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SOURCE: Manan Ahmed at HNN blog, Cliopatria (10-30-06)
He was the author, most notably, of Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman, 1961, Muhammad at Mecca, 1953, and Muhammad at Medina, 1956.
Watt brought a deep sense of spirtuality to his work and, for that reason, many Muslim scholars find his approach more sympathetic to the biography of the Prophet than, say, Rodinson's. I do recommend reading this interview conducted in 2000 as it elaborates the connections between his own faith and his life's work on Islam.
Those of us who study and teach Islamic history will recognize the immense loss to our field.
The files contain no formal document outlining an agreement between the other donors and the University of Wisconsin Foundation. But it seems fair to say that, in 1997, there would have been a natural assumption on the part of donors that if the fundraising goal of $1 million was met, the position would be filled. The fund only recently reached that $1 million benchmark, and in the meantime the fiscal situation at Wisconsin has become intractable. The university has absorbed a $190 million budget cut from the state legislature in the past four years. This has led to significant cuts to most colleges in the university. The College of Letters and Science (which contains the Department of History) has had to absorb major budget cuts in the last two budget cycles. An unfortunate consequence is that history and other departments have not been given permission to replace or hire new faculty at the same rate as in the late 1990's.
Meantime, the costs associated with an endowed chair have spiraled. Wisconsin computes the interest on its endowments at four percent and computes benefits at, I think, 36 percent of salary. Assuming a salary of $100,000, which is a probably realistic figure required to land a distinguished military historian, it would therefore require at least $136,000/year to sustain the position without augmenting it with internal funds. To produce that much interest income, the A-H chair endowment would have to be $3.4 million.
From everything I've heard, although there are indeed a few faculty within the Wisconsin history department who are lukewarm about hiring a military historian, the department is committed to seeing an important scholar of military history hired for the A-H Chair, and for that hiring to occur in as timely a manner as possible. The delay is coming almost exclusively from the university administration, and is based on fiscal rather than political objections.
That said, I think it is short-sighted on the part of Wisconsin not to run a search for an endowed chair once the agreed upon funds have been raised, and it seems almost certain that in the case of the A-H Chair, $1 million was indeed the target amount. At Ohio State we have a policy of honoring bequest agreements, even though it regularly obliges us to "top off" endowment revenues to meet the salary/benefits requirements of actually filling a given chair. If I understand correctly, the history department chair at Wisconsin has passed along "Sounding Taps" to his dean in order to underscore the bad publicity that has resulted from the failure to run a search for the A-H Chair now that the endowment has reached $1 million. It seems to me that in addition to bad publicity, the university runs the risk of losing benefactors who might otherwise be inclined to make significant bequests.
None of this supports the thrust of "Sounding Taps" concerning the demise of military history as an academic field, and it confirms the picture as portrayed by Prof. John Cooper and the university's desire to raise "even more money." But I think it is moonshine to suppose that Wisconsin can expect to raise an additional $2.4 million if it won't honor a commitment that appears already to have been made. I doubt it could raise even an additional $500,000.
You can treat this as being on the record, though I doubt any of this is worth pursuing out there in wingnut-land — it doesn't make a meaty wingnut point. But I did think you'd be interested in what I managed to unearth.
[The blog includes Mr. Miller's response.]
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (10-31-06)
Petition circulated by Mark Lilla, the University of Chicago, and Richard Sennett, NYU and the London School of Economics and Political Science: Though we, the undersigned, have many disagreements about political matters, foreign and domestic, we are united in believing that a climate of intimidation is inconsistent with fundamental principles of debate in a democracy. The Polish Consulate is not obliged to promote free speech. But the rules of the game in America oblige citizens to encourage rather than stifle public debate. We who have signed this letter are dismayed that the ADL did not choose to play a more constructive role in promoting liberty. (The New York Review of Books)
Petition circulated by Norman Birnbaum, Georgetown University Law Center: We express our solidarity with Professor Judt and Professors Mearsheimer and Walt. We consider that this nation's public sphere will be strengthened by a full discussion of both the American alliance with Israel and Israel's policies. In a historical moment when the "War on Terror" serves as an excuse for an American version of authoritarianism, we invite our fellow citizens to renew their own attachment to the Constitutional traditions of American freedom of speech and thought. (Archipelago.org)
Leon Wieseltier, literary editor: I wonder whether the shahid of Washington Square and his champions have spoken or signed anything against the boycotts of Israeli academics; but I will leave the double-standards research to others. The more significant point is that what Judt was prevented from delivering at the Polish Consulate was a conspiracy theory about the pernicious role of the Jews in the world. That is what the idea of "the Lobby" is. It is Mel Gibson's analysis of the Iraq war. (The New Republic)...
SOURCE: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (10-28-06)
The collection of military historian Donald M. Goldstein was appraised in February at $890,000, and he kicked in $110,000 to raise his gift to $1 million. But he told Pitt's board of trustees Friday, "It may be a billion dollars in terms of knowledge."
His archives contain about 4,400 books, 13,000 original photographs of such people as Adolf Hitler and Amelia Earhart, 300 films and videotapes, and transcripts of 200 interviews with Japanese and American participants in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
One of the most important items is the map of Pearl Harbor used to brief Japanese Emperor Hirohito, proving he knew in advance of the attack.
SOURCE: CBS Evening News (10-30-06)
Brinkley is writing a book based on Reagan's presidential diaries.
"That this Hollywood actor could ... win the biggest state in the country and use that as the springboard for the conservative movement has become the stuff of political lore," Brinkley says.
The lore and legacy are on view at the Reagan Presidential Library, from a replica of the Oval Office to the behemoth of the exhibit — the actual Air Force One, the plane that flew seven presidents, including Reagan, through history.
"When they were flying to Berlin to talk about the 'Tear Down The Wall' speech, it was aboard this aircraft," says R. Duke Blackwood, executive director of the Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation.
Reagan's legacy is more than bricks and mortar and gleaming artifacts. It is his California dream writ large on the American political landscape 40 years later. It's a vision that still resonates.
"As a nation, we are still living in the long shadow of Ronald Reagan. We're all dealing with the agenda Reagan had, which means that politicians can’t mention tax increases or they get slammed," Brinkley says.
Reagan did cut taxes, and government spending — except on defense. There, he spent the Soviet Union and communism into oblivion. Love him or hate him, Reagan possessed a rare talent that still eludes most politicians: the power of persuasion.
"When you heard Ronald Reagan speak, you would be moved towards a kind of patriotic disposition. He made you proud to be an American. That is very hard for politicians to accomplish," Brinkley says. ...
SOURCE: FrontpageMag.com (10-30-06)
FP: Harry Crocker, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Crocker: Thanks, I'm happy to be here.
FP: What motivated you to write this book?
Crocker: Well, I wanted to bust a lot of myths about American history: including the myth of the Indian as a noble savage; the myth that America has always been a non-imperial power; the myth that the Southern Confederacy was wrong; the myth that the American military relies on big battalions rather than on the extraordinary individual courage and skill of the American fighting man; the myth that we “lost” the Vietnam War (we won and the Democratic Congress shamefully gave it away); and the myth that the Iraq War is a disaster, among others. If I have one wish for the book, I’d like it to be put into the hands of every serving soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine so that he can know that his sacrifice today is part of the great sweep of American military history. I titled the book Don’t Tread on Me because that seems to me America’s unofficial motto, the phrase that best sums up the American spirit, especially the spirit of the American fighting man, and that explains our history.
FP: The "myth" that the Southern Confederacy was wrong? Kindly clarify this point as many readers may think that you are implying that defending the evil institution of slavery was a legitimate thing to do. Yes, the Civil War was not initiated to free the slaves, but it was about slavery and freeing the slaves was its end result and its humane and positive result. So the Southern Confederacy was wrong in the sense that it inhabited an evil institution that had to be liquidated in a democratic nation and the North was right in that it represented freedom and equality for all. It was right in that it freed the slaves. Kindly clarify the context and meaning of your position.
Crocker: Well, Jamie, as every politically incorrect schoolboy used to know, Lord Acton, the great historian of liberty, wrote a letter to Robert E. Lee in November 1866 saying, "I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo." And he was talking about liberty, not slavery. He thought secession was a necessary check on what he called "the absolutism of the sovereign will."
