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://media-newswire.com (2-5-08)
SOURCE: http://www.ynetnews.com (1-31-08)
[History] Professor Zeev Zachor, President of Sapir College, sent a letter to Hassan saying: "As a condition of your continued employment, you are requested to apologize to the student for hurting and disparaging him. I will ask to see the apology within a week from the day you receive this letter. In your apology, you must refer to your obligation to be respectful to the IDF uniform and the full right of every student to enter your classroom in uniform."
Professor Zachor added that "I won't accept an apology that is not unequivocal. I won't accept an apology that does not refer to respecting the IDF uniform or that has any haggling political nuances…and obviously until the apology is received you are not permitted to lecture at the college."
[HNN Editor: Hassan subsequently apologized. In response to the controversy Prof. Haim Bresheeth, Chair of Media and Cultural Studies, University of East London, criticized Zachor in an open letter, reproduced below.]
Dear Prof. Tzahor,
I have read with disbelief and shock your humiliating and unprecedented letter to Nizar Hassan, following the Report of the Special Commission of Inquiry which you have appointed to check his case. I must say that the report itself is a questionable document which is unlikely to be produced by any self-respecting academic institution, and I wonder if it could indeed be written in another country, unless we think of Pakistan or Turkey, where similar sentiments against intellectuals on nationalist basis have been voiced.
Despite this view of mine, I see your letter as being even more humiliating and disingenuous than the report itself, as you seem to act in a way which cannot be justified. Even if you accept the Commission's view, that the lecturer needs to apologise to the student – a position I do not accept - as it seems to me obvious that he had a right to ask the student to come dressed in civilian clothes for the next lecture, I still find your unfounded demand for honouring the Israeli flag and the uniform of the occupation army, not even mentioned in the decisions of the Commission, especially puzzling, to put it mildly.
If Israeli society has reached the stage in which the President of a college writes using nationalistic language, in a crude and dismissive style, to a member of the occupied and subjugated nation, demanding a virtual salute to the occupation flag, it seems clear that the endgame of the Zionist, colonial adventure must be nigh, and that liberals masks are now being removed from the ugly face of brutal occupation and oppression. During a month in which almost two million Palestinians have been starved, with total disregard to international law, not to mention Jewish morality, only three kilometers from your desk, you found it necessary and right to forget and abandon your academic and intellectual duties, and, acting under growing pressure from the Chief of Staff, to behave more like a reserve officer rather than an academic! For me, who knows you from our years of work beside each other at Sapir, and also remembers the courage you have demonstrated at different times when such pressures were applied in the past (including upon myself) – it is shaming to realise that now your behaviour is very different; I ask you to reconsider your unjustified and shameful demand, and support the Comission's decision to ask the lecturer to apologise to the student, and bring this painful episode to a close.
It is clear to me that you too know that your unbalanced letter will bring about a whirlwind of claim and counter-claim, to demonstrations and students and staff leaving the college, and to the gradual destruction of the Film School, which I had some role in setting up and building; I do care about its future, not just because I had a role in the past, but also because under Avner Faingulernt's management, excellent and full of insight as it is, this school has employed the best of Israeli film studies academics and professionals, and Nizar Hassan was an integral and crucial part of this development. Nizar has supported, both in his many films and his inspired teaching, a continued if painful dialogue between the two nations, and towards building complex understandings, based on equality and not on the power relations of occupier and occupied. You must know that your letter will bring about a sudden end for all this, and instead of a mature dialogue which will assist a future end to the conflict, your letter will terminate this node of understanding and coexistence.
