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: http://www.interfax-religion.com (2-29-08)
“Illegitimacy always gives raise to dissident trends both in religion and in politics. It (Kosovo – IF) will be a state that claims for the territories of other countries in compliance with the Great Albania doctrine. It’s not a secret,” the historian said in her interview to the Vesti TV channel.
“Why they (Europe and the USA – IF) pretend not to see it? Don’t they know that the Great Albanian idea aims at adjoining 40% of Macedonia and North-Western part of Greece and to make an Ohrid Lake an internal sea of the Albanian nation? While Christian and Orthodox shrines are located there,” Narochnitskaya noted.
Se reminded that it regards to the relics of Sts Naum and Clement who enriched Slavonic alphabet with grammar materials after Sts Cyril and Methodius.
“Who remembers that all Christian shrines in Kosovo were not only plundered and fired, they were desecrated! I saw authenticated photos of altars with excrements, a bulleted icon of Our Lady with inscriptions in black “UCK” and “Peter’s Europe keeps silence.” It’s strange and inexplicable. So short sighted,” the historian said.
He also considered groundless the USA hope that love of Kosovo Albanians ‘will compensate the hatred of Islamic world to the United States.”
According to Narochnitskaya, Albanian extremists initially aimed at occupying a part of territory. ...
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (2-28-08)
Wilentz continues: "A review of what actually happened shows that the charges that the Clintons played the 'race card' were not simply false; they were deliberately manufactured by the Obama camp and trumpeted by a credulous and/or compliant press corps in order to strip away her once formidable majority among black voters and to outrage affluent, college-educated white liberals as well as college students."
Wilentz's essay is brimming with other such sharply worded accusations. Not surprisingly, it has stirred a vigorous response. As of this writing the piece has generated 440 comments on The New Republic's Web site. And Jim Sleeper, a lecturer in political science at Yale, has entered the fray, accusing Wilentz of writing a bitter rant fueled by his (maybe?) dashed hopes of being the Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. of a Hillary Clinton administration....
SOURCE: John Judis at the website of the New Republic (2-28-08)
... When I was writing his biography, William F. Buckley, Jr.: Patron Saint of the Conservatives (1988), I had trouble understanding his Catholicism, but I finally figured it out when I was watching him host Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited on public television. Buckley's Catholicism was not the docile faith of the working-class Irish or Italian. Instead, he was very much in the mold of the English Catholic, for whom religion is a fighting faith against the prevailing Anglican Church. Thus, Buckley would feel no compunction in challenging American Catholics' deeply held support for welfare capitalism or later in rebelling against Pope John XXII's Pacem in Terris.
Yet the key to Buckley is to understand that he was a rebel, but not a heretic. He fancied himself and his politics to be anti-establishment, yet he was part of the American establishment against which he rebelled. He never went so far as to be cast out, or to attempt to be cast out. He was raised in upper-class Sharon, Connecticut, went to prep school and Yale, and lived on the Upper East Side and in Stamford, Connecticut. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in good standing. Politically, he occupied a space on the right similar to that occupied by socialist Michael Harrington on the left. Just as Harrington used to call for a politics that represented the left wing of the possible, Buckley tried to construct a politics that represented the right wing of the possible. In 1956, National Review endorsed Dwight Eisenhower in spite of its misgivings about his acceptance of the New Deal and his reluctance to roll back Soviet communism. Eisenhower's buttons that year read "I like Ike." National Review's editorial was titled, "I prefer Ike." Buckley also took the lessons of Goldwater's rout in 1964 to heart and backed Richard Nixon in 1968.
What was true on a political level was also true on a personal level. Many of Buckley's best friends were liberals like John Kenneth Galbraith. He got along famously with Norman Mailer, with whom he debated frequently during the 1960s. When I was writing his biography, I was always puzzled by this side of Buckley, and after I had done a draft, I hold him that I couldn't figure out how the young Buckley, who as a teenager was pretty insufferable and not well-liked, became a man of such wide-ranging and close friendships. I had gone through Buckley's papers at Yale, which trace his political career, but at that point, he gave me a stack of letters that he had written to his mother and sisters when he was in the army at Fort Benning at the end of World War II.
