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: Sophie Morris in the Independent (12-18-07)
What inspired you to embark on a career in the media?
A former student of mine went into television and his first job was to find a historian to present a sort of reality-TV show. His response was that all historians are boring, but with his back against the wall he was forced to say, "Oh, I suppose David Starkey was the least boring."
When you were 15 years old which newspaper did your family get, and did you read it?
My earliest memories are of the old Manchester Guardian. One of the most interesting parts was written by a young Michael Frayn, and the vividness of the writing, the extraordinarily wide range of things he was interested in and the ability to make unexpected connections were very powerful influences on me. The local paper was The Westmorland Gazette. All I remember about that was the convoluted gossip, the type of the masthead and the density of the marriages and deaths page.
And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?
The first time I saw television was the coronation, and we went round to watch it on a neighbour's set. I can still remember the moment vividly: I was eight, and both the medium and ceremony made an extraordinary impression on me. But my mother was absolutely clear that television was the work of the devil and a distraction. The two greatest influences on me were the BBC Home Service and Third Programme (Radio 4's predecessors) so my upbringing was really Reithian. I hate speech broadcast now. I suppose I see them as a rival.
Describe your job.
I'm a writer and a broadcaster and a historian and I work in two principle media: books and television. A lot of people see them as very different but I think the overlap is very great....
SOURCE: Science Daily (12-16-07)
Can documentary photographs be regarded as credible depictions of events in the world or are they rather staged representations of a special perspective? Do documentary photos take part in the struggle against injustice or are they in fact instruments of those in power? These questions have been discussed intensively over the last few years and a particularly relevant in terms of the photographs that Cecilia Strandroth studies in her dissertation, taken during the 1930s by photographers employed by the Farm Security Administration, U.S. government authority.
The photographs are classics of the documentary genre. Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange's images of the suffering of destitute farmers in the American South have become part of the American national heritage. Today they are symbols of the Great Depression of the 1930s and are said to show the resilience of the American people. The country survived the Depression and went on to win World War II.
Cecilia Strandroth's dissertation brings to light another history of the FSA. By examining seldom studied photographs, she reveals a history of politics, marketing, and propaganda. The photographers were employed to advertise the policies the Franklin D. Roosevelt pursued as president, the famous package of measures known as the New Deal.
"Rather than representing an idealistic depiction of the living conditions of the country's poorest people, the FSA photographers were part of an effective marketing apparatus," she says....
SOURCE: Dana Parsons in the LAT (12-15-07)
The problem is, not everyone agrees which side is which....
What makes the Farnan lawsuit intriguing, however, is that the guts of it come from Chad's tape-recording of one of Corbett's Advanced Placement European history classes at Capo Valley High School in October.
I can't vouch for the authenticity of the recording, nor do I have any reason to doubt it. Further complicating public discussion of this is that only the students and Corbett were there, and we haven't heard from Corbett yet.
But according to the suit, Corbett said at one point, "When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth."
In another segment, he says Americans are the most likely in the industrialized world to attend church and Swedes the least. America has the highest crime rate and Sweden the lowest, he says. "The next time someone tells you religion is connected with morality, you might want to ask them about that."
He later expands on that, mentioning "culture wars" in America and comparing the philosophies of rehabilitation and punishment for criminals. He says the South has more draconian views of punishment, but then notes that murder and rape -- and church attendance -- all are higher in the South.
In another excerpt cited in the suit, Corbett says, "Conservatives don't want women to avoid pregnancies. That's interfering with God's work. . . . All over the world, doesn't matter where you go, the conservatives want control over women's reproductive capacity . . . from conservative Christians in this country to Muslim fundamentalists in Afghanistan."
He also ventures into conversations about the Boy Scouts' exclusionary policies, pregnancies of middle-school girls and humorous side effects of erectile dysfunction pills....
SOURCE: NYT (12-17-07)
But since his conviction in July on charges of fraud and obstruction of justice, Mr. Black has had to confine his movements to Chicago, the site of his trial, and Palm Beach, where he has a home. Given that his Nixon book, subtitled “A Man in Full,” was published this year, the restrictions have put a serious crimp on any potential book tour.
