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: WaPo (7-31-10)
His death was confirmed by Princeton University, where he was a professor of politics from 1962 to 1984 and the founding director of the university's Russian studies program.
Blair A. Ruble, who directs the Washington-based Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, said that before Soviet archives opened after the collapse of the Communist system in 1991, Dr. Tucker was for decades one of a "very small number of scholars who were able to give an all-encompassing view of the Soviet system."
Virtually no other American-born Sovietologist of Dr. Tucker's generation combined high-level scholarship with his depth of experience living under Stalin's rule, Ruble said....
SOURCE: Star Tribune (7-28-10)
"Wow," said historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of "No Ordinary Time," a chronicle of the Roosevelts during the war. "This stuff sounds like it's going to be very exciting. You very rarely get a whole new trove of material."...
The documents come from FDR's inner circle: his chief secretaries, Marguerite (Missy) LeHand -- who historians suspect was secretly in love with FDR -- and her successor, Tully. Both were virtually part of his family, Goodwin said. And judging by the sample of nine of the newly unveiled documents, the material has a smoky, behind-the-scenes feel as if fresh from the president's desk. Much of his story is revealed in day-to-day interactions: his dictation for his famous Pearl Harbor speech; a memo urging the promotion of then-Army Col. George Marshall to general; a handwritten note in English from the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
SOURCE: Slate (7-28-10)
When the automobile age dawned at the turn of the 20th century, cars were toys, luxury products and status symbols for the rich to race and tool around in. They weren't affordable for the overwhelming majority of Americans. In 1903, most car companies were "turning out products with steep prices of $3,000 or even $4,000," writes Douglas Brinkley in Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress. In 1903, about 12,000 cars were sold in the United States The following year, Henry Ford introduced his Model B "at a startling $2,000." Now, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator only goes back to 1913. But $3,000 in 1913 is worth about $66,114 today. This BLS report suggests that average family income in 1901 was about $750. Any way you slice it, cars were very expensive. A luxury car cost about four times what a family earned in a year. What kind of future was there for the car as a democratic object?
SOURCE: NYT (7-29-10)
In the spring Hachette Book Group called its version, by David Baldacci, an “enriched” book. Penguin Group released an “amplified” version of a novel by Ken Follett last week. And on Thursday Simon & Schuster will come out with one of its own, an “enhanced” e-book version of “Nixonland” by Rick Perlstein.... Simon & Schuster has taken the best-selling “Nixonland,” first published in hardcover in 2008 in a whopping 896 pages, and scattered 27 videos throughout the e-book. One video is a new interview with Mr. Perlstein, conducted by Bob Schieffer, the chief Washington correspondent for CBS News. Most are news clips from events described in the book, including the Nixon-Kennedy debates in 1960 and public reaction to the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Simon & Schuster is a division of the CBS Corporation.)... Books with multimedia also allow publishers to charge a higher price. The “enhanced” “Nixonland” costs $15.99 in Apple’s iBookstore and through the Amazon Kindle store (though it cannot be read on the Kindle e-reader), an increase from a black-and-white e-book, which generally tend to be less than $14.99....
SOURCE: BBC News (7-28-10)
Zheng He - also known as Cheng Ho - is being hailed anew as a national hero; invoked by the Communist Party as a pioneer of China's "open-door" policies that have once again made China a world power.
"The rise of China has induced a lot of fear," says Geoff Wade of the Institute of South-east Asian Studies in Singapore.
"Zheng is being portrayed as a symbol of China's openness to the world, as an envoy of its peace and friendship - these two words keep cropping up in virtually every reference to Zheng He out of China," says Prof Wade....
Zheng He was an admiral in the time of "empire", when there were no boundaries, no frontier limits, says China expert Edward Friedman.
"The expeditions were real events - Zheng's achievements were extraordinary and a marvel of the time," says Prof Friedman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison....
SOURCE: mediabistro (7-28-10)
SOURCE: JoongAng Daily (7-29-10)
They also asked Japan to declare the annexation treaty, signed Aug. 29, 1910, null and void, which would essentially admit the annexation was wrong....
“The statement has great meaning in that it requested a specific action from the prime minister,” said Yi Tae-jin, emeritus professor of Korean history at Seoul National University, who is one of the signatories on the request.
SOURCE: The Times Leader (PA) (7-27-10)
Brian Carso, J.D., Ph.D., a professor of history and law, said the documents don’t reveal anything most observers of the war in Afghanistan don’t already know.
“But, it harms our democratic process,” Carso said. “Our democratic leaders have made a decision to pursue the war effort, and while we are right to constantly debate that decision as we go forward, by the same token we shouldn’t undermine our own ability to carry out the war effort.”