But it's also wrong to deal -- especially from the painless distance we have now -- with slavery as an abstraction, as an obvious moral evil to which the sacrificing of 600,000 dead (not to mention the infliction of military rule and the bitterness engendered by Reconstruction over the South) is a but a trifle, an historical necessity. The idea that an "evil institution" should be "liquidated" -- those are the words of a Soviet commissar, not a conservative. Robert E. Lee in his reply to Acton's letter said that no one in Virginia bemoaned the loss of slavery; Virginians like himself had long wanted to do away with it; but that they did not think that the costliest war in American history was, to appropriate your words, the "humane and positive" way to do it.
And of course, if slavery is the historical trump card, then the War for American Independence was wrong, because many of the founders held slaves and upheld slavery against the British who were willing to abolish it, as a war a measure. You remember Samuel Johnson’s great taunt in Taxation No Tyranny: “how is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?” The founders of the Southern Confederacy thought of themselves as following directly in the founders’ footsteps, which is why George Washington is on the great seal of the Confederacy -- and also why the politically correct are just as eager to prohibit naming schools after George Washington as they are after Confederate heroes.
But for me, as a natural Tory (and 1776 Loyalist) and adoptive Virginian, the real issue was best put by Robert E. Lee, a soldier who had served the United States his entire adult life, and who opposed secession and slavery (which he thought, and I quote, "a moral and political evil"), but who turned down command of the Union armies and said: “a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets … has no charm for me….”
I think he took the position of every humane man when he said: “With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty as an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home.”
I often ask anti-Confederates to put the question that was faced in 1861 into the prism of their own lives. If the South seceded today, how many of us would think the appropriate response would be to send armored divisions over the 14th Street Bridge here in Washington, to carpet bomb Southern cities, and to blockade Southern ports?
Lee believed that Americans should resolve political disputes through gentle persuasion and free assent. He did not believe in waging war against fellow Americans—and neither do I....
SOURCE: NYT (10-28-06)
One described the potential for Iraq to become a “catastrophic failure.” Another, among several that have come to light in recent weeks, was an early call for changes in a detention policy that many in the State Department believed was doing tremendous harm to the United States.
Others have proposed new diplomatic initiatives toward North Korea and the Middle East, and one went as far as to call for a reconsideration of the phrase “war on terror” because it alienated many Muslims — an idea that quickly fizzled after opposition from the White House.
Such ideas would have found a more natural home under President George H. W. Bush, for whom Mr. Zelikow and Ms. Rice worked on the staff of the National Security Council. They reflect a sense that American influence is perishable, and can be damaged by overreaching, as allies and other partners react against decisions made in Washington. They form a kind of foreign policy realism that was eclipsed in Mr. Bush’s first term, in favor of a more ideological, unilateral ethos, but that has made something of a comeback in his second term.
Whether Mr. Zelikow, 52, is giving voice to Ms. Rice’s private views, or simply serving as an in-house contrarian, remains unclear. Some of his ideas have become policy: he had called for the closure of secret prisons run by the Central Intelligence Agency a year before the Supreme Court decision that prodded the Bush administration to empty them.
The United States offered North Korea a chance to negotiate a permanent peace treaty, per Mr. Zelikow’s advice, and he, along with Ms. Rice, was one of the backers of the Iran initiative, in which President Bush offered to reverse three decades of American policy against direct talks with Tehran if Iran suspended its uranium enrichment.
Neither North Korea nor Iran has bitten on the initiatives, but America’s allies have applauded them. Mr. Zelikow’s assessments of the Iraq war, first disclosed in Bob Woodward’s book “State of Denial,” were presented to Ms. Rice in 2005.
Ms. Rice keeps Mr. Zelikow close at hand, and the fact that his memorandums have surfaced in recent books and news articles suggests, at a minimum, that he and his allies are aggressively lobbying for his ideas. Mr. Zelikow (pronounced ZELL-i-ko) is being talked about inside the State Department as an outside shot for the vacant job of deputy secretary of state, but some believe that his management style is too combative for the job....
SOURCE: Press Release -- Berkeley (10-26-06)
Through his writings and teaching, colleagues said, Levine helped transform cultural history in the United States into a vibrant and accessible field of study. A champion of multiculturalism, Levine won a MacArthur"genius" fellowship in 1983 for his intellectual curiosity and scholarship.
In"Black Culture and Black Consciousness" (1977), Levine's best known work, he made use of the oral expressive tradition of African Americans to examine how they perceived themselves, their position in American society, and their relations with whites.
According to UC Berkeley history professors Leon Litwack and Waldo Martin, the book was a pathbreaking study of folk thought and culture that exerted an extraordinary influence on several generations of scholars - not only historians, but anthropologists, folklorists, musicologists, sociologists, and students of American and African American culture.
Historian Shane White, a professor in Australia at the University of Sydney, where Levine once taught as a visiting professor, added that Levine was"one of the best historians writing in the second half of the 20th century. His pioneering explorations of the American past made possible the current explosion in the popularity of cultural history."
Levine's 1988 book"Highbrow/Lowbrow" and the 1993 book"The Unpredictable Past" demonstrated not only the varieties of historical consciousness and documentation, but the interplay of American thought and behavior in folk and popular culture. And"The Opening of the American Mind," a 1996 book, was a spirited defense of multiculturalism and a powerful critique of conservative critics of modern American culture.
In a 1996 interview with The New York Times, Levine said that in"The Opening of the American Mind," he tried to show"that the genius of America has been its ability to renew its essential spirit by admitting a constant infusion of different people who demand that the ideals and principles embodied in the Constitution be put into practice. The result has been to open America to great diversity..."
UC Berkeley's Martin said Levine"was a great historian who revolutionized American cultural history. He also was a great friend."
Said Lily Wong Fillmore, a professor emerita in UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education,"He educated all of us about American cultural history, and he taught me the meaning of the expression 'mensch' - he was truly a person of integrity, good humor and honor."
Fillmore and Levine were on a committee in the 1980s that developed a campus requirement that all new undergraduates take a class on America's complex racial and ethnic past and present.
Levine was born on Feb. 27, 1933, and raised in New York City He received his bachelor's degree in 1955 in history from the City University of New York and his master's and doctorate degrees in history from Columbia University in 1957 and 1962, respectively.
He told The New York Times that before going on to graduate school, his history teachings had been limited. He said he knew"very little about the majority of the people in the world. We studied Northern and Western Europe. Nothing in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Even Canada was a great blank. My own father was an immigrant from Lithuania, and my grandparents were from Odessa, but we talked only about Northern and Western Europe. There's something wrong with that."
Levine joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1962, retiring in 1994 as the Margaret Byrne Professor of History. Also in 1994, he was appointed professor of history and cultural studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
While on the UC Berkeley faculty in the 1960s, Levine immersed himself in the political life of the campus, participating in sit-in demonstrations by the Congress of Racial Equality, one of the nation's oldest civil rights groups, to force stores to hire black people. He also joined other historians who marched in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.
During the Free Speech upheaval at UC Berkeley, he came to the defense of students protesting a ban on political activity on campus, activity in support of the civil rights movement.
In the late 1980s, Levine was a member of the campus Academic Senate's Special Committee on Education and Ethnicity, which developed UC Berkeley's American Cultures Breadth Requirement, first launched in 1991.
The innovative move, which made national headlines, resulted from complaints at the time by students who felt their history wasn't being taught on a campus that was rapidly changing in its ethnic and racial composition. The curricular change became a successful part of the UC Berkeley experience and attracted the attention of educators elsewhere.
Fillmore, who also is UC Berkeley's Jerome A. Hutto Professor of Education emerita, said Levine's contribution to the committee was" crucial: He was a moderating force, reminding the committee about the necessity to be inclusive and interdisciplinary, if the proposal had any chance of winning the support of the Senate faculty. The committee had faculty and student members, and Larry Levine made sure that students' voices were heard and included in the design of the proposal."
Litwack, a close friend of Levine's, said"few individuals I have known in this profession or out of it have been as important to me: as committed, as insightful, as creative, as imaginative, as challenging, as intellectually engaged, as stimulating, as provocative, as tough-minded, as open to new ideas and experiences. He will always be with me in my work and thoughts."
During his 32 years on the faculty, Levine received many honors. Following the MacArthur award, he was elected in 1985 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. And in 1994, he was named a Guggenheim Fellow.
From 1992-93, he served as president of the Organization of American Historians, and he received the 2005 American Historian Association's Award for Scholarly Distinction.
Levine is survived by his wife, Cornelia; stepson, Alexander Pimentel of Richmond; sons, Joshua and Isaac of Berkeley; sister, Linda Brown of New York City; and three grandchildren, Stephanie and Benjamin Pimentel, and Jonah Levine.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the American Cancer Society. A memorial service is pending.
