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: The Independent Florida Alligator (9-30-11)
Do you know what Brown v. Board of Education is? Did you know that Miami once was the most segregated city in the United States?
Most grade-school students in the United States don't, according to a report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The report evaluated how extensively states' grade schools taught the civil rights movement.
Thirty-five states received F's. Alabama, Florida and New York were the only states to receive A's.
The state's grade doesn't mean Florida students know enough about the movement, said Jack Davis, a UF history professor.
Davis teaches the civil rights movement to both undergraduate and graduate students and said their knowledge about the movement mostly is limited to famous activists, such as Martin Luther King Jr., and famous sites, including Birmingham, Ala., and Selma, Ala....
SOURCE: Legal History Blog (9-28-11)
The Cornell Daily Sun discusses steps taken by Cornell's history department to reverse declining enrollment in its courses. According to the story, one step was to create a minor. Another was to offer "new 1000- and 2000-level courses intended to appeal specifically to freshman and sophomores." One of these was “History of Law: Great Trials,” which drew over 100 students in its first offering. In addition, Richard Polenberg agreed to revive his "American Constitutional Development" course.
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (9-28-11)
David W. Blight’s American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era, just published by Harvard University Press, is a very different sort of contribution to the Sesquicentennial fare so far.
It’s not a sweeping history of politics, culture, history, or race in the Civil War and its aftermath (as was Blight’s own Bancroft Prize-winning Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, also from HUP). Rather, it is a study of four American authors—Robert Penn Warren, Bruce Catton, Edmund Wilson, and James Baldwin—in the era of the Centennial of the Civil War, as celebration met the civil-rights movement.
Via e-mail, the Yale University professor answered questions on his venture across disciplinary boundaries.
Q: In many ways, the book seems a conversation between eras: the 1960s when the centennial of the Civil War was still fraught with conflict and today’s more celebratory, or cerebral, 150th anniversary. What does this perspective highlight?
A. I wrote this book, in great part, as a way of doing some good, serious history of the Civil War Centennial/Civil Rights eras and beginning to reflect on where we are now as a national culture in remembering and explaining the Civil War and Reconstruction. Looking back is almost always the best way of looking at ourselves.
The book is in many ways a conversation between the era of the Centennial and that of our own time. A great deal has changed in scholarship, schools, and public memory, and some things have not. So much of the planning, events, and publication of the official Civil War Centennial, at state and national levels, never managed to liberate itself—most whites never wanted to—from the hold that the Lost Cause tradition had on American culture. The ideas that the South had never really fought for slavery, but only for home, hearth and sovereignty, that the Confederacy was a bulwark trying to hold back the ravages of the industrial age, the last stand of an orderly racial system of contented natural laborers (black slaves) and benevolent landowners and managers (white slaveholders), still had a firm grip on the national imagination. That may be difficult for many to grasp today, but the evidence is overwhelming and I try to show that in the book....
SOURCE: Sports Radio Interviews (9-28-11)
The easiest way to introduce the subject of this post is to simply ask you to read his latest work, if you haven’t already. “The Shame of College Sports” was featured in the October 2011 edition of The Atlantic and can be read here.
Frank Deford has called it the most important article written about college sports, and Taylor Branch talks more about what he learned from digging into his story and the future of the NCAA below.
Taylor Branch joined WJOX in Birmingham with Paul Finebaum to discuss where the idea for his article came from, what he learned and what the reaction has been like, where things stand going forward, why a scholarship doesn’t really make sense in the argument that it is payment to a college athlete, what he would tell the NCAA president, how we can get to where he thinks things ought to be and how long he believes it will be before the NCAA falls apart.