SOURCE: Foreign Policy (7-27-10)
One of 52 Americans held hostage by Iranians for 444 days in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Limbert came back from retirement nine months ago to head the State Department's Iran desk in hopes he could help end the bitter enmity between the U.S. and Iran.
Those hopes have been dashed as Iran rejected U.S. overtures and the Obama administration pivoted to a familiar pattern of economic sanctions.
On Friday, Limbert is stepping down from his position. In an interview Tuesday -- his first since rumors of his departure were confirmed earlier this month -- he said he had promised the U.S. Naval Academy, where he had been teaching history and political science, that he would return for the fall semester. But he acknowledged personal regret that U.S.- Iran relations have not made more progress.
"I have the sense right now that we -- the Obama administration writ large -- are not in the place we wanted to be," Limbert said. While he said the administration is determined to pursue efforts to negotiate with Iran, he fears that both countries risk regressing to the dysfunctional pattern that has kept them largely at odds for three decades....
SOURCE: NYT (7-27-10)
I am prepared to be cynical about this new food historicism. I await the titles that pare this subject into micro-thin slices, books I suspect will be on the order of “Sesame Seeds: The Nutty, Delicate, Crunchy Little Plant Ovules That Revolutionized American Foodways and Changed the World,” or “1897: The Year the Oysters Tasted a Bit Dubious.”
In the meantime we have Jane Ziegelman’s modest but absorbing “97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement.” The story it tells, about Old World habits clashing and ultimately melding with new American ones, is familiar. But Ms. Ziegelman is a patient scholar and a graceful writer, and she rummages in these families’ histories and larders to smart, chewy effect. Ms. Ziegelman, whose previous book, “Foie Gras: A Passion,” occupies a place at the plummier end of the food history spectrum, introduces us to the Glockners, the Moores, the Gumpertzes, the Rogarshevskys and the Baldizzis, who all lived at 97 Orchard Street, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, between 1863 and 1935....
SOURCE: Media Matters (7-27-10)
In his article, Jeffrey Lord, a former Reagan administration official, said that because Hall was beaten to death, rather than hanged, Sherrod's statement that Hall had been lynched was a "straight out fabrication." Lord's article has come under fire, both from other American Spectator writers and from progressive bloggers and columnists, since its publication on July 26.
"I don't know how in the world you can say" Hall's death is "not a lynching," said Christopher Waldrep, a professor of history at San Francisco State University. "People at the time had no question that it was a lynching. I mean, there was no particular debate." Waldrep has authored several books on lynching, including The Many Faces of Judge Lynch: Extralegal Violence and Punishment in America, in which he discusses the Hall case.
Michael Pfeifer, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the author of Rough Justice: Lynching and American Society, 1874-1947, likewise concluded that "Jeffrey Lord's reasoning is fallacious" and "profoundly ahistorical." Pfeifer added that while the word "lynching" "has always eluded simple, consensus definitions," its use "was most often, but never exclusively, hanging (shootings, beatings, burnings, etc. were also called 'lynchings')."...
SOURCE: Medieval News (7-27-10)
She surveyed a wide variety of records from throughout Western Europe, including tax records, inventories of wages paid on construction sites, and municipal accounts, and discovered numerous instances of women working alongside men on construction sites as far back at the 13th century.
SOURCE: AHA Blog (7-20-10)
Our new affiliate has the following statement of purpose:
The Construction History Society of America is dedicated to the study of the history and evolution of all aspects of the built environment—its creation, maintenance, and management. It is a forum for scholars and professionals in the field to share, meet, and exchange ideas and research. Membership is open to a wide range of construction-related disciplines involved in the planning, development, design, and construction of buildings and engineering infrastructure, in addition to those concerned with their operation and preservation. Members share a passion for examining how our existing structures were planned, designed and built, with the purpose of using this knowledge to better preserve what we have and to guide us in determining future directions....
SOURCE: SD Union-Tribune (7-26-10)
The native San Diegan and widely renowned historian made it his goal to convey the triumph and tragedy of Mexican history as well as the great cultural richness of the life and literature of his parents’ homeland. Along the way, he helped develop the fledgling history department at the University of California San Diego, wrote several respected books and became the recipient of the National Humanities Medal in 1998.
Dr. Ruiz died at his Rancho Santa Fe home July 6 after suffering complications from a recent fall and a battle with cancer, said his daughter, Olivia Ruiz. He was 88.
His father had hoped that he would become a landscape architect and had him work for a time at the Kate Sessions nursery in Pacific Beach, where the elder Ruiz had worked before establishing his own business. Dr. Ruiz, however, had grown up enthralled with his father’s stories about the history and heroes of Mexico. His fate as a historian was sealed after he took a freshman European history class at what was then San Diego State College....
