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.theweeklychallenger.com (11-16-08)
But what do those who take a longer view, who know history well, say about what feels to many like a singular, transcendent moment?
“Monumental ... a major shift in the zeitgeist of our times.” That's Douglas Brinkley, the best-selling author and professor of history at Rice University.
“I can't think of another election where the issues were two wars and a crashed economy. There just isn't any historical precedent for this.” So says Joan Hoff, a former president of the Center for the Study of the Presidency in New York City.
“It's an historic turning point ... an exclamation point of major proportions to the civil rights movement that goes back to the 1950s.” That's James McPherson, the renowned author and professor emeritus of history at Princeton University.
Hardly, say historians - considering that Obama is the first “nonwhite” to rise to the pinnacle of American power, an undertaking made all the more stunning because it was accomplished long before the citizenry expected it.
And, “the racial milestone will be much larger than we've even imagined in the course of these last couple of years,” says Doris Goodwin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, historian and political commentator.
SOURCE: Boston Globe (11-16-08)
Next month, Kamensky and Lepore will publish "Blindspot," a novel that depicts Boston a decade before the American Revolution. Packing together a romance and a murder mystery, the pair mine their own early American research to come up with a story at once about the past and about how the historian studies it.
It's not that the two, who met 20 years ago while studying at Yale, haven't enjoyed significant success in their field. Lepore holds an endowed professorship at Harvard and has been a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize; Kamensky chairs the history department at Brandeis. They have become noted practitioners of "microhistory," detailing the lives of ordinary people rather than chronicling the deeds of the great.
To prepare for the book, Lepore walked to work with the early novel "Tristram Shandy" playing on her iPod. She and Kamensky made glossaries of their favorite phrases from 18th-century literature. Their attention to language mirrored a renewed attention to the daily existence of their subjects' lives, and in the end, they found, the book helped reconnect them to their professional goal of giving voice to the sometimes voiceless actors of the past.
Lepore and Kamensky spoke with Ideas in a joint interview at the Hi-Rise bakery in Harvard Square.
IDEAS: Why write fiction?
LEPORE: I don't think we had a particular purpose going in. It really was: "This will be fun. Let's do this." . . . What it turned into - and this is the thing that most surprised me - is that it fed back into my work as an historian. . . . I'm working on Benjamin Franklin now, writing a biography of Franklin and his sister; I feel very close to both of them, as a nonfiction writer, in a way that I don't think I would have felt if we hadn't written this novel....
SOURCE: Australian (11-15-08)
It is that some other historian will write their biography. Brian Matthews's life of Manning Clark is not the first -- that was published by Stephen Holt in 1999 -- nor the last, as Mark McKenna has a work in progress. But in its exposure of Clark's imperfections, it is one of the most candid.
Gone are the days of reticence when Max Crawford, writing about the death of his mentor Arnold Wood, could leave the reader in some doubt as to whether Wood committed suicide. This biography gives us Clark's battles with booze, his philandering and his lack of appreciation for a long-suffering wife. Yet Matthews's overall attitude is one of admiration for this complex historian, arguing that despite all the shortcomings, Clark remains one of the giants.
Of course Clark colluded with his biographers. As a historian he would have known that the diaries in which he confided his backslidings would reveal them to any reader patient enough to decipher his appalling handwriting. Clark's biographer is under challenge to resist being beguiled by the old storyteller's myths about himself. This is of particular importance for Matthews, as one of his main concerns is to explore the ways in which Clark's personality shaped his approach to the writing of history.
The outlines of the story are well known. Charles Manning Hope Clark was born in 1915, son of an Anglican clergyman and a mother from the minor colonial gentry. A scholarship boy at Melbourne Grammar, he progressed by way of the University of Melbourne to Balliol College, Oxford. There he married Dymphna Lodewyckx from Melbourne and visited Nazi Germany on the eve of World WarII....
SOURCE: Globe & Mail (11-15-08)
Prof. Ferguson is a Harvard and Oxford-based expert on the history of economics and empires and has written many bestselling books, including The War of the World. His latest, The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World, explores the power, achievements and monumental failures of finance throughout history. Although he finished it more than six months ago, it is well timed to supply the nerve-racked among us with some much-needed historical perspective.