SOURCE: Mark Solomon at the website of Portside (10-22-06)
HNN Editor's Note: After Mr. Solomon posted the statement reprinted below at Portside's website, Jesse Lemisch submitted the following note to Portside on 10/22 (where it has not been posted):
In his comment on Portside 10/22/06, Mark Solomon selectively omits words surrounding those that he quotes from my "About the Herbert Aptheker Sexual Revelations," History News Network, 10/4/06, and thus precisely reverses what I said. Solomon writes: Lemisch urges the search for a connection between molestation and Aptheker's writings in African American history and other areas:"I continue to wish for discussion on how the attitudes expressed in Herbert's awful acts might have been reflected in books like the centrally important American Negro Slave Revolts and or the truly terrible The Truth About Hungary." In a note to Phelps, Lemisch returns to that point:"I am interested in seeing what connections people might be able to sketch in. There might be some."
What I said, quoted below, is the reverse of what Solomon has me saying:"I continue to wish for discussion as to how the attititudes expressed in Herbert's awful acts might have been reflected in books like the centrally important American Negro Slave Revolts and/or the truly terrible The Truth about Hungary. I CAN'T SEE IT, but discussion may bring out some continuity. I think Chris[topher Phelps] implies but DOES NOT SHOW A CONNECTION ... Without positing a major disconnect between the personal and the public, I CAN'T SEE HOW THESE REVELATIONS of despicable sexual behavior make American Negro Slave Revolts or the horrifying Truth about Hungary any more true or false. But I am interested in what connections people might be able to sketch in. There might be some." (EMPHASIS ADDED)
In other words, Solomon has turned my expression of disagreement with the idea of a connection upside down, and made it into concurrence with the idea. Quite a feat! Nonetheless, it's too bad that the discussion I invited doesn't seem to be taking place.
If one discusses Herbert Aptheker's work in African American history in the midst of controversy over Bettina Aptheker's assertion that her prominent father molested her as a child, one is left open to the charge of unjustly changing the subject from the deadly serious issues of repressive patriarchy and sexual predation.
However, Aptheker's writing in Black history was first raised by Bettina in her book, "Intimate Politics," in Christopher Phelps' review of the book in the Chronicle of Higher Education and in Jesse Lemisch's comment on Phelps' review on the History News Network website. Phelps wrote:
"Aptheker ... adamantly denied the possibility of 'objective' history. 'It is intense partisanship on the side of the exploited and therefore on the side of justice,' he once wrote, 'that makes possible the grasping of truth.'
"Perhaps only a daughter who internalized that norm could so piercingly identify its author's faults -- and I do not primarily mean his abuse of her.
"The psychological scars left by her father's violations lent Bettina Aptheker an acute understanding of the traumatic consequences of oppression, allowing her to intuit that the history of black Americans was far more complex than Herbert allowed for in his interpretations.
"She writes that her father tended in his public talks to portray the history of blacks one of 'undaunted heroism.' She reflects on 'how foolish and condescending' that was 'without meaning to be' when viewed from the 'interior' reality of black experience, where weakness and betrayal are just as common."
Lemisch urges the search for a connection between molestation and Aptheker's writings in African American history and other areas: "I continue to wish for discussion on how the attitudes expressed in Herbert's awful acts might have been reflected in books like the centrally important American Negro Slave Revolts and or the truly terrible The Truth About Hungary." In a note to Phelps, Lemisch returns to that point: "I am interested in seeing what connections people might be able to sketch in. There might be some." (In a panel discussion with Eric Foner and Manning Marable on October 30, 1996, Lemisch praised Aptheker and his influence on Lemisch's own work, singling out American Negro Slave Revolts for its exploration of an "alternate moral code" in the individual acts of slave resistors.)
Bettina Aptheker's thoughts about her father's historical writing constitute only two paragraphs in a 545-page memoir. Focusing on those brief comments, Phelps however did not quote Bettina's important qualification: "He [Herbert Aptheker] accurately reported betrayals in his writings, for example, in slave revolts, but in lectures he represented the history as one of undaunted heroism."
Some years ago, in a conversation with Herbert Aptheker, he voiced an awareness of pathologies and scars in African American life. His historical labors accounted for the savage nature of white supremacy and the inevitable physical and psychic damage it inflicts on the oppressed. He noted that both scholarly work and popular culture were rife with characterizations (themselves manifesting racism) of social pathologies but sorely lacking was the record of black resistance, social survival and the building of a powerful institutional life in the face of remorseless racism. His scholarly work was dedicated to baring that history. Given the essentially educative character of lectures compared to exhaustively documented writings, it is not surprising that Aptheker sought to stir his live audiences to the richness of African American resistance.
In the mid-1930s Aptheker began his exploration of African American history. Acknowledging his debt to the Black scholars who preceded him, Aptheker, working without academic appointments, research assistants, computerized data, or fulsome grants, nevertheless produced a massive body of work in that history. John Hope Franklin, the dean of African American historians, said Aptheker's studies "made it more and more difficult to neglect the history of the Negro in America."
It's important to note the scholarly environment when Aptheker began his work. Dominating the field of history were open apologetics for slavery wherein slaves were considered innately inferior, invisible or marginal or endowed with childlike dependence -- characterizations often extended to Blacks in general. (Even into the early 1950s, Morison's and Commager's widely used standard US history textbook, The Growth of the American Republic, characterized slaves as happy and indolent.)
In those early years, Aptheker challenged openly racist schools of history as well as sentimental, liberal interpretations of African American life and race relations such as Gunnar Myrdal's contention that "The American Negro problem is a problem in the heart of the American." That view ascribed no important role to Blacks in struggling for their own liberation. For Aptheker, the oppression of African Americans was rooted in concrete relationships based upon economic and political power; it had to be fought not in the subjective and inert realm of sentiment, but in the economic and political arena.
That arena constituted the framework for Aptheker's M.A. thesis (completed in 1937) on Nat Turner's Rebellion. Basing his analysis of the Turner uprising upon study of economic and social conditions in rural Virginia in the early 1830s and on close reading of the testimony of white Southerners, Aptheker concluded that Turner, in the midst of deteriorating economic circumstances, was motivated by nothing less than a willingness to die for the liberation of his people. He and his followers were not "deluded wretches and monsters...but rather ... further examples of the...endless roll of human beings willing to resort to open struggle to get something precious to them -- peace, prosperity, liberty, or in a word, a greater amount of happiness."
American Negro Slave Revolts was published in 1943 while Aptheker was on the battlefields of Europe. In that pioneering study of slave plots and rebellions there was neither the need nor the compulsion to exaggerate or mythologize. Rumors (false or real), unrest, plots (thwarted or consummated) and actual uprisings were accurately defined, labeled and differentiated; distinctions between conspiracies hatched in the minds of planters and actual rebellions were sharply drawn. John Hope Franklin, in a Harvard University address in 1965, vigorously rebutted an assertion from the audience that Aptheker overstated claims of rebellion, noting that Slave Revolts carefully drew distinctions between rumors, plots and uprisings.
At the same time, Aptheker noted that Southern legal, social, theological, political and cultural life was molded to undermine the "restlessness, discontent, and rebelliousness" of slaves. In addition to psychological debasement, the legal and political structure forbade slaves to read and write, to possess weapons, to testify against whites in courts, to resist the commands of white masters. Traitors and spies were cultivated; overseers, militiamen, guards, bounty hunters, posses and federal troops were all mustered to staunch plots and rebellions, real and imagined, that underlay Southern life.
The book's recapitulation of the consequences of slave transgression, real or imagined -- bleeding backs, cropped ears and the lyncher's rope -- raised a broader concern with the threat to the democratic rights of all should the physical reach and political influence of chattel slavery grow. American Negro Slave Revolts fashioned a portrait of slave plots and rebellions on a broad canvas -- linking the struggle to end slavery with realization of the nation's democratic promise.
Aptheker's historical research was largely devoted to rediscovering the exterior lives of African Americans in engagement and struggle with the nation's racist structures. (It has been alleged that Aptheker was deficient in understanding the interior lives of Blacks. But that provokes a question: how many white persons in this society, rent by pervasive social and cultural apartheid, can claim an understanding of those lives?) The capstone of Aptheker's efforts to render the voices and contributions of African Americans is his monumental multi-volume Documentary History of the Negro People. His aim was to rediscover those voices that bore witness to the falsehoods of those who would denigrate or ignore their roles in the historical panorama. Those who had been reviled or silenced reappeared: Black soldiers who bled and died in shocking numbers on Civil War battlefields, scores of petitioners who sought to end their enslavement, conductors on the Underground Railroad and many more represented in a collection of thousands of letters, speeches, articles and reports.