SOURCE: The Australian (7-27-10)
Niall Ferguson has also criticised the election campaign's "pathetic" debate over capping immigration and population growth.
The visiting Harvard history professor said yesterday Australia's budget stimulus -- the third biggest in the developed world -- had not been justified by the size of the global financial crisis hit to this country's economy.
As well, Labor's budget stimulus had been weighted too much to increased spending rather than tax cuts or on rationalising the tax system.
It was "inconceivable" that Labor's budget stimulus had delivered significant macro-economic benefits, while it probably involved large macro-economic costs. "I think the whole thing was an over-reaction," he told a Centre for Independent Studies lunch in Sydney.
Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.
End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.
Professor Ferguson said the quality of Australia's election debate on immigration and population was "strongly reminiscent of the quality of debate in (Scotland's) Strathclyde region council".
SOURCE: AP (7-23-10)
"If I were a firm believer in ghosts and spirits and things of that nature, I don't think I could do this," said McGill, a preservationist who is working to preserve buildings that are part of a past that many prefer to forget....
McGill, a program officer with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, will spend Saturday night in a cabin at Hobcaw Barony near the coastal community of Georgetown....
SOURCE: Express Buzz (India) (7-24-10)
Sreedhara Menon was born on December 18, 1925 at Ernakulam. After securing a first class in SSLC exam, he proceeded to the Madras University and passed the Intermediate Examination. In 1944, with the support of a Maharaja's scholarship, he completed his BA from the Maharaja's College, Ernakulam winning the Gold Medal. He completed the MA from Madras University in 1948 also with a first rank in history. He began his career as a teacher at St.Thomas College, Thrissur, and later joined the University College, Thiruvananthapuram, in 1949 as a lecturer in the Departments of History and Politics. In 1953, he obtained his MA in Political Science, specialising in International Relations from Harvard University with the aid of a Fulbright travel grant and a SmithMundt Scholarship....
SOURCE: NYT (7-25-10)
But last week, both the White House and the secretary of agriculture, Tom Vilsack, were unable to muster that switchboard magic to reach Shirley Sherrod....
Some presidential historians said they were shocked at how long it took a White House that prides itself on being tech savvy — President Obama, after all, fought to keep his BlackBerry — to get through.
“I was astonished,” said Richard Reeves, a professor at the University of Southern California and the author of several books about the presidency. “It seems impossible to me that the president can’t get to people anytime he wants to.”...
Douglas Brinkley, a history professor at Rice University, had his own take: “It may be a metaphor for a kind of societal incompetence, where a 20-year-old intern for CNN or Fox or MSNBC can track down the main players, when the federal government can’t.”...
SOURCE: NYT (7-25-10)
“This is too cool,” he said, weaving together melodies like “The Entertainer,” the Scott Joplin rag that was used as the theme for the Robert Redford-Paul Newman film “The Sting,” and something that sounded like the theme from the old Joe Franklin show. (But who was awake enough when it came on to remember?)
The piano was older than the music Mr. Anderson was playing. It was an 1858 Steinway piano, a rectangular instrument often called a square piano, that was donated to LaGuardia in the 1990s.
Mr. Lieberman, a professor of history at LaGuardia and director of the La Guardia and Wagner Archives, said it had an interesting history: It survived the Civil War in Kentucky, hidden in a barn where it was not burned as troops crisscrossed the area. The family legend was that someone played “Dixie” when Confederates were within earshot. It is not known whether the same pianist struck up “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” when Union soldiers were around....
SOURCE: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (7-25-10)
Discovering Don was not the man she thought she knew was merely the last straw for Betty, who surely suspected her husband's many dalliances. So she began a flirtatious relationship with Henry Francis, a well-placed aide to Nelson Rockefeller, the governor of New York.
Henry flew with her to Nevada, where "divorce mills" of the day allowed (mostly) women to establish residency for six weeks, then file for divorce.
But Ms. Coontz, who has authored a number of books examining American life and family, said she doubts someone like Henry would have considered courting a married woman with three young children.
"In 1964, Nelson Rockefeller could not run for president because he was divorced -- anyone with high aspirations, unless he was absolutely besotted with love, would never have considered getting involved in a divorce."...
SOURCE: Dunn County Record (WI) (7-25-10)
...John received academic degrees from the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin, where he received his PhD in history under the direction of well-known professor of history, Harvey Goldberg.
Among John's scholarly writings, published in several languages, is his definitive biographical history of the early 20th century Dutch astronomer Anton Pannekoek, and the intellectual role he played in the European social reform movements of that era; (Anton Pannekoek and The Socialism Of Workers' Self Emancipation 1873-1960).