A device called the LongPen, however, has helped Mr. Black deal with his short leash. Margaret Atwood, the Canadian novelist, created it in 2004 so that she could meet remotely with fans, chatting with them by videoconference and signing their books with a touchpad, which conveyed her handwriting from her home to an autopen in the bookstore.
SOURCE: American Prospect (12-18-07)
Robert Kuttner: You've written extensively about the great transformative presidents, Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Lyndon Johnson, and the promise of John Kennedy. Considering all the damage that has been done to the very idea of a collective good, the task facing the next president will go far beyond the normal challenge of finding the votes to legislate. For progress to be made, this would have to be one of those periods of transformation in how public opinion views America. How should the next president think about this enterprise of leadership?
Doris Kearns Goodwin: History suggests that unless a progressive president is able to mobilize widespread support for significant change in the country at large, it's not enough to have a congressional majority. For example, Bill Clinton had a Democratic majority when he failed to get health reform. When you look at the periods of social change, in each instance the president used leadership not only to get the public involved in understanding what the problems were but to create a fervent desire to address those problems in a meaningful way.
I'm working on a new book on Teddy Roosevelt and the muckrakers. He faced a conservative Congress. But the muckrakers created, in the middle class especially, an understanding of what had to be done in conservation, in food and drug legislation, in the regulation of the railroads. They revealed in long, factual, investigative pieces the way in which Standard Oil and the trusts were constricting opportunity for smaller, independent businesses. Then, with an aroused public, TR was able to pressure the Congress to do something. Similarly, in the early days of the New Deal, Franklin Roosevelt used the power of the bully pulpit in his famous fireside chats to drive home to the country at large the need for significant federal legislation in a wide range of areas to ease the problems of the Great Depression.
RK: The public has been trained for 30 years to think that there's really nothing great the government can do, except perhaps to prevent attacks. Where do you start? How do you change public opinion so that you can then change legislative direction?
DKG: The next president has to be able to express a sense of what America can be, what America has been in the past, and what it is not now. It has to be overarching; it cannot be just "we need this program and this program and this program." He or she has to remind us what made people come to this country in the first place -- the belief that here, as Lincoln famously said, we had formed a government "whose leading object is to elevate the condition of men -- to lift artificial weights from all shoulders; to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all; to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life." The first and the most difficult task for the new president will be to remind people what made America so special in the first place, to create an emotional desire on their part to bring our performance closer to that ideal, to make clear the wide array of artificial weights that still prevent far too many people from having a fair chance in the race of life, and then and only then to propose the legislative programs or executive actions that will address these shortcomings....
SOURCE: Michael Kazin in the Chronicle of Higher Ed (12-18-07)
My uneasiness is due instead to artistic egoism. Ever since I began composing little editorials for my middle-school newspaper, people have asked, "What is it like being the son of a famous writer?" Once I started publishing articles and books about U.S. history, the question seemed to come at me every week or so. But in recent years, I've heard it less often. Perhaps that's because my father died in 1998, and the names of literary critics fade quickly from public memory. Or perhaps the people I meet tend to be historians or journalists who are as familiar with my work as with my father's. Or maybe they are just too polite to ask a question that might seem disrespectful to a gray-bearded academic. But now, thanks to Professor Cook, I will probably hear the question again.
So here's an answer: I'm utterly ambivalent about it, and reading his biography has helped me understand why. My father's influence makes me anxious, but it also gives me comfort. The anxiety is simpler to explain. He routinely wrote long pieces for The New York Times Book Review, and, on occasion, the identifying caption would read, "the critic and teacher Alfred Kazin." The authority of that definite article! Almost everyone who picked up the Book Review, the editors must have assumed, already knew who Kazin was. Anyone who didn't was clearly a newcomer to serious literary conversation and needed a quick, if subtle, lesson about who deserved a "the" and who did not.