I wish to assume that your letter was written through a misunderstanding of the context, but such a conclusion is difficult to support. You demand that a filmmaker of the occupied and colonised nation, whose whole country has been conquered by this army which you support, that he accepts and honours this very army which continues to illegally occupy the Palestinian territories after forty years! This is the same army which uses death-squads which operate extra-judiciously, starves millions through criminal collective punishment, and which has also, few months before the event which the Commission has ‘examined' (it obviously did not examine it all) destroyed the whole of South Lebanon in the summer of 2006, and caused the death (if one wants to be very clean about it...) of over 1,500 civilians, in both Lebanon and Israel. Since that mad war, a further 150 Lebanese have died as a result of the illegal use of over two millions tiny bombs which Israel has rained over Lebanon, and of which many thousands are still live. This is the army you wish Nizar Hassan, one of the many millions who are victims of this army, to accept and support; this is a ridiculous, irrational and immoral demand, one which you do not pose to any other lecturer, and one which I personally would have never accepted; neither would any other academic or intellectual.
I call you to urgently rethink, to honour your rights and duties as a President of a college, and to take back your letter, humiliating and improper as it is; you would thus bring about the end of this shameful episode, which more than anything shows clearly the corrosive influence of the continued occupation and suppression. Nizar Hassan is crucial for the future of the school and the college, and instead of the ridiculous demands you have faced him with, it would be better if the college and its students will examine carefully the role of military occupation and oppression in the relationship between the two nations in Palestine. Nizar wished to remind the students that they are humans first, not only students following orders; it seems that your letter misses that point, proving that you are a soldier first, and only then an academic. A society which cannot separate the army from civilian life and civic society is doomed – as a historian you must know this; a nation oppressing another can of course continue this for decades, but it cannot itself be free – freedom is not divisible. I call on the historian Zeev Tzahor to refuse the orders of Major Zeev Tzahor, and thus avoid a fatal error. I believe in your judgment and ability to change your decision and stop the avalanche which your letter is about to cause.
SOURCE: http://www.afriquenligne.fr (2-5-08)
"Democratic elections are giving birth to autocratic regimes in some African countries," Prof. Diouf, Director of the Institute of African Studies (IAS) of the University of Colombia, said in Dakar at the four-day African Forum of the Open Society Initiative (OSI) Foundation of the US billionaire, Georges Soros which opened on Monday,
He said governments that came to power through the ballot box had the tendency to say, "I am democratically elected, so I can do as I please."
"Unfortunately, we Africans have accepted to be lazy, we do not raise questions that irritate," the Senegalese historian, who was critical of his country's media, civil society and the ruling government, said.
"We Senegalese have learnt to tell ourselves lies from top to bottom. The Senegalese society is sick," Prof. Diouf said.
"…There are as many advisers to the president as there are ministers which virtually means we have two governments," he said.
About the Senegalese media, Prof. Diouf said they had through "the cult of rumour, built President Abdoulaye Wade's son through an all-out logic of boosting their sales".
President, Harvard University
I have communicated directly with the group of public-university provosts who wrote to BusinessWeek ("Educational Excellence, Without Ivy," Outside Shot, Jan. 14) about views inaccurately attributed to me in "The Dangerous Wealth of the Ivy League" (In Depth, Dec. 10, 2007). But I would like to express to BusinessWeek's broader readership that the mischaracterization of my beliefs through out-of-context quotations and erroneous insinuations has created a serious misimpression of my views.
I have the greatest respect for our public universities and their enormous capacity to advance the progress of science, and I believe that the partnership of public and private universities in both research and education is central to the success of the American system of higher education.
I did not say and emphatically do not believe that our leading public universities, which have been so important for so long to the nation's scientific enterprise, should somehow cede the field to well-endowed private institutions.
At a time of extraordinary scientific promise and declining federal support, public and private universities need to work together to meet the challenges that confront us all.
Those interested in an accurate representation of my views about the interdependence of all of higher education might look at my Oct. 12, 2007, inaugural address, available at www.president.harvard.edu/speeches/faust/071012_installation.html.
[Business Week] Editor's note: Upon review of the tape-recorded conversation between our reporter and President Faust, we believe we reported her comments fairly.
Asked specifically how lesser endowed universities can survive, given the resource advantages of the Ivy Plus schools, President Faust identified the decision of some institutions to "emphasize social science or humanities and have science endeavors that are not as ambitious as those of some of the institutions you've been talking with...." She concluded that "those kinds of balances are one thing," by which we understood her to mean that such balances are one thing the institutions could do to survive.
