colorado administration to become chair of the Ethnic Studies Department. Each of his appointments and promotions required full review by the entire Ethnic Studies Department at Boulder and by the chair who appointed the search committee that hired him originally, and by the dean of his school and perhaps by his provost and university president. All of them would have had to approve the hiring; all of them would have had to approve the rapid upward promotion of this academic impostor. All of them did. So much for Professor Scott’s elaborate system of checks and balances that she claims is a guarantee that professors are hired and promoted solely on the basis of their scholarship and not their political beliefs. If that is so, where is the right-wing Ward Churchill? There is none.
The incident that precipitated the Ward Churchill scandal was an invitation to Churchill to speak at Hamilton University. The invitation was extended by an official program of the university governed by tenured professors who shared Churchill’s extremist views. It was in the course of the Hamilton controversy that it became widely known that Churchill believed the victims of 9/11 got what they deserved, and that he thought more punishment for Americans was in order; it was the public, media-fanned scandal that followed this – not any academic committee or procedure – that brought to light that Churchill was not an Indian, that his work was fraudulent, and that he did not have the credentials for the position he had acquired. Nonetheless, since the scandal broke, Churchill has received the public support of more than a thousand university professors, including the support of every member of the Ethnic Studies Department at Boulder, The American Association of Ethnic Studies, and Joan Wallach Scott’s American Association of University Professors. Do these facts suggest that there might be reasonable questions that one could ask of university administrators about existing academic political prejudices and standards? The American Association of University Professors is not about to ask them. As its response to the Ward Churchill affair shows, the American Association of University Professors is part of the problem.
The Ward Churchill affair can be regarded as the Enron of the academic profession. It is evidence of such extensive corruption affecting so many checkpoints and so many safeguards that are supposed to be built into in the system, that Professor Scott’s assurances can hardly be taken seriously. Ward Churchill was untouchable. He still apparently is. The university may not need a Sarbanes-Oxley solution to its corruptions, but there is no reason not to pursue these questions until we find answers.
In her testimony before this committee, Professor Scott’s responses to the second and third concerns of HR 177 refer directly to the Academic Bill of Rights. Her testimony on the Academic Bill of Rights is a tissue of misrepresentations designed to discredit it without examining it: “On the second and third questions, about the openness of the classroom environment, and about students right to free expression, I think there are important points to bear in mind. One is whether balance on every issue, as recommended by the Academic Bill of Rights, is really a desirable feature of the university curriculum.” (177) The Academic Bill of Rights makes no such recommendation. This is a pure invention of Professor Scott. In fact, the word “balance” does not appear anywhere in the Academic Bill of Rights, let alone the claim that there should be “balance on every issue.” The idea itself is absurd. Which is why Professor Scott decided to falsely attribute it to us.
Professor Scott continues: “Another is whether all points of view must always be taught in every classroom for students to enjoy a good climate for learning.” (177) Again, the Academic Bill of Rights proposes no such thing. Nowhere does it say that “all points of view must always be taught in every classroom.” This is another self-evident absurdity designed to discredit a reform she thinks is being proposed by “pro-Sharon” forces. This is ideological thinking that is not even thought. It is pure political prejudice. What the Academic Bill of Rights actually says is that students should be provided “with dissenting sources and viewpoints where appropriate.” What could be clearer? Or more reasonable? The same paragraph in the Academic Bill of Rights says, “While teachers are and should be free to pursue their own findings and perspectives in presenting their views, they should make their students aware of other viewpoints.” Again what could be more reasonable or more clear?
Why should Professor Scott, evidently an intelligent woman, deliberately mis-read and mis-represent the Academic Bill of Rights, unless there is some political agenda behind her fierce opposition to the Bill. Perhaps she is aware of a situation in the universities which she feels impelled to protect – professors like Ward Churchill and Timothy Shortell and the political prejudices which elevated them to their positions -- but which is indefensible by reasoned argument. I personally do not see any other explanation for her false testimony about a document (the Academic Bill of Rights) which is not only self-evidently liberal but which is derived explicitly from the academic freedom principles of the American Association of University Professors itself.
