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: HNN Staff (4-9-07)
In the article, which is not online, Packer suggests that McMaster discovered during two hard gruelling years of war in Iraq what the Pentagon has yet to figure out: how to win the war. McMaster admits that the first two years the Americans"didn't understand the complexity--what it meant for a society to live under a brutal dictatorship, with ethnic and sectarian divisions. When we first got here we made a lot of mistakes. We were like a blind man, trying to do the right thing but breaking a lot of things." The chief error Americans made was not listening."You have to really listen to people."
Other officiers told Packer that those first two years American higher ups were unwilling to admit that they were fighting a growing insurgency. The strategy chiefly adopted was to kill and capture them, which was no strategy at all. It was Vietnam all over again. As McMaster had written in his history book, attrition isn't a strategy.
Ultimately, McMaster decided to focus on learning the local culture so his soldiers could go door to door and know what they were facing: a family sitting down to a quiet meal or a house full of insurgents. He ordered them to take language classes and to read a history of Iraq (Phebe Marr's The Modern History of Iraq), along with selections from other authors including T.E. Lawrence.
When finally he took his soldiers into Tal Afar, which had been overrun by insurgents and terrorists, they succeeded in winning the trust of both Sunnis and Shia. The Iraqi army units attached to the Americans improved by adopting their approach. Instead of focusing on weapons they would focus on building relations with the local tribal chiefs.
Is it too late Packer asks for the Pentagon to shift course? Maybe. But pulling out of Iraq would guarantee disaster.
SOURCE: Campus Watch (5-10-07)
Along with teaching courses in Islamic law, religious studies and Arabic, Bazian, a Palestinian native, also devotes an inordinate amount of time to pro-Palestinian activism. Unfortunately, the bulk of this activism is centered on organizations, publications, speeches, and events that demonize Israel and, at times, the United States.
As documented by Jonathan Calt Harris for Campus Watch:
In May 2002, Bazian was the sole speaker for a two-day event at San Francisco's George Washington High School so inflammatory as to generate formal letters of apology from the school administration to the public. Advertised as a Middle Eastern" cultural assembly," the event featured a rap song by a student comparing Zionists to Nazis as students ran back and forth with Palestinian flags. Student and faculty observers called the supposedly multicultural event"pure pro-Palestinian propaganda."
In October of 2002, at the University of Michigan, at the Palestinian Solidarity Movement's annual conference, Bazian shared a forum with revisionist historian Ilan Pappé and the now-jailed academic and terrorist fundraiser Sami Al-Arian of Florida Atlantic University. At Michigan and elsewhere Bazian consistently denies being an anti-Semite, calling the accusation a ploy of opponents."(The charge of) anti-Semitism is used as a means of neutralizing the opposition so the mainstream American public will distance itself from the ‘extremists.'"
Yet, Steven Emerson, in his book American Jihad, quotes Bazian sermonizing at the American Muslim Alliance conference in May 1999 in Santa Clara, California, promoting the Islamic State of Palestine. Excerpts from the quote read,"‘In the Hadith, the Day of Judgment will never happen until you fight the Jews ... and the stones will say, ‘Oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him!'" There are a lot of passages in the Koran that do not advocate killing Jews. Why search out Hadith reports that do?
Post-Saddam, Bazian makes the rounds to Muslim Student Association events decrying the war and finding new ways to blame Israel for all American foreign policy. Speaking in Montreal in February 2004, at McGill University's MSA-sponsored lecture entitled"The New American Empire and its Adventures in the Middle East," Bazian named neoconservative think tanks, Israel-centric public officials, the Christian Right, and Oil, as the four forces behind American foreign policy....
SOURCE: NYT (5-10-07)
... The evening’s third award, the $10,000 Mark Lynton History Prize, was presented to James T. Campbell, an associate professor of American civilization, Africana studies and history at Brown University, for “Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005” (Penguin Press). The prize is named for Mark Lynton, the author of “Accidental Journey: A Cambridge Internee’s Memoir of World War II” (Overlook), who died in 1997. Mr. Lynton’s family has sponsored the project since its inception.
One important guest was noticeably absent: David Halberstam, the Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter for The Times and prolific author who was killed in a car accident last month. “I got a note from him right when the announcement of the prize came, congratulating me but also telling me how much this particular prize had meant to him because of his friendship with Tony Lukas,” Mr. Campbell said before the presentation. “One of the things I was so looking forward to was having him here tonight.”
SOURCE: http://www.budapestsun.com (5-9-07)
A new study based on fresh historical evidence describes the awesome atrocities committed by the Hungarian occupation forces in Poland, Ukraine and Byelorussia, often with the connivance of local population groups.
The book does not condone, but places into context, the subsequent organized mass rape and murder of civilians by the Soviet Army on its eventual march across central Europe.
Its author is Krisztián Ungváry, a military historian still in his 30s.
His conclusions will inevitably lead to radical revisions in the way recent history is being taught throughout this region.
He says, "The time has come to clear the air between neighbors and to settle down to peace in our post-Soviet Europe."
But his investigations have earned him death threats. His book, The Hungarian Army in the Second World War (Osiris Press, Budapest), has been published only in Hungarian so far.
But the author is already well known internationally for a previous book on the same period, The Battle for Budapest, published in several editions in Britain (by I B Tauris), the United States (Yale University Press) and Germany (F A Herbig Verlagsbuchhandlung) as well as Hungary (Corvina)....
SOURCE: HNN Staff (5-10-07)
We will publish an obituary soon.