President Faust did not, however, say such schools would be wise to use that strategy, a word we used (without quotation marks) to characterize her comments. We appreciate her clarification of her remarks.
SOURCE: Sean Wilentz in the New Republic (subscribers only) (2-13-08)
Of course there are exceptions. Until now, the best-known journals written by an American historian were Francis Parkman's, written between 1841 and 1892, and published in 1947. The finest of them--the record of a hunting trip that Parkman took to the West in 1846, when he was only twenty-two and had just graduated from Harvard--became the basis for his most famous work, The Oregon Trail. As might be expected from his more formal writing, Parkman's Oregon Trail journal mainly described Indians, fellow sojourners, and natural wonders. But not all of the time: early in his trip westward, while he was in St. Louis, Parkman happened upon a crowd that had clogged the sidewalk and surrounded none other than Henry Clay, the sometime senator and perennial presidential candidate, who was in town on business. A permanent campaigner, Clay engaged his admirers in good-humored conversation, and at one point asked an old man for a pinch of snuff. "The mob was gratified," Parkman recounted, "and the old man, striking his cane on the bricks, declared emphatically that Clay was the greatest man in the nation, and that it was a burning shame he was not in the presidential chair." The young historian was not amused: "So much for the arts by which politicians--even the best of them--thrive," he acerbically noted.
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. had Harvard and history-writing in common with Francis Parkman, but little else. When he wasn't visiting Europe or headed off into the wilds, Parkman composed his monumental volumes on early North America locked away mentally and physically, afflicted by a variety of psychological and neurological maladies. Schlesinger, a sunny-tempered bon vivant, found the time to complete a body of scholarly work comparable to Parkman's--as well as to write some six thousand manuscript pages of journal entries covering nearly half a century, of which less than one-fifth appears in this edited volume-- while also teaching, lecturing, reviewing books and movies, drafting political speeches, advising candidates and presidents, and pursuing a social life so frenetic that it might seem wearisome if Schlesinger didn't make it sound so delightful.
Although both Parkman and Schlesinger were blessed with acute powers of analysis and description, Schlesinger led a life unlike that of any other American historian of his time or any other (apart, perhaps, from his distant putative forebear, the patrician historian and Jacksonian politico George Bancroft). Brilliant, curious, and dauntingly energetic, Schlesinger tried to reach the pinnacle of the nation's political and intellectual endeavors, and he succeeded. But he also paid a price for his influence and celebrity, as these engrossing and vivacious journals demonstrate from time to time. Seriousness turns out to be a very demanding calling, and vivacity can get in the way....
[Note: This article extends over 10 website pages.]
SOURCE: AHA Blog (2-4-08)
The AHA’s Nominating Committee will include these reforms as part of their deliberations about a slate of candidates for election this fall. And the AHA staff will also be developing revisions to the AHA bylaws to bring them into conformity with the Constitution for consideration by the AHA Council in June. As before, we welcome members’ thoughts and concerns about these ongoing revisions. Questions and concerns may be directed to AHA Executive Director Arnita Jones.
SOURCE: http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com (2-5-08)
The theme for this year’s programming is “Carter G. Woodson and the Origins of Multiculturalism,” which is also the national theme for Black History Month. Woodson was a historian and founder of Black History Month who worked to promote the value of the contributions of African-Americans to society, beginning in the early part of the last century.
A group of students, faculty, staff and administrators worked together to produce this year’s slate of programs, designed to be educational and entertaining, said LaShonya Robinson, director of minority affairs at Southern Miss.
“One of our main goals in developing activities for the month was to provide high-quality programming that will enlighten everyone that participates, not only about African-American culture but about our country,” Robinson said. “We hope what people learn and experience from these events will have a positive impact throughout the year.”
