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: https://humanexperience.stanford.edu (1-27-09)
Goodman, currently a Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center, specializes in American art and architecture, with a focus on African-American culture and art. Her dissertation research involves the examination and interpretation of a range of structures and artifacts of American slavery, including paintings, buildings, documents and shackles. Of her research Goodman said, “The visual culture of the auctions was the one aspect that impacted everyone within the sphere of influence, so it’s important to know not only what are people saw, but how they interacted with the objects.”
An in-depth analysis of the items Goodman chose raised intriguing questions about the prevailing culture of the time. Inspired by these questions, Goodman focused her thesis on the ways in which the visual culture and objects surrounding slavery impacted societal structure and perceptions of social hierarchy in America before the Civil War; in other words, what the art, architecture and objects of slavery say about white slave owners and the pervasive atmosphere of control they imposed over their slaves.
Goodman separated her research into three areas: the spaces and architecture relating to slave culture, and how changes in social climate affect those places; material culture, like slave advertisements, shackles, badges, and bills of sales, and what these items convey about property and ownership and lastly, the painting and sculptures of anti-slavery artists and why they chose slavery as the subject of their art.
When asked how she became interested in the topic, Goodman relates her experience as an educator at Woodlawn, an early 19th-century plantation, owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She noted that since the slave quarters had been torn down, the challenge was to interpret the slave presence in the mansion itself. She said the staff focused on the Dining Room. “By stacking the plates, tablecloths, and utensils on the table rather then showing a set table, we were able to ask the question, ‘Who is in the room now? Is the family eating or are the slaves preparing for the family’s mealtime?’” she said. “At that point, we could talk about the slave’s duties.”
While at Stanford, Goodman’s interests shifted to the public aspects of slavery. In the course of her visual art research, she was surprised to discover a number of paintings depicting scenes of the slave trade. “I wondered, who was painting these, and moreover, who was buying this artwork?” she says, referencing a painting of an outdoor slave auction by American artist Thomas Satterwhite Noble. Goodman discovered that many of the works were painted by artists with anti-slavery leanings who wanted to capture the reality of slave auctions as they broke families apart. Typically the works were not sold, but kept in the artists’ private collection until decades later, when they became valuable cultural artifacts.
In her chapter on art, Goodman concludes that because the family unit becomes the social focal point for white Americans in the nineteenth century, artists like Noble, Eyre Crowe, and sculptor John Rodgers began to render slaves in a manner that they could relate to; women safeguarding their children, while the men look on, defiant and even angry. “The paintings were attempts to garner sympathy for the slaves,” she said. “The artists also placed slaves in a setting – an auction – that observers could easily understand. Americans understood that slave families usually did not remain intact.”
Charleston’s Slave Mart was built in 1859 after a nearly 20-year debate among the city’s residents as to whether a structure to conceal the auctions was necessary. In the eighteenth century, slave auctions in Charleston were primarily outdoor affairs that took place in front of public buildings along major thoroughfares. The auctions were staged spectacles, and as Goodman noted, repeated viewings of these public performances were important moments in the social hierarchy that helped to define how some white Americans saw blacks as animals to be bought and sold.
In the decades leading to the Civil War, Charlestonians’ desire for refinement – cleaning the city of all things noisy and unsightly, not to mention outside pressure from Anti-slavery groups, were key reasons why some citizens felt an enclised slave market space away from the main street was a necessity. Ultimately, residents decided to build a slave market structure on a side street near the shopping district. Goodman explained that the residents didn’t want to abolish slavery, but that some people definitely did not want to see auctions every time they came to town, “They wanted easy accessibility, but they wanted it hidden.” She added, “However, some Charlestonians did not want the auctions off the major streets. They saw any change as a threat to their established way of life.”
While studying slave trade objects Goodman identified a similar shift. She explained that articles of bondage originally looked like barbaric torture devices; elaborate face masks and unnecessarily heavy and thick shackles, “The exaggerated design of 18th century constraint devices helped to cement the ‘we’re in control’ message that slave owners wanted to send. But by the mid 1800’s these objects, though they still served the same function, had become smaller and less conspicuous.” Like the idea to move slave auctions indoors, this transition was in-line with white Americans’ desire to appear more sophisticated while still continuing to buy and sell slaves.
Goodman said her research into the artifacts of slave culture is important to understanding how some Americans struggled for power and control in the mid-nineteenth century. She added, “How nineteenth-century Americans experienced what they observed made a big difference in how they saw themselves.”
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (1-30-09)
It was an interesting moment to visit. Not only was a new president preparing to take office, but the endowment was about to lose the longest-serving chairman in its history. Bruce Cole, who had served in that role since 2001, announced in November that he would leave in January to take a position with a museum in Pennsylvania.
“My instructions were as follows,” says Mr. Price, a professor of history at Rutgers University at Newark: “to spend some time in the agency getting a real-time sense of what was going on, to learn how the eight years of the Bush administration had affected the agency, and to make recommendations with respect to budgetary and policy matters.”
Few scholars ever enjoy the kind of access that Mr. Price received in December. But he is far from alone in offering advice about the endowment’s budget, policies, and purpose. Since the moment of its creation, in 1965, the endowment has been torn between several constituencies. How much of its money should go to lonely scholars toiling away on obscure topics in philology, and how much should go to documentaries and museum exhibits aimed at a mass audience? Should its awards go strictly to the most excellent proposals, or should it take care to distribute funds across all 50 states, the better to keep Congress happy?...
SOURCE: AP (1-29-09)
Officials familiar with the decision say Obama has tapped Power to be senior director for multilateral affairs at the National Security Council, a job that will require close contact and potential travel with Clinton, who is now secretary of state. NSC staffers often accompany the secretary of state on foreign trips.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Power's position, as well as that of other senior NSC positions, have not yet been announced. One official said the announcements would be made in the near future.
SOURCE: NYT (1-29-09)
The cause was complications of colon cancer, said his companion, Elizabeth Harlan.
Mr. Diggins, who taught at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, roamed widely as he traced the intellectual contours of American political thought from the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the present day. His interest in the twists and turns of ideology, and the evolution of ideas, led him to explore pivotal thinkers all along the political spectrum whose preoccupations and struggles led him to the deeper questions of American identity and self-definition.
He was fascinated, for example, by a fault line in American thought: the great divide that he perceived between the Declaration of Independence, whose language of self-fulfillment presupposed the golden rule of civic virtue, and the Constitution, whose careful attention to property rights and the pursuit of gain reflected the harsher American value of “power, struggle and self-assertion,” as he put it in his book on Lincoln, “On Hallowed Ground” (2000).
It was Lincoln’s mission, he wrote, and a continuing challenge for Americans today, to revalidate the language of the declaration.
“He was the most philosophical-minded of the American historians,” said the political historian Paul Berman, a writer in residence at New York University. “He was always trying to get at the big questions, about heroism, virtue and the conflict between utopian aspirations and the disappointments of life. His work was a kind of ongoing meditation.”...
SOURCE: http://www.thaindian.com (1-29-09)
Why? “Obama’s background - his mother was a hippy adventurist and his Indonesian link - makes him very pluralistic and very pro-Indian,” Schama told IANS in an interview.
The man hailed as one of the best historians and art writers of our times held forth on a variety of subjects like politics, art and music in Jaipur recently.
The author of 14 books, Schama writes for “The Guardian” and the “New Yorker” and has presented more than 30 movies for the BBC Television and the Emmy award-winning “Power of Art”.
His new book, “The American Future: A History”, explores how the American optimism about the infinite possibilities of its land and resources may be snuffed out. His other books include “Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution”, “Landscape and Memory”, “Rembrandt’s Eyes”, “Rough Crossings: Britain, the American Revolution and the Slaves”.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: What kind of future do you foresee for India during Barack Obama’s tenure?
A: If George W. Bush was hospitable to India, then Barack Obama’s background - his mother was a hippy adventurist and his Indonesian link - makes him very pluralistic and very pro-Indian. He is very anxious to make it work for India and is going to do a lot before the spring is out - he will go to the Middle East - especially to West Bank and Gaza - and then come to India. He will also appoint a new Indian ambassador.
I think Hillary Clinton will be the key to the appointment because she is so pro-Indian and will not be telephoning every five minutes to ask who’s good for India. Moreover, the fact that Bill Clinton was so engaged in Kashmir will give her a better perspective....
SOURCE: http://www.aasianst.org (1-28-09)
As President of the Association for Asian Studies and Editor of its flagship periodical, respectively, we’re writing this message to share our excitement about some initiatives underway relating to the annual meeting and the Journal of Asian Studies. Our hope is that these initiatives will help us continue to serve the needs of a wide range of people concerned with Asia, from K-12 educators to independent scholars, librarians to museum curators, and of course graduate students and faculty in colleges and universities around the world.
Here’s a top-five list of things we thought you might like to know about. Each reflects the Association’s commitment to maintaining traditional areas of strength, while also adapting to current needs by increasing the international reach and real-world relevance of what we do. Some of these initiatives represent truly novel departures from past precedent, while others build upon groundwork laid in recent years by our predecessors, the organization’s Councils, and the AAS Secretariat in Ann Arbor.
To underscore the links between academic work and policy concerns, the annual meeting in Chicago (26-29 March 2009) will feature, for the first time in many years, keynote addresses by high-profile public figures. There will be two: one by Secretary Christopher Hill, a key figure in the Six-Party negotiations with Pyongyang on nuclear issues; the second by Professor Han Sung-Joo, former Korean Ambassador to the United States and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea. We expect that such keynotes will henceforth be a regular feature of AAS annual meetings.