SOURCE: OAH Newsletter (5-1-07)
Lawrence N. Powell of Tulane University delivered the meeting’s keynote address in which he examined the hurricane’s national significance. Powell argued that the Katrina debacle had the potential to become what the late Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. called a “detonating event,” an occurrence that might help usher in a shift toward a more liberal political consciousness after a generation of conservative emphasis on private initiative and limited government. Citing evidence of growing impatience with free market approaches to the Gulf Coast disaster, Powell stressed the need for historians to adopt a national perspective that would set Katrina’s aftermath within the context of a larger cluster of post-9/11 anxieties and discontents. This theme was taken up by a number of other panelists during discussions and in the symposium’s concluding roundtable session, which will be available on the JAH website in December.
In addition to Powell’s lecture, the symposium featured eighteen papers grouped under several broad topical headings ....
SOURCE: Democracy Now (5-9-07)
A final decision is expected to be made in the coming weeks. Finkelstein has accused Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz of being responsible for leading the effort to deny him tenure. In an interview with the Harvard Crimson, Dershowitz admitted that he had sent a letter to DePaul faculty members lobbying against Finkelstein’s tenure. Then last week the Wall Street Journal published an article by Dershowitz titled “Finkelstein’s Bigotry.” In it, Dershowitz accuses Finkelstein of being an “anti-Semite” and says that he “does not do ‘scholarship’ in any meaningful sense.”
Finkelstein’s two main topics of focus over his career have been the Holocaust and Israeli policy. Today we are joined by two world-renowned scholars in these fields:
Raul Hilberg. One of the best-known and most distinguished of Holocaust historians. He is author of the seminal three-volume work “The Destruction of the European Jews” and is considered the founder of Holocaust studies. He joins us on the line from his home in Vermont.
Avi Shlaim. Professor of international relations at Oxford University. He is the author of numerous books, most notably “The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World.” He is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on the Israeli-Arab conflict.
AMY GOODMAN: The battle over political science professor Norman Finkelstein to receive tenure at DePaul University in Chicago is heating up. Finkelstein is one of the country’s foremost critics of Israeli policy. He has taught at DePaul for the past six years. His tenure has been overwhelmingly approved at the departmental and college level. A college-wide faculty panel voted 5-0 to back his ten-year bid, but the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has opposed it. A final decision is expected in the next few weeks.
Professor Finkelstein has accused Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz of being responsible for leading the effort to deny him tenure. In an interview with the Harvard Crimson, Dershowitz admitted he had sent a letter to DePaul faculty members lobbying against Finkelstein’s tenure. Then, last week the Wall Street Journal published an article by Dershowitz titled “Finkelstein’s Bigotry.” In it, Dershowitz accuses Finkelstein of being an anti-Semite and says he “does not do scholarship in any meaningful sense.” Professor Finkelstein's two main topics of focus over his career have been the Holocaust and Israeli policy.
Today, we’re joined by two world-renowned scholars in these fields. Raul Hilberg is one of the best known and most distinguished of Holocaust historians. He is author of the seminal three-volume work, The Destruction of the European Jews. He’s considered the founder of Holocaust studies. He joins us from his home in Vermont. Avi Shlaim is a professor of international relations at Oxford University in Britain. He is the author of numerous books, most notably The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World. He’s widely regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on the Israeli-Arab conflict.
We’ll begin in Vermont with Professor Hilberg. Can you talk about Professor Finkelstein's contribution to Holocaust studies with his book, The Holocaust Industry?
RAUL HILBERG: Yes. I read this book, which was published about seven years ago, even as I, myself, was researching actions brought against Swiss companies, notably banks, but also other enterprises in insurance and in manufacturing. And the gist of all of these claims, all of these actions, was that somehow the Swiss banks, in particular, and other enterprises, as well, owed money to Jews or the survivors or the living descendants of people who were victims. The actions were brought by claims lawyers, by the World Jewish Congress, which joined them, and a blitz was launched in the newspapers. Congressmen and senators were mobilized, officials of regulatory agencies in New York and elsewhere. Threats were issued in the nature of withdrawal of pension funds, of boycotts, of bad publicity.
And I was struck by the fact, even as I, myself, was researching the same territory that Professor Finkelstein was covering, that the Swiss did not owe that money, that the $1,250,000,000 that were agreed as a settlement to be paid to the claimants was something that in very plain language was extorted from the Swiss. I had, in fact, relied upon the same sources that Professor Finkelstein used, perhaps in addition some Swiss items. I was in Switzerland at the height of the crisis, and I heard from so-called forensic accountants about how totally surprised the Swiss were by this outburst. There is no other word for it.
Now, Finkelstein was the first to publish what was happening in his book The Holocaust Industry. And when I was asked to endorse the book, I did so with specific reference to these claims. I felt that within the Jewish community over the centuries, nothing like it had ever happened. And even though these days a couple of billion dollars are sometimes referred to as an accounting error and not worthy of discussion, there is a psychological dimension here which not must be underestimated.
I was also struck by the fact that Finkelstein was being attacked over and over. And granted, his style is a little different from mine, but I was saying the same thing, and I had published my results in that three-volume work, published in 2003 by Yale University Press, and I did not hear from anybody a critical word about what I said, even though it was the same substantive conclusion that Finkelstein had offered. So that’s the gist of the matter right then and there.
AMY GOODMAN: Why do you think, Professor Hilberg, he was criticized and you were not?
RAUL HILBERG: Well, Finkelstein -- I believe Finkelstein was criticized mainly for the style that he employed. And he was vulnerable. And it was clear to me already years ago that some campaigns were launched -- from what sector, I didn't know -- to remove him from the academic world. Years ago, I got a phone call from someone who was in charge of a survivors' group in California who told me that Finkelstein had been ousted from a job in New York City at a university -- actually, a college there -- and this was done under pressure.
And then, again, I gave a lecture a year and a half ago in Chicago, which is the place where Finkelstein had been employed at DePaul University, and my lecture was about Auschwitz, and it was based on the records, which we’ve now recovered from Moscow, about the history of this camp. Not exactly a simple topic. But there was a question period, and I awaited pertinent questions, when someone rose from his chair and asked, “Should Finkelstein be tenured?” Now, for heaven’s sake, I said to myself, what is going on here?