SOURCE: Reuters (2-3-08)
Nuclear-armed and reaping the grim harvest of "extremism" resulting from the West's support for a religious war to drive the Soviet Union out of neighboring Afghanistan, Pakistan has a big question to answer, says Armstrong.
"How do you become a secular Muslim state?"
Last Thursday, Armstrong, whose writings have highlighted the tolerant and pluralistic nature of Islam, met President Pervez Musharraf, who hoped to change Pakistan into a state where "enlightened moderation" prevailed.
Musharraf, who came to power as a general in 1999, has made little headway, according to critics, and his popularity has plummeted, while support for the United States has provoked Islamist militants into waging war in tribal areas of the northwest where al Qaeda leaders are believed to be hiding.
"Pakistan is on the frontier of this present struggle," Armstrong told Reuters during a visit to Islamabad to celebrate the golden jubilee of the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslim sect."
SOURCE: politics.co.uk (2-1-08)
A report published today by the Institute of Education at the University of London attacks politicians' enthusiasm for patriotism, suggesting the country's history is not something to be proud of.
Dr Hunt, also of the University of London, says this approach is "very immature".
"The point is not whether history was right or wrong from a 21st-century liberal-left perspective," he told the Times newspaper.
"It's about teaching students to understand the mindset and context of our forebears.
"The real problem isn't that our children are being indoctrinated with patriotism, but that they don't know enough British history."
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (2-8-08)
Brooks's pitch was not aimed at historians, whose profession directs them more toward discovery than invention. But 90 years later, a group of historically minded scholars, inspired by events whose memory is still raw, have mounted their own search for a usable past. In a new special issue of The Journal of American History, they set out to make historical sense of what happened in New Orleans in 2005.
"Through the Eye of Katrina: The Past as Prologue?" features 20 essays by historians and scholars in complementary disciplines, including sociology, geography, and musicology. They take some of the issues thrown into stark relief by Katrina — race and poverty, decaying urban infrastructure, government failure, humanity versus nature — and set them in the context of New Orleans's 300-year history.
The journal's editor, Edward T. Linenthal, a professor of history at Indiana University at Bloomington, had been mulling over how to put an event like Katrina into historical context. "It didn't feel right to me that 10, 20, 30 years from now, people would look back at the journal and, except for a few book reviews, it would seem as if this incredibly devastating, catastrophic event didn't register for historians to comment about," the editor says. He recruited Clarence L. Mohr, chairman of the history department at the University of South Alabama, to edit the special issue with Lawrence N. Powell, a historian at Tulane University who is writing a history of New Orleans for Harvard University Press.
Mr. Mohr acknowledges that it is "very unusual for historians to wade into something so recent." But in an introduction to the issue, he and Mr. Powell argue that historians have an obligation to "make the present comprehensible in terms of what has gone before." They strike an activist note seldom heard among scholars who tend to the past. The work in "Through the Eye of Katrina" represents "an attempt to enlist history and its allied disciplines in the task of civic reconstruction," they write....
SOURCE: Press Release--New York Feminists for Peace and Barack Obama! (2-4-08)
Over 150 New York feminists and peace activists—among them actors Kathleen Chalfant, Kerry Washington and writer Katha Pollitt—have signed a letter endorsing Senator Barack Obama in the upcoming New York primary. The letter started circulating on Friday, February 1st and the responses are still pouring in.
Says Frances Anderson, spokesperson for the adhoc group of women, "We believe that Barack Obama's early and ongoing opposition to the Iraq War signals that as President, he is our best hope for a speedy end to the occupation and to the aggressive, interventionist policies of the Bush Administration."
Obama's early opposition to the war is also seen by the signatories as one of his most valuable assets in a post-primary campaign, as it will better position him to defeat a pro-war Republican nominee. Also noted are the positive tone of the Obama campaign and the dramatic engagement it has produced among young American voters.
The petition is now available online, where additional signatures can be posted. Web link:
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (2-4-08)
Some researchers and some boards, commonly known as IRB’s, have interpreted the existing rules to mean that oral history is exempt from such oversight altogether. The boards were originally set up to monitor scientific research involving human subjects, but their scope has since expanded to include any studies of human beings, no matter what the field.