Special Panels including Journalists and Public Intellectuals
Thanks to a generous grant from the Luce Foundation, the 2009 annual meeting will also feature two special panels that will include journalists (from major international publications) and public intellectuals (from across the Pacific). One of these will be a retrospective on Asian Olympics past, which will also include China specialist Susan Brownell and Koreanist Bruce Cumings. The other, to be chaired by sociologist Ezra Vogel, will explore Asian responses to the global economic crisis. Northeast Asianist Gilbert Rozman, who serves as program-committee chair in 2010, is spearheading what we hope will bring major transformations in the AAS annual meetings; he will be seeking your input in proposing many more innovative panels in the coming year.
Topical Essays in the Journal of Asian Studies (JAS)
Complementing these novel features of the March annual meeting, the Journal of Asian Studies is launching a new feature, “Asia Beyond the Headlines.” Linked to topical issues and written by respected scholars who draw upon years of specialized research, these short, accessible essays will speak across areas of specialization and will likely be informative to all AAS constituencies, including K-12 educators and policy makers. The first, forthcoming in the February 2009, issue is titled “Thai Politics as Reality T.V.” It is by Duncan McCargo, a specialist in Southeast Asian politics, who was in Bangkok when the protests there began heating up last September. It is illustrated with a two-page collage of color photographs that this Southeast Asianist took on scene. Upcoming pieces include economist Pranab Bardhan’s reflections on development and governance in China and India.
The Journal’s Internationalization
The ability to make greater use of color images (on both the cover and accompanying pieces) and to have an online presence have been two big pluses of the Journal’s recent move from being self-published to working with Cambridge University Press. Another advantage has been to increase the Journal’s international reach, thanks to that publisher’s global networks. Matching this have been other forms of internationalization. Even though the JAS has always been open to submissions from around the world, those coming from Asia have increased dramatically in recent years, as have the geographical spread of the editorial board. The Board has often had one member affiliated with an institution located outside of North America, generally in Europe, but now it has three, including one based in Melbourne and another in New Delhi.
Internationalization of the Annual Meetings
The AAS annual meetings have always attracted scholars from different parts of the world, but this year’s will be unique in including a contingent of Koreanist social scientists from Latin America, whose visit is funded by a generous grant from the Korea Foundation. Their visit is a fitting symbol of our ongoing efforts to “cross borders,” whether disciplinary or geographic or between the realms of scholarship and pedagogy and outreach (as shown by the Association’s ongoing commitment to Education about Asia and other publications that move between these realms). It also reflects the sense many of us have that it is important to take stock of how Asian issues look when viewed from different vantage points in an increasingly globalized world.
If we hadn’t decided to stick to just five points, we could bring up many other things. We could mention efforts underway to explore ways to showcase work by economists at future annual meetings, plans in the works for a joint AAS-University of Michigan conference on Asian urbanization, or the unusually wide range of disciplines now represented on the JAS Board of Editors (running the gamut from history, literature, and anthropology to sociology and political science). But we hope that this note has at least given you a brief sense of new things brewing at a venerable organization. The AAS will be marking its 70th anniversary in 2011 and we will soon be announcing a special expansion of the annual meeting, which will bring many more participants to the meeting and offer a variety of new panel formats. By the way, if you would like more information on the AAS, or want either to become a new member or to renew your membership, please consult our website www.asian-studies.org.
Robert Buswell (UCLA), President, Association for Asian Studies
Jeffrey Wasserstrom (UC Irvine), Editor, Journal of Asian Studies
SOURCE: James Kurth at FPRI--Foreign Policy Research Institute website (1-28-09)
American political science has not produced very many great ideas, and what ideas it has produced have not been very consequential. In part this is because most American political scientists have very much adhered to the liberal or progressive tradition in American politics (one of the principal founders of the American Political Science Association was Woodrow Wilson), and they have tended to merely reflect that tradition rather than to reflect upon it, and thus to reiterate it rather than to reinvent it. The only real discipline in this peculiar academic discipline has been the discipline imposed by a pervasive progressive ideology.
However, there has been one American political scientist who did produce great ideas, and even a succession of them. He was also very conscious that ideas have consequences, and some of his own ideas had consequences that are still reverberating around the world today. That political scientist was Samuel P. Huntington, whose exemplary scholarly life came to an end this past Christmas Eve. One of the reasons that his ideas are both great and consequential is that he did not adhere to the conventional liberal and progressive ones. Rather, Huntington sought to create a distinctive kind of American conservatism, one that would recognize the energy and even the value of traditional American liberalism and self-advancement, but would guide that energy into paths of realism and self-restraint. In this way, American conservatism could enable American liberalism to conserve itself. Most consequentially, given the great international challenges the United States has faced in the past century, it could help America to conserve itself in a world filled with non-liberal and even anti-liberal ideas and powers.
Samuel Huntington spent most of his life and did most of his work in places where conservatives are rarely found and where conservatives rarely look. Indeed, those places—New England, Harvard University, the American Political Science Association (APSA), and the Democratic Party—have been centers of liberalism and progressivism for most of the past century. Yet it was by being in this liberal world, while not really being of it, that Huntington developed a kind of American conservatism that was particularly tempered and resilient, strong and solid, and consistent and enduring. Throughout his scholarly life, he was an inspiring model of intellectual courage.
Huntington’s career began in the early 1950s with a number of innovative and definitive articles on American politics, including a seminal piece on American conservatism. Then, for half a century from the publication of The Soldier and the State (Harvard University Press, 1956) to the publication of Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity (Simon and Schuster, 2004), he produced a series of great books (in this essay, we will discuss six), roughly one in every decade. Each developed a distinctive conservative position on an important political challenge and policy issue of its time, but also of today. Each was met with a chorus of liberal criticism, but each became the center of the intellectual debate on its topic, a lion in the path that every other serious scholar had to confront. Huntington’s professional colleagues in APSA continuously criticized his arguments, but they nevertheless recognized his greatness, not only by selecting him to be the Association’s president but also by repeatedly identifying him in their polls as the most distinguished member of their profession.
Huntington’s intellectual perspective was shaped very much by the political conflicts that issued from the legacies of the New Deal and the Second World War and by the challenges of the Cold War. On the one side, there was the liberalism of the Democratic Party, which had been exemplified by the internationalism of Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and which was still prominent within the party in the 1950s. On the other side, there was the putative conservatism of the Republican Party (which European conservatives saw as just another kind of liberalism), one version being the defensive isolationism of Senator Robert Taft and the other being the assertive nationalism of General Douglas MacArthur. Each of these Democratic and Republican approaches had led to some kind of American debacle in the course of the previous two decades.
These policies were criticized by a new kind of American conservative, exemplified by George Kennan and Reinhold Niebuhr. Such thinking was also enriched by the contributions of European immigrants to America, such as Hans Morgenthau and FPRI’s founder, Robert Strausz-Hupé. These conservatives sought to construct more solid and successful American policies upon a basis of central and enduring American national interests, with these interests in turn representing central and enduring American national traditions which went back to the balanced and realistic conceptions of the founding generation of America statesmen, for example, Washington, Madison, and Hamilton. The result was a distinctive kind of American conservatism dedicated to conserving fundamental American interests and traditions in a world of hostile powers and ideologies such as the Soviet Union and communism, and in an America which all too often had lurched from one unrealistic ideology and reckless policy—indeed adolescent and self-indulgent mentality—to another. Huntington came of intellectual age in this milieu.
The Soldier and the State
In his first book, The Soldier and the State, Huntington developed just such a balanced, realistic, and conservative conception with respect to the challenging issue of civil-military relations, i.e., the proper relationship between elected political leaders and professional military officers, particularly that within a liberal democracy and constitutional order. Prominent in the 1950s (President Truman’s firing of General MacArthur during the Korean War had occurred only recently), this issue has reappeared in every decade since, right down to the Iraq War. We can be sure that it will reappear again in the wars that the United States undertakes in the future.
Huntington argued that elected officials of course had to be the ones who set the nation’s policies, but that these officials also had to recognize and respect the distinctive perspective and knowledge of the military profession in setting realistic limitations as to how these policies could be implemented. Huntington’s position was thus very much like that of Carl von Clausewitz, but with the right civil-military balance being even more difficult—but just as necessary—to achieve in democratic America than it had been in monarchical Prussia. The Huntington conception is conservative in its recognition that the best political order is a proportioned balance—i.e., a mixed regime or constitutional order—composed of separate institutions with distinctive perspectives, but coming together around shared values and a common objective. This kind of conservatism was represented by Aristotle in classical political philosophy, by Burke in British political thought, and by Madison in American constitutional theory, and it has an enduring validity. There has always been a need for such a political order and particularly for civil-military relations, and there always will be. This was true in the 1950s, it was true in the 2000s during the Bush administration, and it will be true in the 2010s during the Obama administration. Huntington’s The Soldier and the State therefore remains an excellent guide for steering us through the civil-military challenges of today and in the future.
The Common Defense
It soon became evident to Huntington that the U.S. military was characterized by a certain kind of proportioned balance within itself, one that was also composed of separate institutions with distinctive perspectives, in this case the separate military services. This condition resulted in the purported problem of inter-service rivalry, something that often perplexed and troubled American civilians. They had expected a unified American military, especially after the supposed unification of the services within a single Department of Defense in 1947.
