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: David Garrow in the LAT (2-27-07)
RECENT NEWS headlines announce a revival of the Ku Klux Klan. The Christian Science Monitor warns that the KKK "appears to be on the rise again after years of irrelevance." The Associated Press reports that white supremacists are "significantly more active" and are "focused on stirring anti-immigrant sentiment," particularly against Mexicans and other Latinos.
The stimulus for these stories is a 13-page report from the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization that has long fought all forms of bigotry. The ADL says the Klan "experienced a resurgence in 2006," with "a noticeable spike in activity by Klan chapters across the country." All told, the ADL estimates that there could be as many as 5,000 members and associates of the KKK spread across the country.
So is it time to be worried? Is the ADL correct in warning of a dangerous resurgence of the dreaded and widely hated organization that committed so many acts of terror against African Americans during Reconstruction and the civil rights era?
It's not so clear. The ADL document identifies several Klan groups as especially active in 2005-06. One is the Brotherhood of Klans, based in Henderson, Tenn., which sponsored a number of public events during that period — but whose leader, Dale Fox, died of a heart attack in November.
Another is the World Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in Sharpsburg, Md., which mustered a turnout of only about 30 Klansmen at the Civil War battlefield near Gettysburg, Pa., in September. World Knights leader Gordon Young "used the event to denounce multiracial marriage and immigration," the ADL reports. Two months later, however, the World Knights unexpectedly disbanded, and in January, Young was arrested on multiple felony charges of sexual abuse of a minor. He remains in jail on $350,000 bond and faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Even the ADL acknowledges that "many individual Klan groups themselves typically do not last long before fragmenting or falling apart," and it admits that nationwide the KKK is "extremely fragmented" with "little" financial support.
Yet the report seems determined to make things sound as bad as possible. For instance, it highlights the Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a group formed in 2005 whose website claims it has "realms" in 20 states reaching from Massachusetts to California.
The ADL's emphasis on the Empire Knights failed to impress Florida's St. Petersburg Times, the major newspaper closest to the Knights' U.S. headquarters. "The Anti-Defamation League says there is a Homosassa branch of the Ku Klux Klan and that it is helping lead a national Klan resurgence," a Times story began. "This came as news to the Citrus County sheriff's office," the paper said. Sheriff's investigators there "have seen no activity recently" by the Homosassa Klan, the paper reported.
ADL Florida regional director Andrew Rosenkranz, the Times went on, "said he didn't disagree with local law enforcement's observations."
Frankly, the turnout of a mere 20 KKKers at an anti-immigration rally organized by the Empire Knights in Amarillo, Texas, in August may be indicative of the Knights' lack of strength. The ADL emphasizes how the Knights' website features "an Internet-based radio station … which broadcasts white power music" as well as links to the 20 state "realms" — but the available evidence suggests that the "Empire" may be a Potemkin village. ...
SOURCE: NYT (2-28-07)
The panels, known as Institutional Review Boards, are required at all institutions that receive research money from any one of 17 federal agencies and are charged with signing off in advance on almost all studies that involve a living person, whether a former president of the United States or your own grandmother. This results, critics say, in unnecessary and sometimes absurd demands....
“It drives historians crazy,” said Joshua Freeman, the director of the City University’s graduate history program. “It’s a medical model, it’s inappropriate and ignorant.” One student currently waiting for a board to approve his study of a strike in the 1970s, Mr. Freeman said, had to submit a list of questions he was going to ask workers and union officials, file signed consent forms, describe the locked location where he would keep all his notes, take a test to certify he understood the standards....
Bernadette McCauley, a historian at Hunter College, said she ran into trouble a couple of years ago when she tried to help students working with the Museum of the City of New York on an exhibition about Washington Heights. She asked if a few nuns who had grown up in that neighborhood and whom she knew from her research would talk to the students. And that, Ms. McCauley said, was “when things went haywire.”
The review board discovered the request and lambasted Ms. McCauley for failing to consult with it, she said. The board also demanded proof that previous research for a completed book did not use any archival material involving living people and banned her from doing any research.
Michael Arena, the director of communications at City University, said in an e-mail message that Ms. McCauley initially refused to send in a “brief description” of her research so that board members could determine whether federal regulations covered her work. Ms. McCauley hired a lawyer and after six months of negotiations, the board agreed that her research was exempt.
SOURCE: The Messenger (Tbilisi, Georgia) (2-27-07)
"The appearance of a new textbook is not unusual during conflict situations. The book serves to discredit Georgians and totally eliminate them from the historical past of the region. The historical peaceful co-existence of Georgians and Abkhaz is totally ignored in the new textbook," Georgian historian Malkhaz Toria from the Institute of Ethnology and History of Science told The Messenger.
Toria, who has read the book, uses the treatment of the Georgian-Abkhazian war during 1992-93 as an example of the books bias. In the textbook he says the war is described as, "a war for the freedom of Abkhazia, striving against Georgian oppression." According to the Abkhazians, the result of the war was "historical justice restored." He says the textbook reads that only Georgians are to be blamed for the fact that Abkhazians were lacking independence and that Abkhazia was forcefully united into the structure of Soviet Georgia.
According to Toria, the new textbook is an attempt to artificially re-write the historical past of the region, "The fact that Georgians are totally excluded from the region's history cannot be tolerated," he says...