Professor John Bracey, at a historians' meeting, recalled the excitement among students at Howard University in the turbulent sixties when they first encountered the Documentary History. They found in the first volume the intellectual and emotional bloodlines that quickened their self-awareness and helped forge a bond with past generations. When they went into battle against Jim Crow in Washington, DC, they carried what they called "The Documents" to confirm and fortify the vast change in consciousness taking place within them and within society.
A final point: the urgent battle against sexual abuse is sullied and damaged when it is used, intentionally or not, to open a back door to discredited characterizations of the African American experience, to settle old political scores, to resurrect red- baiting, to present distorted and one sided characterizations of the record of the left (especially the Communist-led left) on gender and women's liberation -- all of which have appeared in various venues where Bettina Aptheker's memoir has been discussed. Patriarchy and sexual molestation are among the most important and lethal issues facing this society. They must be confronted clearly and without distraction, with courage, honesty and a determination to eliminate them. These efforts are inseparable aspects of the fight to free all human beings from every form of oppression.
SOURCE: David White in Campus Watch (10-27-06)
Earlier this month, the folklore department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison sponsored an event billed as "9/11: Folklore and Fact."
Held in the university's social sciences building, two leaders in what is known as the "9/11 Truth"—Kevin Barrett and James Fetzer—came to discuss their notion that 9/11 resulted not from the actions of al Qaeda, but from a Bush Administration conspiracy. As Barrett has claimed on many occasions, he doesn't "believe, but knows that 9/11 was an inside job."
Considering this event was sponsored and hosted by an institution that is funded by taxpayer dollars, the residents of Wisconsin have plenty to be angry about. But the story gets worse, for Barrett teaches a class on introductory Islam at the university. His continued presence at Madison illustrates the tendency of contemporary academe to protect its own, standards be damned.
For despite his crack-pot views, Barrett enjoys the full backing of the university's top administrators and his department colleagues. Indeed, it's likely he enjoys more support than if he held mainstream views. Earlier this year, after questions were raised, a panel consisting of the university's provost, the dean of the College of Letters and Science, and the chair of the department of languages and cultures of Asia pronounced Barrett fit for the classroom. As Provost Patrick Farrell explained to Madison's NBC affiliate, "He's welcome to his political opinions."
Calling Barrett's conspiracism a "political opinion" allows Farrell and Barrett's other supporters to depict the controversy as a matter of free speech, as if to demarcate his personal opinions from his professional knowledge. University administrators can thereby simultaneously disdain Barrett's views and defend his employment.
Although few professors agree with Barrett's "inside job" conspiracy theory, nearly all considered it extremely important to stand by his appointment while being interviewed for this piece. Their reasoning breaks down roughly into three camps:
The first rejects any judgment of professorial speech. Harold Scheub, Barrett's dissertation adviser in African languages and literature, argued that, "A university is a place for ideas, and when the question of speech and academic freedom becomes relevant, it's not with the normal, generally-accepted ideas, because these are seldom called into question. It's when you go to boundary issues and have ideas about them. That's when—as you can see—people start getting very nervous and upset. And if you start putting barriers and building boundaries around ideas, I don't know where that stops."
Islamic studies professor Muhammad Memon—whose sabbatical precipitated Barrett's hiring—asserted that, "we're wasting our time, resources, money, energy on issues which really are not that important, and least important in a country which prides itself on freedom of thought and freedom of expression."
A second group sees the issue in terms of autonomy for the university—something all the more pertinent given that the University of Wisconsin is based in the state's capital of Madison: "We all look at this case and we wonder what's happened to the University of Wisconsin," explained a humanities professor, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "But on the other hand, we're really concerned about pressure from the state legislature. Once they get their foot in that door, how we're going to extract it I have no idea. I don't know if I'd say we stand by the guy, but we stand by the process."
A third group combines both these arguments. Surprisingly, it includes Donald Downs, president of UW-Madison's Committee for Academic Freedom and Rights—an organization that exists to confront political correctness on campus:
"I totally reject what Barrett stands for, and I haven't met any faculty here that agree with him in any way, but that is his belief," said Downs in a phone interview. "And sure, it's awful. It's immoral. And the outrage is certainly understandable. But Barrett has already gotten the contract to be a lecturer, so the question is whether or not he'll be able to teach the class in a responsible way. And the evidence suggests that that is the case."
"And the other issue," Downs added, "is the political pressure: the legislature dictating to us that you've got to fire this guy or proceed 'at your own peril.' That raises a host of other kinds of questions. It doesn't mean that you don't fire the guy simply because you resist the legislature, but you should be very careful."
Because of these sentiments, eight other members of the Committee for Academic Freedom and Rights joined Downs in publicly supporting the university in mid-July.
But there were dissenters, led by Marshall Onellion, another member of the committee who's currently finishing a book on ideology.
"In almost any other discipline," Onellion explained in an interview. "They'd regard the guy as a fruitcake. So when Donald asked the group for our thoughts, I said 'No way.' The reason for me is that I simply don't believe that he could possibly be able to teach a course on Islam in an objective fashion," Onellion continued. "It has nothing to do with his intellect; it's his passion. Any person who sincerely believes that the U.S. government plotted September 11 is entitled to his beliefs, but he's not entitled to pretend to possess an objectivity that he clearly doesn't have. Just as I wouldn't hire a Holocaust denier to teach a course on twentieth century European history, I wouldn't hire Barrett to teach a course on Islam. They'd be incapable of objectively going through the events. The analogy is precise."
Expanding Onellion's analogy, can one imagine any university hiring a professor of modern European history who denied the Holocaust or who taught that the French Revolution resulted from schemes hatched by Freemasons? One would hope that certain ways of thinking are too extreme even in today's rudderless university.
But that is not the case. Barrett benefits from the strength of the modern professoriate. Administrators don't so much lead faculties as appease them, the better to maintain their friendships and lucrative jobs (ask Larry Summers). Such faculty strength can lead to particularly noxious results in the field of Middle East studies, which is among the most radicalized in academe. In this context, what a fool believes is less important than where he believes it.
SOURCE: Robert J. Samuelson in Newsweek (10-30-06)
The rise of big business is one of the seminal events in American history, and if you want to think about it intelligently, you consult historian Alfred D. Chandler Jr., its pre-eminent chronicler. At 88, Chandler has retired from the Harvard Business School but is still churning out books and articles. It is an apt moment to revisit his ideas because the present upheavals in business are second only to those of a century ago.
Until Chandler, the emergence of big business was all about titans. The Rockefellers, Carnegies and Fords were either "robber barons" whose greed and ruthlessness allowed them to smother competitors and establish monopolistic empires. Or they were "captains of industry" whose genius and ambition laid the industrial foundations for modern prosperity. But when Chandler meticulously examined business records, he uncovered a more subtle story. New technologies (the railroad, telegraph and steam power) favored the creation of massive businesses that needed—and, in turn, gave rise to—superstructures of professional managers: engineers, accountants and supervisors....
The rise of big business involved more than tycoons. Its central feature was actually the creation of professional managers. Like many great truths, this one seems obvious after someone has pointed it out.
The trouble now is that the defining characteristics of Chandler's successful firms have changed. For example, many were "vertically integrated"—they controlled raw materials, manufactured products and sold to the public. AT&T made electronic components, produced telecommunications equipment and sold phone services. But in many new industries, vertical integration has virtually vanished, as economists Naomi Lamoreaux of UCLA, Peter Temin of MIT and Daniel Raff of the University of Pennsylvania argue in a recent study. The computer industry is hugely splintered. Some firms sell components (Intel, AMD); some, software (Microsoft, SAP); some, services (IBM, EDS); some, hardware (Dell, Apple). There's overlap, but not much....
Just as John Jacob Astor defined a distinct stage of capitalism, we may now be at the end of what Chandler perceptively called "managerial capitalism." Managers, of course, won't disappear. But the new opportunities and pressures on them and their companies may have altered the way the system operates. Chandler admits as much. Asked about how the corporation might evolve, he confesses ignorance: "All I know is that the commercializing of the Internet is transforming the world." To fill that void, someone must do for capitalism's next stage what Chandler did for the last.