What I found in those letters was a clue to the mystery that is Bill Buckley. When he was at officer's training school, Buckley, who was only 18 at the time, couldn't get by on his good grades and brilliance, and found himself not only disliked, but on the verge of being flunked out of officer candidates' school. In the letters he wrote, Buckley revealed a fear and anguish about his place in the world and how people thought of him. He got his commission, but he also learned that he had to leaven his own political and intellectual convictions with a tolerance for people who didn't share them. He would sometimes condemn their views, but he would not condemn them. By the time he arrived at Yale, he was pretty much the Buckley whom we've known for the last sixty years--witty, arrogant, but always with a certain restraint, even at times a gentleness and consideration. And I think that same sense of limits and boundaries--a sense of how far he could and couldn't go--affected the way he conducted himself politically....
SOURCE: http://www.jta.org (2-26-08)
The new edition of Ariel Toaff's "Passover of Blood" includes a passage in which the Bar-Ilan University professor makes clear that the murder of a Christian child in 15th-century Italy in no way was factually linked to Jewish religious custom.
Toaff in the original book, published last year in Italy, caused an international outcry by writing that he did not rule out that Jews may have killed the boy to use his blood in a Passover ritual.
But the new edition retains the same provocative title despite requests for it to be changed, and its introduction also contains a reference to a fringe custom among some medieval Jewish communities of keeping a vial of blood on hand "for use in diverse eventualities."
SOURCE: The Hindu (2-26-08)
The activists allegedly manhandled Prof. Jafri and hurled abuses at him before vandalising the office. They also allegedly threw stones into classrooms and broke doors, windows and furniture of the Department on the North Campus.
Some groups have raised objections to inclusion of an essay by scholar A.K. Ramanujan titled “Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation” for the course on “Ancient Indian Culture”. They claim it contained “objectionable” references to Hindu gods.
Vikas Dahiya, the State joint secretary of ABVP who led the activists, alleged: “Our delegation had gone to meet Prof. Jafri to hand over a memorandum. We told him that the Department must understand the sentiments of Hindus. He threw the memorandum at my face which infuriated the activists.”
However, Prof. Jafri termed it a “sheer lie” and said there was no provocation at all. “They came to my room and sat down. There was no talk of any memorandum. They said they wanted to speak to me in front of the media. The moment some of television channels entered my room, the activists began vandalising my room, threw the official files and manhandled me. I have reported the matter to the Vice-Chancellor,” Prof. Jafri said.
SOURCE: Robert Cherny, OAH Treasurer, in the OAH Newsletter (2-1-08)
However, amid these positive signs at midyear, two areas for concern stand out—investments and membership. As I noted above, we did very well last year with our investments—indeed, the unrealized gain on our investments meant that we ended the last fiscal year with increased assets over the previous year. In the past six months, however, we have lost some of those unrealized gains as the falling stock market has affected our investments. Membership is also down by 300 as compared with a year ago. Despite the increase in dues (or perhaps related to the increase in dues), our revenue from membership dues and institutional subscriptions stood at only 44 percent of the projected annual total. Unless this is reversed during the next six months, we could fall as much as $142,000 short of projected revenues. The executive office has recognized this potential problem, and is developing plans to increase membership....
SOURCE: Ralph Luker at HNN blog, Cliopatria (2-25-08)
SOURCE: Eric Rauchway at The Edge of the American West (Blog) (2-26-08)
The picture I would like to show you of George Fredrickson is a picture I don’t have but remember well, a picture I hope some suitably-situated obituarist will retrieve from the original dust-jacket of The Inner Civil War, a picture of a square-jawed George in 1965 with the Kennedy haircut and a straight-stem pipe, looking as if he had just stepped out of the ExComm. That was the George who wanted to punch his weight with the greats, the George who could write
I am convinced that the few who have a genuine interest in ideas and a powerful urge to find meaning and coherence in their experience are able to tell us more about a crisis of values, with its inevitable confusion and ambivalence, than the many who avoid difficult issues and are content to speak in outdated clichés.
His intellectual journey took him far from that statement, which he later said left him feeling “slightly embarrassed,” because he had chosen his “few” without reflecting on their position in an “elitist canon.” He did not make that mistake again. He transformed himself into the major historian of American racial thought with The Black Image in the White Mind. In 1980 he examined the field of comparative history and concluded that it “does not really exist yet.” In 1981 he remedied this defect with his incomparable White Supremacy: A Comparative Study in American and South African History, which he followed in 1995 with Black Liberation: A Comparative History of Black Ideologies in the United States and South Africa.