High on the list of the deserving were the writers whom Irving Howe famously called "the New York Intellectuals." Besides my father, unofficial members included Lionel Trilling, Daniel Bell, Irving Kristol, Clement Greenberg, Norman Mailer, Richard Hofstadter, Mary McCarthy, Norman Podhoretz, and Howe himself. Saul Bellow headed up a one-man colonial office in Chicago, and Hannah Arendt and Edmund Wilson were revered, if somewhat distanced, sages....
SOURCE: Christopher Benfey in the New Republic (12-10-07)
After his father's death in 1923, Wilson went through his professional papers and realized that his own prose, hammered out on yellow legal pads, owed more to his father's arguments--what he called in a poem "his scornful tone, his eighteenth-century words"--than to Henry James or any of the other writers he was coming to admire. The austere style and capacious scope, the probing for illuminating precedent, the personal touch without personal affect--these were traits of Wilson's book reviews from the start. In a discouraging time like our own, when book reviewing is regarded as the equivalent of a haphazard Consumer Reports for casual readers, it is bracing to read someone for whom the reviewing of books was a central, intellectually rigorous, exciting, and concentrating act of the civilized world.
One might say of Wilson's written opinions what he said of Justice Holmes: "that he never dissociates himself from the great world of thought and art, and that all his decisions are written with awareness of both their wider implications and the importance of their literary form." ...
More than anyone else we read, Jenkins regularly writes about global Christianity for broad publics. He combines experiences of travel, research, and dialogues on Christianity "north" and "south." In "Burning at the Stake: How global warming will increase religious strife," Professor Jenkins ties projections of Christian growth to what the IPCC foresees. If you'd like to sleep easily tonight, don't read it at bedtime. Rather than occupying a mere four columns upfront in a magazine, it might merit a billboard. Jenkins, fortunately, does not waste readers' time debating whether or when or how global warming is coming about. Instead he anticipates the consequences and notices some new Christian addresses to the situation.
The case? Take only the instance of changes in the water supplies and who will control what's left. In Nigeria, where Christians and Muslims are self-segregated, they might "erupt in a violent tug-of-war over limited water supplies." Coptic Christians in Egypt might be sacrificed to ethnic cleansing as resources dwindle. Uganda and Kenya could reproduce scenes made vivid in Rwanda massacres. "The ramifications for the global warming-driven destruction of equatorial nations are frightening for everyone—but they should be especially frightening for Christians," whose numbers grow explosively, precisely there.
Historian Jenkins reaches back to the "Little Ice Age" between the ninth and thirteenth centuries to show the human devastations caused by climate changes. He may be a bit speculative here, but with creative guesses and some evidence he compares foreseen changes to those that helped bring on the Great Famine (after 1315) and the Black Death (1340s), when one-third of Eurasia's population was killed. Witchcraft trials became a murderous obsession. Bigots of all religions were sure that their God was legitimating their aggressive roles. Christians in revenge against Muslim advances turned murderous. Jenkins thinks that we are heading toward a future alike in violence and horror to centuries in our past.
He sees a glimmer of light and recognition in the West among "morally conservative churches in America [which] form relationships with like-minded churches in the South," and are growing more sensitive to the world's needs. Skipping past Roman Catholic and "World Council type" Protestant and Orthodox involvements, he turns to these conservatives, as in the National Association of Evangelicals, who are mobilizing people, forces, energies, and resources to begin to address the situation and call attention to it. He expects even greater involvement soon by such conservative Christians, who are "combining the themes of world stewardship and protecting Christian minorities," which could lead to new political action. But in the absence of such action, might global warming lead to "medieval levels of misery and doom for the majority of Christians worldwide?" We've been warned.
SOURCE: Mr. Phelps in an article at the website of Inside Higher Ed (12-17-07)
... At the beginning of every term, I hand out blank cards to students. I ask students to share something unique about themselves, so I can attach a personality to the name. Usually students tell me about their favorite video games or sports. Not Suzanne.
“After 28 years and 10 months of service,” wrote Suzanne, “Wellness, Inc., closed down the factory. This only put 500 people out of a job.” After 28 years spent as a health-products factory worker, in other words, a job she expected to hold until retirement, Suzanne was back in college, sitting in a roomful of 19-year-old students.