Another bone of contention is the Middle Ages, considered a Golden Age for both Abkhazians and Georgians. Abkhazians claim that during that period Abkhazia managed to gain control over all of Georgia. According to Abkhaz historiography, Abkhazians held the positions of leadership, enjoying supremacy over ethnic Georgians. For their part, Georgians say it was in this period that Georgia -- including Abkhazia -- was united by Georgian monarchs into a powerful state.
SOURCE: http://www.newwest.net (2-25-07)
Hal, who was widely considered one of the nation’s experts on the New West, tourism and post-industrial economies, wrote here at NewWest.Net about what he called “a hodgepodge of urban issues, environmental critique, assaults on federal agencies and their tormentors, and a few other things.”
Hal’s voice was one to be reckoned with. He wrote about water shortages, fire policy, public land politics and growth with the context only a dedicated historian could. He was unfailingly direct and sure of his words, which for this writer in particular, was a lesson in self-confidence and a testament to the knowledge and research it takes to truly dissect an issue with clarity and depth.
He had a knack for making even the most academic stories human and real and I think that’s why his writings—here and elsewhere (he wrote extensively for High Country News and the Las Vegas Sun)—resonated with such a force. He thoroughly enjoyed making people think past old ideas and delighted in watching people chime in on his columns in comment threads.
SOURCE: NYT (2-28-07)
The book was “Transformations in Late 18th Century Art.” Its author was Robert Rosenblum, a young professor of art history. The book, Mr. Rosenblum’s first, has been a staple ever since. And Mr. Rosenblum, who died in December at 79, went on to become the most consistently edifying art historian of his generation. With a combination of iconoclasm, faultless lucidity and wit, he smashed aesthetic prejudices the way physicists smash atoms. There ought to be a Nobel Prize for that sort of achievement.
Mr. Rosenblum’s life and work are to be honored today at a memorial program at the Guggenheim Museum, where he had been a curator since 1996. But I suspect I’m not the only critic who remembers Mr. Rosenblum almost every time he or she sits down to write. Sometimes I go back to the books. Sometimes their insights fly into my head unbidden, accompanied by images of the work they illuminated.
Here comes “Selling of Cupids,” for example, a 1763 painting by Joseph-Marie Vien. The first illustration in Mr. Rosenblum’s first book, it depicts a Roman lady hawking living love charms out of a basket, as if the winged babes were puppies. Miss! Oh, Miss! I’ll take one!
What kind of man would open his career in the stuffy field of art history with such a picture? But Mr. Rosenblum’s writing gave no indication that this was possibly a campy debut. The voice was terse, the academic tone anchored by copious footnotes throughout. The thinking was directed more toward the form of the images than to their particular content. Line, surface, depth and other elements of composition were the subjects at hand. Mr. Rosenblum builds his discussion from the “primitive austerity” of Vien’s style, the “clean geometric divisions of wall plane and furniture,” and the picture’s “simplified, unbroken contours.”
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (2-27-07)
Kurt W. Treptow, of Miami Beach, Florida, left the prison in this northeastern city in his lawyer's car.
He was sentenced to the maximum of seven years in Dec. 2002 for offenses involving two girls, aged 10 and 13, who he invited into his home in Iasi. A Romanian woman convicted of being his accomplice is still in prison.
Treptow, who looked visibly emaciated as he left the prison, declined to comment.
The historian was released early because he wrote a book entitled "The life and Times of Vlad Dracul," while he was in prison, his lawyer Liviu Bran said. The book, penned from September 2003 until October 2006, was counted as community service, Bran told reporters.
Bran told the court during the trial his client had sex only with the 13-year-old girl and that he did not know she was a minor.
Treptow, who first studied in Romania as a Fulbright scholar during the communist regime toppled in 1989, has written and edited numerous books on Romanian history, including one about Romania's pro-Hitler World War II dictator, Marshal Ion Antonescu, and another on Vlad Tepes, the historical model for Dracula.
Treptow moved to Romania in the 1990s and was director of the Center for Romanian Studies in Iasi, which is housed in a building owned by the espionage service. The service has declined to say whether Treptow worked for them.
SOURCE: http://www.delawareonline.com (2-24-07)
After the Civil War, the secret paths were no longer needed. The landscape changed. Open fields gave way to buildings. Creeks were traversed by bridges, and dirt paths became concrete roads. Old homes were torn down or found new life as museums.
Peel back the layers, and the trail thousands of slaves took through Delaware on their journey north in the early 1800s is still there. Researchers are collecting stories, letters, diary entries and maps and using them to create a road they hope will become a state highway honoring those who ran and "rode" the Underground Railroad.
"As you're driving on the route, it doesn't look the same as it did and we're kind of connecting the dots of how to improve it by making a scene that tells the story," said Sarah Beetham, one of a group of University of Delaware graduate students working on the project. "It's not just presenting the sites. We want to make it more emotionally involved by actually telling a story from the point of view of people seeking freedom."
David Ames, a professor and director of UD's Center for Historic Architecture and Design who is overseeing the state highway project, said that in thinking about the Underground Railroad, "people get very literal ... they think tracks and stations."
The path he and his students are creating has neither. Travelers who make the journey from the Choptank River in Maryland to the Pennsylvania border will follow routes 10, 15, 9 and 299, passing more than 20 sites connected to the Underground Railroad. The landmarks include houses, churches, fields and vacant lots.
"We are not pointing out one particular Underground Railroad route, but using contemporary roadways to touch on as many sites as we can to give people a sense of the passage from west to north and from the south to the north," said Debra Martin, preservation planner for the city of Wilmington.