How far is Professor Scott prepared to go in repudiating the “Principles of Tenure and Academic Freedom” laid down by her own organization? Far indeed. “We worry too,” Professor Scott testified, “about the idea of neutrality promoted by supporters of the Academic Bill of Rights. It would prohibit professors from expressing judgment about material they teach as well as about matters not directly relevant to course material.” It should be noted that Professor Scott is a member of an organization called “Historians Against The War” which has condemned the so-called American “occupation” of Iraq and therefore has a vested interest in resisting the idea that academic institutions and professional associations should be neutral in regards to non-academic controversies. Professor Scott is herself a political activist who regards her activism as integral to her academic work. “As feminist and historian,” Scott has written, “my interest is in the operations of power—how it is constructed, what its effects are, how it changes. It follows that activism in the academy is both informed by that work and informs it.”
Personally, I agree with Stanley Fish that ideological commitments conflict with the disinterested pursuit of knowledge that is the goal of scholarship and the two should not be confused (Fish makes this argument in his book Professional Correctness.) But contrary to Professor Scott's false claim, the Academic Bill of Rights emphatically does not “prohibit professors from expressing judgment about material they teach.” I have already quoted the passage in the Academic Bill of Rights that says exactly the opposite, namely: “Teachers are and should be free to pursue their own findings and perspectives in presenting their views.”
Perhaps Professor Scott is referring to a quote which is not to be found in the Academic Bill of Rights but which some legislators have included in their legislative bills at our suggestion: “Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.” Actually this sentence is taken verbatim from the 1940 Statement of the Principles of Tenure and Academic Freedom of Professor Scott’s own organization, the American Association of University Professors. (It is approvingly quoted in later testimony by her AAUP colleague Professor Moore, who claims – falsely – that the Academic Bill of Rights has a different standard).
To these false presentations of what the Academic Bill of Rights entails, Professor Scott adds an alleged desire of the Bill to impose legislative oversight on universities. First of all, there is already legislative oversight of universities, with which Professor Scott has no quarrel. Laws like U.S. Title IX restrict universities that receive federal funding concerning whom they admit as students, whom they appoint as professors, and which programs they have to discontinue, based on sex discrimination; racial discrimination and sexual harassment laws tell universities what kind of attitudes one can and cannot display towards certain minorities and women; all exist on the books; all require hundreds of millions of university dollars, in the aggregate, to enforce; and all have presumably been supported by Professor Scott and the American Association of University Professors. So what kind of hypocrisy is it to suggest that intellectual freedom may not need legislative attention?
However, the fact is that the Academic Bill of Rights has taken no statutory form or proposed one to deserve Professor Scott’s attack. And attack it is. “[The Academic Bill of Rights recalls the kind of government intervention in the academy practiced by totalitarian governments. Historical examples are Japan, China, Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and the Soviet Union. These governments sought to control thought rather than permit a free marketplace of ideas.” (187) In other words, those of us who have shown concern about the lack of professionalism and the absence of intellectual diversity in academic classrooms are, according to Joan Wallach Scott, not only “pro-Sharon” neo-conservatives but fascists, Communists and Nazis as well!
If the university community is going to represent its side of the case by falsifying the facts, by dismissing reasoned arguments and scientific studies with a wave of the academic hand, and by displaying its intolerance in name-calling like this, then it is going to convince a lot of people that the problems we have been discussing are not only real, but quite serious indeed.
 Her comments are on pp. 169-170 of the official transcript of here testimony. The studies of academic diversity are available at http://www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org
 A complete list of these studies along with links to their texts can be found at: http://www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org/
 I.e., the politics of the academic discipline not the politics of left and right.
 “Politic s in the Classroom,” The Skidmore News, April 29, 2005.
 “Top Prof Sparks Outrage – Devout Are ‘Moral Retards,’ He Sez,” New York Daily News, May 23, 2005.
 Daniel Klein and Andrew Western, "How Many Democrats per Republican at UC Berkeley and Stanford?," "Surveys on Political Diversity in American Higher Education" http://www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org
 http://wrmea.com/archives Jane Adas, “Princeton Panelists Share Cautionary Tales of Dangers to Academic Freedom,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 2005.