Huntington examined this inter-service rivalry in The Common Defense: Strategic Programs in American Politics (Columbia University Press, 1961). He demonstrated that the most important U.S. strategic programs were the product not of some rational deduction from a central strategic concept, but instead were the product of political negotiations between the different military services. Within the executive branch of the U.S. government, there was really a log-rolling process similar to that which had always occurred within the Congressional branch; Huntington called this process “executive legislation.” In his extensive analysis of the U.S. defense policies of the 1950s, he showed that executive legislation—this proportioned balance between the military services—had actually produced strategic programs which were better overall for U.S. national security than simple executive direction would have done. He concluded that inter-service rivalry was not so much a problem for America as it was a solution, a solution very much in keeping with the traditional and successful ways in which Americans had normally addressed challenges. Here, too, Huntington’s work has enduring value. The existence of separate U.S. military services with different perspectives—and the problems or solutions which are the result—are realities that have shaped U.S. defense policies ever since Huntington wrote about them, and they will continue to do so as long as the United States has any defense policy at all.
Political Order in Changing Societies
By the mid-1960s, the United States was confronting the challenges posed by the collapse of the European empires, the onset of political anarchy, and the threat of communist revolutions in the new Third World. Huntington directly addressed these challenges in his Political Order and Changing Societies (Yale University Press, 1968), which instantly became the major work in the field of political development. He acknowledged that liberal democracy was certainly a desirable political system, but he argued that our American version was the product of a distinctive American history and British legacy, going back to Tudor times. It was unlikely to be successfully exported to other countries with other traditions. Rather, the best political system for any country would have to be the product of its own particular history and legacy, with these being embodied in strong and stable political institutions. Only these could bring about the political order which was the necessary condition for any civilized society.
As Huntington saw it, the problem in many countries was that the new political mobilization of the population was outpacing and overwhelming their existing political structures. What was needed was new (or renewed), strong, and stable political institutions. The United States’ role in political development should be to assist countries in establishing such institutions. Huntington thus followed Hobbes in his emphasis on political order, but he also followed Burke in his emphasis on cultural conditions, and, again, his work has an enduring validity. Huntington’s Political Order in Changing Societies therefore remains an excellent guide for Americans in addressing the challenges of “failed states” and “nation-building,” today and in the future.
American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony
At the very moment that Huntington published his analysis of political mobilization and the need for political institutions abroad, however, political mobilization was overwhelming political institutions within the United States itself. By the late 1960s, newly-mobilized movements—such as civil rights and student protests—were surging into American politics, while long-established institutions such as the Democratic Party, the federal government, and the military services were losing their political legitimacy. This destabilizing conjunction of ideological demands and institutional illegitimacy continued throughout the 1970s.
It was in these circumstances that Huntington wrote American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony (Harvard University Press, 1981). He showed that there had been earlier periods in American history that were similar to the 1960s-1970s. At the core of the American national identity was the American Creed, a deeply rooted and well-articulated set of distinctively American ideas and ideals. These ideals were so abstract and exalted that they often bore little relationship to reality. Conversely, at the foundation of the American political order was a set of distinctive American political interests and institutions. These institutions often maintained and preserved reality, even if that reality seemed to be unjust. This permanent gap between ideals and institutions (which Huntington called the IvI gap) gave rise to a permanent tension in American politics, and at times this tension was transformed into a full-blown ideological passion for radical change, by which the ideals would supplant the institutions and bring about a whole new political world. These radical hopes were, of course, always disappointed, and so American politics would then return to some version of the old equilibrium between ideals and institutions, at least until the next era of ideological passion arrived.
Of course, Huntington’s analysis of these successive phases of American politics turned out to be exactly correct. The ideological and radical passions of the 1960s-1970s were followed by the institutional and conservative stability of the 1980s-1990s. And now, as America passes from the sour political frustrations associated with the Bush administration to the exalted political hopes attached to the Obama administration, we may be entering once again into a new era of passionate ideas and ideals.
The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order
By the 1990s, the United States had been dramatically successful in overcoming the challenges posed by communist revolutions and even by the Soviet Union itself. But in their place there were now new problems posed by rising powers, such as China, and by reviving religions, such as Islam. Huntington directly addressed these new issues in The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (Simon and Schuster, 1996). This quickly became his most famous book, one translated into numerous languages. Indeed, his thesis became so well known, and in such high places, that his critics often said that his ideas about clashes between civilizations had actually had the consequences of aggravating those clashes, that his argument had become a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.
Huntington proposed that the conflicts of the new era would emanate not from national states or political ideologies, as they had for much of the twentieth century and in the two world wars and the Cold War, but from distinct civilizations that were grounded in distinct religious traditions. He deeply believed in the traditions and values of our own Western civilization and of its leading state, the United States, and he sought the best way to preserve it in a world that was experiencing intensifying clashes deriving from religion and culture. Analogous to his approach in his previous works, he argued that Western civilization was the product of a distinctive Western history and Christian legacy and that its traditions and values were unlikely to be successfully exported to others with their own distinctive traditions.
Huntington was concerned that, in the aftermath of the victory of the United States and the West in the Cold War, Americans were prone to think that their particular ideas and ideals of liberal democracy, free markets, open societies, and individual human rights had such universal validity and popularity that they could and should be widely promoted and even imposed abroad. Globalization, in particular, was an ideology that stressed the inevitability of these American ideas being adopted around the globe, whatever had been the different traditions and ideas inherited from other, and now presumably past, civilizations.
Huntington thought that this belief in the universalism and globalization of particular American ideas would greatly aggravate clashes between the West and others. He saw some degree of conflict as being inevitable, but he argued that the clashes between the West and the rest could be kept manageable and limited, so long as the United States and the West recognized the distinctive nature and the limited applicability of their traditions and ideas. Western civilization should focus upon strengthening its own traditions and identity, while expecting that other civilizations would do much the same. The U.S. role within the West should be to encourage this strengthening, and within the world to facilitate mutual recognition and accommodation between the different civilizations. Huntington thus sought to conserve Western traditions and values which reach back more than two millennia, within the closest approximation to a world order as we are likely to get in the contemporary era.
Today, more than a dozen years after Huntington advanced his famous and controversial thesis, it is useful to see how it fits some of the current realities about different civilizations. On the one hand, the proponents of the universalism and globalization thesis can point to the greatly increased integration of China, and of Sinic and Confucian civilization more generally, into the global economy, along with growing business and professional classes which are adopting some version of Western ideas (albeit with Chinese characteristics). Similar developments are going on in India or the Hindu civilization. On the other hand, proponents of the clash-of-civilizations thesis can point to the greatly increased conflict between America, and the West more generally, and the Islamic civilization, with the United States engaged in wars against Islamist insurgents in both Iraq and Afghanistan and against Islamist terrorist networks around the world, and with new wars against other Islamists doubtless still to come. Given the continuing dismal and destructive conflicts between the West and the Islamic world, Huntington’s work once again has an enduring validity, and The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order remains an excellent guide for steering us through such conflicts today and in the future.
Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity
By the 2000s, however, it was evident that Western civilization and even the United States were seriously divided within themselves about what their identity should be. Very few people in the West identified any longer with Western civilization, and many Americans, particularly among cultural and business elites, no longer identified with American traditions. Huntington directly addressed this phenomenon in Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity (Simon and Schuster, 2004). He argued that at the core of American identity was a distinctive culture, which was the product of British traditions and the Protestant religion and which he termed Anglo-Protestant culture. Huntington made clear that this Anglo-Protestant culture and American identity was defined by traditions, values, and ideas and decidedly not by any particular ethnic origin. Generations of Americans from virtually all ethnic backgrounds had willingly adopted this culture and identity, and this had led to their own success and to the success of America as a whole.
In recent decades, however, this distinctive and successful American identity has been threatened by some elites who have developed ideologies of multiculturalism and globalization and who have effected a multicultural or global identity, rather than an American one. The American identity has also been threatened by new immigration patterns in which the rate of arrival of people from different cultures has exceeded the rate of assimilation into the traditional American culture. Huntington urged all Americans to recognize the reality and worth of their own traditions and identity, i.e., to conserve America and therefore conserve themselves. There can hardly be a more authentic kind of American conservatism than this.
It is historically fitting that Samuel Huntington called upon Americans to conserve America. In the seventeenth century, the first Huntingtons arrived in America, as Puritans and as founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In the eighteenth century, Samuel Huntington of Connecticut was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In the nineteenth century, Collis P. Huntington was a builder of the transcontinental railroad. In the twentieth century, Samuel P. Huntington was for half a century the most consistently brilliant and creative political scientist in the United States. Huntingtons had been present at the creation for most of the great events of American history, and Samuel Huntington knew intimately and believed intensely in what America was all about. His ideas about America and its role in the world were simultaneously original, conservative, and consequential. He was a splendid exemplar of American creative intelligence and intellectual courage.
SOURCE: Daniel Pipes at frontpagemag.com (1-28-09)
In an article earlier this month,"Israel's Strategic Incompetence in Gaza," I made three points: that the Israeli leadership unilaterally created its current problems in Gaza, that the war against Hamas meant ignoring the much larger threat of Iranian nuclear weapons, and that the goal of empowering Al-Fatah makes no sense.