The state initially wanted Suzanne to go to technical school with the transitional funds it provides to displaced workers, but she battled to make it possible for herself to be at the university. Higher education did test her limits. After class one day, talking in the parking lot as we frequently did after class, she waved her arm at the campus and said, “This is hard.” Often she came to class late, her bags rustling. She teasingly labeled me “Mr. On-Time.”
But Suzanne had a pride that made history real to her, and an admirable fearlessness. In the middle of a lecture on American slavery, when I was talking about differences in work conditions for field hands and domestics, she raised her hand: “Can I just say something? The house slaves didn’t look like me. They were lighter-skinned.”
Put on the spot, I had to say that I didn’t think that was necessarily true, that darker-skinned African Americans were often assigned to tasks like raising children, cleaning, and cooking. I told her that my impression was that later, during Jim Crow, sharp internal differentiation emerged among blacks based on shades of pigmentation.
Fortunately, Suzanne wouldn’t take my no for an answer. The next session, she remained after class. “Can we agree to disagree?” she asked. She told me that she had discussed the issue with a 90-year-old man in the community who swore that the former house slaves he had known were lighter-skinned. I promised I would look into it more.
I rooted around in some textbooks and found images of house slaves confirming my view. But when I e-mailed Ira Berlin, the distinguished historian of slavery, he reported that slave-owners who had relations with their slaves often did favor mulatto offspring with easier or privileged work, whether in the home or as artisans. To be sure, there were also owners who, out of racism, sometimes picked the darkest slaves to be subordinate to them in the home, but as a group lighter-skinned blacks were most likely to be freed by their masters and to occupy the most desirable slave positions.
I returned to class, humbled. I reported that I was wrong, that Suzanne was right, and that I was right (for all three things were true to one degree or another). I showed the photographs I had found and explained that some house slaves were definitely dark-skinned, but then I conveyed what Ira Berlin had told me, overwhelmingly in confirmation of Suzanne’s view....
SOURCE: Harvard Crimosn (12-13-07)
According to Professor of Medieval History Michael McCormick, they are all key players in the interdisciplinary cooperation needed to better our understanding of the history of humanity.
“We know more today than we did last Friday about the past. And last Friday we knew more about the past than any other human civilization that’s ever existed on the face of the earth,” McCormick said.
In his studies of medieval history and climate, he has found that this interdisciplinary approach is extremely powerful for unearthing new data, and has led to a revolution in the way medieval archaeology is done.
“We’re getting real serious answers that we couldn’t have even posed the questions two years ago,” he said.
McCormick applies these varied fields of research to problems ranging from medieval climate to the fall of the Roman Empire, in order to solve the ultimate question of our origin and heritage.
Doing “a sweep with geomagnetic sensors,” McCormick and his team were able to discover what they believe is one of Charlemagne’s estates dating from the eighth century.
“Really one of the most exciting things that is happening today is the application of the natural sciences to the problem of our human past,” he said. “Where do we come from, who are we?”
SOURCE: NYT (12-17-07)
The cause was cancer, her family said.
At her death, Ms. Middlebrook was emeritus professor of English at Stanford University, where she had taught since the 1960s. Her other biographies were a joint life of Sylvia Plath and her husband, Ted Hughes, and the story of the cross-dressing jazz musician Billy Tipton.
Published by Houghton Mifflin in 1991, Ms. Middlebrook’s book “Anne Sexton: A Biography” was a finalist for the National Book Award. It chronicled the short, turbulent life of its subject, who committed suicide at 45 in 1974. In the course of her reporting for the book, Ms. Middlebrook was given hundreds of hours of audiotapes of Ms. Sexton’s sessions with one of her psychiatrists.
SOURCE: http://www.news-press.com (12-17-07)
MIAMI — There were three people wearing Greg Camarillo's No. 83 jersey in Dolphin Stadium on Sunday.
And at the end of the game, all three were getting mobbed.