Prof. Ferguson will be speaking in Toronto at the Grano Series this Thursday. I spoke to him about the meltdown, what lies ahead and why he switched his allegiance from John McCain to Barack Obama.
[Q] Okay, you were right. You saw this coming.
[NF] That's true. I don't really like people who say, "I told you so." But a knowledge of financial history can prepare you for this kind of crisis. Back in 2006, I went around giving talks at investment banking firms saying a liquidity crisis is something very nasty, and when it happens it will be quite devastating, particularly given the high levels of debt held by households and banks. And everybody just said, "Forget about it." I was struck by this collective euphoria. So I decided to write a book that would anticipate this crisis, or at least make sense of it.
[Q]How come so many smart people didn't see it coming?
[NF] They drank their own Kool-Aid. In 2004, Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, gave a lecture called "The Great Moderation." He argued that central banks were so good at their jobs that the world was becoming a wonderfully smooth ride. The central bankers ... believed their own increasingly narrow doctrine that all you had to do was target core consumer price inflation, and you could ignore what asset prices did. You didn't have to worry about the stock market or the housing market. Derivatives were wonderfully innovative things and so were hedge funds. And economic theory tended to reinforce this approach....
SOURCE: Deborah Lipstadt blog (11-15-08)
Some of the shortcomings and rather outrageous aspects of this story are encapsulated by the letter the American Jewish Committee (AJC) wrote to Macmillan. Among the points made by the AJC and other critics are.
1. No other form of nationalism is included in the three-volume encyclopedia. Only Jewish nationalism is addressed. That should immediately raise a red flag.
2. Noel Ignatiev has absolutely no track record of scholarship in Middle Eastern or Jewish studies. He has described Zionism as an"ideology of race" and scandalously promotes the canard of Zionist-Nazi" collaboration." This is hardly an impartial article on Zionism in what is supposed to be reference work.
3. In fact Ignatiev wrote a very similar article which appear on Counterpunch, a site known for its anti-Zionism and anti-Israelism [opposition to the existence of the Jewish state not just to its policies].
4. Apparently when the AJCommittee contacted Macmillan for an explanation John Hartwell Moore, the encyclopedia’s Editor in Chief, defended the entry by arguing that Jewish nationalism is racist because it’s Jewish.
5. In his earlier statements and in the article conflates Zionism and Nazism. Ignatiev claims that Zionism “shared the [Nazi] belief that the Jews were a racial community based on blood.” This. of course, is complete balderdash, if not worse. Zionism says nothing about Jews being a racial community based on blood. This is Nazi talk and has nothing to do with Zionism.
6. Since the author is known as a propagandist -- not a scholar -- opposed to Zionism. As Brian Henry, a Canadian author, has asked"If the editor concerned chose Ignatiev because of his prejudices, how many other entries in the encyclopedia might reflect the editor’s political agenda?"
There is an excellent in depth critique of this whole shameful episode here.
SOURCE: http://news.slashdot.org (11-14-08)
Listen to an interview with Thomas Johnson
SOURCE: AP of Pakistan (11-14-08)
“It is difficult to see how Obama plans to reach out to the people of Pakistan,” as he has said, “if he ignores their democratically elected leaders and if he continues (the practice) to illegally bomb the FATA tribal territories... which have killed many more civilians than militants, and continue to alienate the people of the region against America and its allies,” Dalrymple states, according to the Post Global forum discourse hosted by The Washington Post Thursday.
The Scottish historian is the writer of the award-winning account ‘The Last Mughal’ which has been acclaimed as a brilliant narrative of the “Fall of a Dynasty : Delhi 1857.”...
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (11-9-08)
The BBC spectacular has driven a wedge right into the middle of civic Scotland and its academic elite. On one side are those who claim the series finally offers a genuine – and visually stunning – perspective on the nation's past. On the other, a group of senior historians who claim it commits the ultimate sin: that of pandering to English perspectives.
Fronted by the hirsute archaeologist Neil Oliver, who found fame as the presenter of Coast, A History of Scotland hits screens north of the border tonight and across the UK at a later date. Yet the content, and even the choice of Oliver, has sparked a war of words almost as intense as the Battle of Culloden itself.