These arguments prompted an earful from readers, who made interesting points that deserve answers. Slightly editing the questions for clarity, I reply to some of them here:
"Your article was a real downer. Do you have any uppers?"
The Middle East is a source of nearly unmitigated bad news these days. Two rare positive developments concern economics: Israel has finally, thanks for the reforms carried out by Binyamin Netanyahu, weaned itself from the debilitating socialism of its earlier years; and the price of energy has gone down by over two-thirds.
"Accepting that your opinions are true, the title and tone of the article can only encourage Israel's enemies. More careful language would have been more to Israel's advantage."
I try to offer constructive criticism. Even if Israel's enemies do find encouragement in my less-than-boosterish analysis, I expect this is more than offset by my helping Israelis realize their errors.
"The enemy of Israel is its traitorous leadership that is intentionally working to destroy the Jewish state and bring upon world Jewry another Holocaust. To refuse to make this clear and to continue to suggest incompetence is the problem, is to enable the leadership and, thus, become a traitor oneself."
If one is a traitor to Israel by not seeing its leadership as"intentionally working to destroy the Jewish state, and bring upon world Jewry another Holocaust," then color me guilty. I see the leadership as incompetent but not malign, much less suicidal.
"Here's an exit strategy from Gaza: Israel should lease a strip of land from Egypt to be used as a buffer zone."
Great idea – except there is zero chance of Cairo agreeing to it.
"Your analysis wrongly deals with Israel as an independent actor when the U.S. government has a major role limiting Israeli actions."
I addressed and rejected this point with regard to the Gaza withdrawal at"Sharon's Gaza Withdrawal – Made in Washington?" but your assertion is broader than Gaza and deserves a full-scale analysis.
My brief reply: The idea that Washington forces bad ideas on an unwilling Jerusalem offers solace, implying as it does that the Israeli leadership knows what to do but cannot do it; unfortunately, it is out of date.
Yes, from 1973 to 1993, that was indeed the pattern. Since the Oslo accords, however, the Israel leadership has not just been a willing accomplice of its U.S. counterpart but has often taken the lead - e.g., Oslo itself in 1993, the withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, the Camp David II meetings in 2000, the Taba negotiations of 2001, and the Gaza withdrawal of 2005.
Aaron Lerner sums up this point in"American pressure is not the problem," arguing that"Israeli diplomatic initiatives have been almost without exception carried out with American approval only ex-post," then providing examples.
"What if the most efficient elements of Israeli society, the military, were in charge in Israel?"
But the Israeli military has been largely in charge since the fundamental reorientation from deterrence to appeasement that took place in 1993 – Rabin, Barak, and Sharon dominated the past 16 years, along with many other ex-generals in the country's public life. In Israel, as around the world, the military tends to absorb the warmed-over leftisms produced by civil society.
"This is not the time to look backwards and place blame; rather it is time to move on and fix the problem."
Assigning responsibility for mistakes is not just a matter of finger-pointing but crucial if one is not to repeat them.
"What must Israel do now?
In another column this month,"Solving the ‘Palestinian Problem'," I endorsed the Jordan-Egypt option, whereby the one former takes over the West Bank and the latter Gaza.
"You ask, ‘Why did Olmert squander this opportunity to confront the relatively trivial danger Hamas presents rather than the existential threat of Iran's nuclear program?' The answer lies in the New York Times article on Jan. 11, ‘U.S. rejected aid for Israeli raid on Iranian nuclear site,' which explains that the U.S. government prevented Israeli efforts to destroy the facilities at Natanz."
The analysis at"Israeli Jets vs. Iranian Nukes" suggests that the Israel Defense Forces does not require U.S. approval to cross Iraq or additional U.S. ordnance to strike Iranian targets.
"It is so easy to criticize; do you really think you could do better? If so, why not go to Israel and enter the political life there?"
A sports writer need not star on the field before he critique players – and neither must a Middle East analyst climb the slippery pole of Israeli politics before offering strategic analysis. As for the legitimacy of my offering views while living in the United States, see"May an American Comment on Israel?"
"What do you think of other alternative plans making the rounds, both of which call for no Palestinian state to be established and for Palestinian Arabs to be paid to leave and resettle in the country of their choosing, other than Israel. The"Israeli Initiative" is by Knesset member Benny Elon and the other is from the Jerusalem Summit, authored by Martin Sherman, a professor at Tel Aviv University."
I applaud these efforts at creative thinking. The Elon plan resembles my Jordan-Egypt idea, except it focuses exclusively on Jordan"as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians" and involves Israeli sovereignty on the West Bank, something I do not call for. The Jerusalem Summit plans calls for a"generous relocation and resettlement package" for Palestinians to leave the Israeli-controlled areas; I expect this will find few takers.
"There are real leaders in Israel. To mention just one – Moshe Feiglin. What about him?"
He brings important ideas to the Israeli debate but he is not"at the upper echelons of Israel's political life," as I put it in my article, and so I did not include him in my generalization.
"Where is Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu in all this? Is he not a hawk who is repelled by the thought of giving away Israeli land for ANY reason?"
If I voted in Israeli elections, I would vote for him next month. That said, we saw him in action as prime minister between 1996 and 1999 and I judge his tenure a failure (in contrast to his subsequent stint at the finance ministry, which was a success). In particular, I recall his poor performance vis-à-vis Syria (which I uncovered in a 1999 article,"The Road to Damascus: What Netanyahu almost gave away"). Perhaps Netanyahu has matured as a leader but, the old adage,"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me," implies Likud might have recruited a fresh face.
"Now that General (Ret.) Moshe"Bogie" Ya'alon has entered politics, I believe there is hope for Israel's future."
Former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon joined the Likud Party in November 2008.
But, when one looks closely at his main analysis,"Israel and the Palestinians: A New Strategy," Ya'alon does not work to gain such a victory over the Palestinians. Rather, he wants to reform the Palestinian Authority so that it can better control territory, effect law enforcement, strengthen its judicial authority, acquire a democratic spirit, and improve the quality of life of its population.
"Economic convalescence, an effective rule of law, and democratization are essential conditions," he writes,"for the rehabilitation of Palestinian society." He concludes that a reorganization of Palestinian society in accordance with his ideas" could feasibly serve as the foundation for a future settlement that would realize some of the hopes that were pinned on the Oslo process." I conclude, therefore, that Ya'alon's goal is not victory but another attempt at Oslo-style compromise and resolution.
"What has happened to the Israelis that they no longer fight smart?"
Good question. I offered one reply a half-year ago:"The strategically brilliant but economically deficient early state has been replaced by the reverse. Yesteryear's spy masterminds, military geniuses, and political heavyweights have seemingly gone into high tech, leaving the state in the hands of corrupt, short-sighted mental midgets."
But this does not explain the whole situation, which results from a deep mix of fatigue and arrogance. The best analyses of this problem are by Yoram Hazony, The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel's Soul and Kenneth Levin, The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege.
"Daniel Pipes should try to defuse tensions between Israel and the Arab neighbors."
Attempts at defusing tensions have been a central focus since the Kilometer 101 agreement of 1973. They have failed because they try to finesse a decisive conclusion to the Arab-Israeli conflict. I favor a decisive conclusion, for it alone will end the conflict.
SOURCE: http://www.dailynews.lk (Sri Lanka) (1-28-09)
Though she spoke about India her comments are relevant to Sri Lanka too. Hence we produce below a few excerpts of the interview.
As a historian I am and have been deeply disturbed - and I'm not alone in this - by the reaction to such incidents. Indian identity at the popular level is increasingly being narrowed to the perceptions of what is called the majority community.
This is ironic because among historians the perspective has widened out. This is in part due to the expansion of sources for constructing history. In archeology for instance, various sciences are giving us dimensions of knowledge that are new, such as data on environmental factors affecting history.
Professor Romila Thapar
Our attitudes to texts have changed. We now ask incisive questions about the author, and why the text is written the way it is and what is the intention of the patron? One looks beyond the statements for deeper historical understanding. This has led to new perspectives on the past in terms of both evidence and the manner in which it is analyzed.
So while the historian is opening up the past, its popular representation is narrowing it down.
The kinds of linkages that are made with the past in popular outlets tend to marginalize many communities and cultures that make up Indian society. These linkages frequently draw from political agendas.
Inevitably one begins to ask whether or to what degree that which we've been writing, and speaking about in the past 30 to 40 years, have at all affected people's perceptions - perceptions of our past, our identities, and the values that we hold as important in our lives?
Possibly we have been too passive in our response to aggressive political actions. And we have failed to be sufficiently critical of the way the media plays with political agendas in representing what it calls 'culture and history'. These are themes that need much more open discussion.
We have not internalized our history in the sense that for most people seeing the historical aspect of the world around us is still an experience of the extraneous. Historical analysis is really about an entire society with an accounting of different levels and the way in which they are inter-related, the way in which they disintegrate or integrate and how these relationships have changed over time. We assume a kind of static past, which is of course the behest of colonial scholarship....
SOURCE: Inside Higher Ed (1-27-09)
To reach the students, these professors are working on a two-pronged strategy. First, they are preparing exercises that link students’ lives to the study of history. Second, they are focusing on basic information literacy and research skills, which their students tend to lack. The combination appears to be working, even as these professors teach not to the idealized seminar room of the stereotypical history scholar, but in classes of 35 students or more — many of whom have full-time jobs.
The professors described their approaches here at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Brian Casserly of North Seattle Community College uses assignments in a U.S. survey history course to teach the basics of conducting research and writing a research paper — something most students don’t know how to do....