There was the Miami wide receiver, who caught a 64-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to give the Dolphins their first win of the season and prevent the team from going 0-16. As he celebrated with fans at the back of the end zone, he was jumped by teammates Ted Ginn Jr., Marty Booker, Chris Liwienski, Michael Lehan, Lorenzo Booker, Will Allen and a host of followers.
In the stands, Camarillo's parents, Al and Susan, were engulfed by fans as well.
"They thought we were celebrities in there, right?" Al Camarillo said, laughing "It really was a special moment."
One his son will probably never forget. After all, how many times does a player who came into Sunday's game with a grand total of one career reception inspire fans to be chanting his name as they leave the stadium?
Until Sunday, the only other time Camarillo had reporters surround his locker was when was called for holding on a punt return that wiped out a touchdown by Ginn.
"I like to think it was a ghost call, so it's good to see you guys back over here on a nicer note," he said.
Camarillo, who attended Stanford, arrived in Miami on Sept. 2 after he was claimed on waivers from San Diego. Until Sunday, he had been used almost exclusively on special teams.
SOURCE: NYT (12-16-07)
The cause was complications of stomach ulcers, a friend, Wayne Hoffman, said.
“Coming Out Under Fire” (Free Press), published in 1990, explores the uneasy but at times surprisingly benign relationship between the United States military and its gay members.
Mr. Bérubé’s book was invoked frequently during the debate that simmered in the 1990s around President Bill Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which officially allowed gay people to serve in the military if they kept their sexual orientation secret.
“Coming Out Under Fire” was also the basis for a documentary film of that name, released in 1994....
SOURCE: George Packer at the New Yorker blog (12-11-07)
Schlesinger was right about many things during his long life—his opposition to McCarthyism, the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Nixon, identity politics—but he couldn’t see what was in front of his nose. The political creed that he embodied—modern, post-New Deal liberalism—declined and fell during the period covered by the last six hundred pages of the “Journals,” and Schlesinger never seems to understand why, or even that it is happening at all. As a consequence, his political judgment—as opposed to his policy views—fails him again and again. In 1972, he couldn’t believe that McGovern would lose to the hated Nixon in a landslide. In 1976, he imagined that four more years of Ford would restore the Democratic Party to liberalism, when the country was moving rapidly in the opposite direction. Ted Kennedy’s botched attempt to unseat Carter from the left in 1980, supported by Schlesinger, only weakened Kennedy’s causes. And Reagan turned out to be not at all the benign President Schlesinger imagined he would be; 1980 was the conservative equivalent of 1932, marking a tectonic shift to the right.
Throughout the years of liberal eclipse, Schlesinger expresses a kind of irritable surprise that events keep taking the wrong turn, that the public refuses to do the obvious, right thing, and that Presidents fail to live up to the Kennedy standard. He worships the Kennedy memory ever more ardently as years go by. He wonders why new generations of politicians don’t turn to him for advice. And he keeps up an incredible social schedule. New Year’s Eve, 1979:
"We began by hearing Pavarotti sing at Avery Fisher Hall. He was in superb voice, sang with that enchanting hint of vast powers in reserve and concluded with ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in Italian. We moved on to a party at I. M. Pei’s Sutton Place house; then, for the rites of passage, to John Chancellor’s; finishing by inspecting the scene at Woody Allen’s mighty party.”
Reading the “Journals,” I began to feel that liberalism declined because Arthur Schlesinger attended three celebrity New Year’s Eve parties that evening. In this long record of speeches, conferences, lunches at the Century, and dinners at Mortimer’s, there’s an unmistakable sense that liberal politics belonged to a small group of the rich and famous who all knew one another and knew what was best for the rest of the country, while knowing less and less about the rest of the country. (I wrote a different version of this story in my book “Blood of the Liberals.”) Even L.B.J., who enacted the great domestic program that J.F.K. never did, doesn’t qualify for club membership, because he’s a crude Texan. It’s possible, even if you agree with almost every position Schlesinger held, to find the smugness and complacency not just annoying but fatal. His crowd made liberalism a fat target for the New Right; Reagan and his heirs seized the language and claims of populism from liberals who believed that they had had permanent possession ever since Roosevelt.