SOURCE: http://dailybeacon.utk.edu (2-21-07)
For an associate professor of history at the University of Tennessee, this skill of quickly retrieving historical details comes in handy.
Without notes, Fleming flawlessly lectured on the civil rights movement while speaking to students in one of her African-American studies classes last week. In fact, Fleming humorously says she never uses notes.
As an oral historian who joined the Peace Corps in 1971 and served in Liberia, Fleming had the opportunity to listen to Liberians speak of their tribal history.
“I was so impressed with their memory,” she said. “They could recite their long history without any notes. I decided at that moment that I wanted to be an oral historian.”
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Fleming would later enroll at Knoxville College. The institution’s hymn had been written by her grandfather, and she became the seventh member of her family to attend the college, thus continuing her family’s legacy.
“I went to Knoxville College during the late 60s, so I am part of the Black Power Generation,” she said.
The Black Power movement, along with a fascination of history, pushed Fleming to major in the field. She continued her studies at Duke to gain a Ph.D. with her dissertation titled “History and Philosophy of Black Education in Tennessee.”
Fleming did not know it at the time, but her dissertation would be a factor in her recruitment to UT. After graduating, she went to teach at Morehouse University. She would later be recruited by UT to fill a position that offered her teaching as well as research opportunities....
SOURCE: NYT (2-27-07)
The Iranian government organized a two-day gathering in December, billed it as a legitimate conference on the historical record and invited notorious Holocaust deniers and white supremacists from around the world. Among those from the United States was the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
The Foreign Ministry held the event after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said several times that the Holocaust was a myth invented to justify the state of Israel.
In a bold gesture, more than 20 academics, writers and artists, many of whom live outside of Iran, signed a statement that was sent to The New York Times and circulated on the Internet last week, arguing that the gathering was an exercise in propaganda.
The statement said the conference harmed the academic image of Iranian universities and merely provided a pretext for warmongers in the region. It added that the gathering perpetuated the immoral stance of Holocaust denial, a position that seriously endangers world peace.
“The extensive material evidence, the confessions made in the Nuremberg trial and other trials that took place after the war and the testimonies of the survivors established the veracity of the accounts beyond any doubt,” the statement said....
SOURCE: Reuters (2-26-07)
"I'm happy that someone has finally dealt with the Stasi in a critical way," said historian Hubertus Knabe, director of the Hohenschoenhausen memorial museum at the site of a former Stasi prison in what used to be East Berlin.
"But there is naturally a danger that young people who learn some of their history from this film will come away thinking that the Stasi was a refuge for people secretly resisting the regime," Knabe told Reuters in an interview.
"The Lives of Others" by first-time filmmaker Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 33, won the Oscar for best foreign language film on Sunday.
"I'm delighted to have this wonderful golden phallus in my possession at last," Donnersmarck told Reuters after winning.
The film, which takes a close look at totalitarian powers once wielded by the Stasi, won rave reviews at home and abroad for its portrait of a Stasi agent who, while bugging a couple's home, develops an unexpected sympathy for them.
SOURCE: Notice posted on H-OIEAHC (2-26-07)
In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer that you send donations to the Interfaith Compassionate Memories, 949 South Lamar, Oxford, MS 38566, or to a charity of your choice.
Department of History
University of Mississippi
Memorial set for historian
SOURCE: Sky News (2-27-07)
SOURCE: Doug Monroe at his blog at Atlanta Magazine (2-27-07)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution of being too liberal,
Elliot Jaspin's charge that the AJC covered up his
story about racism in Forsyth County sounds almost
comical. Most of us who grew up in Georgia knew about
Forsyth County and its legendary signs that said,
"Nigger, don't let the sun set on you in Forsyth
County." The late Hosea Williams led a civil rights
march into Forsyth in 1987 and was attacked by the
Klan. Oprah came down. The world knew about it. But
Jaspin accuses the AJC of a "lackadaisical coverage of
Jaspin is a Pulitzer-winning reporter in Cox's
Washington bureau who was given five years to work on
one series that he has fashioned into a new book about
racial cleansing of black people from predominantly
white communities such as Forsyth County. A chapter in
it details his charges against the AJC, which have
stirred an enormous controversy in journalism circles.
It's really sort of phenomenal. Jaspin was paid by Cox
to work on this one story, sponsored by Cox's Austin,
Texas, paper, and he turns the story into a book that
attacks the AJC. And he's still on the payroll!
Meanwhile, Cox is cutting to the bone at the AJC,
where the public editor declares that everybody is
going to have to work harder.
The story about Jaspin's charges was broken by Richard
The reporter who uncovered a 60-year pattern of
expelling African Americans from communities around
the country and wrote a series about it last year says
the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the flagship of the
newspaper company he works for, tried to undermine
what he produced.
In a book scheduled to arrive in retail stores by
March 5, Elliot Jaspin quotes his boss, the Cox
Newspapers Washington bureau chief, Andy Alexander,
speaking of Julia Wallace, editor of the Atlanta
"Wallace's refusal to run the series rankled
Alexander," Jaspin wrote. "'I think we both know
what's going on here,' he told me in frustration at
one point. 'They are afraid of angering white
The book, "Buried in the Bitter Waters: The Hidden
History of Racial Cleansing in America,"builds upon
the four-part "Leave or Die" series Jaspin wrote last
SOURCE: Jamie Glazov at FrontpageMag.com (2-26-07)
FP: Andrew Roberts, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Roberts: Many thanks for asking me. It's a delight to appear in your pages.
FP: Some have called your work a “revisionist” history of the English-speaking peoples. Can you share with us one or two revisionist interpretations you have?