First, the 10-part series comes under fire over claims that it is too "anglocentric". The failure to front it with a historian has been attacked. Academic advisers stormed out before programmes were completed.
Professor Allan Macinnes of the University of Strathclyde resigned from the series' advisory board after its first meeting. "I thought the whole production was dreadful," he said. "The first script I got was so anglocentric I couldn't believe it. It was written on the basis as if Scotland was a divided country until the Union came along and civilised it. At the time, England was divided, France was divided, Germany didn't even exist. I would like to see a wider European context."...
SOURCE: NJ.com (11-10-08)
Recently named NBC News' presidential historian, Beschloss made these and other observations Friday during his keynote address at the 37th annual Saint Peter's College Board of Regents Business Symposium held at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City.
"I can't tell you which way he will go," Beschloss said about the president-elect. "In one year, we will know the answer."
The famed scholar and author added that Obama's selections for his staff and Cabinet will be equally important.
"Sometimes in American history, we only realize how much we really need leadership when we're going through a crisis like this," he said. "We expect our presidents to ask Americans to sacrifice."
The greatest presidents make some decisions they know are going to be unpopular, said Beschloss, citing George Washington signing a treaty with Great Britain shortly after the Revolutionary War.
He also drew big laughs from the crowd of roughly 300 in the Hyatt's ninth-floor ballroom, overlooking the Manhattan skyline, as he recounted Lyndon B. Johnson's blunt Texan humor.
Beschloss told how Johnson made his presidential museum the most attended in the nation by opening its restrooms at halftime of football games at the University of Texas, which has its stadium next-door.
SOURCE: http://www.businessandmedia.org (11-12-08)
Douglas Brinkley, a noted presidential historian and professor at Rice University in Houston, told viewers of CNN’s Nov. 11 “Lou Dobbs Tonight” how Obama could change ANWR’s designation from a National Wildlife Refuge to a National Monument. That power was granted to presidents by the Antiquities Act of 1906, and would not require any approval from Congress.
“I think what they’re trying to do is in the Obama administration, start pointing out some clear divot spots where they’re going to deviate from the Bush administration –things like Guantanamo, things that, ‘No, we are not going to be for drilling around parks,’” Brinkley said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised in the coming year if you see someplace like ANWR in Alaska turn from being a wildlife refuge run by U.S. Fish and Wildlife and turn over to becoming a National Monument where you couldn’t drill. So you’re going to be, and that’s because you’re going to have to do some things sort of on the cheap,” he said.
SOURCE: Network of Concerned Historians (11-12-08)
Scholars at Risk (SAR), based at New York University, works to promote academic freedom and to defend the human rights of scholars worldwide, in part by arranging temporary placements for scholars who suffer grave threats to their work or their person. SAR is sending us a summary profile of a Uzbek historian [name confidential] (1970-) working at the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan and at the Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies. He was harassed during interrogations by the Uzbek security service as a result of some of his research topics (notably ethno-politics and democratization in Central Asia), his association with foreign scholars and his visits to foreign universities (which are controversial after the European Union imposed sanctions on Uzbekistan following the May 2005 massacre in Andizhan). He has authored articles focusing on the Bukhara emirate in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the history of Turkestan between 1919 and 1924, the relationship between Islam and democracy, and peace and stability in Central Asia. He is currently seeking assistance. Perhaps your university could accomodate our colleague. Thank you.
With best wishes,
Antoon De Baets
(Network of Concerned Historians)
P.S.: For information on the Andizhan massacre, see NCH Annual Reports 2006, 2007, 2008 on the NCH website.
Please email the Scholars at Risk Network office
SOURCE: http://www.kansas.com (11-11-08)
Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln," Goodwin was the keynote speaker at the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting at Century II.
Goodwin said Obama should see his political rivals -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- as potential assets when filling out his cabinet.
"It's one of the more difficult times in our country's history," she said. "He's going to need the strongest, most able men in the country" as advisers.
She told the audience that Lincoln was far less experienced and less educated than his opponents when he decided to run for president in 1860. She said his formal education amounted to less than a year in the classroom.
But during the campaign, she said, while his opponents shunned the campaign trail, Lincoln went state-to-state delivering memorable speeches.
"He simply worked harder than all his rivals combined," she said.