Where did this whole story begin?:
“I went into my friends at The Atlantic last fall and said I was about to disappear into another American history book … but I don’t really like to disappear that long. … I wanted to do something to keep my pulse up and get it out quicker. They asked me for a bunch of ideas and I gave them to them. They said, ‘Do you have anything else?’ I said, ‘ I almost played college football and I’ve always been, as a fan, amused and puzzled by the NCAA scandals never seem to get anywhere. I’d like to look into the structure of NCAA sports.’ … I really didn’t know very much, but it was a continuing wonder to find out how we became the only nation on Earth that plays big-time sports in colleges.”...
SOURCE: Memphis Daily News (9-29-11)
Students of University of Mississippi history professor Jim Silver will gather on the Ole Miss campus Friday, Sept. 30, to honor the historian who left Mississippi in the turbulent 1960s after a prophetic warning about the growing level of violent resistance to racial integration in the state.
A new pond on the campus is being named in honor of Silver, who first came to Oxford 75 years ago this month.
“It was just kind of coincidence. The truth is there was no grand plan,” said professor John Bradley, chairman of the commemoration committee that also gathered the private funding for a plaque honoring Silver by the pond.
“We developed a small mailing list and solicited funds. We asked for 100 people to contribute $50 each and send to the University of Mississippi Foundation to use to put up that plaque,” Bradley said. “We wanted to get more people involved because we knew the support would be wide.”...
SOURCE: HuffPo (9-22-11)
WASHINGTON -- Although "Our Virginia: Past and Present," the controversial history textbook that claimed that "[t]housands of Southern blacks fought in the Confederate ranks, including two black battalions under the command of Stonewall Jackson," was revised after that claim was challenged and other inaccuracies were identified, the updated version, which has been approved by the commonwealth's Board of Education, still has errors.
As the Virginian-Pilot reports, one college professor who reviewed the revised edition this summer, George Mason University's Zachary Schrag, noticed "dubious quotations, misleading images and maps depicting inaccurate borders. His list of errors -- including a reference to the "United States Navel Academy" -- fills nearly four pages."...
SOURCE: AHA Today (9-26-11)
The AHA’s 126th Annual Meeting in Chicago this January 5-8, 2012, will feature nearly two dozen sessions on digital history. This series, titled The Future is Here, includes presentations, discussions, and demonstrations of how digital methods might assist historical research and the humanities in general.
The AHA hopes that its meetings will become a hub where scholars and digital technologists come to debate, present new work, and stay up-to-date in research and publishing technology.
See below, and here online, for a full list of these digital history sessions....
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (9-25-11)
Leslie Pressnell, who died on September 6 aged 88, was a leading monetary historian who kept the subject alive at a time when studying the role of money and banking in economic history had fallen from fashion.
His first book, Country Banking in the Industrial Revolution (1956), revealed how small rural businesses financed the Industrial Revolution and demonstrated how changes in the financial sphere preceded changes in the real economy. It would be almost another half a century before mainstream economists took this view seriously.
His academic career began at Exeter and ended at the University of Kent at Canterbury, where he was Professor of Economic and Social History. During the 1960s he established the London School of Economics’s Monetary History Group – whose influential seminars continue to this day.
In the late 1970s the Cabinet Office commissioned him to write the official history of Britain’s external economic policy after the Second World War. A first volume – The Post-War Financial Settlement, published in 1986 — is testimony to Pressnell’s attention to detail. A second volume dealing with the years up to 1961 was close to completion when he died....
SOURCE: NYT (9-27-11)
Distressed by most historians’ overwhelming preoccupation with the modern world, an unusual coalition of scholars is trying to stage an intellectual coup, urging their colleagues to look up from the relatively recent swirl of bloody conflicts, global financial exchanges and technological wonders and gaze further back, toward humanity’s origins.
The up-close and personal accounts that have won professional praise and rewards in recent years are worthy, said Daniel Lord Smail, a medieval historian at Harvard, but he says the “microhistory” trend has stunted the ambition to think big.