IRB oversight has been a sore spot for many scholars in the humanities and social sciences. Oral historians have been especially vocal about why they believe their work should be exempt from such review.
SOURCE: AP (2-3-08)
Philip Zelikow, a friend of then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, spoke with her several times during the 20-month investigation that closely examined her role in assessing the al-Qaida threat. He also exchanged frequent calls with the White House, including at least four from Bush's chief political adviser at the time, Karl Rove.
Zelikow once tried to push through wording in a draft report that suggested a greater tie between al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and Iraq, in line with White House claims but not with the commission staff's viewpoint, according to Philip Shenon's "The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation."
Shenon, a New York Times reporter, says Zelikow sought to intimidate staff to avoid damaging findings for President Bush, who at the time was running for re-election, and Rice. Zelikow and Rice had written a book together in 1995 and he would later work for her after the commission finished its job and she became secretary of state in 2005.
The Associated Press obtained an audio version of Shenon's book, which is to go on sale Tuesday.
Reached by the AP, Zelikow provided a 131-page statement with information he said was provided for the book. In it, Zelikow acknowledges talking to Rove and Rice during the course of the commission's work despite a general pledge he made not to. But he said the conversations never dealt with politics.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (2-4-08)
Terry Eagleton, Professor of Cultural Theory at the University of Manchester, will say on Radio 4's Lent Talks that Jesus "got off pretty lightly" because it only took him three hours to die, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
He adds that Jesus's scourging was a "blessing in disguise" because it hastened his death. He also attacks modern Christianity for siding with the rich and abandoning the poor.
Professor Eagleton's remarks in the run-up to Easter have enraged traditionalists, who also criticised the BBC for commissioning him.
But the corporation said that the talks, to be given by six well-known figures, including the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Tom Wright, and Ann Widdecombe, the former Tory minister, would offer a range of perspectives.
Professor Eagleton, one of the world's leading literary theorists, is well known for his clashes with fellow intellectuals and was involved in a fierce spat with Martin Amis last year after accusing the novelist of "Islamaphobia".
SOURCE: NYT (2-3-08)
... Germany is not alone in its quest for the right sort of memory, and it has done a better job than most. But the 75th anniversary of Hitler’s rise to power should be an occasion to reflect on how historical crimes are remembered. I propose we restrain our attention to the suffering of the victims of those crimes and turn to the courage of those who worked to stop the criminals. This would return us to an older model, where claims to legitimacy are focused on what you’ve done to the world, not what the world did to you. It wouldn’t ignore the victims, but it would return the heroes to center stage.
Which heroes we choose would be crucial. Here too Germany serves as a model from which we all could learn. It has chosen its resistance heroes, and it has chosen them wrong. Every child here knows the names of Hans and Sophie Scholl, college students who were guillotined for distributing anti-Nazi pamphlets. Most German cities have streets or schools named after them. Tom Cruise has added his fame to a new film about Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, the oft-sung leader of a group of officers hanged for their failed attempt on Hitler’s life.
The courage of such people should not be forgotten, but the message their stories convey is grim: their deeds cost them their lives, and accomplished nothing. It’s a message that comforts the millions of Germans who didn’t try to oppose the regime.
By contrast, one of the most successful acts of resistance in the Third Reich is not well known. In 1943, when the Nazis were undecided about whether to deport and murder Jewish spouses of non-Jews, they tested the waters by rounding up nearly 2,000 Jewish men whose non-Jewish wives had already withstood considerable government pressure to divorce them. These wives spontaneously gathered in front of the building in the Rosenstrasse where their husbands were being held. For one long week they refused to leave the little square in central Berlin, despite the Gestapo machine guns trained upon them.
It’s often said that nonviolent resistance worked for Gandhi and Martin Luther King because their oppressors were civilized; the governments of Britain and the United States could be bested by the moral courage of their opponents, while totalitarian regimes simply shoot them. This not only underestimates the evils of racism, but also our possibilities of combating them....