SOURCE: Newsletter of the National Coalition for History (1-20-06)
The holder of the Maguire Chair conducts research on ethical issues associated with American history. Research may include the conduct of politics and government at all levels of American life as well as the role of religion, business, urban affairs, law, science, and medicine in the ethical dimensions of leadership.
Galambos was editor of the 21-volume publication "The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower from 1971 to 1995," and co-editor with Daun van Ee, a curator in the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress, from 1995 to 2001. The last of the 21 volumes was completed in 2001, with the publication of a four-volume set titled "The Presidency: Keeping the Peace."
Galambos also has taught at Rice, Rutgers, and Yale universities, and he has served as president of the Business History Conference and the Economic History Association. A former editor of The Journal of Economic History, Galambos has written extensively on U.S. business history, on business-government relations, on the economic aspects of modern institutional development in America and on the rise of the bureaucratic state.
Galambos, who received his Ph.D. from Yale, was a senior fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities and a business history fellow at Harvard University's Graduate School of Business Administration. In addition, he has held fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson Center and at Princeton University.
Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world's best thinkers to stimulate, energize, and distill wisdom form the Library's rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington.
For further information on the Kluge Center, visit www.loc.gov/kluge.
SOURCE: History Today (1-11-06)
SOURCE: National Security Archive (1-19-06)
Represented by Thomas Burke and Duffy Carolan of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, and by Meredith Fuchs of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, Professor Berman sought declassification review and release of two President's Daily Briefs prepared by the CIA for President Johnson during the Vietnam War, one from the day before and one from the day after two other Briefs that had previously been declassified by the CIA.
In response, the CIA argued - and U.S. district judge David Levi upheld CIA's claims - that, regardless of their age and content, no Briefs could be released even in part without damage to U.S. national security and to the presidential privilege of confidential communications with advisers. During the same month in which Professor Berman filed his legal complaint, however, the CIA actually declassified two other LBJ-era Briefs when they appeared in cable format rather than on President's Daily Brief letterhead.
Judge Levi declined to review the two Briefs at issue in the case, ignored the millions of pages of declassified and published CIA intelligence products already available (including 35 other declassified Briefs introduced into the record by Professor Berman), and ruled that the Briefs are themselves an "intelligence method" that must be protected. Attorney Duffy Carolan commented, "Judge Levi's decision offers no logical distinction between the CIA's secret methods of gathering intelligence and the intelligence product it prepares for its customers. It essentially ignores 40 years of FOIA history and practice."
Judge Levi also ruled that presidential privilege still applies to the LBJ-era briefs, despite the Supreme Court's finding in the Nixon tapes cases that privilege erodes over time, and Congress's clear finding in the 1978 Presidential Records Act that the privilege no longer applies 12 years after the president leaves office.
"This case is not about revealing intelligence sources and methods," remarked Professor Berman, a noted Vietnam War scholar. "This case is about whether the CIA can declare its factual briefings to the president, no matter how old and no matter what they say, off limits to history and to the American public, forever and without review."
A number of noted scholars of the American Presidency and the Vietnam War, as well as the nation's leading history and political science associations, are planning to file an amicus curiae brief on January 25 in support of Professor Berman's appeal.
SOURCE: NYT (1-18-06)
She has set out to render in lavish particulars the story of the strange war between the French and British empires for control of the Ohio River Valley in the 1750's and 60's. The war was triangulated: American Indians, for whom the valley was a homeland, played the empires against each other, eventually tipping the balance of power in favor of the British. The Indians' strategy, diplomacy and unorthodox military tactics are the chief focus of this program, which attends closely to their considerable role in the war. (Graham Greene, the actor and Oneida Indian whose ancestors fought in the war, serves as narrator.)
With Deborah Acklin, the film's other executive producer, Ms. Fisher has elected to use voice-over and re-enactments almost exclusively; no eminent talking heads appear to interrupt the war's suspense with interpretation and exposition. In preserving the pace of this bloody, pulse-racing narrative, this choice makes sense. But it also lays the documentary open to the charges that dog every historical re-creation: it's specious, and it looks like a school play.
SOURCE: Newsletter of the American Revolution Round Table (1-19-06)
SOURCE: Providence Journal (1-19-06)
A paint company lawyer barraged Columbia University historian David Rosner yesterday with documents showing that the federal government specified the use of lead-based paints on schools and other public buildings for much of the last century.