SOURCE: Iraqi Crisis (letter sent Sept. 23, 2006) (10-26-06)
H. E. Nouri Kamel al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq
H. E. Hoshyar Zebari, Minister of Foreign Affairs
H. E. Dr. Asaad Al-Hashimi, Minister of Culture
Mufid Mohammad Jawad al-Jazairi, Chair of Cultural Committee, Iraqi Parliament
Maysoon al-Damluji, Member of the Iraqi Parliament
We, the undersigned, would like to express our concern for the present and future state of antiquities and cultural heritage in Iraq. As individuals who have done research for years in Iraq, who have taught its great history and culture, and who have made great efforts to call attention to the potential and real damage to Iraq's cultural heritage due to war and its aftermath, we ask you to ensure the safety of the museums, archaeological sites, and standing monuments in the entire country.
Most immediately we ask that the holdings of the Iraq National Museum be kept safeguarded and intact as one collection rather than subdivided. We also ask that the Antiquities Guards, who have been recruited and trained to protect the ancient sites in the countryside, be kept as a force, meaning that they continue to be paid and equipped and their numbers increased. This force is the key to halting the illegal digging of sites and damaging of monuments that has been occurring since April 2003. We furthermore ask that Iraq’s cultural heritage be treated as part of the rich culture of the Iraqi people, to be preserved for present and future generations. Therefore we ask that cultural heritage either be independent or that it be administered by the Ministry of Culture, which in the past has made preservation and interpretation its highest priorities, implemented by a professional, unified State Board of Antiquities and Heritage. Antiquities and heritage are so important to Iraq that it would be justifiable to make the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage into a new ministry or to connect that Board directly to the cabinet general secretariat, as has been done with the Iraqi Academy of Sciences.
Iraq's cultural heritage is an unparalleled one, and as the tradition from which many other civilizations are derived, it is of great concern to all peoples in the world. It is too important a heritage to be sub-divided and should remain under a national administration. The State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, as part of the Ministry of Culture, has had a record of good administration, and it has been in the past the best Antiquities organization in the Middle East. For years, with its strong Antiquities Law, that made all antiquities and antiquities sites the property of the state, Iraq protected its antiquities sites better than most countries in the world, and it should rise to that level once again.
All persons who work in Antiquities should be above politics and allegiance to any party, and definitely should have no connection to the antiquities trade. Too much of the ancient treasures of Iraq have already been lost through looting and smuggling, and the damage done especially to the great cities of Sumer and Babylonia has been very extensive. Only a strong, national, non- political State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, backed fully by the force of the state, can preserve the heritage that is left.
You are in positions to save the Cultural Heritage of Iraq for everyone, and we hope that you will act to do so.
Prof. McGuire Gibson, President, The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq
Prof. Robert McC. Adams, Secretary Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution
Dr. Lamia Algailani, Hon. Research Fellow, University College London
Prof. Kenneth Ames, President, Society for American Archaeology
Prof. Harriet Crawford, Chair, British School of Archaeology in Iraq
Prof. Leon DeMeyer, Rector Emeritus, University of Ghent, Belgium
Prof. Patty Gerstenblith, President, Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage
Dr. Cindy Ho, President, SAFE/Saving Antiquities for Everyone
Prof. Antonio Invernizzi, Scientific Director, Centro Recirche archeologiche é Scavi di
Torino per il Medio Oriente é l’Asia.
Dr. Michael Müller-Karpe, Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Mainz, Germany
Dr. Hans J. Nissen, Professor emeritus of Near Eastern Archaeology, The Free
University of Berlin, Germany
Dr. Roberto Parapetti, Director of the Iraqi-Italian Centre for the Restoration of Monuments
Prof. Ingolf Thuesen, Director, Carsten Niebuhr Institute, University of Copenhagen
Prof. Jane Waldbaum, President, Archaeological Institute of America
cc Samir Sumaidaie, Ambassador to the United States, Embassy of the Republic of Iraq
cc. Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq
cc Kofi Annan, Secretary General, United Nations
cc Koïchiro Matsuura, Director General, UNESCO
cc Mounir Bouchenaki, Director General, ICCROM
cc Michael Petzet, President, ICOMOS
cc C. David Welch, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Department of State.
cc R. Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary, Political Affairs, Department of State
cc. Alberto M. Fernandez, Director, Press and Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs,
Dept. of State
SOURCE: Keli Senkevich in the California Aggie (10-26-06)
The role of the middle class in the Middle East is a new and relatively untouched field of study, and academics recognize Watenpaugh's research as an innovative contribution to the study of the region.
Watenpaugh said historians have traditionally attributed the rise of the Arab middle class to a transformation led from the top down. However, as he illustrates in his book, this was not the case.
"The middle class was deeply influenced by a desire to change its own society and making its society modern," he said.
Being Modern in the Middle East emerged from Watenpaugh's doctoral dissertation at UCLA, and he said it took its current shape back in 2000.
Watenpaugh traveled to Turkey, Syria, London and France, where he consulted a number of sources, gathering research from various archives and cultural artifacts like newspapers and pamphlets, items he said were not "intended to be permanent."
In one section of his book discussing the history of the Baden-Powell Scout movement in the Middle East, an international organization similar to the Boy Scouts of America, Watenpaugh had the rare opportunity to construct an oral history of this movement with several of its former living participants, which he notes is not something historians get to do very often.
Overall, Watenpaugh said his book is a "point of departure where neither the middle class nor modernity is generally recognized by the West in the Middle East."
Such discussions of the middle class have been absent from historical writings, he said, because there is something more exotic about focusing on the differences between the West and the Middle East, rather than on their similarities.
"We're mostly middle class, and we don't find ourselves particularly interesting," Watenpaugh said. "We focus on the exotic rather than the commonplace."
For Watenpaugh, the Middle East became a region of interest after spending his junior year of college abroad in Cairo, Egypt. Following his stay there, he lived and conducted research in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.
Watenpaugh is one of few scholars to have visited Iraq in 2003 after the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of the country, and though he said he was still able to safely roam about in public then, he describes the current situation as bleak.
"As bad as things are, I have no doubt they're going to get worse," he said. Watenpaugh taught a class this summer on the historical, cultural and ethical components of the ongoing Iraqi civil unrest and violence.
He plans to write a social and cultural history of Iraq, which he said he aims to complete somewhere between 2010 and 2015.
SOURCE: Dutch News (10-17-06)
The list takes the form of a flow chart through time and includes the first example of written Dutch, the Beemster polder and the Groningen natural gas fields, as well as events which shaped world history, such as the invention of printing and the two World Wars. At a time when the Dutch are trying to get to grips with their own identity, an understanding of Dutch history can help newcomers integrate into society, the commission which drew up the list said. But the list was in no way to be used to choose or create a national identity. That would be a ‘threatening, yes dangerous’ thought. ‘It is meant to help exchange ideas. It is for all the Dutch,’ said professor Frits van Oostrum who led the commission.
Megalithic tombs circa 3000 BC
The Roman Limes 47 A.D.-circa 400 A.D.
On the frontiers of the Roman world
Willibrord 658 A.D.-739 A.D.
The spread of Christianity
Charlemagne 742 A.D. – 814 A.D.
Emperor of the Land of the Setting Sun
Hebban olla vogala circa 1100
The Dutch language in writing
Floris V 1254-1296
A Dutch count and disgruntled nobles
The Hanseatic League 1356-circa 1450
Trading towns in the Low Countries
The printing press circa 1450
A revolution in reproduction
An international humanist
Charles V 1500-1558
The Low Countries as an administrative unity
The “Beeldenstorm” (iconoclastic outbreak) 1566
William of Orange 1533-1584
From rebel nobleman to “father of the country”
The Republic 1588-1795
A unique political phenomenon
The Dutch East India Company (VOC) 1602-1799
The Beemster Polder 1612
The Netherlands and water
The canal ring 1613-1662
Urban development in the seventeenth century
Hugo Grotius 1583-1645
Pioneer of modern international law
The Statenbijbel (authorised version of the Bible) 1637
The Book of Books
The great painters
Blaeu’s Atlas Major 1662
Mapping the world
Michiel de Ruyter 1607-1676
Heroes of the sea and the wide reach of the Republic
In search of truth
Slavery circa 1637-1863
Human trafficking and forced labour in the New World
Country mansions 17th and 18th centuries
Eise Eisinga 1744-1828
The Enlightenment in the Netherlands
The patriots 1780-1795
Political conflict about modernising the Republic
Napoleon Bonaparte 1769-1821
The French period
King William I 1772-1843
The kingdom of the Netherlands and Belgium
The first railway 1839
The Constitution 1848
Fundamental rules and principles of government
Max Havelaar 1860
Scandal in the East Indies
Opposition to child labour 19th century
Out of the workplace and back to school
Vincent van Gogh 1853-1890
The modern artist
Aletta Jacobs 1854-1929
The emancipation of women
The First World War 1914-1918
War and neutrality
De Stijl 1917-1931
Revolution in design
The crisis years 1929-1940
Society in the depression
World War II 1940-1945
Occupation and liberation
Anne Frank 1929-1945
The persecution of the Jews
A colony fights for freedom
Willem Drees 1886-1988
The welfare state
The great flood 1 February 1953
The danger of water
Television since 1948
The rise of mass media
The port of Rotterdam since circa 1880
Gateway to the world
Annie M.G. Schmidt 1911-1995
Going against the grain of a bourgeois country
Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles since 1945
Decolonisation in the West
The dilemmas of peacekeeping
Diversity in the Netherlands since 1945
The multicultural society
The natural gas deposit 1959-2030?