“In the last two or three decades, historians have found it hard to think across large time spans,” he contends; gone are the sweeping narratives of humanity’s advance. The antidote to this “shallow history,” he said, is “deep history,” stretching back 50,000, 500,000, even 2.6 million years to the earliest humans. Recent advances in archaeological analysis, gene mapping and evolutionary ecology have led to an astonishing expansion in our knowledge of the distant past, despite the lack of written records, the historian’s traditional sidearm....
SOURCE: Pipe Dream (9-27-11)
A Binghamton University associate professor of history intends, through his demographic research, to rewrite a central statistic in the canon of American history.
J. David Hacker, in a scholarly article to be published in December in the journal Civil War History, asserts that the total number of deaths during the Civil War may have been significantly higher than previously documented.
Historians have used the same data — since 1900 — that claimed a total of 618,222 Americans deaths. Hacker's research indicates that the actual death toll was between 650,000 and 850,000 Americans, with 750,000 as the central figure.
The data Hacker compiled came from public-use microdata samples citing United States censuses....
SOURCE: Ben Alpers at the U.S. Intellectual History Blog (9-25-11)
Ben Alpers teaches at the University of Oklahoma's Joe C. and Carole Kerr McClendon Honors College.
This weekend, I heard that Oscar Handlin had passed away last week at the age of 95. Handlin seems to be nearly universally celebrated online. In addition to admiring obituaries in the New York Times and the Boston Globe, bloggers from left to right are singing Handlin's praises.
And rightly so. Handlin virtually invented the field of immigration history in the 1950s. His history of American immigration, The Uprooted, won the 1952 Pulitzer Prize in history and helped solidify the mid-century notion that the U.S. was essentially a nation of immigrants.
Especially in the first half of his career, Handlin also distinguished himself as a public intellectual, writing numerous book reviews in general circulation publications, signing an ACLU-organized petition of scholars demanding that the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) cease operations, and, perhaps most significantly, playing an important role in the great immigration reforms of the mid-1960s.*
But my first impression of Oscar Handlin was very different. I first heard of Handlin when I arrived as a freshman at Harvard in 1982. And though he was known as a great historian (though I didn't really appreciate his achievement at the time), he had more recently made himself famous as a culture warrior (though we wouldn't have used that expression at the time).
In many ways, Handlin's political journey was typical of many Cold War liberals of his generation. Although Handlin was a civil libertarian and a supporter of opening the gates to new immigrants, he was also a staunch supporter of the Vietnam War. In December, 1967, as public opinion began to turn against the War, Handlin was one of fourteen scholars who co-wrote a report for the Freedom House Public Affairs Institute arguing that disaster would strike if the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam.**
And it was Handlin's continuing sense that the Vietnam War should have been won, and that the anti-war movement constituted a threat not only to freedom around the world but to the proper functioning of representative government at home, that led to his move to the right over the next two decades.
Handlin's political reputation at the time I arrived at college was based in part on his recent publication of The Distortion of America (Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1981), a book which repeated Handlin's arguments for the Vietnam War, accused recent American intellectuals of anti-Americanism and "neutralism," and enthusiastically repeated the charges that Alexandr Solzhenitsyn had leveled against this country in his 1978 Harvard Commencement speech. In many ways the book echoed the themes sounded by Handlin's near-contemporaries among the first generation of neoconservatives.
And yet Handlin wasn't really a neoconservative. While neoconservatives in the late 1970s and early 1980s spent as much time on domestic affairs--the unintended consequences of the welfare state, opposition to school busing, and the like--as they did on foreign relations, The Distortion of America is focused on foreign policy. And the book was strangely stuck in the past. Cobbled together from shorter pieces that Handlin had published earlier, Distortion's source material was overwhelmingly from the 1960s. And though Handlin was hardly alone in remaining focused on Vietnam in the early 1980s (the decade brought us Rambo, after all), the case for the disaster of American defeat in Vietnam was, if anything, less coherent in 1981 than it had been in 1967.