Lawyer Donald Scott also presented a pile of articles from The Providence Journal and other publications in which doctors repeatedly blamed lead-poisoning cases on children gnawing on cribs and toys, rather than paints wearing off houses.
It was the second day of cross-examination of Rosner, one of the key witnesses in the state's effort to prove the paint companies created a public nuisance by making and marketing lead-based paints two generations ago that continue to poison young children in Rhode Island.
Rosner contends the companies marketed the paints without any health warnings even though they knew the paints were highly toxic.
Scott tried to show that the dangers of lead-based paints weren't as obvious in the first half of the last century as they are now.
While Rosner agreed with many of Scott's points, he sparred politely with Scott all day and used every opportunity to insist that the dangers of lead paints were well known for many years and should have been avoided.
Scott presented several articles published in The Providence Journal in the 1930s and 1940s by D.L. Richardson, superintendent of Providence City Hospital (later known as Charles Chapin Memorial Hospital and now part of the Providence College campus).
The articles said children were being lead-poisoned by gnawing on beds or on lead shields used by nursing mothers.
A wire service article published in The Providence Journal in 1953 described several children around the country dying from lead poisoning after chewing on painted surfaces.
Scott asked Rosner if he understood that the medical community at the time believed that eating non-food items, or pica, was the primary source of lead poisoning.
Rosner said he wasn't sure what doctors thought then. But he knew that pica was never a problem unless the item being chewed was covered with lead paint.
Scott also got Rosner to concede that while health and safety warnings are commonplace now on many consumer items, they were all but unknown on products decades ago.
But Rosner quickly added: "No other consumer products were quite as dangerous and had such a long history of knowledge about their dangers."
Citing a copy of a deposition Rosner gave last summer, Scott said Rosner testified that paint companies did warn consumers about the dangers of lead and he wondered if he was now changing his story.
No, Rosner said. That deposition addressed an advertisement taken out by a company selling lead-free paints. The paint companies that didn't use lead publicly chastised those that did to get a competitive advantage, Rosner said. The companies selling lead-based paints never published warnings.
Scott presented a study in Baltimore showing hundreds of cases of lead poisoning, mostly confined to blighted properties.
"Would you agree that the focus was now shifting from eating cribs and toys to deteriorating paint" on houses? Scott asked.
No, Rosner responded. The dangers on houses had been known for decades. Now it was just being observed "on a massive scale."
Scott showed Rosner another story that ran in The Providence Journal on Nov. 11, 1951, about a new law restricting interior use of lead paints in Baltimore. Scott asked Rosner if he would accept that the law was widely publicized.
No, Rosner said. The story just showed that the "cat was out of the bag."
Scott asked Rosner what he meant by that. The historian responded: "By 1951, the cat was out of the bag -- the knowledge that lead was poisoning children for more than 50 years."
SOURCE: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (1-18-06)
The opportunity to steal a major piece of history, Rooney said, was too tempting to pass up.
"If you were to stand in front of the pyramids of Egypt, you might pick up a chip, too," he said last week during an interview in which he admitted stealing the document.
But the decision is continuing to haunt him more than 15 years later.
In 2002, a federal court in New York convicted Rooney of conspiracy to transport stolen property after his friend, Marshall Lawrence Pierce, put the treaty up for auction. Rooney was placed on probation and ordered to pay a fine. The American Embassy in France returned the document to the archives
Rooney thought that was the end of his legal trouble. But in November, a Paris court agreed to try him and Pierce on charges of receiving stolen goods. The case, which will be heard sometime this year, means that Rooney - now 74, retired and living in Wauwatosa - could be sentenced to up to three years in prison, according to the French newspaper Le Monde.
"We are looking forward to seeing them punished for this major crime to our patrimony," a spokesman for the French Ministry of Culture said in an e-mail interview.Rooney, who was born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., attended Huntingdon College in Montgomery before doing graduate work at a Belgian university, he said.
He was hired by Marquette in 1971. A professor of 19th century history, Rooney made an impression on students and colleagues alike, said James Marten, chair of the university's history department.
"He was very flamboyant," Marten said. "He had a real following among some students."