George was my Doktorvater, as they say; I believe he was the one who taught me the word. In college I took Joel Silbey’s class on the Civil War and Reconstruction, which fit me to read The Inner Civil War and The Arrogance of Race, and with the arrogance of youth I wrote a personal statement saying I wanted to write books like those, and I wished George would please teach me. In the spring of 1991 there was a message on my answering machine from George Fredrickson saying he would do that very thing. It remains one of the greatest honors of my career.
By the time I met him George was a big man, stout as well as tall, in an office that was tall as well as big, with high windows, windows like the windows that overlook the canals in the Low Countries, with low Valley sunlight coming yellow through them. By one of these windows George had stationed an electric fan so that the room would not fill with smoke while he puffed on his pipe. He would ask a question, which I would answer inadequately. He had no problem letting silence then fill the room, silence cut only by the whir of the fan and the rush of pipe-smoke through the stem. I would fidget, then invariably start to amplify my humble reply at exactly the same time he chose to begin explaining why I was wrong. More than slight embarrassment comes over me now when I think how callow I was then. The longest pauseless conversation we had covered the merits of Garrison Keillor, whom I twice went to see perform during graduate school, and whom George rather liked. Apart from Keillor the only other non-intellectual matter for which I believe we shared a definite appreciation was a drink.
If he was taciturn he was not dispassionate. Everyone who read his writing knew how strongly he felt the cause of justice. And he had a temper, and he was not above the occasional Anglo-Saxonism, deployed especially choicely on one occasion in the cause of an advisee who had been mistreated by his employer.
George taught me intellectual history for my comprehensive exams. When I asked him what I should read, he said, “Well, traditionally you’re supposed to master the field,” after which there ensued an even longer pause than usual. At the oral examination itself, in the so-called War Room of Stanford’s History Department, George asked me if I would for his benefit please distinguish between premodern, modern, and postmodern modes of thought.
He was honest enough in criticizing my books, too. When I asked him what he thought of one of them, he said, “It was very well written.” Silence. Fortunately for me, he said he very much liked a couple of others, especially some of the comparative work, so I felt I had done all right by him. And he took delight in hearing about my children.
And last, perhaps, in his phrase, “slightly embarrassed,” we shouldn’t slight the “slightly.” To the end he wanted to punch his weight with the acknowledged greats. Throughout his career, he circled Lincoln, who disappointed and fascinated him, and last year he wrote me that he concluded—I know with intellectual, and I think with personal, disappointment—that Lincoln would never have supported the Fourteenth Amendment—unless, George wrote, perhaps because he was unwilling to write off hope altogether, he had “a radical change of heart.”
Today I received the sad news that George Fredrickson died unexpectedly yesterday. I miss him.
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (2-26-08)
The Columbia press has been quietly making the monographs freely available on its Web site since last fall, but the American Historical Association, its partner in publishing Gutenberg-e, announced the news on its blog only this month. Gutenberg-e's switch to open access highlights some of the financial and logistical difficulties that can hamper attempts to establish a viable e-monograph series in the humanities—not that many have yet tried.
Gutenberg-e was created in 1999 in collaboration with the historical association, with financial backing from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The idea was to hold a yearly competition for the six best dissertations in subdisciplines that were considered difficult to publish in, including African and colonial Latin American history. The series has also focused on women's and gender history, military history, pre-1800 Europe, and pre-1900 North America.
Cost, unsurprisingly, proved to be one of the bigger obstacles to the success of the original Gutenberg-e model. That platform allowed authors to do a multitude of things, in various media, that they wouldn't have been able to do in print. For instance, one scholar, Helena Pohlandt-McCormick, created an interactive archive of 1,300 digital images for her book 'I Saw a Nightmare...': Doing Violence to Memory: The Soweto Uprising, June 16, 1976. But adding such innovations required a large investment of technological as well as editorial and authorial expertise, and subscription revenues didn't generate enough to meet that burden....
SOURCE: http://www.american.com (Jan-Feb issue) (1-1-08)
Olken is “one of the most exciting young scholars in economics,” his Harvard adviser, Lawrence F. Katz, former chief economist to the U.S. Labor Department, told The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is.
Olken wonders whether economic devel opment and the path to democratization are shaped more by broad historical forces or by the actions of specific leaders—be they demo cratically elected prime ministers or thuggish authoritarians. With the assistance of his fre quent research partner Ben Jones, an economist at Northwestern, Olken has challenged broadly held assumptions by publishing a pair of papers asking how heads of state affect economic out comes and democracy.