SOURCE: Randy Cohen, The Ethicist, in the NYT Magazine (2-3-08)
Unless your student’s religious beliefs impair her work — and you don’t suggest they do — they are irrelevant. You should judge her on her scholarship, not her spiritual life. If she were studying the Sumerians, she might have a hard time working out how they accomplished so much so soon after the earth was formed, what with all those dinosaurs running around trampling the pottery. But this young-earth nonsense need not mar her understanding of, say, Oliver Cromwell or, indeed, much else in your period.
We all harbor irreconcilable ideas. (People are no damn good, but I’m a fine fellow. Being overweight is a grave threat to my health — please pass the doughnuts. Life is short — let’s watch TV.) Yet most of us get along pretty well. (Except for those fat guys stuffing themselves in front of “Deal or No Deal.” They’re no damn good.) What’s more, people have an impressive ability to compartmentalize. If your student can indulge her religious notions in church on Sunday and do great work in the library on Monday, more power to her.
You might regard your year together as a chance to teach a promising scholar to sharpen her critical reasoning, that vital tool of the trade, and thus to reconsider this young-earth nuttiness.
SOURCE: Press Release--David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies (2-3-08)
“This raises important questions about Winston Churchill’s attitudes toward Jewish refugees and Zionism,” said Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. “Further research will hopefully shed more light on whether the gap between Churchill’s rhetoric and his actions was in fact greater than previously realized, as these documents suggest.”
The documents were uncovered by Dr. Meir Zamir, professor of Middle East Studies at Ben-Gurion University, in Israel. Zamir is the author of two books, and numerous essays, about Lebanon, Syria, and related issues.
Prof. Zamir’s findings about the Churchill government’s “Greater Syria” plan run counter to two recent books, Churchill and the Jews by Martin Gilbert, and Churchill’s Promised Land, by Michael Makovsky, which portray Churchill as sympathetic and helpful to the Zionist cause and to Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust.
Writing in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz (Feb. 1, 2008), Prof. Zamir reported that in a previously-unknown British proposal to Syria’s leaders in August 1944, and in a secret British-Syrian agreement signed in June 1945, the Churchill government “assured Syria that it would limit Jewish immigration and thwart the emergence of an independent Jewish state in Palestine.”
The British proposed creation of a “Greater Syria” consisting of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Transjordan. London was seeking “preferential status in military, economic, and cultural matters,” veto power over Syria’s agreements with other countries, oil exploration rights in Syria, and a role in the Syrian Army.
“To persuade the Syrian leaders to agree to these terms,” Prof. Zamir writes, “Britain was ready to commit itself to defend Syrian independence in the face of external aggression, continue the White Paper policy in Palestine and put a complete halt to Jewish ambitions.” As for Christians and Jews living in the region, “The Christian minorities in Lebanon and the Jews in Palestine would enjoy autonomy,” Zamir reported.
For the full text of Prof. Zamir’s essay, please visit:
SOURCE: HNN Staff (2-1-08)
In his long-awaited history of the 9-11 Commission due out February 5, New York Times reporter Philip Shenon calls into question the independence of the executive director who ran the investigation, according to an article published on the Internet this week by Max Holland. Shenon, who covered the Commission's proceedings for the Times, reportedly argues that Executive Director Philip Zelikow kept in "surreptitious" touch with Karl Rove during the investigation. In the book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, Shenon also reportedly claims that when the Bush administration was being organized Zelikow played a key role in the transition that led to the demotion of Richard Clarke, the counter-terrorism "czar" who tried to warn the administration that Osama bin Laden was planning a deadly attack on the United States.
Zelikow, a professor of history at the University of Virginia, served as counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice after leaving the Commission. They were known to be close friends and had previously coauthored a book. But Shenon, according to Holland, states that the Commissioners were not aware that Zelikow had served on the transition team that led to the reorganization of the National Security Council when Rice was named NSC advisor.