Roberts: I think it was Roger Kimball of the New Criterion who said that any history writing that doesn't conform to the dictates of political correctness as adumbrated by left-liberalism was now 'revisionist history', and I tend to agree with him. My book does not consider British imperialism to have been a Bad Thing, argues that the Versailles Treaty was not harsh enough on Germany, defends the bombing of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and considers the United States to have been a great force for good in the world since 1900. Once put in its proper historical context, the foreign policy of the Bush Administration is seen as being in the mainstream of the English-Speaking Peoples' political tradition, and none the worse for that.
FP: What was good about British imperialism?
Roberts: The British Empire provided good government, uncorrupt public administration, inter-tribal peace, the rule of law, free trade, the abolition of slavery, famine relief, the abolition of barbaric customs such as suttee and thugee, huge infrastructural advances such as railways, roads plus irrigation projects, and in every colony nurtured its native peoples towards running their own countries once they were ripe for independence.
Compared to any other global empire, it was a fantastically beneficial institution. When one looks at the history of many parts of the former Empire today - especially in Asia and Africa - the most peaceful and productive part of their history was during British rule.
FP: What are some of the way the United States has been a great force for good in the world since 1900?
Roberts: The US liberated huge portions of the world from Spain at the start of the century, protected Europe from being taken over by Wilhelmine Germany in the Great War, called a unilateral moratorium on War Debts under the Dawes Plan, aided the Allies before Pearl Harbor, chose to destroy Hitlerism before Japan, mobilised more men in World War II and spent more money for victory than any other power, liberated North Africa, France, Germany, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Italy and Austria from the Nazis, and the Far East from the Japanese, launched the $14 Billion Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, saved Berlin from being forced into the Soviet zone of Germany in 1948, protected South Korea and Chile, attempted to her uttermost to protect South Vietnam from the murderous scourges of Communism, it reached the Moon, won more Nobel prizes per capita than any other country, discovered the cures for numerous diseases such as polio, spends more in private philanthropy than any other nation by a significant factor, financed a large part of NATO for over 60 years, masterminded ultimate victory in the Cold War under Ronald Reagan bringing democracy to Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltics, and crushed Milosevic's murderous regime in Kosovo.
The US is presently shouldering around 90% of the burden defending Civilisation from the lethal and unappeasable threat of Islamic Fundamentalist terrorism. It's a glorious record, and one that deserves to be lauded more by a nation that all too often deprecated the enormously beneficial world role it has played since 1900.
FP: I agree, it is a glorious record and you have stated it powerfully and succinctly. I wonder why this side of history was never taught to me in university.
So give us a few sentences in terms of the key themes that you think mark the four world-historical struggles - against German Nationalism, Fascism, Communism and now radical Islam.
Roberts: The four great assaults on the English-speaking peoples since 1900 have been undertaken by various mutations of Fascism. The proto-Fascism of the Prussian militarists, the Axis powers' Fascism, the Red Fascism of the Soviets, and presently the Totalitarian Islamic Terrorist Fascism are all motivated by loathing of the English-speaking peoples' traditions of democratic pluralism.
FP: A large part of the Left, as you know, had a romance with Red Fascism throughout the 20th Century, just as it today cheers for Totalitarian Islamic Terrorist Fascism in our terror war. What explains this disposition of the Left? Why is it sympathetic to fascist ideologies and forces?
Roberts: Intellectuals of the Left bear a heavy responsibility for the cruelties and savagery of the 20th century, for reasons that I go into in some detail in my book. By believing that they could alter human nature given sufficient power over every aspect of people's existence, they tried to play God with human lives, around 95 million of which were lost in the process since 1900. It was a fatal conceit, yet they still believe it possible.
FP: What sacrifices do you think will be needed to maintain American greatness into the 21st century?
Roberts: I think that the English-speaking peoples will need to sacrifice their naivety about the true nature of war - and the losses that inevitably go with it - before they can win this latest bout of the anti-Fascist struggle. The experiences of conflicts such as Grenada, the Gulf War and Kosovo have instilled a belief that wars can be fought victoriously without significant allied losses. That was true of these localised, limited wars but is simply not true of the Manichean world-historical struggle they are presently engaged upon.
FP: Do the English-speaking peoples have the will to do what it takes to defeat the force of radical Islam?
Roberts: I fear, in the light of Congress's recent nonbinding (and utterly self-contradictory) resolution opposing the surge, the gross bias of much of the Left-Liberal media, and the present poll ratings of Sen Hillary Clinton, that the US will lose the will to fight the War against Terror in any manner that might hold out the hope of ultimate victory.
The alternative is isolationism, and the neutering of America and with her the English-speaking peoples. Her wealth will not protect her once the willpower has gone, as has been witnessed countless times in decaying empires of the past. It is, however, not too late.
FP: Let’s hope it is not too late. And if it isn’t too late, then may I ask what it isn’t too late for? What has to be done to win this conflict?
Roberts: The English-speaking peoples need to recognise that in a unipolar world they are not going to be as popular as they were in the pre-1989 bipolar world, especially when the other pole was Communism.
Therefore they must toughen their hearts to unpopularity, and instead earn the respect they deserve but doing what is right. In Iraq and Afghanistan this means fighting for as long as it takes to achieve complete and final victory over Radical Islam. They ought to view the conflict as a very long-term and necessarily painful but unavoidable generational conflict, and dedicate their energy and resources to it, in the way that they were willing to devote them to the extirpation of Nazism, Showa Japanese Fascism and Soviet Communism. They should not be afraid of threatening to widen the struggle to include foreign countries that aid and abet the insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq. They need to do whatever it takes to ensure that no country becomes a safe haven for jihadist terrorism.