In “Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War,” Olken and Jones looked at the effects of political assassination, using a strict empirical methodology that takes into account economic conditions at the time of the killing and what Olken calls a “novel data set” of assas sination attempts, successful and unsuccessful, between 1875 and 2004.
Olken and Jones discovered that a country was “more likely to see democratization follow ing the assassination of an autocratic leader,” but found no substantial “effect following assassinations—or assassination attempts—on democratic leaders.” They concluded that “on average, successful assassinations of autocrats produce sustained moves toward democracy.” The researchers also found that assassinations have no effect on the inauguration of wars, a result that “suggests that World War I might have begun regardless of whether or not the attempt on the life of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 had succeeded or failed.”...
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (2-26-08)
In an e-mail message to The Chronicle on Monday, Edward S. Countryman, a professor of history and a member of the Faculty Senate, said he was hopeful about the ground rules for concurrent appointments. On this matter Southern Methodist's president, R. Gerald Turner, has been responsive to the faculty's concerns, Mr. Countryman believes.
But Mr. Countryman is much less happy about provisions that allow the university to make two appointments to the Bush foundation's board of directors and at least one appointment to the policy institute's board of directors. Those provisions, Mr. Countryman wrote, are much too weak, because the foundation retains the right to reject a particular nominee and to ask the university to try again until it names someone acceptable to the foundation.
"The veto power seems absolute and discretionary on the Bush foundation's part," Mr. Countryman wrote, "and seems to point, as I would have feared anyway, toward ... , instead of the open discussion of the Bush Presidency that I think the Presidential Records Act is intended to bring about, a situation where dissenting opinion will have no place."
That opinion was echoed by Alexis McCrossen, an associate professor of history and a member of the Faculty Senate. The foundation's veto power "is problematic, to put it lightly," she said in an interview.
During the last year, SMU's administration has given the Senate too little information about what the foundation wanted, Ms. McCrossen said, with the result that "we were arguing in a vacuum."
But Ms. McCrossen added that she was happy about one element of the contract: a clause that requires all parties to tell the public that the policy institute is not part of Southern Methodist. (The university's name should not appear on the institute's letterhead, for example.) "I'm very pleased that that made that explicit," she said. "That's something that many of us were concerned about."...
SOURCE: AP (2-23-08)
Even as a fourth-grader, Blockson, who is black, knew better. So he began collecting proof.
Today, the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University contains more than 30,000 historical items, some dating to the 16th century. It includes Paul Robeson's sheet music, African Bibles, rare letters and manuscripts, slave narratives, correspondence of Haitian revolutionaries and a first-edition book by W.E.B DuBois....
After graduating in 1956, he turned down an offer to play football with the New York Giants and briefly entered the military. His continual collecting and research helped him become an expert on the Underground Railroad; he wrote several books, lectured around the world and met historical figures including Rosa Parks, Langston Hughes and Malcolm X.
Blockson worked as a teacher beginning in 1970. About 13 years later, he gave his collection to Temple and began serving as its curator.
The fact that it's at a mainstream university makes it unique among large black historical collections, said Michele Gates Moresi, curator of collections at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Many prominent collections are at historically black colleges, such as Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Research Center in Washington, D.C., she said.
"With the heart of the black community in North Philly, it was a perfect place for it," he said of his decision to house the collection at Temple.
SOURCE: http://www.news.wisc.edu/14805 (2-25-08)
McCoy, author of "A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror," appears in part of the film to explain how the history of CIA torture research shaped the policy of President Bush's administration.
McCoy got involved in the film after Jane Mayer, a writer for The New Yorker who reviewed "Question of Torture" for the magazine, recommended the book to filmmaker Alex Gibney, who was just beginning work on the documentary.
In his book, McCoy showed how the origins of the Abu Ghraib scandal and the Guantanamo controversy can be traced directly to the 1950s, when the CIA launched a massive mind-control project that discovered psychological torture.
The documentary opens Friday at Sundance 608 in Madison and is scheduled to air on HBO in September.
Alfred W. McCoy: The U.S. Has a History of Using Torture
SOURCE: Letter to the Editor of the NYT (2-26-08)
Your article about the possible foreclosure of the Mount, Edith Wharton’s estate in Lenox, Mass. (Arts pages, Feb. 23), has alerted readers that the fascinating abode of one of our best American writers may be closed and therefore crossed off the itinerary of literary and cultural pilgrims. It must be saved.