SOURCE: Richard Borkow M.D., Village Historian of Dobbs Ferry (1-27-09)
Washington’s bold and secret 1781 march from Dobbs Ferry, NY, to victory at the Battle of Yorktown in Virginia, began on Sunday morning, August 19, 1781, when the American army broke its 6 week summer encampment in lower Westchester and was paraded for the march in Dobbs Ferry. The allied French army, under the command of General Rochambeau, broke camp and departed for Virginia on the same day, about 3 miles to the east of Dobbs Ferry. Washington, the supreme commander of the allied armies, had made the decision five days earlier, on Aug. 14, 1781, to change strategy and risk a march of more than 400 miles from New York to Virginia, where he hoped to surprise and trap General Cornwallis’s 7,500 British and Hessian troops.
Washington’s new strategy would win the war. Yet this outcome was completely unforeseen by most observers in the summer of 1781. For Washington’s new strategy was adopted at a time of dismal military prospects, and few anticipated that 1781 could be the year of a dramatic American victory. Congress and the states, discouraged by the long and seemingly inconclusive war, were providing Washington with minimal material support. His army lacked basic supplies, and French officers wrote of their amazement on witnessing the state of destitution of the American army. American forces would not have been able to march to Virginia at all had not Rochambeau generously provided them with desperately needed funds, 20,000 gold dollars in all, which amounted to half of his own war chest.
Washington’s march to Virginia was arguably the most decisive military movement of the Revolutionary War. On October 19, 1781, two months to the day following the departure of the American army from Dobbs Ferry, Cornwallis surrendered his entire army to the allied American and French forces. The victory at Yorktown broke a long-standing military stalemate and led to the end of the Revolutionary War and to remarkably favorable peace terms for the young republic.
Because Washington’s march was so consequential to the fate of our nation, Congress, in 2000, asked the National Park Service to survey the Washington-Rochambeau route and to identify the full range of historic themes associated with the route (Public Law 106-473). Congress is now considering legislation to commemorate the march of the allied armies to Virginia by establishing the Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail, which, if it becomes a reality, would run through nine of the original thirteen states.
In response to the 2000 request of Congress, the NPS surveyed the W-R route and published the results of the survey in the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Resource Study & Environmental Assessment (October, 2006). I was one of the trustees of the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society who read the historical narrative in the W-R Resource Study soon after its publication: we were disappointed to see that the actual historical significance of Dobbs Ferry was not recognized, even though Dobbs Ferry was the starting point of Washington’s march to Yorktown.
Determined to correct this error, the society sent a 14 page document, with a wealth of historical evidence, most of it primary source, to the NPS on December 2, 2006, during the ‘public comment’ period. Nine months later, the NPS responded to our document in a perfunctory way, cavalierly disregarding the evidence and the principal historical points.
When we state that Dobbs Ferry was the starting point of Washington’s 1781 march, we are not making a new historical claim. Dobbs Ferry has long been recognized by historians as the starting point of Washington’s march. A map prepared in 2001 for a different NPS project (called The American Revolution at a Glance), prominently shows Dobbs Ferry as the starting point of Washington’s 1781 march to Virginia. And a map of Washington’s march to Yorktown, prepared by historians at the United States Military Academy at West Point, unambiguously identifies Dobbs Ferry as the point of origin and shows that 2,000 American troops marched from Dobbs Ferry to the Battle of Yorktown.
So Dobbs Ferry is not making a new claim; rather, we are attempting to prevent erasure, in NPS historical narratives, of Dobbs Ferry’s very well-substantiated history. We have endeavored to engage the NPS through various means, including the public comment period and U.S. Senate testimony on April 26, 2007,, in order to ask this basic question: Apart from Yorktown itself, what locality along the line of Washington’s march to Virginia is more significant than its starting point? The question deserves an answer, and we are still waiting for the NPS to respond.
In January and November, 2008, Dobbs Ferry’s appeal was given strong support by Thomas Fleming, President of the Society of American Historians and by David Hackett Fischer, Pulitzer Prize recipient and University Professor and Earl Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University. Each historian independently reviewed the historical material, and each independently concluded that Dobbs Ferry’s historical contentions are correct.
On January 6, 2008, Thomas Fleming sent a strong letter of support on behalf of Dobbs Ferry’s appeal for historical accuracy to many senators and representatives, which stated that: “… the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society submitted a 14 page comment to the NPS on December 2, 2006, with ample evidence that the town was the actual starting point for the march. My investigation confirms the validity of their maps and citations…”
In November, 2008, David Hackett Fischer sent me the following statement: My reading of the primary evidence is much the same as yours. The account of Dr. Thacher, the maps of French officers, and the correspondence of George Washington all clearly indicate that French and American troops camped in Dobbs Ferry and other towns nearby. Dobbs Ferry itself was the scene of one of the most dramatic events of the march. American troops paraded there and started the long march to Virginia, making feints in other directions as they passed New York. Dobbs Ferry deserves to be remembered as one of the crossroads of the American Revolution. In the Dobbs Ferry area, George Washington made one of the decisive choices of the Revolution, when he turned hisarmy toward Virginia and victory in the American War of Independence.
One would think that an historical opinion offered by these eminent historians would be of some interest to the NPS. But no: the agency has simply ignored their opinion.
We are beginning to understand why. In August, 2008, an article about Dobbs Ferry’s appeal in the Scarsdale Inquirer acted as a spotlight, and we now have a glimpse of the political influences which have been brought to bear on the NPS decision-making process. In the article the main lobbying group for the Washington-Rochambeau Trail legislation, known as W3R (the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association), went on the attack, and attempted to discount Dobbs Ferry’s historical significance on the Washington-Rochambeau Historic Trail with assertions that flatly contradict the historical evidence and are extremely easy to refute. I was astonished that W3R representatives were willing to have such nonsensical claims appear in print. Nevertheless, the Scarsdale Inquirer article is revealing, as it shows the firm intent of W3R-New York to block Dobbs Ferry’s recognition. A detailed refutation of the W3R assertions are posted on www.VillageHistorian.org . I will be glad to send the article itself, in pdf format, to anyone who requests it.
The Washington-Rochambeau route, which passes through nine states, is about to become a national historic trail, but never mind the historical facts! Instead, consider this: when the Washington-Rochambeau Trail legislation is enacted by Congress, the NPS will make decisions on the placement of valuable assets of historical tourism, including visitors’ centers and museums. The localities that are selected can expect a significant boost to their economies. In each of the nine states, however, only a few localities can be selected, and the leaders of W3R-New York appear to have their own preferred sites in mind. Clearly, Dobbs Ferry is not one of them.
Some have suggested that since the stakes are so high, the attack by W3R-NewYork on Dobbs Ferry is simply an effort to rub out a rival and exclude it from the competition for those valuable assets before the competition even starts. Whatever their intent, however, a village which is deserving of NPS support, and the public, which is entitled to accurate historical information, are both being given short shrift.
SOURCE: Noah Mendel, reporting for HNN. (Mr. Mendel is an HNN intern.) (1-27-09)
Born July 2, 1915, Franklin is the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University. Franklin has published a wealth of literature dealing with the African-American experience, including From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans, and his recent autobiography, Mirror To America. He has received several presidential appointments at organizations such as the National Council on the Humanities, the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, the Advisory Commission on Ambassadorial Appointments, and on the advisory board of President Clinton’s One America: The President’s Initiative on Race. In 1995, President Clinton awarded Dr. Franklin the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Franklin was an important contributor to the Civil Rights movement, working under Thurgood Marshall on the Brown v. Board of Education case.
In April, Franklin officially endorsed Mr. Obama’s candidacy for president, arguing, “Senator Obama is a truly exceptional leader who understands the struggles of people from all walks of life.” Following the election, in a November 2008 interview with Duke University, Franklin commented that President Obama’s victory was “one of the most historic moments, if not the most historic moment, in the history of this country.”
Although Franklin was unable to attend the inauguration, he reportedly was able to meet the President prior to the election, later commenting that Mr. Obama is “a winner.”
SOURCE: Juan Cole at Informed Comment, his blog (1-27-09)
I always welcome vigorous debate and believe that arguing substance in public is essential to our attaining the ideals of a democratic republic. I value Taylor Marsh's perspective and we have often agreed in the past, when public opinion in this country was against us. I offer the following in the way of an an honest disagreement, and with full respect for my debating partner.
That said, I really must object to the way Marsh argued this case. First, one of her main concerns is that my analysis might give comfort to the Right insofar as it offers a critique of an Obama policy. She wrote"Talk about your wingnut New Years gift, presented on the wings of hyperbole." And ended,"Sean Hannity says thanks. Or who knows, maybe it's a gift." She said that such figures on the right have been talking about Obama being criticized by the antiwar Left and suggests that my column gave support to their talking point.
The notion that we should not say something critical of the policy of a Democratic president because it might give aid and comfort to the rightwing enemy is completely unacceptable. It is a form of regimentation, and equivalent to making dissent a sort of treason. We had enough of that the last 8 years (it used to be from different quarters that I was accused of traitorously succoring the enemy).
I am an analyst, and a truth-teller. I don't work for anyone except, in a vague way, the people of Michigan, who took it into their heads to hire me to tell them about the Middle East, and their charge to me is to call it as I see it. I serve no interest. I am a member of the Democratic Party, but I don't accept everything in the party platform, and I am not so partisan that I cannot admire politicians and principles of other parties, whether the Greens or (some) Republicans. I didn't agree to join the Communist Party, such that no dissent is allowed lest it benefit the reactionaries and revanchists.