George W. Bush will be treated better by History than he has been hitherto by the 24/7 media, because of the aggressive way he rose to the challenge post-9/11. If either of his predecessors had put Islamic terrorism as high on their agendas as he was forced to, we might not be facing this world-historical struggle today.
FP: Andrew Roberts, thank you for joining us. You are truly a breath of fresh air.
Roberts: It's an honor: many thanks.
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Education (3-5-07)
Although Buhle holds no official position in the new SDS, he is among the principal elders involved in the effort to revive it and is an editor at Next Left Notes. Now in his early sixties and a senior lecturer in history and American civilization at Brown University, he joined the original SDS while an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He still writes with the sense of enthusiasm and mission that characterized the radical manifestoes of the 60s, as suggested by his comments in Next Left Notes:"With a great deal of cooperation and energetic effort from students of all kinds, SDS can become great again. Building it, growing personally while sharing the project with old friends and those not discovered yet, can be the most rewarding experience imaginable."
The two other key leaders says Isserman are Bruce D. Rubenstein,"a lawyer in his late fifties with a personal-injury practice in Hartford, Conn." and Thomas Good, the editor of Next Left Notes. Good, says Isserman, disparaged another historian at the debut convention of the new SDS last August:
Some months before the convention, another veteran of the original SDS, the historian Jesse Lemisch, wrote a long article in the journal New Politics criticizing the nostalgia that was evident in some radical circles for the days when the Weathermen were on the march and on the lam. Lemisch's jeremiad, and other negative appraisals of the new SDS, including — full disclosure — some critical comments that I offered in response to an inquiry from a New York Sun reporter, did not sit well with Good. He began his account of the August convention for Next Left Notes by mentioning that on its opening day a fellow SDSer presented him with a"fuck Jesse Lemisch" T-shirt. He proudly wore it at subsequent sessions. It was, he averred,"an in joke that wasn't really mean spirited." He characterized Lemisch to his 11-year-old son as"just a grumpy old SDSer who is still fighting the battle of 1969 — although he means well, he sees Weathermen popping up in his soup."
Click here for an excerpt from the Isserman article.
SOURCE: Juan Cole at his blog: Informed Comment (2-26-07)
77% of American Jews oppose the Iraq war, according to a new Gallup poll. Only Black Protestants are more opposed, at 78%.
(Given that the Pope and the bishops oppose the Iraq War, you'd think Catholics would be against it in large numbers, too. But only 28% know what position their religious leaders have taken on it, so the Church has not been good at getting out the word. And, the hierarchy has seen its moral authority on such things deeply eroded by its silly stance on birth control and more recently by the pedophilia scandals.)
Both Jews and Blacks have a long history of preferring government spending on social justice to giving billions away to the (largely white Protestant) Military-Industrial Complex. And, of course, both overwhelmingly vote for the Democratic Party. American Jews were far less enthusiastic about going to war in 2003 than were other Americans (Only 50-some percent supported the war as opposed to 75% of the general public).
My suspicion is that the Israel factor does not play a significant role in this attitude, and that it has an almost wholly American context. Some 37 percent of American Jews say they are disturbed by Israeli policies, and less than half say that caring about Israel matters "a lot" to their sense of Jewishness.
Besides, if one did care about Israel, one couldn't take a lot of heart from the transformation of Iraq into a failed state full of determined bombers and guerrillas in training. Falluja just isn't that far from Tel Aviv. Even Yuval Diskin, head of Shin Bet, the Israeli intelligence agency, recently has admitted that Israel may end up missing Saddam Hussein: "When you dismantle a system in which there is a despot who controls his people by force, you have chaos," he said. "I'm not sure we won't miss Saddam." (Israeli television was recording him, unbeknownst to him).
Neoconservative Jews in the US like Richard Perle, Frederick Kagan and Michael Rubin at the American Enterprise Institute who vocally support the Iraq War (and have gotten rich off it) are a minority of a minority, and even are at odds with the Israeli security establishment! Moreover, the American Enterprise Institute, which crafted the Iraq War, is funded by Exxon Mobil, and last I checked it was run by white Protestants. The vice chair of AEI is Lee Raymond, former CEO of Exxon Mobil and surely Dick Cheney's old golf part ner in the Dallas years. That is, the Kagans and the Rubins, who identify with the Revisionist Zionist movement on the Israeli Right, are useful idiots for Big Oil, not movers and shakers in their own right.
SOURCE: Boston Globe (2-25-07)
At the women's college near Philadelphia, students had to sign a log when they went out at night, saying where they were going and with whom. When they returned to campus in darkness, "lantern men" guided them to their dormitories. Amid Vietnam War protests, the civil rights movement, and the sexual revolution, they felt that their world was opening up and the college had no right to rein them in.
Faust, who was student government president, and other student leaders met with a handful of trustees in a small conference room in an Atlantic City hotel that, to everyone's amusement, was filled with Miss America contestants. Faust would win the trustees over with a quiet, confident, persuasive style that many say led Harvard University to tap her two weeks ago as its next president.
She didn't make grand declarations or raise her voice as she made the case to trustees that the young women were responsible adults.