Reviewers have suggested that the Schlesinger “Journals” are a sort of cross between the memoirs of George Kennan and the diaries of Andy Warhol. I would add that this combination is part of the sad story they tell, of a political creed in its decadence.
SOURCE: Robert KC Johnson at HNN blog, Cliopatria (12-13-07)
One of Gordon's colleagues, History professor Sarah Hanley, was quoted in a recent article by the Iowa City Press-Citizen, which examined registration figures for all academic departments at the University of Iowa. The paper discovered that the University hosts 21 departments of 10 or more professors with one or fewer registered Republicans in their ranks. Seven of these departments (including History) had no registered Republicans.
The statistics: 1775 University of Iowa professors were registered in Johnson County, where the University is located. Of that total, 66.1 percent were registered Democrats, 22.4 registered without party affiliation, and 11.5 percent were registered Republicans.
As I've noted before, partisan affiliation is a crude measurement to determine bias in personnel patterns. Yet a gap of 55 percent between the two parties, along with a multitude of departments that don't even have at least one representative of both major parties, seems somewhat troubling. At the least, it should raise questions as to whether departments at the University have devised lines in such a way to skew the faculty so far to one side politically.
P-C reporter Brian Morelli interviewed one History professor who demonstrated no concern with such matters. Sarah Hanley dismissed suggestions that the department is skewed. Said she,"I have great faith in the integrity of faculty members to not put political views on students. I just had a Western civilization class where I could have hammered away on politics, but I didn't. In the history department, you don't talk about politics."
It's reassuring to know that Hanley behaved professionally in her last class. That she did so, however, isn't much of an explanation one way or the other as to whether the department has tailored lines in such a way that its membership has skewed so far to one side.
According to Morelli, Hanley also mirrored Gordon's assertion on why the department had no Republicans—the breakdown of their county's registration figures."To participate politically here, you have to be a Democrat, she said, noting that most local public officials are Democrats."
This is an odd claim indeed: it would suggest, of course, that History Departments in Republican counties (say, Arizona State University) would be likely to include no Democrats among their ranks. It also suggests an odd view of politics: Hanley appears to believe that people develop an abstract desire to participate politically, and then choose the party based on the likelihood of success.
(And the numbers from Hanley's own county don't quite support her argument: while UI profs registered in Johnson County have a Democrat/Republican ratio of 66.1/11.5, or roughly 6-to-1, the county ratio is 43.9/19.4, or around 2.25/1. Why faculty residents of Johnson County would be so much more Democratic than everyone else in Johnson County Hanley didn't say.)
Hanley further told Morelli that ideological one-sidedness wasn't a problem for her—or any—academic department."I don't think," said she,"there is a downside." Hanley added a bizarre analogy:"If it is a downside, then it would be a downside to have states to be so-called blue or so-called red. It would be casting a pall on the democratic system where people are free to choose."
I can only hope that Hanley offers a more sophisticated interpretation of politics in her classes.
SOURCE: AHA Perspectives (12-1-07)
Gabrielle M. Spiegel (Johns Hopkins Univ.)
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (Harvard Univ.)
Vice President, Professional Division
David J. Weber (Southern Methodist Univ.)
Position 1: Trudy H. Peterson (Consulting Archivist)
Position 2: Prasenjit Duara (Univ. of Chicago)
Professional: Kristin L. Ahlberg (U. S. Dept. of State)
Research: Mary Elizabeth Berry (Univ. of California at Berkeley)
Teaching: Timothy N. Thurber (Virginia Commonwealth Univ.)
Committee on Committees
Christopher Leslie Brown (Columbia Univ.)
Position 1: Lisa Forman Cody (Claremont McKenna Coll.)
Position 2: David G. Gutiérrez (Univ. of California at San Diego)
Position 3: David Newbury (Smith Coll.)