Although widely reviewed, Distortion was not widely admired. M.E. Bradford in The National Review gave it something resembling a positive review, agreeing with Handlin on his critique of the recent trahisons des clercs, but suggesting that Handlin, in retaining his Cold War liberal views, failed to grasp that liberalism itself had created the monster he wrote against: "The way not to have Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, and John Anderson [three politicians that Handlin singles out for criticism] is not to have Franklin Delano Roosevelt," wrote Bradford.***
Other reviewers were less kind. James Neuchterlein in the New York Times, noted that "this is one of those books whose cause is better than its argument." "Even for those inclined to accept the author's assumptions of national decline," wrote Norman Graebner in the Journal of American History, "there are other ways of interpreting the trends in recent years." "Polemical in tone, long on assertion, and short on new argument or convincing analysis," concluded Choice.****
Oscar Handlin would continue to be at least a fellow-traveler of academic conservatism over the course of the 1980s. In 1988, Handlin, alongside other former Sixties liberals like John Silber, would become a founding member of the conservative National Association of Scholars, one of the signature campus organizations of the culture wars.*****
And yet, unlike his student and Harvard colleague Stephan Thernstrom, Handlin never became a leading member of the new academic right. Indeed, I'm not even sure if he ever considered himself a conservative.
Perhaps Handlin was a few years too old to really make the neoconservative journey and say "I used to consider myself a liberal, but thanks to the anti-war movement, I'm outraged by AFDC!"******
And perhaps The Distortion of America just hit the shelves a few years too early to take advantage of the culture war publishing boom of the mid-to-late 1980s.*******
At the end of the day, it is fitting that the remembrances of Handlin have largely focused on the first half of his career while largely passing over its second half. Just as Charles Beard is better remembered as a founder of progressive historiography than as a Pearl Harbor truther, Handlin's proper place in the history of our discipline--and our country--is as an interpreter of the immigrant experience and its meaning for this nation.
Nevertheless, his journey into the nascent culture wars is a fascinating instance of what the experience of the Sixties did to many liberals of his generation.
* On the anti-HUAC petition, see "250 Teachers Hit House Comittee," New York Times, March 20, 1961.
** "14 Scholars Warn A Vietnam Means Bigger War," New York Times, December 20, 1967. Freedom House was an interventionist organization originally founded by Dorothy Thompson and others in 1941 as a counterweight to Hitler's propaganda operations. More on Freedom House can be found here.
*** M.E. Bradford, "The Nightmare of Oscar Handlin," The National Review, May 14, 1982.
**** All of these quotes can be found in Book Review Digest. Hey...it's a blog post!
SOURCE: H-Net (9-26-11)
Wendy Plotkin, the editor-in-chief of H-Urban, reports that James Grossman, Executive Director of the American Historical Association, was misquoted in the New York Times's obituary of Harvard historian Oscar Handlin.
The article read thusly:
"Dr. Handlin changed the way Americans view American history, said James Grossman, a historian and executive director of the American Historical Association. “He reoriented the whole picture of the American story,” he said, “from the view that America was built on the spirit of the Wild West, to the idea that we are a nation of immigrants.”
Mr. Grossman did not actually use the term "Wild West" when speaking to the Times. He used "frontier." Grossman said to Ms. Plotkin, "[I] was explaining to the reporter the dominance of Turner's frontier thesis in academic and popular thinking about American culture and democracy.
SOURCE: NOLA.com (9-24-11)
Gaspar J. "Buddy" Stall, a familiar face and voice of New Orleans history and lore, died Thursday at his home. He was 81.
Mr. Stall, a colorful personality, chronicled New Orleans life in 11 books, including "Buddy Stall's New Orleans" and "Buddy Stall's French Quarter Montage." For years, he hosted a series of short local history broadcasts on WLAE-TV, always wearing his signature crimson jacket and a bow tie.