A finite treasure
Europe since 1945
The Dutch and Europeans
For further information see www.entoen.nu
SOURCE: NY Review of Books (11-16-06)
Peter Beinart, Thomas Bender, Ian Buruma, Lizbeth Cohen, Franklin Foer, Timothy Garton Ash, Todd Gitlin, Michael Kazin, Richard Sennett, Jim Sleeper, Fritz Stern, Andrew Sullivan, Michael Tomasky, Leon Wieseltier, Alan Wolfe, and Marilyn Young.
SOURCE: Deseret News (10-22-06)
This second Eire is a man with strong emotions, and he is responsible for writing "Waiting for Snow in Havana" three years ago, the story of Eire's childhood in Cuba and his escape to the United States at the age of 11.
Eire, who said he loves both personae, wanted to title the memoir "Kiss the Lizard, Jesus," but his publisher rejected the title, calling it "off-putting and disgusting."
"But the lizards stand for many things," Eire said by phone from his Yale office in New Haven, Conn. "I still have a fear of reptiles. I found a snake in my basement two weeks ago and I thought I was going to die! I just have an irrational loathing of these creatures.
"Actually, they're good creatures who eat bugs and vermin. I did cruel things to them as a child. Life is filled with things like that (lizards) that we think are bad. Death is a lizard, but we learn to live with it."
Eire's lecture in Salt Lake City will deal with death in 16th-century Spain, the subject of his scholarly research. "As a small child, I had a preoccupation with death, so it was inevitable that as a professional historian I would study the subject."
His research in Spain demonstrated that "a belief in the afterlife was very real. ... Death is the ultimate inconvenience, something no one escapes. Yet we're hard-wired as human beings not to be able to look at it for very long. We know it's there. Some, like morticians and doctors, have a switch they use to turn it off when they go home."
But Eire asserted that "Death is the main reason humans believe in religion. The ultimate paradox of religion is that we can't prove there is an afterlife. It's very hard for most of us to imagine not existing. There's also a genetic component, as demonstrated in the book 'The God Gene: How Faith is Hard-Wired in our Genes' by Gene Hamer."
SOURCE: WMU News (Western Michigan U.) (10-17-06)
Borish, professor of history and gender/women's studies, shares her expertise and research on American women's sport history in this first-ever film about Jewish women in American sport from the 1880s through the 20th century.
"Jewish Women in American Sport: Settlement Houses to the Olympics" is being presented by Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel and was screened Oct. 3 at the Cherry Hill, N.J., Jewish Community Center and Oct. 5 at the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Commack, N.Y. Borish is on the hall of fame's advisory committee and a research associate of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Brandeis University.
The film has been in the works since spring 2003 when Borish teamed up with well-known Israeli and Chicago-based filmmaker Shuli Eshe, the film's director and producer, to develop and produce the documentary on the history of American Jewish women in sport based on Borish's original research.
Borish and Eshel used archival research, news footage, still images and interviews with athletes and historians to trace the early years of prominent American Jewish female athletes and sports administrators, culminating with the induction of the first class of women into the 2003 Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
The film examines such important Jewish sportswomen as Charlotte Epstein, recognized as the mother of women's competitive swimming, Senda Berenson, who studied the teachings of Dr. John Naismith in the 1890s to develop the first rules for women's basketball, and 1932 Olympic track and field champion Lillian Copeland. Current athletes also are highlighted, including LPGA professional Amy Alcott, Olympic gold medal skating champion Sarah Hughes, and ESPN sportscaster Linda Cohen....
SOURCE: Susan Mansfield in scotsman.com (10-20-06)
Then, I suggest, he begins to see why we Scots are dropping like flies from diet-related illnesses? "Yeah, but I hope you die happy!" he chuckles, his mouth full of shortbread crumbs.
And I begin to see why people like Schama. It's not so much the mercurial intellect, or even his passion to communicate it, it's the fact that the BBC's face of history wears red suede shoes and wants four kippers for breakfast. He laughs a lot, often at himself, loves recalling his TV slip-ups. "Someone has actually done a montage of Schama's worst moments on TV, you should see it, it's very funny."
He talks quickly, flamboyantly, breaking off and interjecting as new thoughts come crowding in. Nothing is merely "good" if it can be "really good" or even "extraordinary". He's easily bored and fidgets constantly, a coiled spring of energy. So much to do, his body language says as he re-crosses his legs for the 20th time, so little time.
Schama is 61, but became a household name just six years ago when his History of Britain was launched. "Life is short and getting ever shorter for me, and I'm in television to try to do something different each time. After I'd finished the History of Britain, everyone wanted me to do the history of something else - Belgium or Botswana or whatever. I wasn't going to do that.
" I wanted to do something different, both in terms of the storytelling, and in terms of the craft of television itself."
Which brings us to his new series, The Power of Art, which begins tonight on BBC2, an eight-part series that was two years in the making. Each programme features a great artist: Caravaggio, Bernini, Rembrandt, David, Turner, Van Gogh, Picasso and Rothko, captured at a moment of personal or professional crisis, a make-or-break period which in turn led to a great masterpiece.
Schama is typically ambitious. He wants to change the way art history is done on TV. "Too often it feels like being walked by the acoustic-guide along a wall of paintings. It feels very demure, and that's not what the greatest art is at all.
"If only you could free yourself from this approach, you could construct it as if you were writing a programme about a murder or a love affair, a war or a revolution."...
SOURCE: NYT (10-24-06)
The death was confirmed by Blaine Friedlander, a spokesman for Cornell University, where Professor Murra taught from 1968 until his retirement in 1982.
“Before he came along, the image of the Incas was one of barbaric splendor,” said Frank Salomon, the John V. Murra professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. But Professor Murra’s work “forged a radically new image” of that empire, Professor Salomon said — one based on an intricate and often ceremonial exchange of produce as gifts among tribal kinfolk. They hiked from the edges of the rain forest to meet those living at the heights of the Andes, ensuring each other’s survival by trading key lowland crops like maize and potatoes for scarce mountain goods like llama and alpaca wool. That economic system was named “the vertical archipelago” by Professor Murra.
“His ‘vertical archipelago’ model has been verified through research that archaeologists have since done in the Andean zone,” said Heather Lechtman, a professor of archaeology and ancient technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While some experts debate aspects of the theory, Professor Lechtman said, “This is certainly the accepted model for the central Andes.”
The Inca empire existed from about 1400 to 1535 in an area that now includes Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and parts of Colombia, Argentina and Chile. What largely held it together, until the Spanish invasion in 1532, was its unusual economic system. The social system was documented by Professor Murra with his search through colonial archives and court documents in which the words of Incas were recorded.
SOURCE: Anthony Grafton in the New Yorker (10-23-06)
Clark’s story starts in the Middle Ages. Th organizations that became the first Wester universities, schools that sprang up in Paris an Bologna, were in part an outgrowth of ecclesiastica institutions, and their teachers asserted their authorit by sitting, like bishops, in thrones—which is why w still refer to professorships as chairs—and speaking i a prescribed way, about approved texts. “The lecture like the sermon, had a liturgical cast and aura,” Clar writes. “One must be authorized to perform the rite and must do it in an authorized manner. Only the does the chair convey genuine charisma to th lecturer.” Clark assumes his notion of charisma loosely but clearly, from the work of Max Weber, wh developed the idea that authority assumes three forms Traditional authority, the stable possession of king and priests, rested on custom, “piety for what actually allegedly or presumably has always existed. Charismatic authority, wild and disruptive, derive from “the exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplar character of an individual person.” Rational authority the last of the three forms to emerge, represented th rise of bureaucratic procedure, dividing responsibilitie and following precise rules
As Weber pointed out, in real organizations these different forms of authority interact and collide. In the medieval classroom, for all its emphasis on tradition-bound hierarchy and order, a contrary force came into play, one that unleashed the charisma of talented individuals: the disputation, in which a respondent affirmed the thesis under discussion and an opponent attempted to refute it. (Unlike the lecture, the disputation hasn’t survived as an institution, but its modern legacy includes the oral defenses that Ph.D. candidates make of their theses, and the format of our legal trials.) Clark calls the disputation a “theater of warfare, combat, trial and joust,” and, indeed, early proponents likened it to the contests of athletic champions in ancient Rome.