As an Edith Wharton biographer, I know that intimacy with the house is a way not only into Edith Wharton’s fascinating life but also the Gilded Age milieu: it is an authentic mansion in the Berkshire area fully restored for the public to visit.
Its carefully replanted gardens alone, which she created with her excellent eye and the profits from her novel writing, evoke that vanished world she recorded in her fiction.
Visits to writers’ houses are not always that rewarding. But a visit to the Mount is different and has something to offer to a wide range of interests. It offers an understanding of Wharton’s ideas on decorating and architecture and the way she lived in the world.
The location today for lectures on women’s achievements, the art of decorating, on architecture and writing, the Mount is the perfect place for a research center for American cultural and literary history. The accomplished scholar, the aspiring writer, the high school student, the curious tourist cannot help but come away knowing more about our past and specifically the past of this unusual woman.
New York, Feb. 24, 2008
SOURCE: Deborah Lipstadt at her blog (2-25-08)
The site carries a post from David Irving's website entitled:
Lipstadt: Am I my brother's keeper?
Irving begins with a discussion [quite exaggerated of course] of the Bruges affair. He then goes on to identify Marc Kalmann as my brother. Here's what Irving has to say:
Kalmann is the brother of Atlanta Professor Deborah Lipstadt, and she has gone straight into brother-denial. (Don’t ask us how they come to use different family names: I remember once interviewing Julius Streicher’s son, also a Streicher, for Hard Copy (US television), and him retorting, “We are not the sort of people who change our names.")He"proves" his point by quoting the post sent to me by Kalmann's brother.
Changing names is the kind of things that the Lipstadt’s of this world do more often than others.
What a joke. Irving can't figure out that I was quoting the brother NOT identifying Marc Kalmann as my brother.
Attempting to paint me as frightened that this news of"my brother", i.e. Marc Kalmann might emerge and
come to my ears, Deborah Lipstadt has rushed to her damage-control panel, groped in the darkness of her own delirium for the button marked “DENIAL!” but pushed the one marked “PANIC” by mistake. The Internet is awash with fun at her expense.
Someone must have pointed out to David Irving his colossal mistake because when you go to his website the post is gone. www.fpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/Lipstadt/brother_Marc_Kalmann.html
My thanks to the KKK site for capturing it.
What a hoot. Irving [and his friends] can't even read documents he is not trying to lie about.
SOURCE: NYT (2-23-08)
Financed by a $3.7 million gift from the Leon Levy Foundation, the new center will offer four fellowships for this fall to academics and others who are working on biographies, as well as two fellowships to graduate students at CUNY who are writing biographical dissertations. Next year the center will add two more fellowship slots.
David Nasaw, a professor of history at the Graduate Center who will serve as the faculty director of what is to be named the Leon Levy Center for Biography, said he had been mulling such a project for “a gazillion years.” But, he said, the idea finally crystallized last year when he met Nancy Milford, the author of “Zelda: A Biography” and “Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay” and now a distinguished lecturer at Hunter College.
The two talked about wanting to combine scholarly rigor with literary quality and how it would help to be able to talk regularly with other biographers....
SOURCE: Robert Townsend at the AHA blog (2-20-08)
The letters, signed by AHA Executive Director Arnita Jones with the unanimous support of the AHA Council, notes that these records were “historically significant and legally important, and their destruction impoverishes the historical record of U.S. involvement in the Middle East.”
Citing the Association’s long history of defending the preservation and treatment of federal records (extending back to the Association’s first proposal for a national archives building in 1906), the letter urges “the CIA to inform all its employees that records may not be alienated or destroyed except under the procedures of the Federal Records Act;” calls on “the National Archives and Records Administration [to] review the records schedules of the CIA to ensure that all records of investigations and interrogations are appropriately scheduled;” and “encourages the Department of Justice in its investigation and prosecution of this violation of the Federal Records Act.”
Letters were sent to Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States; Michael Mukasey, Attorney General; General Michael Hayden, CIA; Representative Henry A. Waxman, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform; and Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chair Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
SOURCE: Douglas Murray in the spectator.co.uk (2-20-08)
‘I wrote Earthly Powers and Sacred Causes because I was confronted by the prospect before I left academia of spending the rest of my life writing books on Nazi Germany and the second world war, and this was such a grim prospect for me. In a way 9/11 forced us [all] to think about the wider world.