SOURCE: Robert Townsend in Perspectives, the magazine of the AHA (12-1-07)
SOURCE: Barbara Weinstein in the AHA Perspectives (12-1-07)
With regard to the visa issue, first the good news: after more than two years of anxiously waiting and wondering, Waskar Ari Chachaki finally received a visa from the U.S. Consulate in La Paz, Bolivia, which enabled him to join his admirably steadfast colleagues in the Department of History at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (UNL). But while this particular story has a happy ending, there are still many other scholars who anxiously await their visas somewhere outside the United States, and others who have been denied a visa and cannot enter at all, even for a brief symposium. Indeed, just days after hearing the welcome news about Waskar Ari, the AHA received word of another historian who had been told that her visa would be delayed for an indeterminate amount of time under similarly bewildering circumstances.
Moreover, even if all the scholars who have experienced a visa delay or denial in recent years suddenly found themselves in possession of a passport with the appropriate stamps, the damage would have been done. As Waskar Ari succinctly put it in remarks addressed to faculty and students at UNL soon after his arrival, he used to think of himself as a "transnational scholar," someone who circulated freely in the world of ideas, and for whom the scholarly community transcended any specific national location. Now he feels like a "foreign scholar," someone who must carefully consider where he can go and what he can do. Who knows how many other one-time "transnational scholars" now feel like foreigners or aliens who have no rights, even to an explanation for why they have been or are being excluded....
SOURCE: National Coalition for History blog (12-14-07)
Presidential candidates Representatives Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Ron Paul (R-TX) voted for the House version of the bill (H.R. 1255) when it was approved last March.
In 2001, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13233, giving current and former presidents and vice presidents, and their heirs, broad authority to withhold presidential records or delay their release. “The Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007” (S. 886) would overturn Executive Order 13233 and re-establish procedures to ensure the timely release of presidential records that the Presidential Records Act of 1978 was designed to ensure.
The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee by voice vote this past summer. However, when the Democratic leadership sought to bring the bill to the floor on September 29, Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) objected to consideration of the bill. Senator Bunning was sharply criticized this week for holding up the bill in an editorial in the Louisville Courier-Journal.
SOURCE: Detroit Free Press (12-14-07)
Most recently, Sugrue, who will be the Izumi Scholar in Residence, was involved with the voting rights case"U.S. vs. City of Euclid, Ohio." He was also an expert for the University of Michigan in the federal lawsuits concerned with undergraduate and law school admissions there.
SOURCE: AP (12-13-07)
Historian Costas Plevris appealed his sentence and was not taken into custody.
A three-member panel of judges voted 2-1 to find Plevris guilty of inciting violence and racial hatred. The court cleared three other defendants of similar charges: the publisher, the editor and a journalist at a small right-wing magazine that published extracts from the book.
Greek Jewish community leaders had testified that Plevris' book The Jews: The whole truth has led to an increase in attacks on Jewish monuments in the country.
SOURCE: Gay City News (12-13-07)
Raised in a trailer park in Bayonne, about which he wrote in the anthology "White Trash," and residing in recent years in the Catskills community of Liberty, where he served as a village trustee, Bérubé was 61. Jonathan Ned Katz, a gay historian colleague and friend of Bérubé, said his death was caused by sudden complications from stomach ulcers.
According to a 1997 edition of the University of Chicago Class Notes, Bérubé was a student there in 1968 when the assassination of Martin Luther King sparked racial unrest. Responding to the human tragedy in their midst, Bérubé and his roommate, Roy Gutmann, worked with the Quakers to collect food and clothing for people who lost their homes. But, when a racial incident led to the killing of Gutmann, , Bérubé quit school and left Chicago for Boston.
In Boston, Bérubé worked as an anti-war organizer with the American Friends Services Committee, came out in 1969, and joined a "gay liberation collective household," according to the U of C publication. By 1974, he had moved to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, settling into another gay commune, this one for craftspeople. He soon became involved with the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project.
Spurred by Katz's groundbreaking 1976 book "Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the USA," the Project employed the emerging discipline of social history to examine the long-buried documentary history of queers in all walks of life, from prominent intellectuals and artists to working men and women. Bérubé was among those who traveled the country holding seminars about the extraordinary stories the Project had uncovered of gay men and lesbians who built fulfilling lives and relationships for themselves despite the long odds of cultural and legal sanctions.