One early academic champion was the Parisian master Abelard, who cunningly used the format of the disputation to point up the apparent inconsistencies in orthodox Christian doctrine. He lined up the discordant opinions of the Fathers of the Church under the deliberately provocative title “Sic et Non” (“Yes and No”) and invited all comers to debate how the conflicts might be resolved. His triumphs in these “combats” made him, arguably, the first glamorous Parisian intellectual. A female disciple, Héloïse, wrote to him, “Every wife, every young girl desired you in absence and was on fire in your presence.” Their story has become a legend because of what followed: Héloïse, unwed, had a child by Abelard, her kin castrated him in revenge, and they both lived out their lives, for the most part, in cloisters. But even after Abelard’s writings were condemned and burned, pupils came from across Europe hoping to study with him. He had the enduring magnetism of the hotshot who can outargue anyone in the room.
Traditionalist plodders and charismatic firebrands shared the university from the beginning. The heart of Clark’s story, however, takes place not during the Middle Ages but from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment, and not in France but in the German lands of the Holy Roman Empire. This complex assembly of tiny territorial states and half-timbered towns had no capital to rival Paris, but the little clockwork polities transformed the university through the simple mechanism of competition. German officials understood that a university could make a profit by attaining international stature. Every well-off native who stayed home to study and every foreign noble who came from abroad with his tutor—as Shakespeare’s Hamlet left Denmark to study in Saxon Wittenberg—meant more income. And the way to attract customers was to modernize and rationalize what professors and students did....
SOURCE: Transcript from This Week (ABC News) with George Stephanopoulos (10-22-06)
(Off-camera) What was the last book you read?
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH (UNITED STATES)
I'm reading history of the English speaking peoples from 1990 on - 1900 on. It's a great book. [Editor: The book, History of the English-Speaking Peoples since 1900, by Andrew Roberts, will be published by HarperCollins in Feb. 2007.]
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (ABC NEWS)
(Off-camera) What are you taking from it?
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH (UNITED STATES)
I'm taking that - I'm taking that sometimes history gets distorted.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (ABC NEWS)
(Off-camera) And you have to take the long view.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH (UNITED STATES)
Yes you do.
SOURCE: David Glenn in the Chronicle of Higher Ed (10-23-06)
Twelve days later, Soviet tanks rolled across Hungary, crushing what had become a broad popular revolt. Before the end of November, Mr. Gati, like tens of thousands of others, had fled the country.
Today Mr. Gati is a senior adjunct professor of European studies at the Johns Hopkins University. In a new book, Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest, and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt (Stanford University Press), he argues that the Soviet military action was not inevitable. If the White House and Hungary's volatile, reform-minded prime minister, Imre Nagy, had played their cards differently, Mr. Gati says, the Soviets might have tolerated a semi-independent Hungary.
Mr. Gati recently spoke with The Chronicle about his journeys through the archives of Washington and Moscow.
Q. What are your memories of October 23?
A. I went with the students to the statue of General Bem, a Polish general who had helped the Hungarians in 1848 and who is regarded as a good guy. The march was partly in response to events in Poland, the so-called Polish October. ... Change was in the air in Poland, especially with the rise of a more nationalist communist leader, Wladyslaw Gomulka.
I have to tell you that I was not particularly politically astute back then, as you may have gathered from the book. I just got caught up in the mood when I heard that the demonstration was taking place, and I joined it with a friend. I didn't plan the march; I didn't help prepare it; I did not play any kind of important role at all. I was just there.
Q. Then, on November 3, you were in the Parliament building to cover what turned out to be the last press conference of Imre Nagy's reform government.
A. I was there not to report the big event, for which I was totally unqualified, but rather to record some colorful tidbits that I might have picked up. Which I did. I was ready to do that for the next afternoon's paper. But at dawn on November 4, the Soviets crushed the revolution, and my paper never appeared again.
Q. After it witnessed the Berlin uprising of 1953, what sort of plans should the United States have had in place for the next time something similar happened?
A. Let me go a bit further than I go in the book. I would now go so far as to say that the dominant view in the White House, held particularly by [Vice President Richard] Nixon, was that gradual change in Hungary, à la Titoism, would not help American interests. So they used very strong language on Radio Free Europe, and the thought was that either Communism collapses, and that's good for us, or else Soviet tanks would keep the regime in power, which is good propaganda for us. ... We believed, like Stalin, the worse, the better. And that, I must say, was unfortunate, and wrong.
Q. What do we know now from the Kremlin's archives about the range of outcomes that the Soviets might have been willing to tolerate?
A. First, I should emphasize that whatever options they may have considered, that does not change the brutality of their ultimate decision to crush the revolution. So while I am critical of American policy, and while I am critical of the Hungarian leadership's incompetence, the key issue remains as it has been, which is that a small country wanted to be independent, and the Soviets did not allow that to happen. The basic story has not changed.
Having said that, we do now know that from the very beginning, ... they were considering a range of options. As late as October 30, they reached a decision not to act militarily, and they were hoping, expecting, that Imre Nagy would save their cause. So it might have been a slightly different country ... with some kind of limited pluralism and perhaps some mom-and-pop stores representing free enterprise. And if things went too far from the Soviet point of view, they could hope to roll back the gains over time....
SOURCE: Norman Stone in the Journal of Turkish Weekly (10-21-06)
“The Armenian ‘genocide’ is an imperialist plot.” So said Dogu Perincek, in Marxist mode, and he chose to say it in Switzerland. Switzerland passed a law threatening prison for anyone ‘denying’ that there had been a genocide of the Ottoman Armenians in 1915, and Mr. Perincek was interrogated by the police.
There have been similar events in other countries and now we have the French parliament passing a law that is harsher than the Swiss one – a year’s prison and a heavy fine. This is a ridiculous and contemptible business – bad history and worse politics. It is also financially very grubby indeed. We all know how the American legal system can work: lawyers will agree to work for nothing, in return for a share of the profits at the end of a court case. Court cases are very expensive and it can simply be easier for banks or firms or hospitals to agree to make a payment without any confession of liability, just because fighting the case would be absurdly expensive, and the outcome – given how the American jury system works – unpredictable. A burglar, crawling over a householder’s glass roof, fell through it, was badly wounded, and took the householder to court: result, a million dollars in damages. Class actions by Armenian Diaspora descendants in California shook down the Deutsche Bank over claims dating back to 1915 and collected 17,000,000 dollars; then they attempted the same with a French insurance company. We can be entirely certain that if Turkey ever ‘recognizes the genocide’ then the financial claims will follow.
But if Turkey refuses to admit it, she is in fact on perfectly good ground. The very first thing to be said is that the business of ‘genocide’ has never been proved. The evidence for it is at best indirect and when the British were in occupation of Istanbul they never found any direct evidence or proof at all. They kept some hundred or so prominent Turks in captivity on Malta, hoping to find some sort of evidence against them, and failed. They asked the Americans if they knew anything and were told, no. The result is that the alleged ‘genocide’ has never been subjected to a properly-constituted court of law. The British released their Turks (meanly refusing to pay for their journeys back home from Malta). There is a counter-claim to the effect that this happened because the Nationalist Turks were holding British officers hostage but the fact is that the Law Officers simply said that they did not have the evidence to try their captives.