SOURCE: China Beat (11-11-08)
Nicole Barnes: After serving your term as President of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), what direction do you see or would you like to see the Association moving in? What future challenges do you see the AAS having to overcome?
Elizabeth Perry: The AAS is a wonderful organization, the largest area studies association in existence and one that – unlike many scholarly associations these days – is continuing to grow and change. My hope is for still greater internationalization and diversification of the AAS membership. In particular, I would like to see more Asian-based members, younger members, and more members drawn from the social science disciplines and professions. As the terms of “intellectual trade” between America and Asia shift, with more influential scholarship being produced by our colleagues in Asia, it will be increasingly important for the AAS to identify, introduce and incorporate that work into our annual meeting program and our journal. The recent economic growth of China and India has generated considerable public interest in the prospect of an “Asian twenty-first century.” While we can never sacrifice the high academic standards for which our association is known, it is also important for us to find ways to make our knowledge of Asia more publicly accessible.
NB: Would you like to let our readers know about your upcoming book, and in what journal issue they may find a tantalizing piece of that work?
EP: The book I am currently writing is entitled, Anyuan: Mining China’s Revolutionary Traditions. The book will explore the early history of the labor movement at the Anyuan coal mine as well as the political uses of that history over the years by politicians, artists, writers, and ordinary Chinese citizens. In addition to the paper in the November 2008 JAS, I have published an article in Twentieth-Century China, which focuses on the Communists’ early efforts at mass education at Anyuan.
NB: Can you describe the intellectual and professional trajectory that led you to your topic for the presidential address?
EP: Most of my work has been concerned in one way or another with the Chinese revolution. My first book (Rebels and Revolutionaries in North China) focused on the countryside, looking at the relationship between “traditional” peasant rebellion and the Communist revolution. Subsequent books (Shanghai on Strike; Patrolling the Revolution; Proletarian Power) focused on the city of Shanghai, from the 1920s through the Cultural Revolution. The Communist mobilizing effort at the Anyuan coal mine had major implications for both the rural and urban wings of the Chinese revolution. Moreover, its history became highly contested during the Cultural Revolution. A study of Anyuan serves, I believe, as a revealing prism through which to understand the unfolding of the Chinese revolution.
NB: In your address, you mention several China scholars whose assessment of worker and peasant revolutions in China have changed drastically over the years. You include yourself among this list. What would you say you have learned about the successes and failures of revolutions in your scholarly career? How has your assessment of popular revolutions changed?
EP: Like many in my generation, I was initially drawn into the field of Asian studies because of a fascination with Asian revolutionary change – in both China and Vietnam. But after living in China as a visiting scholar for a year in 1979-80, I arrived at a more sober assessment of the Chinese revolution, especially as it developed under the PRC. My latest book, Patrolling the Revolution: Worker Militias, Citizenship and the Modern Chinese State, reflects that perspective. The current study of Anyuan has renewed some of my youthful admiration for the initial ideals of the Chinese revolution, while providing a vehicle for studying what went so wrong in its subsequent development.
SOURCE: Press Release (11-11-08)
Moderators: Mara Liasson, political correspondent for National Public Radio; and Alan Brinkley, presidential historian and provost of Columbia University
WHAT: Restoring America Through a New New Deal: Policy Priorities for the First 100 Days. Using President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first-term achievements as a guide, panelists will suggest policy ideas for President-elect Obama’s first three months in office. They will discuss energy policy, the economy, the mortgage crisis, health care, national security and America’s role in the Middle East. The conference will be followed by the FDR Distinguished Public Service Award Dinner, a gala fundraiser honoring New York Gov. David Paterson.
WHEN: Conference: Saturday, Nov. 15, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dinner: Saturday, Nov. 15; 7 p.m. for cocktails, 8 p.m. for dinner
WHERE: The Teatro Room, Casa Italiana Columbia University, Morningside Heights campus 1161 Amsterdam Avenue at West 118th Street, Manhattan Transit: 1 train to 116 Street/Columbia University
SPONSORS: The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute; Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs
SOURCE: Press Release--Center for History & New Media (11-11-08)
SOURCE: http://www.tacomadailyindex.com (11-10-08)
A nationally renowned expert on labor history, civil rights and Martin Luther King Jr., Honey believes the country is finally facing the reality that people of color are a vibrant, important and equitable part of society. It's a giant leap forward for America, he said.