So that dimension of her posting is objectionable and rejected. I don't care what people like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh say or think, and I certainly am not going to self-censor so as to avoid giving them ammunition. Hannity was put there by crackpot rightwing billionaire Rupert Murdoch for a purpose, and he will serve that purpose regardless of what we analysts say.
In a democratic republic, open dissent is valued.
Another rhetorical feature of Ms. Taylor's essay is to compare my column on the hellfire missiles rained down near Wana and Mir Ali to Bob Woodward's attempt to gossip on Chris Matthew's show about an alleged affair on the part of Caroline Kennedy. Matthews stopped him on the grounds that inadequate proof was being offered for the allegation.
My piece in Salon involved no gossip and all my points were backed by hyperlinked citations. I did not allege on shaky grounds or on the basis of a single source that the US military bombed Pakistan. It bombed Pakistan. It killed a whole family near Wana. There was a funeral:
"Thousands of tribesmen on Saturday attended the funeral prayers of the victims of Friday’s drone attacks in the North and South Waziristan Agencies. They condemned the killings and asked US President Barack Obama to spend the money on the welfare of the tribal people instead of killing them with sophisticated weapons. . . They claimed that all those killed in the attack were innocent and local villagers, who had nothing to do with militancy or Taliban."
So how is discussing this air strike and the reaction it evoked in the Pakistani public in any way like Woodward gossiping about Caroline Kennedy?
If it is being alleged that my column contained unsubstantiated speculation, then the details of that speculation should have been pointed to, and alternative information calling it into question should have been presented. Simply likening an analysis to gossip is insufficient to discredit it unless actual proof of false or shaky assertions is offered.
Among the few points at which Ms. Marsh engages with the substance of my argument is her comment,"Whether President Obama approved continuing these strikes or not, he did, the fundamentalists in Pakistan will continue their work to make an Islamic state independent of what the new American President does or does not do."
There are several things wrong with this assertion. It assumes that the"fundamentalists" in Pakistan are unchanging in their essence and that they are unpersuadable and cannot be reasoned with or negotiated with. But this is how the Jamaat-i Islami responded to Obama's inauguration speech:
"Jamaat-e-Islami welcomed a pledge from US President Barack Obama to seek a"new way forward" with the Muslim world after eight turbulent years at the White House."We welcome it very much," said Khurshid Ahmed, a senior leader in the Jamaat-i-Islami -- the main religious political party in Pakistan and an organiser of angry demonstrations against the US and Israel. Ahmed slammed outgoing US president George W. Bush, accusing him of"alienating the US and Americans from the Muslim world.""Obama has to face the real issues, go into the causes and work seriously for the abdication of Bush's policies," Ahmed told AFP."Unless he does that, mere words will not be sufficient."
The JI leader Qazi Husain Ahmad is old enough to remember admiring the United States back in the 1950s and 1960s for the stance it often took in favor of decolonization in the Third World. (The US typically only opposed decolonization if the liberation movement had been taken over by Communists). At least according to leaders such as Qazi Husain, he Jamaat-i Islami is not intrinsically anti-American, though some tensions between it and US policy do arise.
My point, moreover, was not about whether JI cadres will remain committed to their Islamization project. It was about the attitude to the JI of the Pakistani electorate over time. The Jamaat-i Islami has only occasionally performed well in Pakistani elections. Its high points were 1970, when it and two clerical parties collectively won 14% of seats in parliament; and 2002, when the Islamic Action Council of which it formed part won 17% at the federal level and actually took over the North-West Frontier Province and (in coalition) Baluchistan, the two provinces most crucial to Afghanistan security. This 2002 good showing by the fundamentalists was certainly a result of Pakistanis casting a protest vote against the US bombing and invasion of neighboring Afghanistan.
The Jamaat declined to participate in the Februay 2008 polls on the grounds that they were held under a corrupted judiciary, since Gen. Musharraf had dismissed the Supreme Court and replaced it with more pliable justices. (By the way, for the JI to defend the secular supreme court suggests that its political project is broader than just establishing an Islamic state).
The current political eclipse of the Jamaat is not written in stone. The Pakistani public does not usually vote fundamentalist, but some proportion of the electorate sometimes does, and anti-imperalism and Muslim nationalism are impetuses for it. Continued America airstrikes on Pakistani territory, which are extremely unpopular with the Pakistani public, could shift the electorate to the religious right over time. It happened in 2002, and could happen again. The airstrikes make the Pakistan Peoples Party government, secular and left of center, look wimpy and even like collaborators in the country's humiliation.
I lived in Pakistan off and on for a couple of years and know Hindi-Urdu and have followed Pakistani politics since 1981. I have authored academically on South Asian Islam. These things do not mean I am right, only that my views on what could happen are not uninformed and not based on mere armchair speculation.
Marsh writes,"In other words, unlike Bush, who made everything about Anything But What Clinton Did, Obama will approve airstrikes if they are warranted in Pakistan (or elsewhere), not stop them just because it was Bush policy."
What I was saying is that Obama cannot possibly have known, 4 days into his presidency, whether airstrikes on Pakistan are"warranted." I was saying that he should have called a time-out and heard Holbrooke's report first. He should have had formal face-to-face consultations with President Asaf Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, and perhaps with the opposition, such as former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, as well.
Bombing Pakistan unilaterally is illegal in international law where Pakistan has not attacked the United States or where there is no United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing such an attack. Please see the Charter of the United Nations, to which the US is a signatory. If the US had a formal treaty with Pakistan, signed off by the legislatures of the two countries, that permitted hot pursuit of militants from Afghan territory, that would bestow a basic legality on it. But the only warrant for the US to shoot Hellfire missiles into Pakistan and kill Pakistani women and children along with militants, is the Bush Doctrine, which I want to be abolished and which I had understood Obama and his team to object to, as well. Contravening US treaty obligations and international law is a war crime.
Toward the end of the essay it is suggested that my column could be lumped in with the blogging of pacifists who oppose all military action. I supported the 2001-2002 US war in Afghanistan and am not a pacifist. I do, however, advocate an option for peace, which is that I believe peaceful means of addressing conflict should trump violent ones until it becomes clear that they simply are not working and that violence is necessary for self-protection.
The danger of Obama becoming mired down in Afghanistan and Pakistan is very real, and is obvious to anyone who knows the history of imperial interventions in the former. Warning Obama that he started out on a bad foot in Pakistan and suggesting that he take some time to consider charting his own, original course, is not injurious to Obama. Blind support for whatever he does is what would harm him.
I have been thrown out of organizations and even a whole country for refusing to toe a party line. Baathist Syria censored my news articles when I was working for a newspaper in Beirut. Theocratic Iran, where you have to follow the khatt-i Imami, the line of the Supreme Leader, once had me blackballed from an academic conference they helped fund. I object to party lines. I am not interested in being a court poet who spouts panegyrics. I am interested in being the academic equivalent of Hunter S. Thompson.
SOURCE: Ralph Luker at HNN blog, Cliopatria (1-26-09)
SOURCE: Deborah Lipstadt blog (1-26-09)
This is what he had to say about History on Trial.
History on TrialThe other four are The Leo Frank Case by Leonard Dinnerstein [Columbia University, 1968], Summer for the Gods by Edward J. Larson [Basic Books, 1997] on the Scopes trial, The Rosenberg File by Ronald Radosh and Joyce Milton [Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1983], and Until Proven Innocent by Stuart Taylor Jr. and KC Johnson [Thomas Dunne, 2007] on the Duke Lacrosse team.
By Deborah E. Lipstadt
"History on Trial" is Deborah E. Lipstadt's compelling first-person account of her experience as the defendant in a libel suit brought in 1996 by British author David Irving, who was unhappy that she had described him in print as a Holocaust denier. As I wrote in an afterword for the book, the trial was a rare instance in which"truth, justice and freedom of speech [were] all simultaneously served." What was at stake in the case transcended Lipstadt's reputation and fortune. Her antagonist sought to put the Holocaust itself on trial. This worried survivors, concerned that their history was being subjected to a judicial test, with standards of evidence and proof that did not always produce truth. Moreover, under British law, truth was not necessarily a defense to defamation. Through the determination of Lipstadt and the brilliant legal work of her lawyer, Anthony Julius, especially his devastating cross-examination of Irving, the court ruled that she had written the truth -- Irving is indeed a Holocaust denier -- and that he had not been defamed. The verdict also helped to expand the right of truthful free speech in Britain.
SOURCE: Lee White at the website of the National Coalition for History (NCH) (1-23-09)
The George W. Bush Library is temporarily located in Lewisville, Texas, and is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The permanent George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum will be constructed on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Most recently Lowe led the building and development of the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy. Lowe previously spent 14 years of working with the National Archives Presidential Libraries system. While at the National Archives, Lowe worked first as an archivist at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. In 1992, Lowe transferred to the Office of Presidential Libraries. He worked closely with libraries and foundations on the development and renovation of new and existing libraries and provided administrative oversight of library operations. He also served as interim Director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York.
SOURCE: Jonathan Zimmerman in the Philadelphia Inquirer (1-23-09)
A few weeks ago, I received a sad e-mail from one of my graduate students. She had recently interviewed for a very competitive job at an elite liberal-arts college, and everything seemed to go well. Shortly thereafter, though, she found out that she didn't get the job.