Local publisher Arthur Hardy met Mr. Stall in the late 1960s while employed at WSMB-AM radio. While Hardy worked as a switchboard operator, Mr. Stall would provide local history pieces for a morning show.
"He had so many tales to tell about New Orleans history," Hardy said. "He ... might have taught more people about New Orleans history than any of the universities."...
SOURCE: NYT (9-24-11)
Oscar Handlin, a prolific, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian whose best-known book altered public perceptions about the role of immigration in the arc of American history, died on Tuesday at his home in Cambridge, Mass. He was 95. His death was confirmed by his wife, Lilian.
Dr. Handlin wrote many scholarly volumes on immigration, race and ethnic identity during his nearly half century as a history professor at Harvard. His work as a chronicler of the migrations of Puerto Ricans and African-Americans to the cities attracted a generation of historians and sociologists to urban studies during the 1950s, when the field was considered marginal.
But his best-known work, “The Uprooted: The Epic Story of the Great Migrations That Made the American People,” which won the 1952 Pulitzer for history, was aimed at an audience of general readers in making his case that immigration — more than the frontier experience, or any other episode in its past — was the continuing, defining event of American history. Dispensing with footnotes and writing in a lyrical style, Dr. Handlin emphasized the common threads in the experiences of the 30 million immigrants who poured into American cities between 1820 and the turn of the century. Regardless of nationality, religion, race or ethnicity, he wrote, the common experience was wrenching hardship, alienation and a gradual Americanization that changed America as much as it changed the newcomers....
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (9-14-11)
Forget everything you have learned on "CSI" and "Law & Order."
"A trial of 1886 was completely different," said Timothy Messer-Kruse, who will discuss the historic Haymarket trial during the Haymarket Commemoration Weekend at the Chicago History Museum on Sept. 24 and 25.
On May 4, 1886, in what came to be known as the Haymarket incident, eight policemen and at least four civilians were killed when a bomb was thrown during a workers meeting in Haymarket Square, near Desplaines and Randolph streets, during a rally. The bomber's identity and motivation have been debated ever since....
SOURCE: Newswise (9-21-11)
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 21, 2011) —Because the Russian Empire had 18 million men-in-arms, 5 million prisoners-of war and 2 million deaths during World War I, University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences history Professor and department Chair Karen Petrone just couldn't believe that no one remembered World War I in Russia.
"I spoke to colleagues in Russian history who told me that World War I memory was not a category in the Soviet Union, and that there was nothing about it in governmental archives," Petrone said. "Scholars believed that World War I memory did not exist."
While Petrone didn't necessarily set out to prove her fellow researchers wrong in 2002, she was inspired by the work of World War I scholars like Paul Fussell and decided to look into the question.
"France had 5,000 monuments dedicated to World War I," Petrone said. "While the Soviet government privileged commemorations of the Russian Revolution and the Civil War over World War I, it just didn't make sense that there was no memory at all. I set out to look for remembrance of World War I in Russia."...
SOURCE: Randall Stephens at the Historical Society (9-20-11)
Randall Stephens is Associate Professor of History at Eastern Nazarene College.
For the last year I've been kicking around an idea for a new series of video interviews. I thought it might be interesting to ask various historians why they decided to study history. In the short responses that I'll post you'll hear about what drew a scholar to the field and what engaged them on a personal level. I've always enjoyed reading autobiographical reflections of historians, and this is, in some way, a little extension of that genre.
The first installment features Jack N. Rakove, who reflects on his early fascination with history and his later pursuit of graduate study and career as a professor and author.
Rakove is William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies and Professor of Political Science and Law at Stanford University. He received his PhD from Harvard University in 1975. Rakove is the author of a variety of books on legal and political history and the American Revolution, including: The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretive History of the Continental Congress (Knopf, 1979); James Madison and the Creation of the American Republic (Scott Forsman, 1990); Declaring Rights: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford 1997); Founding America: Documents from the Revolution to the Bill of Rights (Barnes & Noble, 2006); and Revolutionaries: Inventing an American Nation (Houghton Mifflin, 2010). His Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution (Knopf, 1996) won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in History. Rakove is currently working on a book titled Beyond Belief, Beyond Conscience: The Radical Significance of the Free Exercise of Religion for Oxford University Press.