Diaspora Armenians claim that ‘historians’ accept the genocide case. There is some preposterous organization called ‘association of genocide scholars’ which does indeed endorse the Diaspora line, but who are they and what qualifications do they have? Knowing about Rwanda or Bosnia or even Auschwitz does not qualify them to discuss Anatolia in 1915, and the Ottoman specialists are by no means convinced of the ‘genocide’. There is in fact an ‘A’ team of distinguished historians who do not accept the Diaspora line at all. In France, Gilles Veinstein, historian of Salonica and a formidable scholar, reviewed the evidence in a famous article of 1993 in L’Histoire. Back then the Armenian Diaspora were also jumping up and down about something or other, and Veinstein summed up the arguments for and against, in an admirably fair-minded way. The fact is that there is no proof of ‘genocide’, in the sense that no document ever appeared, indicating that the Armenians were to be exterminated. There is forged evidence. In 1920 some documents were handed to the British by a journalist called Andonian. She claimed that he had been given them by an Ottoman official called Naim. The documents have been published as a book (in English and French) and if you take them at face value they are devastating: here is Talaat Pasha as minister of the Interior telling the governors to exterminate the Armenians, not to forget to exterminate the children in orphanages, but to keep it all secret. But the documents are very obviously a forgery – elementary mistakes as regards dates and signatures. At the time, in 1920, the new Armenian Republic was collapsing. Kazim Karabekir was advancing on Kars (which fell almost without resistance) and the Turkish Nationalists were co-operating with Moscow (in effect there was a bargain: Turkey would abandon Azerbaijan and Russia would abandon Anatolian Armenia). The Armenians were desperate to get the British to intervene and save them, by landing troops at Trabzon. However, the British (and still more the French) had had enough of the problems of Asia Minor and were in the main content to settle with the new Turkey. Andonian’s documents belong in that context. The chief Armenian ‘genocidist,’ V.Dadrian, still passionately defends the authenticity of these documents but the attempt does not do much credit to his scholarship: for instance, to the claim that the paper on which these documents were written came from the French school in Aleppo, he answers that there was a paper shortage (leading the Ottoman governor to ask a French headmaster if he could use some of his school-paper? Not very likely). The Naim-Andonian documents have incidentally never been tested in a court. The British refused to use them and a German court subsequently waved them aside. They have since disappeared – not what you would have expected had they been at all that is the sum total of the evidence as to ‘genocide’. Otherwise you are left with what English courts call ‘circumstantial evidence’ – i.e. a witness testifying that another witness said something to someone. Such evidence does not count. In the past three years Armenian historians have apparently been going round archives ?n two dozen countries to find out what they contain – the Danish archives for instance. What they contain is what we knew already – that an awful lot of Armenians were killed or died in the course of a wartime deportation from many parts of Anatolia. Did the Ottoman government intend to exterminate the race, or was it just a deportation that went horribly wrong? ...
I read Bettina to be telling a very difficult thing that she would much prefer not to be telling. I find it harder to imagine a motive for Bettina for lying (and lying so elaborately) than it is to imagine that the abuse occurred. I suspect my reaction differs from some because I've heard so much testimony, from kids and adult women about sexual abuse from fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, uncles--not 'recovered memory,' most of it has nothing to do with that--that I no longer have the reflexive"it can't be!" shock reaction that comes from not really having much sense of the scope or range of the problem, and from thinking that the men that do it are--surely, must be, monsters, heinous criminals--and rare. They're not. Women talk about not only continuing abuse of the kind Bettina alleges but also a continuum that ranges from one-time sexual wierdness with fathers (such as him beating her up for breaking the rules and during the beating the girl becomes aware that he has an erection; fathers making one-time passes at their 15-year olds; fathers who grope) to continuing abuse. At least half the women I know well enough to have talked about it have had some experience of this kind, and several experienced sustained sexual abuse as children.
Progressive men need to get a little more honest about this. One excellent ally in some child sexual abuse cases I worked on in Mississippi is a radical preacher from New Orleans--he not only took men to task and said, let's call it what it is, rape, but he also told on himself about sexual feelings he had around his daughter. So this needs to be called out for what it is--not in a shocked anti-sex hysterical save-the-innocents caterwaul--but selfish male supremacist bullshit that must stop.
Bettina said her father asked,"Did I ever hurt you when you were a child?" and her answer was"yes." So he didn't know, or claimed not to know, that this would or did hurt her. When told yes, he was anguished. I think this is very real if not typical--men justify this bad behavior by saying it isn't hurting anyone, carefully constructing their denial. (I suppose in some cases they're simply so selfish that they don't need to bother with denial.)
It's only through women and girls really calling men on it and telling them they will not get away with it--and that they may be exposed--that it will stop. The reaction to Bettina's book is one sign of how much shit you will get if you speak out, so this is something that takes considerable courage.
As for 'forgetting' something for decades, I think 'forgetting' is not really the right word. I have had this happen with one traumatic experience, and it's more like putting something in a drawer you don't open. When you open it, the memory is still there, it wasn't ever gone, really, but you just didn't have time or space or a way to think about it, so you didn't. If, while the drawer is closed, you are asked, 'did x happen?' your answer is genuinely 'no' but later it might dawn on you that well, actually, 'yes.'
I'm not on a jury, and it's true there would be a higher burden of proof there. This will never, thank god, go to a jury, since the criminal justice system is not the answer to this (a strong women's liberation movement is). But one reason Bettina has for talking about this is that public exposure--and the fear of it--really is the most powerful leverage to get men to stop.
SOURCE: Press Release (10-20-06)
The Bush Administration and Congress this week took the destruction of American civil liberties to a new low, in the name of a war against terror. The Magna Carta of 1215 established habeas corpus, the right to come before a court of law to confront one's accusers and to be safe from arbitrary arrest, indefinite imprisonment without charges, and capricious treatment. American colonists revolted against King George in 1776 in part for his refusal to ensure such legal rights.
Now George Bush and Congress have authorized the suspension of habeas corpus for non-citizens and legal permanent residents within the U.S. The President may detain anyone -- U.S. citizens included -- by designating them as enemy combatants, without the normal standards of habeas corpus. The President may also unilaterally determine what is and is not torture. The new law provides retroactive immunity to he and others who have instituted torture in the past.
On many counts, the Military Commissions Act violates the U.S. Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, and long-held precepts of fair treatment and democracy.
Within the American military, commanding officer named Lt. Ehren Watada has stood up against the President, charging him with lying about the reasons for war in Iraq, ignoring the United Nations prohibition on the use of force unless our country has been attacked, and carrying out the war in ways that have led to untold civilian deaths and human rights abuses, in violation of the Geneva Conventions, U.S. Army regulations, and the Nuremberg Principles. For these reasons, Watada says the war itself is illegal.
Watada is the first officer to refuse to go to Iraq, and the first to challenge the legality of the war. The U.S. Army at Ft. Lewis, Washington, plans to court martial him in the winter, and may send Watada to prison for up to eight years. In Tacoma, a Citizen's Hearing will be held on December 11-12, to inquire into these issues.
It is the American Way: question authority. For more information on Lt. Watada's challenge to President Bush's invasion and war in Iraq, see Michael Honey's new 16-minute film, A Soldier's Duty?
For additional documentation on the Watada case, see:
In perilous times, it is up to the citizens to exercise their democratic rights to think and question their government. Now more than ever, we must exercise those rights.
SOURCE: Henry Kissinger in the NYT Book Review (10-15-06)
History has treated Acheson more kindly. Accolades for him have become bipartisan. Secretaries of state appointed by the party of his erstwhile tormentors have described him as a role model; Condoleezza Rice is the most recent example. Thirty-five years after his death, Acheson has achieved iconic status. This is all the more remarkable in view of his out-of-scale personality, so at odds with the present period, in which eminence seems to be tolerable only in the garb of the commonplace....
For someone like myself, who knew Acheson, Beisner’s portrait does not always capture the vividness of his personality, which emerges too much as a list of eccentricities. Acheson’s relationship with the Nixon White House, and to President Nixon himself, is too cavalierly dismissed as the result of ego and an old man’s vanity. As a participant in all these meetings, I considered that relationship an example of Acheson’s generosity of spirit. Nixon had made essentially unforgivable attacks on Acheson during his 1952 campaign for vice president. But when he reached out to Acheson, it was received with the consideration Acheson felt he owed to the office, as a form of duty to the country. Acheson dealt with the issues Nixon put before him thoughtfully, precisely, without any attempt at flattery, in pursuit of his conception of national service and, unlike some other outside advisers, without offering advice that had not been solicited.
Acheson emerges from the Beisner book as the greatest secretary of state of the postwar period in the sweep of his design, his ability to implement it, the extraordinary associates with whom he surrounded himself and the nobility of his personal conduct. He was impatient with relativists who sought surcease from the complexity of decisions by postulating the moral equivalence of the United States and the Soviet Union. His values were absolute, but he knew also that statesmen are judged by history beyond contemporary debates, and this requires a willingness to achieve great goals in stages, each of which is probably imperfect by absolute standards.
This was the theme of an Acheson speech at the War College in August 1951: “There was not ‘one more river to cross’ but ‘countless problems stretching into the future.’ ... Americans must reconcile themselves to ‘limited objectives’ and work in congress with others, for an essential part of American power was the ‘ability to evoke support from others — an ability quite as important as the capacity to compel.’ ”
The importance of that perception has not changed with the passage of time.