"It took an African-American to really follow through on what freedom means," Honey said. "We have elected a leader whose insight comes from his own historical roots. He is trying to make freedom real for everybody."
Honey holds the Fred and Dorothy Haley Chair in Humanities at UW Tacoma. He is the author of the acclaimed 2007 book Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign (W.W. Norton), which examines Dr. King's role in the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike and highlights the final days before the civil rights leader's assassination.
Honey recently answered questions about Obama's role in history.
1. Why was this election so significant?
In 30 years, people of color will be in the majority in the United States. The U.S. is about inclusive equality and freedom. But a certain portion of the electorate is holding on to the old America. The old idea of white men running things doesn't fit the reality of the country any more. It's like we've been trying to build America while excluding a big part of America. We have had so much trouble [with racial issues]. But now that Obama has been elected, I feel like we're finally dealing with our own history. We're not living in unreality anymore.
2. How did the work of Martin Luther King impact this election?
Forty years ago, Dr. King recognized the unreality of our society, and he verbalized it well. His message was one of inclusion—a warm, open and welcoming view of what America can be. I hear some of those same messages from Obama. But if you look beyond the "I Have a Dream" speech, you'll see that Dr. King's work went beyond race relations. Toward the end of his life, he spelled out the basic problem with American society: that war, poverty and racism are interconnected. They are all tied up together in our history. It's the biggest challenge we have, and it's not going to be easy to overcome. We seem to be unable to let go of war as an answer to our problems. I believe we are making some progress in terms of race, and this week's election certainly supports that conclusion. But now we must take it a step further and look at the socio-economic problems.
3. Is President-elect Obama the heir to King's legacy?
In some really fundamental ways, yes. But I believe we all are. Barack Obama has internalized King's message, he understands it and he can express it well. He learned a lot from the civil rights movement. But at the same time, he's very pragmatic about how to approach it. King is the most well known exponent of what the civil rights movement was about -- love as a basic way to move society forward. Obama doesn't use that word, but that's really what he's talking about. Obama is distinctive. I think he's a really unique political leader.
4. Have we achieved Dr. King's dream?
That depends on which dream you're talking about. By the end of his life, the American dream, for him, had become a nightmare. He had realized that war, poverty and racism were so intractable, and there were people in government who could not recognize the problem. Overall, his dream was about having a just world, and about the U.S. playing a leading role in it. We're far from that at the moment. Electing Obama is a start. But getting elected is just the first step....
SOURCE: NYT (11-10-08)
Many an author has come to incorrect conclusions, but only a few have had the courage to make a prediction in a title that could be directly contradicted.
Mr. Steele, a prolific author on racial issues in America and a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, said he had had plenty of time to get used to the snickering about the title of his book, which was published late last year by the Free Press, part of Simon & Schuster, and officially contradicted last week.
“My feeling is that I stand by every word of the analysis — what is between the covers of the book,” he said in a telephone interview. “For the year I have had to apologize for the stupid, silly subtitle that was slapped on to the book.”
He made it clear that he was the one who slapped the subtitle onto the book — “in about 30 seconds” when Barack Obama was trailing Hillary Rodham Clinton by about 25 percentage points. But, he added, “subtitles are marketing devices — I hate them. I’ve always hated them.”
He said that for “White Guilt,” his book before “A Bound Man,” he tried not to have a subtitle, to no avail. In that case, Mr. Steele went with another provocative subtitle: “How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era.”
The editor in chief of the Free Press, Dominick Anfuso, disputed the idea that there was overriding pressure to come up with the most extreme subtitle to sell books. “It is the handful of largely successful books that do that, and that gives the impression that is what we seek,” he said. What publishers want, he said, are “good titles and good subtitles. Subtitles can make best sellers, but they don’t have to be provocative to do that. It is a package. They go together.”...
SOURCE: Ralph Luker at HNN blog, Cliopatria (11-7-08)
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (11-9-08)
So, what lessons can Obama learn from what Lincoln did—and didn't do—in the time between his election and inauguration?