‘The two religion books are in a sense my trying to look at what I think is a very neglected area of modern European history. Most historians are secular. They think there is just an onward march to universal secularity... The thing about the arrival of radical Islam in our midst is that it’s like a sort of sudden traffic-stop to people who think, “Oh well, we’re all going to get more and more secular and we’ll reduce these people to the same level of accepting all the tenets of liberalism”. And suddenly bang, that hasn’t worked out, that’s not the case. So now we have this terrific problem of how societies which understand themselves as becoming ineluctably more secular and more liberal, how they will deal with people for whom very strong religious belief is part of it.’
But what links terrorist organisations across the decades? Nineteenth-century Fenianism, Russian Nihilism, the Baader-Meinhof brigades?
‘Undemocratic minorities, whether in dem-ocracies or in other systems,’ says Burleigh as he lights another cigarette. ‘Twenty-five members of the Baader-Meinhof group wanted to overthrow German capitalism. Well 25 people is not a great democratic caucus, so therefore they resorted obviously to extreme political violence. I wanted to look at these particular groups in various historical contexts and to look at the mindset of why people join them, how the dynamics of the group operate psychologically — that terrorism can become almost a way of life — and particularly to focus on the thing that everybody seems to slightly neglect, which is that the main thing they do is to kill people... I think it’s quite important to establish that and also maybe to say look, there are some terrorists that you can negotiate with... there are demands you can make which at least might diminish the support they might have within given communities, and there are other people whose objectives are completely insane. I mean, we’re not going to abolish Western civilisation on behalf of the jihadists.’
Few of his cultural-cringing contemporaries would make the point which Burleigh then does: ‘The point of the book is that there has been so much public discussion about what the West did right and did wrong in Iraq and we can all legitimately have arguments about that, but the danger of that is that you move away from the fact that the terrorists are the problem.’...
SOURCE: http://inside.binghamton.edu (2-21-08)
Forcey joined the Binghamton faculty in 1967 and retired in 1991. Active in professional and political organizations, he authored The Crossroads of Liberalism: Croly, Weyl, Lippmann and the Progressive Era, 1900-1925 and A Strong and Free Nation. He was also a Fulbright lecturer at Xavier University in the Philippines.
Linda Biemer, former dean of the School of Education and Human Development, recalled Forcey as a good friend and colleague.
“Pete was always very concerned about good teaching, and he was a very supportive History Department colleague of Binghamton’s master of arts in teaching/social studies,” she said. “He welcomed graduate teacher candidates into his master’s-level history courses, and often told me they were his best students. He also was so supportive of adult, returning students, especially those in the master of arts in social science (MASS) program.”
Forcey earned his master’s degree from Columbia University and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. He taught at the University of Wisconsin, Miami University of Ohio and Columbia and Rutgers universities before coming to Binghamton. He also served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve in the Pacific.
SOURCE: NJ Jewish News (2-21-08)
“Between 1948 and 1966, there were infiltrators everywhere, robbing and stealing,” he said. “After the 1967 war, there was constant bombing from Jordan and then from Lebanon.”
In the past, however, the government had more control over the flow of information, and the incidents of violence were seen as more remote.
“Now, everything is screened in prime time television,” Tal said, “and the government is under pressure to act” to stop the violence. At the same time, “there is also more solidarity between the center of the country and the territories.”
Drawing distinctions like these — and drawing out their implications — will be Tal’s goal when he presents “Israel under Missile Fire,” a talk scheduled for Thursday evening, Feb. 28, at the Wilf Jewish Community Campus in Scotch Plains....
SOURCE: http://www.sonomanews.com (2-22-08)
The position would be voluntary and unpaid, with a renewable two-year term. The selected person would be responsible for coordinating, identifying and maintaining historical records and artifacts owned by the city; provide historical updates to the city council; assist with public research; make recommendations regarding preservation of historic resources; serve as a school resource on local history; and coordinate public workshops on Sonoma history.
Adopted in the form of a resolution, the proposal was a popular idea among councilmembers who voted unanimously to establish the post. The post is expected to have only a minor financial impact on the city budget. City staff reported that other cities with similar positions typically spend less than $1,000 a year.