And whether he’s being intimidated, whether he is in a situation where, whatever else may be happening, the employers are being intimidated, it’s hard for me to say, but there is very clearly a campaign, which was made very obvious in the Wall Street Journal, when Professor Dershowitz wrote in a style which is highly uncharacteristic of the editorial page of this newspaper, which incidentally I read religiously. So I, myself, cannot fully explain this outburst, but it clearly emanates from the same anger, from the same revolt, that prompted the whole action against the Swiss to begin with.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to bring Professor Avi Shlaim into this discussion, a professor of international relations at Oxford University, has written numerous books, including The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World. Can you talk about the significance of Professor Finkelstein's work?
AVI SHLAIM: Yes. I think very highly of Professor Finkelstein. I regard him as a very able, very erudite and original scholar who has made an important contribution to the study of Zionism, to the study of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, in particular, to the study of American attitudes towards Israel and towards the Middle East.
Professor Finkelstein specializes in exposing spurious scholarship on the Arab-Israeli conflict. And he has a very impressive track record in this respect. He was a very promising graduate student in history at Princeton, when a book by Joan Peters appeared, called From Time Immemorial, and he wrote the most savage exposition in critique of this book. It was a systematic demolition of this book. The book argued, incidentally, that Palestine was a land without a people for people without a land. And Professor Finkelstein exposed it as a hoax, and he showed how dishonest the scholarship or spurious scholarship was in the entire book. And he paid the price for his courage, and he has been a marked man, in a sense, in America ever since. His most recent book is Beyond Chutzpah, follows in the same vein of criticizing and exposing biases and distortions and falsifications in what Americans write about Israel and about the Middle East. So I consider him to be a very impressive and a very learned and careful scholar.
I would like to make one last point, which is that his style is very polemical, and I don't particularly enjoy the strident polemical style that he employs. On the other hand, what really matters in the final analysis is the content, and the content of his books, in my judgment, is of very high quality.
AMY GOODMAN: Professor Shlaim, what about the whole issue of when you criticize the Israeli government, being charged with anti-Semitism? What is your response to this? You were born in Iraq. You’re also an Israeli citizen and then moved to Britain?
AVI SHLAIM: I am. I was born in Baghdad. I grew up in Israel. I served in IDF. And for the last forty years, I have lived in Britain, and I teach at Oxford. My academic discipline is international relations, and I am a specialist in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
And I think that there is no -- that we must be very careful to separate questions of anti-Semitism from critique of Israel. I am critical of Israel as a scholar, and anti-Semitism just doesn't come into it. My view is that the blind supporters of Israel -- and there are many of them in America, in particular -- use the charge of anti-Semitism to try and silence legitimate criticism of Israeli practices. I regard this as moral blackmail. Israel has no immunity to criticism, moral immunity to criticism, because of the Holocaust. Israel is a sovereign nation-state, and it should be judged by the same standards as any other state. And Norman Finkelstein is a very serious critic and a very well-informed critic and hard-hitting critic of Israeli practices in the occupation and dispossession of the Palestinians.
His last book, Beyond Chutzpah, is based on an amazing amount of research. He seems to have read everything. He has gone through the reports of Israeli groups, of human rights groups, Human Rights Watch and Peace Now and B’Tselem, all of the reports of Amnesty International. And he deploys all this evidence from Israeli and other sources in order to sustain his critique of Israeli practices, Israeli violations of human rights of the Palestinians, Israeli house demolitions, the targeted assassinations of Palestinian militants, the cutting down of trees, the building of the wall -- the security barrier on the West Bank, which is illegal -- the restrictions imposed on the Palestinians in the West Bank, and so on and so forth. I find his critique extremely detailed, well-documented and accurate.
AMY GOODMAN: Professor Hilberg, like you, Norman Finkelstein is the son of Holocaust victims, his mother and his father both in concentration camps. Your final thoughts on this whole dispute and whether Norman Finkelstein should get tenure at DePaul University in Chicago?
RAUL HILBERG: Well, let me say at the outset, I would not, unasked, offer advice to the university in which he now serves. Having been in a university for thirty-five years myself and engaged in its politics, I know that outside interferences are most unwelcome. I will say, however, that I am impressed by the analytical abilities of Finkelstein. He is, when all is said and done, a highly trained political scientist who was given a PhD degree by a highly prestigious university. This should not be overlooked. Granted, this, by itself, may not establish him as a scholar.
However, leaving aside the question of style -- and here, I agree that it’s not my style either -- the substance of the matter is most important here, particularly because Finkelstein, when he published this book, was alone. It takes an enormous amount of academic courage to speak the truth when no one else is out there to support him. And so, I think that given this acuity of vision and analytical power, demonstrating that the Swiss banks did not owe the money, that even though survivors were beneficiaries of the funds that were distributed, they came, when all is said and done, from places that were not obligated to pay that money. That takes a great amount of courage in and of itself. So I would say that his place in the whole history of writing history is assured, and that those who in the end are proven right triumph, and he will be among those who will have triumphed, albeit, it so seems, at great cost.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Professor Raul Hilberg and Professor Avi Shlaim, I want to thank you both very much for being with us. Raul Hilberg, speaking to us from his home in Vermont, one of the best-known and most distinguished of Holocaust historians, his three-volume work is The Destruction of the European Jews. Avi Shlaim, professor of international relations at Oxford University in Britain, his book, his latest, The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World. Thank you very much for joining us.
SOURCE: NYT (5-9-07)
But the fact that Mr. Brown’s work has been translated into 17 languages and has sold five million copies around the world was not enough to convince HBO that a film version would draw a sizable mainstream audience. When the channel broadcasts its two-hour adaptation of the book, beginning Memorial Day weekend, at its center will be a new character: a man who was part Sioux, was educated at an Ivy League college and married a white woman.