Nobody else did, either. Faced with mounting costs and declining revenues, the college had simply canceled the position.
Welcome to the grim realities of the academic job market, which has been strangled by the economic downturn. As their retirement accounts dwindle, professors who were planning to quit are holding on for a few more years. With endowments shrinking, meanwhile, universities and colleges are loath to expand payrolls - especially in the humanities, which don't bring in big grants and other income.
In my own field, history, hiring has declined 15 percent since a year ago. The news is even worse in English language and literature (down 22 percent), and worse still in philosophy (down 40 percent).
Given the glut of candidates that already existed before the economy went sour, most young scholars in these areas simply won't get full-time academic work. They will teach occasional classes and do other odd jobs, waiting for a call that never comes.
That doesn't make any sense. These smart young people represent an enormous resource for our society, if we're smart enough to tap it. So, as President Obama crafts his economic recovery plan, he should include provisions for unemployed academics.
It's happened before. During the last great economic crisis, in the 1930s, America put thousands of graduate students and recently minted professors to work in a wide range of government jobs. And we are all the better for it.
Start with the National Park Service, which hired 500 historians to identify and design national historic sites. Most of these sites were military battlefields and cemeteries, which continue to draw thousands of visitors a year.
State historical societies expanded as well, enlisting historians to archive newspapers and manuscripts. The price tag was picked up by such New Deal agencies as the Civil Works Administration and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.
Meanwhile, the Works Progress Administration hired folklorists and historians to interview ex-slaves. Much of what we know about American slavery is owed to these "WPA narratives," which illuminated how African Americans worked, prayed and survived amid the deprivations of bondage.
The biggest New Deal public-works project in my field was the Historical Records Survey, which inventoried wills, deeds and other materials in thousands of American communities. If you have ever tried to research anything about your family or your hometown, you probably have used records that were collected by this project.
It's easy to imagine dozens of useful projects for today's crop of unemployed historians. They could teach in K-12 schools, where Obama has pledged to hire 100,000 new instructors. They could revise textbooks and other classroom materials, some of which remain woefully out of date. They could archive local records and put them on the Web, giving millions of Americans new access to their heritage.
Ditto for all the out-of-work scholars in English, philosophy and the arts. The New Deal's Federal Arts Project commissioned work by Jackson Pollock and other painters, who created more than 2,500 wall murals for schools and post offices. There's no reason we couldn't establish similar programs now.
When asked why the government should sponsor artists and writers, New Deal official Harry Hopkins responded, "Hell, they've got to eat like other people." Hopkins' quip reminds me of a sign that a job seeker carried at a recent conference of historians: "Will Teach 20th Century U.S. For Food."
But he probably won't - at least not at the university level. That's why we need to design other jobs to put his skills to good use.
After all, our society has already invested untold sums in educating young scholars. And "investment" is the mantra of the day. As Obama keeps reminding us, his goal is not simply to put people to work. It's to invest in a better future, by making improvements in infrastructure, renewable energy and, yes, education.
For our underemployed academics, the investment has already happened. The only question is whether we will save it or squander it.
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (1-23-09)
Of Cornish and Irish stock, she was born Ellen Gibson in Wisconsin in 1919, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1941 in history andjournalism. Beginning on a small local newspaper, she moved to the Milwaukee Journal's state desk in 1943(the first woman to do so), and specialised in welfare reporting. In 1950 she was awarded a Reid fellowship to enable her to study the new welfare state, and the emerging new towns in Britain. This interest led to her appointment as a public-relations officer for the new John Kennedy administration in Washington in the early 1960s. It was there that she met Henry S. Wilson, the English historian of Africa. Following their marriage, she moved with him first to Aberystwyth and then to York.
In Britain she turned her research and writing skills in a new direction, making a new name for herself as the author of a series of important books. Initially her work was published in the New Shell Guides, to Britain and then to England. But her major and perhaps most durable impact came from three historical studies. The first was The Loyal Blacks (1976), on the remarkable story of freed slaves who sided with the British during and after the American War of Independence. This pioneering study enabled later historians (notably Simon Schama in his 2005 Rough Crossings) to give the subject wider currency....
SOURCE: Ben Alpers at http://us-intellectual-history.blogspot.com (1-17-09)
From John F. Kennedy through Gerald Ford, our Presidents had a designated aide whose job, whatever his title, was largely to be a kind of court philosopher. Presidents had, of course, long consulted academics and intellectuals. But Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.'s position in the Kennedy White House was something new.
Schlesinger had, of course, already established himself both as an academic historian and as a partisan Democratic public intellectual. And he had been active in the Kennedy campaign. But after Kennedy’s victory in November, 1960, nobody in JFK’s inner circle seemed to know what to do with Schlesinger. In early January 1961, Schlesinger wrote a memo to the President Elect, proposing that it might be useful to have “someone in the White House concerned with long-term projects, definition and presentation of programs and policy, independent program review, and the like.”1 Schlesinger's offer was accepted: he was made a Special Assistant to the President, with very open-ended duties.
After JFK’s assassination, Schlesinger’s White House days were numbered; he and LBJ had apparently never gotten along. He tendered his resignation the day after the assassination, but Johnson convinced him to stay on. But in January of 1964, Schlesinger left the White House. Johnson, however, decided that he, too, needed an intellectual-in-residence, so he asked Eric Goldman, an historian at Princeton University, to come on board as Schlesinger’s replacement.
By this time the press had begun to talk explicitly about the role of the White House “intellectual in residence” that Schlesinger had invented and Goldman was now embodying. Unlike Schlesinger who was close to the Kennedys at the time he joined the White House staff, Goldman was never close to LBJ and the relationship became dysfunctional well before Goldman’s eventual, stormy departure in mid-1966. Goldman was then replaced by John P. Roche, Chair of the Department of Politics at Brandeis. But Roche also didn’t work out, departing in mid-1968. Even at the time, LBJ’s difficult relationships with his intellectuals-in-residence were read as indicative of a broader rift between the White House and American thinkers. “Do President Johnson and the nation’s intellectuals have a mutual distrust of each other?,” asked the lede of a New York Times article on Goldman’s departure.2
But Johnson’s difficulties with Goldman and Roche did not kill off the White House intellectual. One of the more surprising appointments that Richard Nixon made when he entered office in 1969 was that of Daniel Patrick Moynihan as a special assistant on urban affairs. Moynihan, a lifelong Democrat, had begun his career in politics, first in the gubernatorial administration of Averell Harriman in New York, and then as Assistant Secretary of Labor under Kennedy and Johnson, in which position he wrote “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” better known as the Moynihan Report. After leaving the White House, Moynihan directed the Joint Center for Urban Studies at Harvard and MIT. Moynihan’s portfolio in the Nixon White House was a little more clearly defined than had been those of his predecessors. Nonetheless, in addition to bringing expertise in urban affairs, the Moynihan pick was designed to reach out to other intellectuals (hardly a core Nixon constituency) and thus show that this was a new Nixon. Moynihan’s tenure lasted two years and is best remembered for his comment that racial relations in the U.S. would benefit from a period of “benign neglect.” Unlike his predecessors in the Johnson administration, Moynihan left the White House fairly amicably. But though Nixon considered asking Irving Kristol or Herman Kahn to replace Moynihan, his presidency came to its early end without designating another intellectual-in-residence.
When Gerald Ford took office in the summer of 1974, Donald Rumsfeld, a former Congressman from Illinois and an early supporter of Ford’s successful bid to become House Minority Leader back in the 1960s, returned from a stint as Ambassador to NATO to become the new president’s Chief of Staff. Rumsfeld brought along with him Robert Goldwin, who would become the Ford Administration’s intellectual-in-residence. Goldwin had been advising and writing speeches for Rumsfeld in Brussels. But their relationship went back more than a decade. As a graduate student studying with Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago, Goldwin had directed the Public Affairs Conference Center, which had brought academics (including many fellow Straussians) together with many business and political leaders to discuss pressing issues of the day. Among the political connections Goldwin had made through his conference center were Rumsfeld and the liberal Republican business executive Charles Percy, on whose unsuccessful Illinois gubernatorial campaign Goldwin served. After receiving his PhD in the mid-1960s, Goldwin took a position at Kenyon College and then became Dean at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, before deciding to leave academia to become Rumsfeld’s NATO assistant.
In the Ford White House, Goldwin set up meetings between the new president and intellectuals modeled on his public affairs conferences. But Ford often seemed to have little interest in having an intellectual-in-residence. And Goldwin, like Leo Strauss himself, rejected the description “intellectual”: "There is something fishy about the word 'intellectual,'" he told the journal Science in 1975. "I think of 'intellectuals' as people who have a real distaste, sometimes even contempt, for the common sense approach, which is fundamentally the political approach." On a White House staff that soon became rather contentiously divided among competed nodes of authority, Goldwin was clearly in the camp of Rumsfeld and his assistant, and later successor as Chief of Staff, Dick Cheney. Cheney in particular often seemed genuinely excited by the ideas being generated by Goldwin’s academic and public intellectual contacts outside the White House, most especially Irving Kristol, who kept up a voluminous correspondence with Goldwin. Goldwin left the Ford White House in September 1976.