Zelikow has had a difficult relationship with both Shenon and Holland. He and Shenon crossed swords during the 9-11 investigation and has had a long-simmering fight with Holland stemming from the time both served at the the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs. The Zelikow/Holland dispute played out on the pages of HNN in 2005 when Holland criticized the Miller Center's transcription of the Kennedy tapes. (Zelikow served as director of the Miller Center; Holland was a research fellow with the Presidential Recordings Program.)
Zelikow declined to comment to HNN on Shenon's book at this time. In an interview with ABC News he denied ever talking with Rove about the work of the Commission and insisted he never asked his secretary to stop logging his calls, as Shenon claims.
SOURCE: Hartford Courant (1-30-08)
SOURCE: Mary Beard at Times Online (UK) (1-28-08)
His particular target is the meal cooked by Mrs Ramsay in To the Lighthouse, a tremendous pot of boeuf en daube. Just one ladleful of the stuff is enough to turn awkward company into human beings, joined in “tender communion’. Mrs Ramsay is delighted at the success of this French recipe and swoons over the lovely “confusion of savoury yellow and brown meats.”
Hang on, say Schama. What are these yellow meats in a boeuf en daube? “A chicken foot lurking in there along with the beef and onions, is there?”
And it gets worse. Mrs Ramsay had been extremely worried by the timing. “Everything,” writes Woolf, “depended on being served up to the precise moment they were ready.” Hang on again, says Schama. You can’t ruin a daube by the timing. “Stews are the most forgiving dishes.”
Mrs Woolf doesn’t know what she’s talking about in the culinary department, he concludes. She was, after all, rather “bony”.
I am afraid that it is the far from bony Prof Schama who doesn’t know what he’s talking about....
SOURCE: St. Petersburg Times (1-23-08)
He has received just one merit raise in his six years at Florida State University. He's married with one toddler, and another baby and endless bills on the way.
So when the University of South Carolina recently came calling, Childs answered.
Starting in the fall, he will teach and pursue his Cuba research from USC's Columbia campus.
"I have made my name now as a scholar of Cuban history, but I can no longer do my job here if I can't go to Cuba to do research," Childs said. "Also, I just did not see a viable financial future in Florida with a growing family. This is what pushed us out."
State university system leaders fear more will follow, as the budget situation worsens and political tensions between academics and lawmakers rise.
SOURCE: Commentary (subscription only) (2-1-08)
SOURCE: http://www.infozine.com (1-30-08)
Juan R.I. Cole, a professor of history at the University of Michigan, said that immediately after Sept. 11, 30 percent of Americans had a negative view of Islam. But reports published in the Washington Post and USA Today in December 2006 found that 45 percent of Americans held negative views of Islam.
He said such a change "is not natural."
He blamed "the American right wing" and the media for creating this negative view to help win elections.
Cole and Corey P. Saylor, legislative director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, discussed "Exploitation of Islamophobia in Elections," or how they said politicians are creating and exploiting new threatening terms to manipulate public opinion and get their votes. CAIR sponsored the event.
Saylor urged American Muslims to claim their constitutional rights. He said more should seek careers in journalism and government so they could be part of making decisions that affect the country.
SOURCE: http://media.www.thetraveleronline.com (1-30-08)
In "The Iraq Surge One Year On," Chris Toensing, editor of the Middle East Report, disputed assertions by neoconservatives in the media concerning the "apparent success of the surge." He said the war in Iraq is far from over.
The claims of success are correctly based on two figures - the decrease in the number of violent deaths in Iraq and the increase in Sunnis cooperating with American forces to fight al-Qaida, he said.
Although American and Iraqi casualties have decreased by about half from a year ago, Toensing said the number of violent attacks is still high, and the current number of 500 civilian deaths a month is very violent by any standard.
The second factor - that Sunni Arabs are turning against al-Qaida fighters - is a phenomenon that began before the surge of American troops. The "Anbar Awakening" and other similar movements have about 72,000 "armed, concerned local citizens," Toensing said. The U.S. military is paying about 60,000 of them $300 per month, in addition to arming and training them to fight, he said.