“Everyone felt very strongly that we needed a white character or a part-white, part-Indian character to carry a contemporary white audience through this project,” Daniel Giat, the writer who adapted the book for HBO Films, told a group of television writers earlier this year.
The added character is based on a real person: Charles Eastman, part Sioux and descended from a long line of Santee chiefs but who was sent away by his father to boarding school and then held up as a model of the potential assimilation of 19th-century Native Americans. But the film fictionalizes significant portions of his life. In the HBO version he dodges bullets at the Battle of Little Bighorn. In reality he was far away, in grade school in Nebraska....
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (5-9-07)
... Another combined experience of deja vu and “so what?” came in the wake of the recent appearance in English of the whole of Michel Foucault’s History of Madness, published by Routledge. It was accepted as a doctoral thesis by the Sorbonne in 1960 and published in France the following year.
Foucault's abridged version has long been available under the title Madness and Civilization, translated by Richard Howard. His first major work, it is lyrical and sweeping even in the more compact version — an account of the emergence of the “Age of Reason” through the psychiatric policing of public space. For Foucault, the insane asylum is one of the cornerstones of a new cultural order emerging between the 17th and 19th centuries. Locking away the mad, subjecting them to control and to study, bourgeois society sought to contain the irrational and reassure itself of its own perfect rationality.
An exciting book, and one that found its first audience in English among the “anti-psychiatry” movement of the late 1960s that challenged the authority of the mental-health establishment. That movement is often blamed for the release, a couple of decades later, of many thousands of psychotics to wander homeless in the streets. Well, maybe. One cannot completely rule out the possibility that legislators studied Foucault’s work and found in it a perfect justification for cutting social-service budgets. Ideas have consequences! But I do tend to suspect that the barking men and dead-eyed women haunting my neighborhood are more the “consequences” of free-market economic doctrine than of Parisian structuralism.
Be that as it may, the resurfacing of Foucault’s book in unabridged form has been an occasion for a closer look at its claims. In March, the Times Literary Supplement in London ran a very critical review pointing out that Foucault’s command of the historical evidence concerning the treatment of the insane in the past is unreliable.
The critic, Andrew Scull, is a professor of sociology at the University of California at San Diego. Some of his review is a bit over the top. The impulse to denounce the anti-psychiatry movement of the 1960s is, like the tendency to mock hippies, quite understandable; yet both are largely unnecessary and should for the most part be avoided.
But many of Scull’s complaints hit their target. Foucault drew on out-of-date or otherwise questionable sources. Even then he sometimes cited them inaccurately, and in the case of medieval references to “ships of fools” (boats filled with madmen) he construed a literary allegory as literal social history. “What interested him, or shielded him,” writes Scull, “was selectively mined nineteenth-century sources of dubious provenance. Inevitably, this means that elaborate intellectual constructions are built on the shakiest of empirical foundations, and, not surprisingly, many turn out to be wrong.”...
SOURCE: National Coalition for History (5-9-07)
Dr. Mansfield is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Government at Harvard. His speech was entitled “How to Understand Politics: What the Humanities Can Say to Science.”
[Click on the SOURCE link above for embedded links to the WaPo account and the actual text of the address.]
SOURCE: Chicago Maroon (Student newspaper, U. of Chicago) (5-4-07)
Boris, the Hull chair of Women’s Studies at UCSB, presented arguments from an upcoming book she is co-authoring with Yale University historian Jennifer Klein. The book, which she said explores the links between home-care workers, welfare, and employment laws, will further illustrate the interaction between the government and organized home care. “Conflation of home care with domestic work is historical,” she said. Boris argued that the law is unclear on the status of home-care workers, comparing the government’s treatment of home-care workers to the treatment of teenage babysitters. These workers, she argued, are not considered primary breadwinners despite their long work hours, and are unjustly denied benefits.
Boris attributed this treatment to what she described as the government’s desire for home care on the cheap. “These workers are the backbone of the institution,” she said. “Without them, [home care] is not even possible.”
Home-care workers are most often female, black, under-educated, and under-paid, according to Boris. The government employs these workers in a “form of dual rehabilitation,” she said, both incorporating them into the welfare state and churning them out as so-called productive citizens. Boris argued that this process perpetuates negative stereotypes because it keeps “colored women employed in domestic work” in a constant lower class....
SOURCE: NYT (5-5-07)
At what participants described as an emotional meeting on Thursday in Washington, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus asked corporate sponsors of the 14 and one half-hour film — General Motors, Anheuser-Busch and Bank of America — for help in putting pressure on Mr. Burns to re-edit the film, which has been finished, to add stories of Latino contributions to the war effort.
Representative Joe Baca, the California Democrat who is chairman of the caucus, said in an interview yesterday, “We will not settle for separate but equal treatment in this documentary.” He said caucus members had told the sponsors, “We just hate to see what happened with national boycotts in the past.”
Noting that the film would not be shown until September, Mr. Baca said: “What happens between now and then will determine. If we don’t see anything, it could be a reaction.”
While many Latino groups have been active in asking for changes to the film, which Mr. Baca said he had not seen, the participation of members of Congress has raised some concerns among public broadcasters worried about improper federal interference in content. Yesterday the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the entity that administers federal funds for public broadcasting and is charged with insulating stations and programmers from outside pressure, released a statement signed by the heads of PBS, National Public Radio, the Association of Public Television Stations and the corporation. It reminded Congress of the editorial independence that was guaranteed in the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.
SOURCE: http://www.pakistanlink.com (5-5-07)
Guha says that while the Indian Constitution is competent enough to find solutions for the problems in the Northeast and naxalism, it cannot cope with the Kashmir issue. He said a sense of discrimination and victimisation were the main problems in the Northeast and Naxal-affected regions. In Kashmir, however, he said the matter was altogether different.