It was at one of these lectures in a church basement in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the late 1970s that this reporter first encountered Bérubé.
In 1990, Bérubé published "Coming Out Under Fire," a history of gay soldiers whose homosocial networks forged during World War II empowered many of them to publicly acknowledge their homosexuality, in spite of official military hostility that led to the "undesirable" discharge of more than 9,000 servicemembers in five years. ...
SOURCE: LAT (12-13-07)
James Corbett, who teaches Advanced Placement European history at Capistrano Valley High School, consistently "demonstrates a sense of hostility toward religion," causing Christian students to "feel ostracized and treated as second-class citizens," according to the lawsuit filed in federal district court in Santa Ana by Chad Farnan, 16, and his parents, Bill and Teresa.
The lawsuit contends, among other things, that Corbett told students during class that "when you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth"; said that religion is not "connected with morality"; compared Christians to "Muslim fundamentalists" who want women to "stay pregnant, barefoot, and in the kitchen and have babies until your body collapses"; and suggested that churchgoers are more likely to commit rape and murder.
Corbett did not return a call for comment. Capistrano Valley High School Principal Tom Ressler described Corbett as a "solid" teacher who has been with the Capistrano Unified School District for more than 15 years. Ressler said Corbett's class was popular among Advanced Placement students and has a high pass rate.
SOURCE: VOA (12-12-07)
Andrew McMichael is a young history professor in his sixth year at Western Kentucky University, a state school in Bowling Green. He started as an assistant professor, teaching seven courses a year.
His starting pay was forty-three thousand dollars, plus benefits. These included health insurance for himself and his family, life insurance and a retirement plan.
His position was on the tenure track. This meant the university would have to decide either to award him tenure, which provides job security, or ask him to leave.
He requested tenure after five years. He had to present evidence of his research, teaching and service on committees.
Teaching skills are measured through evaluations by students and observations by other professors. The research requirement includes publishing three articles or writing a book or translating a foreign work into English.
Professors may think they have met all the requirements for tenure, but there are no guarantees. The process can seem mysterious and unfair.
In recent years many schools have reduced their number of tenured positions. Doing that saves money and gives administrators more control. It also means greater competition for fewer jobs.
Earlier this year, Andrew McMichael received the decision about his future at Western Kentucky. It was good news: he earned tenure.
That meant a promotion to associate professor. It also meant a ten percent pay increase as well as a one-time payment for good work.
He now earns almost fifty-eight thousand dollars a year -- not a huge amount, he admits. And he knows that even a starting professor outside the liberal arts, in an area like accounting, earns a lot more.
He also knows that his school could hire someone to teach the same number of classes he does for about fifteen thousand dollars, with no benefits. But being a professor means more than teaching classes.
Professor McMichael says tenure will mean the freedom to speak out and do research on whatever he wants. History is not his only interest. In the spring he will be team-teaching a class with a biologist on the history and science of beer and brewing.
SOURCE: Bloomberg News (12-12-07)
"I think he lets himself off much too easy,'' said Meltzer, author of a 2002 book on the early history of the central bank, in an interview. "He acknowledged maybe his policy had a little bit to do with it. But he found all kinds of other reasons'' to blame for the housing and mortgage problems today.
Greenspan, in a Wall Street Journal commentary today, said lowering the Fed's target interest rate to 1 percent in 2003 may have contributed to higher home prices by prompting demand for adjustable-rate mortgages, though the impact was "not major.'' He said the Fed was worried about deflation.
Meltzer said he met then with Greenspan at the former chairman's invitation and disagreed with the concern over deflation.
"I said, 'Alan, we have had six or seven deflations in the United States in the history of the Federal Reserve, and only one of them ever had terrible consequences, and that was 1929 to 1933,' '' he said. "That was because deflation was not only bad, but because the money growth was lower and lower and lower, so the expectation was deflation would continue. In all the other six, nothing happened.''
Greenspan "continued to believe that deflation was the problem. He was wrong about that, simply out and out wrong,'' Meltzer said.