The "awakenings" of Sunni leaders allying with the U.S. has a strong "mercenary" aspect to it, Toensing said. Tribal bands are helping quell violence in their areas, but are setting up independent fiefdoms to take over the lucrative black market, which is being used to finance al-Qaida attacks, he said.
SOURCE: Deutsche Welle (1-30-08)
On Jan. 30, 1933, Hitler was named German chancellor, spelling the end to the Weimar Republic -- Germany's convulsive experiment with democracy between 1919 and 1933. The period was dubbed the "Weimar Republic" by historians in honor of the city of Weimar, where a national assembly convened to write and adopt a new constitution for the German Reich following the nation's defeat in World War I. The Weimar Republic was marked on the one hand by hyperinflation, mass unemployment and political instability; on the other, by dazzling creativity in the arts and sciences and a legendary nightlife in Berlin.
Eric Weitz, chairman of the history department at the University of Minnesota in the United States, last year published an acclaimed book on the period: "Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy." DW-WORLD.DE spoke with him about the spirit of the time, the factors leading to the Nazi seizure of power and the lessons to be drawn from the Weimar Republic.
DW-WORLD.DE: One of the premises of your book is that the Weimar Republic should not be seen simply as a prelude to Nazi dictatorship but as an era in its own right.
Eric Weitz: It certainly should be seen as an era in its own right. The Weimar Republic was a wonderfully creative period. We should not constantly look back from the 12 years of the Third Reich to the 14 years of the Weimar Republic because the republic was a period of very important political, cultural and social innovation. We need to remember and value it in its own right. Every issue about the Weimar Republic, about life in Germany in the 1920s was intensely debated -- both at the high intellectual and artistic level as well at the level of politics and society....
What lessons can be drawn from the Weimar Republic? Implied throughout your book is the question of whether it is possible for contemporary democracies to succumb to neo-fascist forces in the same way that the Weimar Republic fell to the Nazis.
Present day Germany is a well-established democratic system. It gives me no worries whatsoever. To be sure there are some extreme right-wing groups that can be dangerous and the reaction against them is still a little slow sometimes. But these groups are marginal and Berlin is not Weimar.
My worries are more about my own country, the US, in the sense that the threats to democracy don't always come from abroad. The most dangerous threat may come from within. That was certainly the case in Weimar, especially in its last years. What worries me is when certain people or institutions mouth talk of democracy but in reality undermine the very practices of democracy. Of course the Nazis were never committed to democracy but they used the populist rhetoric that resonated with people. When that kind of populist rhetoric masks undemocratic practices, that's where I think we truly need to be concerned.
The analogy that does worry me greatly is when establishment conservatives make radical conservatives salonfähig or in colloquial English "acceptable in polite society." I think to a certain extent that indeed has occurred in the United States. When establishment conservatives go beyond the bounds of legitimate democratic discourse and constitutional provisions and make the program, the individuals and ideas of radical conservatives acceptable -- that's when we're in trouble.
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (2-1-08)
As is well known, Lawrence spent the next two years fighting with Arab irregulars, conducting guerrilla operations against the Ottoman army, and, in the process, revolutionizing modern warfare. In his book, Setting the Desert on Fire: T.E. Lawrence and Britain's Secret War in Arabia, 1916-1918 (Norton), the British historian James Barr lends a fresh gloss to this legendary tale — the result of four years scouring declassified archives.
Chief among Barr's findings is his claim to have solved the mystery of one of the more controversial episodes of Lawrence's life. In his 1922 memoir, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Lawrence recounts being captured and raped by Turkish soldiers. (The incident also appears in the classic 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.) Scholars have long questioned Lawrence's recollection — not least because the page of his diary covering the week in question was removed, presumably by Lawrence himself. Utilizing new forensic technology to disclose words written on missing paper, Barr concludes that Lawrence fabricated the tale for political purposes and because he was trying to come to terms with his own complex sexuality....