Guha may well be the first Indian author to adopt such a non-conventional stance-on Indian disputes with Pakistan. “We are responsible for creating Bangladesh how can Pakistan ever be expected to forget that? Kashmir is not an easy issue to resolve. Our [India’s] legal, constitutional and moral claim over it is less than foolproof. That is not a matter of debate,” said the author in an interview in a forthcoming issue of the weekly ‘Tehelka’.
SOURCE: NYT (5-8-07)
Following is a guest list, as provided by the office of the first lady.
President Bush and Laura Bush.
Vice President Dick Cheney and Lynne V. Cheney.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
Cmdr. Heber Ackland, Royal Navy, equerry-in-waiting to the queen.
The Countess of Airlie, lady-in-waiting.
Leonore Annenberg, former United States chief of protocol, and Representative David Dreier, Republican of California.
Anne Armstrong, former American ambassador to Britain, and her son James L. Armstrong.
Lee M. Bass, of Lee M. Bass Inc., and Ramona Bass.
Sid R. Bass, president, Sid R. Bass Inc., and Mercedes Bass.
Margaret Beckett, secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, Britain, and Leo Beckett.
Representative John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, and Deborah Boehner.
Joshua B. Bolten, White House chief of staff, and his mother, Analouise C. Bolten.
Calvin Borel, winning jockey of the 2007 Kentucky Derby, and Lisa Funk.
Katherine E. Boyd, of Katherine E. Boyd Interior Design, and her sister-in-law Eva Elkins.
Barbara Bush and Jay Blount.
Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, and Columba Bush.
Elizabeth L. Cheney and Philip J. Perry, partner, Latham & Watkins.
James Click, president, Jim Click Ford, Inc., and his daughter Carrie Click.
John Danilovich, chief executive, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and Irene Danilovich.
Rohan De Silva, pianist.
Marta Domingo, wife of Placido Domingo.
Donald L. Evans, chief executive, Financial Services Forum, and Susan Evans.
William S. Farish, former American ambassador to Britain, and Sarah Farish.
Fred F. Fielding, White House counsel, and Maria Fielding.
Brad Freeman, general partner, Freeman Spogli & Company.
Robert M. Gates, secretary of defense, and Becky Gates.
Christopher Geidt, deputy private secretary to the queen.
Sir Martin Gilbert, author, and Lady Esther Gilbert.
David Gregory, of NBC, and Beth Wilkinson.
Stephen J. Hadley, national security adviser, and his mother, Mrs. Robert Hadley.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck, host of “The View,” and Timothy Hasselbeck.
Peter Hayes, principal private secretary to the secretary of state.
Steven Holland, White House correspondent, Reuters, and Lucie Holland.
Ray L. Hunt, chief executive, Hunt Consolidated Inc., and his son Hunter L. Hunt.
Brig. Sir Miles Hunt-Davis, private secretary to Prince Philip.
Sir Robin Janvrin, private secretary to the queen.
Mike Johanns, secretary of agriculture, and Stephanie Johanns.
Clay Johnson III, Office of Management and Budget, and Anne S. Johnson.
Dirk Kempthorne, secretary of the interior, and Patricia Kempthorne.
Richard D. Kinder, chief executive, Kinder Morgan Inc., and Nancy Kinder, president, Kinder Foundation.
Henry A. Kissinger and Nancy Kissinger.
Herbert V. Kohler Jr., president, the Kohler Company, and Natalie B. Kohler.
Senator Trent Lott, Republican of Mississippi, and Tricia Lott.
Sir David Manning, British ambassador to the United States, and Lady Catherine M. Manning.
Peyton Manning, quarterback, Indianapolis Colts, and Ashley Manning.
John Marion, honorary chairman, Sotheby’s North America, and Anne Marion.
Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, and Elaine L. Chao, secretary of labor.
Charles B. Moncrief and Kit Moncrief.
Jim Nantz, CBS sportscaster, and Ann-Lorraine Nantz.
Joseph J. O’Donnell, chief executive, Boston Culinary Group, and Katherine O’Donnell.
Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Lynne Pace.
Arnold Palmer, professional golfer, and Kathleen Palmer.
Henry M. Paulson Jr., secretary of the Treasury, and Wendy Paulson.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, and Paul Pelosi.
A. Jerrold Perenchio, chief executive, Chartwell Partners, and Margie Perenchio.
Itzhak Perlman, violinist, and Toby Lynn Perlman.
Boone Pickens, BP Capital, and Madeleine Pickens.
Colin L. Powell, former secretary of state, and Alma Powell.
Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art, and Nancy Powell.
Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, and Gene A. Washington.
John G. Roberts Jr., chief justice of the United States, and Jane Sullivan Roberts.
Robin Roberts, ABC.
Penny Russell-Smith, press secretary to the queen.
Michael Sacco, president, Seafarers International Union, and Sophie Sacco.
Gerry Shaheen, group president of Caterpillar, and Pam Shaheen.
George P. Shultz and Charlotte Shultz.
Harold C. Simmons, chairman, Valhi Inc., and Annette Simmons.
Tony Snow, White House press secretary, and Jill Ellen Snow.
Margaret Spellings, secretary of education, and Robert Spellings.
Surgeon Capt. David Swain, medical officer to the queen.
Robert Tuttle, American ambassador to Britain, and Maria Tuttle.
Mark Vincent, brother to Mrs. Cheney, and Linda Vincent.
Richard Wolffe, Newsweek, and Paula Cuello.
SOURCE: HNN Staff (5-14-07)
The cover story plays off interviews with Michael Beschloss, whose latest book concerns presidential courage: Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989.
The isue includes an op ed by Beschloss and an excerpt from his book.