"In those days, some students were in an all-out pitch, and those who were very activist could also be somewhat unpleasant," said Mary Patterson McPherson , a former Bryn Mawr president who was a dean at the time that Faust spoke to the trustees. "Drew was so much more sensible than that. She was a wise person."
Faust, 59, has always been viewed as a leader in the worlds she has inhabited -- her hometown in rural Virginia; at Concord Academy in Concord, Mass.; Bryn Mawr; the University of Pennsylvania; and Harvard, where she spent her career as a Civil War historian and dean.
Some Harvard professors and alumni have questioned whether Faust has the fortitude or experience to take on the university's notoriously fractious faculty or oversee the building of a multibillion-dollar, science-focused campus in Allston. But Faust's friends and colleagues say she has proven she can handle those challenges. Since childhood, they say, she has exuded wisdom and toughness....
SOURCE: NYT (2-25-07)
A little over a year ago, Alyssa Mt. Pleasant, a Tuscarora from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy in New York, became Yale’s first American Indian faculty member whose teaching is entirely devoted to American Indian studies under both the American Indian Studies Program and the History Department. The joint position, a first for Yale, turned full time this past fall.
The first session of Dr. Mt. Pleasant’s Introduction to American Indian History drew about 70 students for 15 openings.
“Native and non-Native students are both interested in these classes,” said Dr. Mt. Pleasant, who had worked part time for two years as assistant professor of American studies and history at Yale. “More generally, the field has taken off in the past generation. In the past decade, we see a lot of scholars bringing in the Indian voice.”
Nationally, there are only about 30 American Indians who are professional historians. Dr. Mt. Pleasant is a graduate of Cornell with a degree in history and American studies. Her courses include “The Native American Experience in North America”; “Indian-Colonial Relations in Comparative Perspective”; “Northeastern Native America, 1850 to Today”; and “Land, Homelands and American Indian Histories.”
“Most of the time I don’t like to read about American history,” said Ashley Hemmers, an international relations major in her fourth year at Yale. “It makes me upset, especially Native history. It gets mistranslated or lost. Here, people are really concerned about the conceptualization. The way Yale is set up, it’s supportive of our endeavors. I’m able to hear the Native voice, not more dates and occurrences.”
Ms. Hemmers and Dr. Mt. Pleasant said they watched the discoveries among students as they tried to grasp all the levels of a tribe, how each state differs and each people has a different history.
“They couldn’t believe that Indians did not have the right to use courts until the 1970s,” Dr. Mt. Pleasant said. “Or how the Canandaigua Treaty still continues today. Some of our students walked out with a better understanding of the framework of United States history — that it’s not just about expansion but about diminishment of our homelands.”...
SOURCE: John Lewis Gaddis in the NYT Book Review (2-25-07)
Even as he was celebrating that triumph, the new chief executive and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, were planning a comparably dramatic giant leap in diplomacy. It reached fruition on Feb. 21, 1972, when Nixon stepped onto an airport tarmac in Beijing, grasped the hand of the Chinese prime minister Zhou Enlai, and stood at attention as a People’s Liberation Army band played “The Star-Spangled Banner.” A few hours later the president of the United States was exchanging pleasantries with the world’s most prominent revolutionary, Mao Zedong, a conversation that only months earlier would have seemed far less likely than landing men on the moon.
Thus began, as Nixon described it, “the week that changed the world,” and this time no one questioned his claim. Margaret MacMillan has made it the subtitle of “Nixon and Mao,” surprisingly the first fully documented history of how the Americans and the Chinese “opened” to one another after a quarter-century of bitter hostility. In doing so, she echoes her widely acclaimed “Paris 1919,” a volume notable for its scope, mastery of complex issues and vivid portrayals of the statesmen who shaped the post-World War I peace settlement.
A professor of history at the University of Toronto, soon to move to Oxford as warden of St. Antony’s College, MacMillan in her earlier book defended the peacemakers of 1919 against the charge that they had failed. The outbreak of a new world war two decades later, she argued, resulted not from their mistakes but from those of their successors. She has little need, in “Nixon and Mao,” to defend the peacemakers of 1972, for in the three and a half decades since they met, regrets have been remarkably few. An event that seemed inconceivable before it happened was instantly regarded by almost everyone after it happened as having made perfect sense. Rarely has foresight been so at odds with hindsight....
he world-changing week in Beijing reflected interests that had been converging for some time. MacMillan’s account of these, however, does not converge as clearly as it might have. Rather than tracing the roots of Sino-American reconciliation to the point at which they intersected, she flashes back to them from within the critical week itself. The intention may be cinematic but the effect is jarring. Nixon’s motorcade can hardly move through the streets of Beijing without MacMillan interrupting its progress to explain the history of Communism in China or to analyze the delicate Nixon-Kissinger relationship. Her method also confuses chronology, so Kissinger’s top-secret trip to Beijing in 1971 follows by more than a hundred pages her description of Nixon’s arrival in that city in 1972. It’s a relief when, in the second half of the book, the narrative settles into a more conventional framework....
After recognizing a few familiar faces amongst this unusual congregation, I saw sitting up at the altar Dr. Joseph Massad, Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University, and his cospeaker Dr. Tanya Reinhart, Professor of Linguistics at Tel Aviv University and the University of Utrecht.
Massad and Reinhart's co-lecture "Channeling Israeli Apartheid" capped off Israel Apartheid Week's series of lectures, which focused on topics like divestment, marriage laws, and the media.