To find out, the Tribune asked two Lincoln scholars, Harold Holzer, author of the newly published "Lincoln President-elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861," and James McPherson, author of the classic Civil War history tome "Battle Cry of Freedom" and "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief," published in October.
Here's their lesson plan:
Lesson 1: Keep your cards close to your vest.
Although pressured to deal with the secession, Lincoln refused to say anything to placate Southern leaders before his inauguration. "They tried to get him to approve compromise measures, but he wouldn't do it," said Holzer. "He said, 'By no act or complicity of mine shall the Republican party become a mere sucked egg, all shell and no principle in it.' " McPherson said, "Lincoln was like Franklin Roosevelt in the Depression. He didn't want to commit himself ahead of time." As president, Lincoln had power that gave him leverage in negotiations. But not as president-elect.
Lesson 2: Avoid empty rhetoric.
On his way to the inauguration, Lincoln took an 11-day train trip with whistle stops at dozens of cities and towns along the way. Lincoln didn't want to tip his hand about his plans for the South, so he gave speeches filled with bromides. "They were meaningless remarks, and they came across to many people as taking the crisis too lightly," McPherson said.
Lesson 3: Court the opposition media.
"One of the first things Lincoln did was invite a reporter for the pro-Stephen Douglas New York Herald to spend time with him," said Holzer. "He was virtually embedded in his office for four months. The reporter, who at first doubted him, was writing positively about him by the end. It would be like Obama inviting Sean Hannity to spend a lot of time with him."...
SOURCE: NYT (11-8-08)
Those are the recollections of Studs Terkel, from his classic oral history of the Great Depression, “Hard Times.” I found myself re-reading the book this week because of the confluence of two unhappy events: the economic downturn and the death of Mr. Terkel on Oct. 31. He was 96.
I knew Mr. Terkel a bit — enough to appreciate his gentle nature, his deep interest in people of all sorts and his drive to reform the world. As I turned the pages of “Hard Times,” I was struck by the remarkable fit between historian and subject.
In Mr. Terkel’s wide-ranging interviews, the horrors of the Depression come through vividly. A manual laborer on the San Francisco waterfront recalled that when a sugar refinery offered four jobs to a crowd massed at the gates, “a thousand men would fight like a pack of Alaskan dogs” over them.
Dorothy Day, the Catholic social activist, told Mr. Terkel that in 1933 and 1934, “there were so many evictions on the East Side, you couldn’t walk down the streets without seeing furniture on the sidewalk.” An African-American hobo, Louis Banks, said that when he rode on top of boxcars, there was a railroad policeman who wouldn’t ask him to get off the train; he would just shoot....
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (11-7-08)
Courage: Eight Portraits suffered from too many stiff platitudes, but warmed up when Brown engaged with his less widely sanctified subjects. Compared to its predecessor, this book unfolds in an even more reverent mood: a hushed awe that begins when Brown recalls the Remembrance Days of his Kirkcaldy youth, "the solemnity... still tinged with bereavement". You do not apply to this address for debunking – but we already knew that. The book's proceeds will go to the Royal British Legion poppy appeal, and the author's own, more personal, project, the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory.
Wartime Courage collects 11 compact essays which record the deeds of men and women whose bravery made a difference to the British and Allied war effort from 1939 to 1945. Their stories, carefully chronicled and swiftly told, range from the front-line derring-do of the Teesside warrior Stanley Hollis on D-Day to the clandestine exploits of the SOE agent Violette Szabo in France; from the stalwart kindness and altruism of Scots missionary Eric Liddell in a Japanese prison camp in China to the Royal Artillery sergeant-major Charles Coward who, as a POW in a nearby Stalag, managed to fix the paperwork that spirited more than 400 Jews out of the Auschwitz complex....
SOURCE: NPR (11-5-08)
"The Times quote is nonsense," says Taylor Branch, a civil rights historian and biographer of Martin Luther King Jr.
"It's a great milestone," he tells Madeleine Brand, but it's not an "explicit achievement or accomplishment in race relations in the lives of everyday Americans … I hope we don't get into a tailspin where everyone calls this the racial promised land."
He says the president-elect would be the first to agree with him, not that he doesn't see Barack Obama's victory as progress. The fact that Obama was born at a time when people were going to jail for sitting next to someone of a different race is a large step forward, he says.