SOURCE: http://www.thisislancashire.co.uk (2-22-08)
Craig Brisbane has been collecting items of local historical interest for years - including postcards of Prestwich in days gone by and letters written by soldiers during the two world wars - but without knowing it he has been sitting on the most exciting item of all.
He made the discovery after rolling up the dining room carpet with sons Andrew (14) and Nicky (11) during the school half-term holiday.
They found a concrete floor and a trapdoor leading underground so they grabbed a torch and began to explore, discovering reinforced walls, a bed, fireplace, a packet of woodbines and a copy of the Daily Mail dated May 19, 1944. The newspaper details the Allies' success at Monte Cassino in Italy - a crucial battle that Craig's father-in-law, a Polish officer named Boleslaw Glazer, was involved in.
SOURCE: http://www.pittsburghcitypaper (2-21-08)
This inattention puzzles Marcus Rediker, the University of Pittsburgh history professor who recently published his groundbreaking The Slave Ship: A Human History (Viking), timed to coincide with the anniversary. Rediker's book tour visited Great Britain, whose seaports were for two centuries the corporate headquarters of the Western slave trade. There, the 2007 bicentennial of England's abolition of the trade brought a year of public and scholarly events, everything from news articles and museum exhibits to the feature film Amazing Grace, about British abolitionist William Wilberforce.
"I had hoped that we might actually have a discussion about the legacy of the slave trade and slavery in this country," says Rediker. So far, we haven't. The biggest public event seems to have been a Jan. 10 scholarly symposium, at the National Archives, in Washington, D.C. And while President Bush, on Feb. 5, signed HR 3432, creating a national commission on the abolition of the slave trade, the bill includes no funding for commemorations. "I think the collective denial of this part of our history is very powerful," says Rediker. "Many people would just rather not know about this."
"We've done virtually nothing," agrees Thomas N. DeWolf, author of Inheriting the Trade, which chronicles his research into his prominent New England family's lucrative role in the slave trade....
SOURCE: http://www.roanoke.com (2-22-08)
Peter Wallenstein was driving a 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser north on West Campus Drive about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday when he turned right onto Perry Street into the path of a bicyclist, Brian Undercoffer.
Undercoffer, a freshman, hit the rear driver's-side tire of the car, and Wallenstein continued driving, according to a police report of the crash. Undercoffer declined to comment about the incident Thursday, and Wallenstein did not respond to phone calls or an e-mail about it.
Wallenstein was arrested on charges of hit-and-run with property damage, a misdemeanor if the damage is $1,000 or less. Police estimated damage to the car at $100 and damage to the bike of $20.
Both vehicles were estimated to be traveling at 10 mph at the time of the crash, according to the report....
SOURCE: Cinnamon Stillwell at the website of CampusWatch (2-22-08)
The proliferation of dubious conferences on"academic freedom" continues unabated. And, in each case, biased and politicized Middle East studies academics are a major component.
In October, 2007, the University of Chicago hosted,"In Defense of Academic Freedom," an event whose unifying theme was"the notion that Jewish groups have degraded the quality and breadth of discussion in the media and in Washington." Hardly the stuff of self-described progressives, but such is the state of discourse in the corridors of academia today.
Then there was the"DePaul Academic Freedom Conference" earlier this month. It featured the usual suspects, all alleging"academic freedom violations" against DePaul University because"professors Mehrene Larudee and Norman Finkelstein were denied tenure." Apparently, the granting of tenure is now a God-given right and any infringements thereupon are considered grounds for martyrdom.
Next up on February 23, the College of Arts and Science (CAS) Student Council of New York University will host the"First National Teach-In on Freedoms at Risk in America." This time around, the gathering of the persecuted will include, as described at the CAS website,"our nation's foremost academics and intellectuals, and students and faculty from both within and outside of the NYU campus."
Among this supposedly stellar cast of characters is the aforesaid Norman Finkelstein, who was last seen on Lebanese television expressing"solidarity" with the terrorist group Hezbollah, calling for the"defeat" of Israel, and encouraging"military resistance" to America. Finkelstein fancies himself a sacrificial lamb to the cause of academic freedom, not only for being denied tenure, but for losing his job at DePaul. Finkelstein's long record of extremist statements, unprofessional behavior, and outright lunacy was more likely the real reason DePaul chose to part ways. But that hasn't stopped the so-called academic freedom movement from transforming Finkelstein into its poster-child.