Although Massad's lecture began with an acknowledgment of Israel's "substantive and psychological" desire for peace, he soon added that Israel has simply requested that the world recognize its "right to be a racist state." Followed by a round of laughter, the phrase became the central rhetorical device of Massad's speech, serving as the semi-sarcastic tagline to many of his sentences. Massad criticized all existing solutions proposed to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as having accepted Israel's racist nature, racist laws, and system of apartheid. For example, after the 1993 Oslo Accords, the late President of the Palestinian National Authority Yasser Arafat recognized Israel's "need to be a racist," and following Arafat's death, his successor Mahmoud Abbas has also been persuaded to recognize this "right to be racist." In his conclusion, Massad, rejecting the proposed two-state plan, and recommended a "decolonized, binational state" as the only acceptable solution.
While Reinhart focused more on the anti-apartheid model of resistance, her lecture lacked Massad's organization. While initially criticizing international demands on the Palestinians to renounce violence and recognize past accords, Reinhart eventually lauded the South African model of anti-apartheid resistance through divestment and sanctions. She considered it the preferable, nonviolent alternative to wiping Israel off the map, the plan Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has endorsed.
I raised an eyebrow at Reinhart's faith that this anti-apartheid model had ushered in an age of "equality and dignity" for all South African citizens, whites included. Even Massad later countered that Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress were only able to bring about an end to white political domination by surrendering to American demands and accepting continued economic apartheid.
Following the two speeches was a question and answer session during which Massad explained his use of the term "right to be racist." Expressing distaste for racial theory, Massad questioned the genetic links between 19th century European Jews and the ancient Israelite kingdom. He instead argued that notions of Semitic identity were actually the result of European gentile racism that sought to paint Ashkenazi Jews as foreigners. Citing the example of Germans who trace their ancestry back to the Aryans/Teutons of northern India, Massad noted that even if such a genetic link existed, no one would agree to the Deutschland's colonization of the South Asian subcontinent.
In his closing statement, Massad's vehement opposition to an Israeli ethnic state served as a more general criticism of ethnic national identities. However, while Massad posited that this "right to be racist" was a result of perceived Jewish exceptionalism, I wondered what was exceptional about this perceived right considering the global hegemony of ethnonationalism. While I share Massad's demand for purely civic nationalism, states' de jure and de facto glorification of specific religions, dialects, races, cultures, etc. marginalize his view into the realm of idealism.
The lecture ended with a short argument between the two professors about the merits of a one- and two-state solutions; however, as expressed earlier, they both believed a continuation of Israel's policies was, as Reinhart stated, "suicidal" for Israel and that "saving Palestinians is saving Israel."
SOURCE: NYT (2-25-07)
Akram embarked eight years ago on a single-volume biographical dictionary of female hadith scholars, a project that took him trawling through biographical dictionaries, classical texts, madrasa chronicles and letters for relevant citations. “I thought I’d find maybe 20 or 30 women,” he says. To date, he has found 8,000 of them, dating back 1,400 years, and his dictionary now fills 40 volumes. It’s so long that his usual publishers, in Damascus and Beirut, have balked at the project, though an English translation of his preface — itself almost 400 pages long — will come out in England this summer. (Akram has talked with Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s former ambassador to the United States, about the possibility of publishing the entire work through his Riyadh-based foundation.)...
SOURCE: Press Release -- UM (2-24-07)
history and African-American studies at the University of
Mississippi, died at his home Friday (Feb. 23) after a long
illness. He was a Quaker and a member of the Oxford Friends
Jordan won four national prizes in 1968-69 for his book
"White Over Black: American Attitudes Towards the Negro,
1550-1812," including the Society of American Historians'
Parkman Prize, Columbia University's Bancroft Prize, Phi
Beta Kappa's Ralph Waldo Emerson Award and the National
Book Award for History and Biography.
As part of its 50th anniversary, American Heritage magazine
ranked "White Over Black" as the second-best book of all
time in African American history, second only to W.E.B.
DuBois' "Souls of the Black Folk."
"This book helped lead a revolution in the understanding of
how slavery became an accepted part of early American
life," said Robert Haws, who chaired the university's
history department from 1986 to 2007. "It forever changed
our understanding of the roots of racism in the United
Jordan received several awards, including another Bancroft
Prize, for his "Tumult and Silence at Second Creek: An
Inquiry Into a Civil War Slave Conspiracy" (1993).
He was slated to receive the B.L.C. Wailes Award from the
Mississippi Historical Society March 3 in Jackson.
"Through the years, no faculty person has achieved greater
distinction at Ole Miss than Winthrop Jordan," said
Chancellor Robert Khayat. "Historians across the world are
aware of his work, his colleagues respected him without
reservation and he was much admired by his students.
Although we have lost him, his legacy lives on."
Born in 1931 in Worcester, Mass., Jordan received his
bachelor's degree in social relations from Harvard College
in 1953, master's degree in history from Clark University
in 1957 and doctoral degree in history from Brown
University in 1960.
Jordan began teaching in 1955 as a history instructor at
Phillips Exeter Academy before joining the faculty at the
University of California-Berkeley, where he served from
1963 to 1982. He also served as associate dean for minority
group affairs in the UC-Berkeley graduate school.
Jordan joined the UM faculty in 1982. He became the first
holder of the William F. Winter Professorship of History in
1993 and retired in 2003.
Haws called Jordan "the most distinguished faculty member
ever" in the university's history department.