SOURCE: Paul Morton at bookslut.com (5-1-07)
It’s with this firm, philosophical and unromantic sense of the period with which McPherson, a professor at Princeton, has become the nation’s leading historian of the Civil War. He is the author of over a dozen books. Battle Cry of Freedom, his best known, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1987. As the president of the American Historical Association in 2003, he courted some controversy for commenting on the Bush administrations adventures abroad. In light of that, he answered some questions by e-mail. How much can we read the Civil War into our own era? And, Hollywood depictions aside, were there any true heroes of the bloodiest conflict in the history of the Western Hemisphere?
[QUESTION] You write that most Civil War historians, like yourself, have no military experience. It’s a disadvantage, making it a little more difficult to understand the machinations of generals or even the feelings of privates. But there’s another disadvantage that seems even more difficult to surmount. At 70, you’ve seen your country fight five wars, but you haven’t had the brutal experience of living through an actual civil war.
Having had no military experience is indeed a disadvantage in writing about Civil War military history, since some aspects of the soldier's experience as well as the officer's command decisions will be constant across time. Most of the best military historians of the Civil War whom I know, however, likewise have had no military experience, so it is clearly not a fatal handicap. And no American alive who has lived his whole life in the United States has had the experience of living through an actual civil war. Incidentally, while I have written quite a bit about military aspects of the Civil War, I don't consider myself a military historian as such. I learned about the military course of the war because it vitally affected the questions that originally occupied my attention about the war: slavery and its abolition, wartime reconstruction plans, and the political history of the war.
[QUESTION] How useful, if at all, is it to compare the American Civil War to the great internal conflicts of the 20th century, such as those in Spain, Vietnam or the Balkans?
Comparisons of the American Civil War with civil wars in other societies can yield some valuable insights, so long as the comparisons are done with full recognition of the sometimes radically different contexts of time, space, and social orders. Ethnic civil wars such as those in the Balkans or in Iraq today are so different from the issues in the American Civil War that comparisons are not very useful. But ideological civil wars (like those in Spain and Vietnam) are similar enough to the ideological conflicts between the social order of the slave-plantation South and the free-labor capitalist North, that the comparisons can be quite helpful....
SOURCE: Press Release -- National Archives (5-8-07)
Dr. Cathy Gorn is executive director of National History Day and adjunct professor of history at the University of Maryland at College Park, the institutional home of National History Day. She joined National History Day in 1984 when the organization was still based in Cleveland, Ohio, and was in its infancy as a national endeavor. Dr. Gorn graduated from Kent State University in 1982 and earned a Ph.D. in history at Case Western Reserve University in 1992. Dr. Gorn has contributed to, and served as editor for, more than 20 history curriculum guides.
Archivist Allen Weinstein is a former Professor of History who has held professorships at Boston University, Georgetown University, and Smith College, and is the author of numerous essays and books, including The Story of America (2002), The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America -- The Stalin Era (1999), Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case (1978 & 1997), and Freedom and Crisis: An American History (3rd edition, 1981). >From 1985 to 2003, he served as President of The Center for Democracy in Washington, DC. His international awards include the United Nations Peace Medal (1986).
CONTACT: National Archives Public Affairs staff, +1-202-357-5300
SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle (4-29-07)
Sider was interviewed in November at the 105th annual business meeting of the American Anthropological Association in San Jose. The meeting was abuzz over a year-old New Yorker article by Seymour Hersh, alleging that a 1973 book by cultural anthropologist Raphael Patai, "The Arab Mind," might have inspired the Abu Ghraib prison abuses, on the theory that sexually humiliated Arab men would become willing informants.
Hundreds of anthropologists at the business meeting -- the first official quorum in 30 years -- unanimously endorsed a resolution condemning "the use of anthropological knowledge as an element of physical and psychological torture."
But one anthropologist, while sharing her peers' condemnation of torture as immoral and ineffective, worried that some of her colleagues had the wrong response to Abu Ghraib: Don't scold the military, she argued. Educate it.
"If Patai's book had been used correctly, they would never have done that. Because they would have understood that ... you're not going to get intelligence information out of these people, you're going to get them and their families attacking you," she said later. "Half-baked knowledge is sometimes worse than none at all."
She is Montgomery McFate, a Marin County native now at the United States Institute of Peace. For five years, McFate has made it her mission to convince the U.S. military that anthropology can be a more effective weapon than artillery. ...
SOURCE: Gary Bass in the New Republic (5-3-07)
Hunt has written a provocative and engaging history of the political impact of human rights, mostly in the eighteenth century. The language of rights grew up in the early and high Middle Ages, and came of age with political theorists from Grotius to Locke. This is roughly the point where Hunt begins. In the late eighteenth century, for the first time, doctrines of human rights gained wide acceptance. In America, they took on political form in the Declaration of Independence in 1776; in France, in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen in 1789. These went a step beyond the English Bill of Rights in 1689, which was rooted in the particulars of English law and history, rather than universal principles that applied to all men--every single member of the human race.
Above all, rights themselves are supposed to be beyond debate. Nothing beats a right. After the middle of the eighteenth century, Americans and (somewhat more grudgingly) Britons increasingly talked about rights as universal, not particular to a given country. When the Americans and French solemnly declared, in 1776 and 1789, that their undeniable rights had been violated, they were trying to render uncontroversial a view of government that was in fact fiercely contested: that the point of government was to secure these rights of man.
Hunt grasps the novelty, and the preciousness, of this intellectual transformation. Although she clearly believes in moral progress even unto her own day, she does not allow herself the smug luxury of assuming the superiority of the current age. She properly condemns Jefferson for owning slaves, but she insists that the really important point is that the flawed Jefferson and his flawed contemporaries nonetheless rose far above the mores of their day: "How did these men, living in societies built on slavery, subordination, and seemingly natural subservience, ever come to imagine men not at all like them and, in some cases, women too, as equals?"