Speaking of unsavory heroes, radical leftist attorney Lynne Stewart will also be addressing the NYC teach-in. Stewart, you'll recall, was convicted in 2005 of conspiracy and providing and concealing material support of terrorism for sneaking messages from her imprisoned client Omar Abdel-Rahman to members of the terrorist group Gama'a al-Islamiyya. The teach-in announcement conveniently omits these details, describing Stewart simply as a lawyer who represents"unpopular clients" and, of course, a victim of"recent political oppression." Apparently, those who plot the mass murder of civilians are merely"unpopular" in the rhetoric of aggrieved academia, and legal consequences for aiding and abetting terrorists is known as"political oppression." That Middle East studies academics would align themselves (and not for the first time) with someone like Stewart indicates just how low the bar has been set.
NYU Middle Eastern studies and history professor, Zachary Lockman, is another speaker at the teach-in. Lockman is the president of the highly politicized Middle East Studies Association (MESA), an organization devoted in large part to decrying the attention paid to the field by external critics in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001. Such whining was a mainstay at the 2007 MESA annual meeting in Montreal where, as noted by Campus Watch, Lockman and his cohorts played the victim card to the hilt. Similarly, Lockman was quoted in a 2007 Nationarticle on"The New McCarthyism" as follows:
There certainly is a sense among faculty and grad students that they're being watched, monitored. People are always looking over their shoulder, feeling that whatever they say--in accurate or, more likely, distorted form--can end up on a website. It definitely has a chilling effect.
If the ability of students, as well those outside academia, to observe, cite, and, if warranted, critique professors on a professional basis has a" chilling effect," then Lockman and company had better develop thicker skins. In the age of new media, no one is free from scrutiny, nor, above all, accountability.
The truth of the matter is that the only threat to academic freedom in the realm of Middle East studies extends to those that buck the prevailing left-leaning, anti-Western orthodoxy. The case of Georgia Perimeter College history professor Tim Furnish, who, writing for Campus Watch, described being turned down for a job because he was seen as"more conservative than others in [his] field," as well as for sounding"like Daniel Pipes," comes to mind.
Meanwhile, the keepers of the post-colonialist flame remain firmly ensconced in their Ivory Towers. That they continue to hold conferences alleging their persecution, circulating alarmist petitions, and railing against perceived" censorship" in a variety of publications is a testament to the true situation at hand.
Nevertheless, expect to break out the violins this weekend.
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (2-21-08)
"Yes, the problem of evil in the last century, to invoke Arendt once again, took the form of a German attempt to exterminate Jews," Judt writes. "But it is not just about Germans and it is not just about Jews. It is not even just about Europe, though it happened there. The problem of evil -- of totalitarian evil, or genocidal evil -- is a universal problem."
"My fear," Judt continues, "is that two things have happened. By emphasizing the historical uniqueness of the Holocaust while at the same time invoking it constantly with reference to contemporary affairs, we have confused young people. And by shouting 'anti-Semitism' every time someone attacks Israel or defends the Palestinians, we are breeding cynics. For the truth is that Israel today is not in existential danger. And Jews today here in the West face no threats or prejudices remotely comparable to those of the past -- or comparable to contemporary prejudices against other minorities."
Norman Geras, an emeritus professor of government at University of Manchester, has taken to his blog to write a very lengthy and very thoughtful response to Judt's essay. I can't do justice to the intricacy of both Judt's essay and Geras's response (you should really read both in their entirety), so I will just quote a passage from Geras's post to offer you a taste:
What is striking about these arguments of Judt's is their unqualified, their completely one-sided, character. It is true that the Jewish tragedy in Europe is sometimes misused to justify or excuse Israeli policies that should not be defended. But to say this without noting that there is also anti-Semitic hostility to Israel, in the Arab world and in the West, some of it perfectly overt and some of it more discreet, is to pretend that anti-Semitism is a smaller problem than it is. To lament such misuses of the Holocaust without mentioning the misuses in the opposite direction that equate Israel with the spirit and the methods of the Nazis is to see with only one eye. The same goes for writing as if the most serious sources of anti-Semitism might be arguments used by defenders of Israel or an over-emphasis on the Shoah. Really? This is a centuries-old hatred, and yet here we find ourselves in a situation where it is defense of the Jewish state and memory of the genocide against the Jews that are the stimulants of anti-Semitism; these, at any rate, are Tony Judt's sources of choice.