SOURCE: Kansas City Star (9-20-11)
When Daniel Yergin published "The Prize," an 873-page exhaustive historical narrative about oil, in 1991, it changed how policymakers and academics alike thought about energy. His new book "The Quest," published Tuesday, is likely to do the same.
"The Quest," equally meaty at 804 pages, is broader in theme. It's subtitled "Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World." As with his earlier work, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992, Yergin relies on stories and vignettes to bring to life the changes and challenges that are taking place in the energy sector and the global scramble for oil.
Yergin, who's now an energy consultant, begins where he left off, highlighting the events now reshaping global politics and oil politics. The introduction covers this year's devastating tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan and the Arab Spring, involving the collapse of strongmen across the Middle East and North Africa....
SOURCE: AP (9-20-11)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Three University of Michigan researchers are among the latest 22 recipients announced Tuesday of the no-strings-attached MacArthur Foundation "genius grants."
The list of winners of the $500,000 fellowships for 2011 by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation includes the Ann Arbor school's Tiya Miles, Melanie Sanford and Yukiko Yamashita.
"Their recognition by the MacArthur Foundation is powerful validation of their individual achievements, as well as the collective depth of the Michigan faculty," school President Mary Sue Coleman said in a statement.
Miles is director of the Department of Afroamerican & African Studies in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. Sanford is a College of LSA professor. And Yamashita is an assistant professor at the Life Sciences Institute and an assistant professor at Michigan's medical school....
SOURCE: Rutgers University News (9-20-11)
CAMDEN –, a professor of history at Rutgers University–Camden and a global expert on Machiavelli, is one of 22 Americans selected as 2011 MacArthur Fellows, according to an announcement issued by the MacArthur Foundation today.
Soll’s MacArthur Fellowship is the only one awarded to a Delaware Valley recipient in 2011. It is the first received on the Rutgers–Camden campus.
Sometimes known as the “genius grant,” the extraordinarily competitive MacArthur Fellowship celebrates individuals who show exemplary creativity in their work and the potential for still more in the future. The five-year, $500,000 grant also awarded on the basis of a clear record of significant achievement.
Recipients are nominated anonymously by leaders in their respective fields and never notified of their candidacy. Awardees must be citizens or residents of the United States and must not hold elective office or advance positions in government....
SOURCE: Lawrence Journal (9-16-11)
A Douglas County judge Friday sentenced a University of Chicago professor to serve two days in jail plus a month on house arrest for drunken driving in April in Lawrence with his 4-year-old daughter in the car.
“I accept full responsibility for the occurrence, and I am extremely sorry and regretful for all sorts of reasons,” said Cornell H. Fleischer,60, who also called it the “biggest mistake that I’ve ever made in my life.”
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (9-18-11)
Never usually one to do anything without great fanfare, Niall Ferguson, the bombastic television historian, has quietly married Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the former Dutch MP, who lives under a fatwa after writing the screenplay for Submission, a film critical of Islam.
Henry Kissinger, the former American secretary of state, who was the subject of a biography by Ferguson, 47, was among the guests at the wedding in Boston, Massachusetts. He provided Ferguson with access to his White House diaries and letters for what the historian calls a “warts-and-all biography”....
SOURCE: Sunday's Zaman (9-18-11)
Professor Yavuz Selim Karakışla is a history expert, someone who has researched subjects such as what the women you would come across some 100 years ago on the Galata Bridge would be wearing or what they would be talking about.
Actually, Karakışla's true area of expertise is the history of the military officers in Sultan Suleyman's (Kanuni) army as well as the cooks who prepared the food for these men. As it is, Karakışla believes that the course “history of the Ottoman Empire” ought to have its name changed to the “history of Ottoman society.”