But Robert Goldwin would be the last White House intellectual-in-residence. Carter never appointed anyone to this informal position. Nor was it revived under Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, or Bush 43 (though each administration had intellectuals of various sorts on board in other positions). And though Barack Obama has long enjoyed the support of a number of prominent academics and public intellectuals—from Lawrence Lessig to Cass Sunstein to Samantha Power—there’s been no indication that the Obama White House will revive the post created originally for Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
The designated White House intellectual-in-residence may have marked a particular moment in the American presidency. Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford had very different relationships with and attitudes toward intellectuals in general. Kennedy cultivated them. Johnson and Nixon could be quite hostile to them. Ford quite indifferent. But each felt the need to maintain this peculiar institution created by JFK. And their predecessors and successors—many of whom encouraged more active dialogue between intellectuals and the White House—did not.
What distinguished these four presidencies was not, then, a shared, positive attitude toward intellectuals. The phenomenon of the White House intellectual-in-residence may have, instead, been a kind of apotheosis of the celebration of expertise in post-war American political culture. White House intellectuals could burnish the court of the imperial presidency. But as both that vision of the presidency and the status of intellectuals—and social scientific experts in general—began to wane, the logic of this never-entirely-logical post faded as well.
1 Quoted in Tevi Troy, Intellectuals and the American Presidency (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002), 27. This is the only monograph devoted to the subject of the White House intellectual. Its author, Tevi Troy, holds a PhD in American Civilization from Texas, but has spent his career in Washington working first for then Sen. John Ashcroft and, for the last eight years, for the Bush Administration. He is currently the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The book is serious scholarship, well-researched and well-written, though in certain ways it is marked by its author’s political inclinations and career. Needless to say, it was very helpful in putting this blog entry together!
2 “Johnson Changes His Intellectuals,” New York Times, September 11, 1966.
3 “Robert A. Goldwin: Bridge Between Thinkers and Doers,” Science, New Series, Vol. 187, No. 4173 (Jan. 24, 1975), p. 239.
SOURCE: http://www.madison.com (1-21-09)
Blackhawk, on the UW History staff since 1999, is an expert on the history of Native American people and the complex and often tragic conflicts between natives and European settlers in the American West.
His 2006 book "Violence over the Land," won numerous awards, including the Frederick Jackson Turn award for the most significant first book on American History.
Diverse magazine calls him one of the 10 emerging scholars, a group of "crusaders" under age 40 who are "pushing the boundaries of research, technology and public policy in ways never imagined and reaching new heights of accomplishments."
Among the courses Blackhawk teaches at the UW is one that encourages students to write tribal histories based on primary research done at the Wisconsin Historical Society, which has one of the nation's largest collections of materials relating to the American West....
SOURCE: David Kennedy in WSJ (1-20-09)
The speech also reflected a sense of history, not only in the ritual references to struggling ancestors and the sacrifices of war, but especially in its insistence that “we remain a young nation,” still on its journey (a word the president invoked three times) to a destiny yet unfulfilled.
Ideas about youth and the infinite promises of the future are part of our national mythology. But in what was perhaps his most sobering passage, Mr. Obama said that “the time has come to set aside childish things.” That’s another way of saying that our self-congratulatory folklore about youthful innocence also implies immaturity — and that in the next chapter of our ongoing national narrative we will be obliged to shoulder the burdens of adulthood. Now there’s a truly audacious hope, and a timely one, too.
SOURCE: WaPo (1-18-09)
His father's career had brought the Ellises to Washington, and his work as an agent minding Eisenhower ensured they would stay, but a fatal alcoholism took him before he could learn of his son's accomplishments: The younger Ellis grew up to mind presidents in a very different way.
Today, Joseph Ellis is one of America's most widely read historians, a prodigiously gifted storyteller who has won, among many laurels, the 2001 Pulitzer Prize (for Founding Brothers) and the 1997 National Book Award (for American Sphinx).
He was not a particularly good student at Gonzaga High School, but he credits four years of Latin and three of Greek for developing his abilities as a writer. He went on to study philosophy at William and Mary, heading for a career in law, helping to pay his tuition by managing a crew of summer lifeguards. By the time he graduated, however, he was fatherless "and pretty much alone." Unable to afford law school, he took a scholarship to study history at Yale.
Ellis feared history was not his calling when he found himself among graduate students whose knowledge was far greater than his own. One of his professors, C. Vann Woodward -- a renowned historian of the South -- counseled him, "Others here may know stuff you don't know. But you can learn it. What you know, they can never learn." Ellis stuck with it, earned his Ph.D in 1969 and decided to trade his ROTC status for a stint in the army, teaching American history at West Point.
Since then, Ellis has been a professor and dean (even acting president) of Mount Holyoke College, where he has written all nine of his books. In 2001, a controversy flared when the Boston Globe revealed that he had claimed to serve as a soldier on the ground in Vietnam, when, in truth, he had never gone overseas. Ellis made a public apology, and Mount Holyoke suspended him for a year. In 2005, the college restored his endowed chair....
SOURCE: Henry Louis Gates Jr. in The Root (1-22-09)
Frederick Douglass reported “a leaden stillness” among the white half of Lincoln’s audience. But a reporter for the Times of London noted an enthusiastic call-and-response reaction from the black folks listening to Lincoln’s speech. The suggestion that God was taking a white eye at long last in return for the suffering of black slaves all these years was one of the most radical ideas ever voiced in the history of the American presidency, before or since.
Frederick Douglass, alone among all of those blacks who had been in Lincoln’s audience, found himself trying to fight his way past two guards barring his entry to the White House reception following the ceremony. Lincoln, spying Douglass, waved the guards away and demanded that Douglass give him his frank reaction, saying that no one’s opinion mattered more to him than his. Douglass, deeply moved by the speech and by Lincoln’s comments about him, responded, “Mr. Lincoln, that was a sacred effort.”
When Barack Obama pointed out Lincoln’s 703-word speech carved on the wall of the Lincoln Memorial to his daughters last week, and Michelle explained to the girls Lincoln’s fight for greater equality, 10-year-old Malia responded by asking, “Yeah, how are we doing on that?” Malia then told her father that his own speech, “better be good.”
So, how did our new president do with his 2,419-word address? While I felt that it had been beautifully delivered, some commentators felt that it lacked Obama's usual rhetorical eloquence. Yet we tend to forget that Lincoln’s most famous speeches—Gettysburg and the second inaugural—read much better than they sounded. This may be Barack Obama’s first experience with this.
I don’t know quite what I was expecting, but my initial reaction to the president’s address was a certain puzzlement at my own reaction, because I found it less moving as a rhetorical statement than I had expected. And I believe the audience sitting around me on the grounds of the Capitol did as well, judging from our collective eagerness to reward him in loud voice and with great passion, with as many applause lines as we could.
I should have known that the new president had different intentions for this speech—its shape, its delivery, its effect—than, let’s say, his astonishing Iowa victory speech (which moved me to jump out of bed, covered in goose flesh) or his equally memorable “race” speech in Philadelphia.
I should have known he had something different in mind. As he approached the grandstand at the start of the ceremony, Angela De Leon, sitting next to me said, “He’s got his game face on.” I had never seen that look on Barack’s face before. He looked, to me, for the very first time, like—well—like the president of the United States. And I couldn’t help but be moved to tears by the realization for the first time that the most powerful person in the world was a black man, this black man....
SOURCE: HNN Staff (1-21-09)
Having gotten the Stanford doctorate in history in 1951 and written an essay for the Journal of Negro History, I planned a journey East the next year on a Ford grant to research trade unions and radical politics. I quite naturally sought to schedule lunch with the Journal’s fairly new editor, Charles H. Wesley. “In all of Washington, D. C.,” that scholarly historian wrote in reply, “there are only two places we can have lunch: the café in the National Archives basement, and Methodist House.” (Actually, the Supreme Court lunchroom, too.) I never, ever forgot his astounding words, which were written after the close of the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations, and at the dawn of the Eisenhower years. We did indeed dine pleasantly in the National Archives restaurant (if a trace emotionally). It had been a devastating shock that anything like these restrictions could exist in the capitol of any nation that had just spent years waging a world war for democracy and freedom. “How do Negroes feel every day?” I pondered morosely in mid-century America.
SOURCE: NYT (1-19-09)
The cause was complications of melanoma, said his son Matthew.
Mr. Turner, who taught at Yale for 44 years, published several important works on modern Germany, including “Stresemann and the Politics of the Weimar Republic” (1963), a study of Gustav Stresemann, the liberal statesman who served as Germany’s chancellor and foreign minister in the 1920s, and “Hitler’s Thirty Days to Power” (1996).
He was best known, however, for “German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler,” which marshaled a wealth of archival information to argue that German industrialists had contributed far less to the Nazi Party than previously thought.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (1-18-09)
Although he spent most of his working life at the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth, he was temporarily lent in 2000 to the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, which he described as"this great, national institution".
His sojourn at Greenwich was carefully planned to equip him to become director of the Royal Naval Museum in 2006.
He did much to broaden public understanding of the great admiral's life. Few who heard his after-dinner speeches, always delivered without notes, will forget his mastery of detail and ability to conjure up an atmosphere for his audience. These seemed all the more remarkable for him being severely deaf.
White was a member of the Society of Antiquaries and vice-president of the 1805 Club. He was thrilled to be recognised for his scholarship by the University of Portsmouth, first with an honorary doctorate, and then, in 2007, by his appointment as visiting professor in maritime history. He was further delighted the following year to be appointed an honorary captain in the Royal Naval Reserve.