Hunt dwells on the shock of the violation of rights. One does not have a philosophical reaction to the photographs from Abu Ghraib, even if one's principles are offended; one first reacts viscerally. Hunt argues that "we are most certain that a human right is at issue when we feel horrified by its violation." As she notes, in the most famous articulation of the human rights ideal, Thomas Jefferson wrote only that the truth of rights is self-evident. But for rights really to be self-evident implies a widespread emotional recoil from their violation. Hunt is not troubled that Jefferson ducked the issue of rationally deriving rights from first principles. She thinks that the idea of human rights comes not from reason but from experience. What really counts, Hunt argues, is not so much the abstractions of equality and universality, but "the newfound power of empathy": the sense that the suffering of others is like our own....
SOURCE: Manan Ahmed at Cliopatria (HNN blog) (5-2-07)
I had been mulling that blogging historians should be make a panel submission to AHA - on their actual work - and not just on 'blogging'. A comment thread sparked the idea forward into motion and soon enough, we had a full blown roundtable panel proposal submitted to the AHA. I had some other ideas of sharing some of our research and even allow comments on our working papers prior to the AHA. To basically demonstrate the amazing capabilities in this medium for scholarly collaboration.
And then ....
Dear Manan Ahmed,
After meeting this weekend to consider the proposals for the 2008 AHA, the Program Committee has decided to accept your panel,"Contested Pasts and Constructed Presents: Memory in the Local," with certain conditions.
Since the AHA has a standing commitment to gender diversity on panels, the Program Committee has decided to require you to find a female participant, perhaps to serve as chair or a second commentator for your session.
We will need a response with the name and affiliation of the new participant by May 8, 2007 in order to include your panel in this year's program. If you do not respond, we will be forced to reject your panel.
Now, I will be honest that some exclamations containing colorful punjabi phrases did escape my mouth. I had never heard of this requirement. Of course, that doesn't mean anything besides that I am un-informed. So I re-scanned the CFP to see if I had missed something. Nothing there. But, indeed, I had missed 3.2 (C) of the AHA guidelines: The AHA seeks to avoid gender-segregated sessions. The Program Committee will thus encourage participants to include members of both sexes, wherever possible. [Lets ignore, for now, that apparent slight of transgendered historians].
Well. That email does a bit more than 'encourage'.
Truth be told, the thought of going to any historian and asking him or her to be a token panelist to fulfill a quota is deeply offensive to all parties involved. And I am quite taken aback by AHA's rather ham-handed efforts at diversity. My own efforts to convince my fellow panelists to do the panel in drag have largely failed. Leaving me with no choice but a public appeal.
I am posting the panel abstract and paper titles below the fold. If any historians would kindly agree to join us as a commentator or, even a panelist, please contact me as soon as possible. The AHA is in Washington, D.C., January 3–6th. I promise that it will be an exciting panel filled with lots of jokes about gender-quotas.
Whatever happens with this panel, I hope the AHA will decide to prominently feature this requirement in the CFP - or make it a bit more explicit than"wherever possible". Or at least evoke some feedback during the submission process. It is easy enough to encourage diversity earlier in the process but not as cool after the fact. I don't have any problems with AHA's policy - at all. I am just certain that there are better, pro-active ways of going about it.
Contested Pasts and Constructed Presents: Memory in the Local
Historians who are, in Pierre Nora's words, "less interested in traditions than in the way in which traditions are constituted and passed on" have focused on the role of memory in the pasts generated by nations and communities. While, this approach has given multivocality and nonlinearity to the historical narratives produced, it has largely remained state-centric and top-down - with memory set in the realm of folktales, novels and bazaar-speech. This roundtable hopes to complicate the conversation on history and memory by focusing on localized narratives and realities that often exist in contradiction to the national and other hegemonic ones. The tensions between local memories and national constructs provide a rich background for an examination of the production and consumption of historical memory. The end of World War II, the emergence of the postcolonial state, the movement and migration of communities and the re-evaluation of Europe's own past are all sites of where such historical narratives were contested and resisted. We present case-studies from communities across Europe and Asia which give us a window into these contestations. Manan Ahmed shows the creation and commemoration of a national hero in the postcolonial Pakistan under the military regime of General Zia ul Haq. Nathanel Robinson looks at Konrad Adenauer's project of highlighting local and regional memories underlining German history. And Jonathan Dresner examines how nationalist narratives of diaspora create tensions between homeland and diasporic communities.
Collectively, these presentation intend on generating connections and bridges across these varied histories to highlight the resistances memory offers to history. Building on our presentations, we would open the roundtable discussions by posing three questions to the audience on the broader themes of usage of historical memory, public histories and the postcolonial urge to forget.
Jonathan Dresner, Univ. of Hawaii, Hilo. "Diaspora Memory: Selective Histories of Japanese Emigration".
Nathaneal Robinson, Brandeis University. "Adenauer’s Transient Pasts".
Manan Ahmed, University of Chicago. "The End of Muhammad ibn al-Qasim: Memory, History and the Postcolonial Urge to Forget"
Commentator: Alan Baumler, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
SOURCE: Ralph Luker at HNN Blog, Cliopatria (5-3-07)
In 1986, Brown published a biography of the Independent Labour Party politician, James Maxton, a major figure in his dissertation. His subsequent books include Where There Is Greed: Margaret Thatcher and the Betrayal of Britain's Future (1989), Fair is Efficient: A Socialist Agenda for Fairness (1994), and Speeches, 1997-2006 (2006). Brown's Courage: Eight Portraits, with sketches of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Edith Cavell, Nelson Mandela, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Aung San Suu Kyi, Cicely Saunders, and Raoul Wallenberg, will be published next month. Thanks to Manan Ahmed for the tip.