"I am thrilled to tears. The resonance of it to me is enormous."
As he listened to Obama's acceptance speech Tuesday night, he heard echoes of King. In particular, Obama's line that "we will get there ... we as a people will get there," is almost a verbatim quote from King's final sermon, he says.
But where King's speech was filled with foreboding, Obama's speech is about the "birth of hope" — hope built around obstacles, Branch says, which seem comparably large to those that faced King during his final days....
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (11-5-08)
Political science, as a discipline, tends to take the long view, developing models over time that explain the workings of the government and the electorate — who votes, how parties align themselves, why elections turn out the way they do.
As it turns out, some of the models political scientists have been using for years to predict the outcomes of national elections — taking into account factors like the popularity of the incumbent, party identification and economic indicators — weren’t tossed aside along with the many other fragments of conventional wisdom that were upended during the campaign. In fact, they were validated.
And while commentators are already marveling at the milestone reached Tuesday, many political scientists see it in a way that perhaps only data-driven academics could: as one more “data point” around which to test existing theories about racial attitudes and governing.
“The models were correct in that they predicted an Obama victory, a Democratic victory, and that’s what resulted. So in that sense, given the state of the economy, given the popularity of the incumbent, you’d expect a Democrat to win,” said John Sides, a professor of political science at George Washington University.
For all the talk about Hillary Clinton’s supporters shifting over to John McCain, for example, or McCain losing support within the Republican Party, both candidates ended up with roughly equal support within their parties. “We live in an era of very strong party loyalty, and this election is really no different,” Sides said.
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (11-5-08)
The university also decided not to renew its site license for EndNote, the citation software that Thompson Reuters argues was improperly used.
The lawsuit, as reported by The Chronicle in September, argues that Zotero was “reverse-engineered” from EndNote. Thomson is seeking $10-million in damages....
SOURCE: http://www.theherald.co.uk (11-5-08)
"He's not going to have a freewheeling White House where people are free to go out on their own and do what they want and be allowed to talk to the press," Mr Zelizer said.
Senator Dick Durbin, a long-time Obama friend and fellow Illinois Democrat, said Mr Obama created a tight ship by being willing to hear things he did not like from aides while not attacking them when mistakes were made.
"There were setbacks, but there was no bloodletting," he said.
Mr Obama relies most on a small, hard-to-penetrate inner circle of aides who are expected to be both tight-lipped and tight-knit; he demands loyalty and staffers get a "no drama" speech upon hire.
He is a leader who thinks first, decides later and remains calm in a crisis. His calm temperament, often criticised as indecision by his opponents, was seen during the global economic crisis which could still dominate the early days of his presidency.
Mr Obama has not finished his first term in the US Senate yet, and before that had just eight years as a state politician, but his style as a candidate predicts a CEO-style president, one who delegates rather than micromanages.
SOURCE: http://money.uk.msn.com (11-3-08)
Eric Hobsbawm, the 91-year-old Marxist historian, author and academic, told MSN Money the past two decades of unfettered capitalism had been as damaging as Soviet economic totalitarianism.
In his responses to MSN Money's questions, Hobsbawm predicted that far from being a hiccup or correction of the markets, "the present crisis is certainly the end of the era in the development of the global capitalist economy."
Hobsbawm's views on the present crisis present a radical counterpoint to mainstream financial journalism and uncover potential causes and repercussions that have not received much coverage.
The media and economic analysts have given many explanations of why the crash happened and who is to blame. Few have blamed free market capitalism itself as the cause of its own inevitable demise. Many point instead to elements within the system that could have been controlled better.
The New York Times, for instance, argued that Alan Greenspan's support for derivatives while Federal Reserve chairman from 1987 to 2006 "helped enable an ambitious American experiment in letting market forces run free. Now, the nation is confronting the consequences." It said that if Greenspan had acted differently "the current crisis might have been averted or muted."
Hobsbawm in contrast told MSN Money that he believed a "free market theology," a sort of blind faith in capitalism, was the root cause.
In the e-mail interview, Hobsbawm said that running global economies on an "effectively unregulated basis" is as doomed to failure as "the project of a totally state-run planned economy in the Soviet systems." He said he welcomed state intervention as a "return to common sense"....