John taught various classes in his specialty at many of the prestigious universities in the Boston area. He subsequently received his MLS degree from Simmons College, and after serving as an archivist at Harvard Law School, became a medical librarian at VA Boston Healthcare System at the West Roxbury Va., and then acted as the primary librarian for the Boston Healthcare System from 2009 until his death....
SOURCE: Mark Bauerlein at the Chronicle of Higher Education (7-20-10)
On April 19, 2010, Robert Paquette, professor of history at Hamilton College, in New York, published an article entitled “Dictatorships and Double Standards” on the Web site of the National Association of Scholars. It’s a biting piece on dogmatic liberal/progressivist attitudes among professors, and it takes as a prime example the fate of Christopher Hill, a medieval historian hired to teach at Hamilton on a “term appointment” in 2006. Paquette reviews Hill’s record as a scholar and teacher, then recounts the unpleasant fact that he was rejected as a candidate when his position was redefined as tenure-track. Paquette believes that Hill was turned down because of his politics (a “self-described libertarian”) and for his failure to fit preferred diversity categories. Others hired recently “seemed not to have faced the same standard for publications that were excluding Professor Hill from serious consideration.”
Read closely Paquette’s two-sentence rendition of the search committee judgment:
“A majority faction, similar in composition and outlook to the one responsible for the abolition of the Western civilization requirement, determined, despite the dissenting voices of four senior members of the department, that Professor Hill was largely unworthy of serious consideration for the tenure-track position. Indeed, because of King Numbers, he didn’t make it out of the blocks past the first lap of consideration.”...
SOURCE: Tablet (7-22-10)
Hilberg’s pioneering work established a methodological orthodoxy with regard to survivor testimony that was long adhered to by historians looking to establish a credible and unassailable historical record of Nazi crimes.
Christopher Browning was still operating within the boundaries Hilberg had set when he chose to focus on the slow brutalization of a single battalion of German soldiers in his pathbreaking 1992 book Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland.
But, more recently, while studying a 1972 German court case that acquitted a Nazi police chief on all charges related to his role in the liquidation of a small Jewish ghetto in central Poland, Browning was outraged.
He was struck by the presiding judge’s chilling dismissal of some 100 eyewitness testimonies by the ghetto’s survivors who attested to the defendant’s memorable savagery. The judge dryly noted, “As a matter of principle … eyewitness testimony was ‘the most unreliable form of evidence’ with which the judicial process had to deal.” Compounding the insult was the fact that virtually no other documentary or evidentiary material existed in this case.
In his latest book, Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave Labor Camp, Browning offers a corrective—one that represents a shift away from the field’s long-held eschewal of survivor testimony. “The history of the Holocaust,” Browning has concluded, “cannot be written solely as either perpetrator history or history from above.”...
SOURCE: Mitchell Republic (SD) (7-21-10)
In doing so, he became a part of it. Fite, 92, a history professor and acclaimed author, died July 13 in Fort Meyers, Fla.
“He’s kind of legendary in South Dakota history,” said Nancy Tystad Koupal, the director of the South Dakota State Historical Society Press. “He was very interested in the history of, and the preservation of the history of, South Dakota.”
Fite was perhaps best known for his 1948 book “Peter Norbeck: Prairie Statesman,” which was republished in 2003. It’s considered the definitive book on Norbeck, an enormously popular and accomplished South Dakota governor and senator....
SOURCE: NYT (7-17-10)
Enlarge This Image
Female guards, like these with the SS at Bergen-Belsen in 1945, constituted up to 10 percent of concentration camps’ personnel.
There were notorious camp guards like Ilse Koch and Irma Grese. And lesser known killers like Erna Petri, the wife of an SS officer and a mother who was convicted of shooting to death six Jewish children in Nazi-occupied Poland; or Johanna Altvater Zelle, a German secretary accused of child murder in the Volodymyr-Volynskyy ghetto in Nazi-occupied Ukraine.
The Nazi killing machine was undoubtedly a male-dominated affair. But according to new research, the participation of German women in the genocide, as perpetrators, accomplices or passive witnesses, was far greater than previously thought.
The researcher, Wendy Lower, an American historian now living in Munich, has drawn attention to the number of seemingly ordinary German women who willingly went out to the Nazi-occupied eastern territories as part of the war effort, to areas where genocide was openly occurring....
SOURCE: Oxford Press (OH) (7-15-10)
This weeklong seminar, “New Perspectives on American Wars, 1750-1865,” to be held on Miami’s campus, will encourage teachers to reconsider the significance of wars of the time and reframe their perspectives of these crises as they continue to influence American political culture to the present day.