SOURCE: harvardmagazine.com (5-1-07)
At the age of 43, the prodigious Ferguson has produced eight meaty, weighty books, and has another two in progress; hundreds of scholarly articles, tumbles of introductions and book chapters, and an assembly line of regular columns and op-eds for American, British, and German newspapers, all while editing the Journal of Contemporary History. (He once told an interviewer, “My puzzle is with people who spend 10 years not producing a book. What do they do?”) And all while commuting among Harvard, the Hoover Institution at Stanford (where he is a senior fellow), and the United Kingdom, where his wife Susan, a media executive, and their three children live.
Moreover, in the United Kingdom, he is also quite the media celebrity. In 2002-3, for Britain’s Channel 4, he wrote and starred in a six-part history of the British empire. In 2004, he followed with American Colossus—both programs based on his books. And in 2006, Britons watched his six-part The War of the World, dramatizing his latest, a huge volume subtitled Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West.
Visiting Ferguson in his office at the Center for European Studies, I asked him about the strain of separation from home and family, what he has called his transatlantic “trilemma.” “I can testify that it is extraordinarily hard,” he said. “It’s unfair to the family, and I’d so much rather they were here. But with every passing year, as children get older, they become harder to move. So I feel that I’ve lost this particular argument.” After a pause, though, he added, “Another way to look at it is that historically it’s not that abnormal for husbands and fathers to spend significant time away from their families—seamen, army officers, colonial administrators. Actually, funnily enough, these long separations perhaps do allow me bouts of extreme work, which suits my temperament.”...
SOURCE: Canada.com (5-3-07)
In a blunt statement Wednesday to a Senate subcommittee examining the issue, Granatstein said it would be wrong to bow to demands to alter the exhibit.
Granatstein, an author and a former head of the museum, said he has deep gratitude to those who attacked Germany and "saved the world from Hitler."
But he said the exhibit at the heart of the veterans' anger - entitled An Enduring Controversy - would be historically flawed if it didn't refer to the continuing debate over the effectiveness and morality of the Allied bombing strategy designed to cripple the Nazi war machine.
"They are subjects of hot debate that must be included," he told the subcommittee on veterans' affairs. "You cannot change facts by ignoring them."
Unless a museum serves historical truth, he said, it will be reduced to being "a storehouse for medals and artifacts and a vehicle for national braggadocio."
Representatives of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Air Force Association and the Aircrew Association are pressing the subcommittee to back their calls to have the display reworded.
Senator Colin Kenney made clear he thinks the veterans' have a point. He said museum officials had unnecessarily "aggravated, offended, embarrassed, and humiliated" people who rank as heroes and he urged them to address veterans' concerns.
SOURCE: Ohio State student newspaper--The Lantern (5-2-07)
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough emphasized the importance of knowing history at a lecture Monday at the Wexner Center.
McCullough said Adams and Truman are examples of men who reflected upon history before making decisions that affected the future.
McCullough's lecture, "Leadership and the History You Don't Know," was co-sponsored by the John Glenn School of Public Affairs and the Ohio Telecom Association.
About 300 people filled every seat in the Film/Video Theater and about 100 others remained on the waiting list.
McCullough was introduced by Ohio State President Karen A. Holbrook and former Sen. John Glenn.
The author of numerous biographies of U.S. presidents, McCullough has been on the bestseller list several times. McCullough's most recent book, "1776," was a No.1 New York Times Best Seller in both hardcover and paperback.
SOURCE: AFP (5-2-07)
But nothing could be further from the truth, according to British historian Robert Tombs, who says the most that can be expected from a Sarkozy victory over Socialist Segolene Royal on Sunday is "some tweaking round the edges" of the French state-centred social model.
"There is an idea doing the rounds that Sarkozy is a kind of French Margaret Thatcher. But I don't think such a creature exists. Not least because no-one in France wants a French Thatcher," Tombs said in a telephone interview from his office at Cambridge University.
"If you contrast the positions of France today and Britain in the late 1970s, it's clear that even though there is certainly a sense of crisis in France, it is nothing like as severe as what Britain was going through when Mrs Thatcher was elected in 1979.
"Then from a historical perspective, there is the fact that France completely lacks the liberal tradition. Over the last 200 years the only time that France had a liberal economic policy was in the 1860s under emperor Napoleon III, and it lasted just 10 years.
"Britain by contrast has been under the sway of free-market economics since the 1840s. The only time it wasn't was just after World War II, and in a sense Mrs Thatcher's reforms were simply a return to tradition. But in France they would be against the grain of history.
"The other point is that there are major forces in Britain in favour of liberalisation, led by the City (London's financial district). But in France there is no equivalent. There is no nexus of interests pressing for globalisation.
SOURCE: Independent (5-2-07)
Werner Maser was best known for his 1971 study of Hitler, Adolf Hitler: Legende, Mythos, Wirklichkeit ("Hitler: legend, myth and reality"), which was translated into over 20 languages (and published in English as Hitler, 1973), a great achievement considering the vast literature on the subject. The volume was just part of a long study of the Third Reich which included not only the Nazi leader, but also his party, the Nuremberg trials, German-Soviet relations and much more.
He had published on the early history of the Nazi party in 1965, and on Hitler's Mein Kampf in the following year. His Hitlers Briefe und Notizen Sein Weltbild in handschriftlichen Dokumenten (1973; translated as Hitler's Letters and Notes, 1974) provided insight into Hitler's thoughts and theories. Adolf Hitler: das Ende der Führer-Legende ("The End of the Führer Legend") appeared in 1980. Maser also tracked down Hitler's medical records from 1905 to 1945, which for decades had been presumed lost.
More controversial was Nürnberg: Tribunal der Sieger 1977, translated as Nuremberg: a nation on trial, 1979). Fritz Stern described it as "a significant work, based on the proceedings of the International Military Tribunal and on additional extensive inquiries, which recall - among other things - the many pleas of ignorance and innocence".
He was the first historian to recognise that purported diaries of Hitler, which were published by Stern magazine in 1983 and authenticated by Hugh Trevor-Roper, were forgeries.