"Before he had turned 40, his scholarship had defined the
entire field of general race relations and set the
scholarly agenda for the study of race in American history
for two generations of scholars," Haws said
Jordan's numerous awards include fellowships from the
Institute of Early American History and Culture, Guggenheim
Foundation, Social Science Research Council and the Center
for the Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences. He also
received a Distinguished Alumnus Citation from Brown
Jordan is survived by his wife, Cora; three sons, Joshua
Jordan of Davis, Calif., Mott Jordan of Santa Cruz, Calif.,
and Eliot Jordan of Berkeley, Calif.; three step-children;
his former wife, Phyllis Jordan of Berkeley, Calif.; five
grandchildren and five step-grandchildren.
Hodges Funeral Home in Oxford is handling arrangements. A
campus memorial is being planned.
Visit Ole Miss on the World Wide Web at www.olemiss.edu.
SOURCE: Evan Thomas in a two-page spread in Newsweek (2-26-07)
The last time the United States and Britain threatened to go to war against each other was in 1895. As European powers raced to expand their empires, Britain coveted a mineral-rich slice of Venezuela along the border of its colony British Guiana. Invoking the Monroe Doctrine, President Grover Cleveland vowed to "resist by every means" British adventuring in the Caribbean. The prospect of taking on Britain thrilled some jingoistic Americans, including Theodore Roosevelt, who was at the time a New York City police commissioner. "Let the fight come if it must," he wrote to his friend Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge. "I don't care whether the seacoast cities are bombarded or not; we would take Canada."
Fighting a war with England, whose Navy floated 55 battleships against America's three, because of a border dispute in Venezuela was a preposterous idea. (TR was still going through the Sturm und Drang period of adolescence, explained philosopher William James.) Both governments calmed down when Britain realized it faced a bigger threat—Germany—to the British Empire's designs on Africa.
The naval bombardment of New York thus averted, British and American leaders saw that their peoples were better served as partners than rivals. So began the "Special Relationship." The partnership has been a good thing for much of the rest of the world, argues Andrew Roberts in his new book, "A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900." Roberts takes his inspiration from Winston Churchill's four-volume work by the same title. Churchill's history ended in 1901, just at the beginning of the high age of the English-speaking peoples (defined as nations in which a majority are English-speakers). The idea is redolent of Mahan, Kipling and imperialism; even the most devoted adherents of the Anglo-American world view are hard pressed to square the English-speaking peoples' love of liberty and the rule of law with the condescending and cruel racial views that prevailed in London and Washington in the age Churchill and now Roberts have so lovingly chronicled....
SOURCE: http://www.yerkir.am (2-22-07)
As reported by Sabah newspaper, Ara Sarafyan, one of the most important historians of the Armenian Diaspora and the editor of Blue Book accepted the suggestion of the chairman of the Turkish History Institution, Halaco?lu, to carry out a collaborative study.
It's worth noting that Armenian President Robert Kocharian stated that normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey depends on governments but not on historians. The Armenian leader underscored that Armenia is ready for dialogue with Turkey without preconditions.
The Blue Book by British historians Lord James Bryce and Arnold Toynbee which is formally known as The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1916 is one of the most important written evidence of the Armenian Genocide.
SOURCE: http://www.ahora.cu (2-22-07)
"It is admirable that it has been able to confront the United States," Briggs told reporters during a brief visit to Cuba, where he arrived on a cruise ship.
He told Prensa Latina that the best part of his voyage was to visit Cuba for the second time. The first was in 1983. You don’t need to be in Cuba to express interest in what happens here, he said.
I visited Cuba at an interesting time of history, I always wanted to return, but it took me too long to do so, he added.
When Prensa Latina asked him about his stance on his country’s dispute with Argentina over the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands, which led to a war in 1982, the prominent intellectual said that he never expected London would create that conflict.
"I know that upon returning to Great Britain, the media and my friends will want me to tell them about my experiences, because all eyes are set on Cuba at present," he said with emotion.
The prestigious academic, who was born in Keighley, Yorkshire, was the rector of Worcester College, in Oxford, and of the Open University. He won the Wolfson History Award in 2000.
SOURCE: Tucson Citizen (2-23-07)
"Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history." - Carter Godwin Woodson, Ph.D. (1875-1950)
Black History Month was founded to celebrate the culture and accomplishments of African-Americans.
Carter Godwin Woodson, the distinguished author, editor, publisher and historian, is known as the father of black history. In addition to writing many scholarly books and articles on the positive contributions of blacks, Woodson also established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915 and the Journal of Negro History in 1916.
He also founded the Associated Publishers and the Negro History Bulletin.
One of Woodson's most famous books, and one of my personal favorites, is "The Mis-Education of the Negro" - a must-read for anyone interested in black history.
Woodson was educated at Berea College in Kentucky and went on to earn a doctorate from Harvard - the second African-American to do so, following W.E.B. DuBois.
The story of Black History Month begins in 1920 in Nashville, Tenn., at the ninth annual convention of Omega Psi Phi, a historically black fraternity founded at Howard University in 1911.
Fraternity brothers Woodson, Col. Charles Young and Garnet C. Wilkinson were discussing the need for black people to recognize and celebrate the contributions of our culture.
All three men enjoyed literature, music and history, so the discussion was quite lively and thought provoking.
Upon further discussion, they agreed that if blacks were informed of their past achievements and accomplishments, they would feel more pride and confidence. Woodson suggested the brotherhood of Omega Psi Phi should do something about this issue.
Woodson volunteered to address the National Convention and explain to the body why he felt the brotherhood should formally celebrate Black history. During his address, he urged the brothers of Omega Psi Phi to devote more time to the study of Negro life and history....