Karakışla is a professor at Istanbul's Bosporus University, where he offers courses on such subjects as labor or women's history during the Ottoman era. Karakışla is actually one of Turkey's first professors on the subject and has done specialized research into the subject of women who worked during Ottoman times. He is also an unapologetic feminist. He searches for as much information as he can find about women amongst the dusty shelves holding history books. And sometimes, this work of his is akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. But he came across many photographs from the period following the 1870s that have helped him. He has also found a few silent films. In this way, he has been able catch a glimpse of ordinary women in those days performing regular everyday activities, such as walking or shopping. But since there are really no written documents explaining what these women were thinking, under what conditions they were living or what they were eating at the time, these details remain unclear. So this professor tries to reach conclusions on questions like these by focusing on small details left in some written documentation from the times. “Whenever we do find a needle in a haystack, it is very valuable for us. Everyone is quick to jump on it because they fill the gaps in our existing historical knowledge,” Karakışla says.
SOURCE: Independent (UK) (9-19-11)
Joyce Youings, Emeritus Professor of English Social History at the University of Exeter, was the eldest daughter of Harold and Ruby Youings. She was born in Barnstaple, Devon, on 11 September 1922 and attended Barnstaple Girls' Grammar School, where she excelled in the classroom and on the sports field, playing hockey for Devon County.
Youings resisted the opportunity to join the family concern, Youings Wholesale Tobacco. Rather, in 1941 she went to King's College, London (then evacuated to Bristol) to read mathematics. Within a week a chance conversation with a history student at a hockey match led her to change her course, an impulse she never regretted.
A First in 1944 set her en route to a PhD at University College. There, and at the Institute of Historical Research, lasting friendships were made with, inter alia, Rowena Carus Wilson, Joan Thirsk, David Quinn and Anne Cronne. Ambitious for university teaching, Youings took a safety-net Diploma in Education and taught a little. The doctorate completed, in 1951 – as a Tudor specialist – she joined the Department of History at the University College of the , happy to take on, too, the task of encouraging local-history studies across Devon. In 1965 the College became the University of Exeter....
SOURCE: UW Madison News (9-19-11)
William Courtenay, University of Wisconsin–Madison Hilldale Professor and Charles Homer Haskins Professor Emeritus of History, has been elected a corresponding fellow to the British Academy.
The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national academy for humanities and the social sciences, and corresponding fellows are scholars outside the U.K. who have gained international standing in their areas of research. As many as 15 scholars are elected corresponding fellows each year....
SOURCE: H-Net Environment (9-16-11)
We are pleased to announce that Christopher F. Jones is the winner of the 2011 Joel A. Tarr Envirotech Prize for his article, “A Landscape of Energy
Abundance: Anthracite Coal Canals and the Roots of American Fossil Fuel Dependence, 1820-1860,” *Environmental History* 15 (July 2010): 449-484. In his article, Jones uses the concept of an “energy landscape” as an effective new tool for visualizing the causes and consequences of society’s energy choices, as well as the contingencies that inform the process of energy change. Drawing upon but also extending the seminal work of William Cronon and James Scott, Jones demonstrates that entrepreneurs, boosters, and other modernists built a new transportation-based energy regime in advance of market demand. By transforming the built environment and aggressively encouraging consumers to adopt anthracite coal, Jones argues, this regime helped to foster the subsequent and ultimately unsustainable American shift to fossil fuel sources that has continued to this day. Prize committee members applauded Jones for his skillful fusing of a detailed empirical analysis of the American Mid-Atlantic region with the broader theoretical concept of “energy landscapes.” Jones also breaks new ground in incorporating the spatial issue of transportation networks into our understanding of energy systems. By offering a fresh approach to dealing with the complex interactions between cultural, economic, technological, and ecological factors, Jones makes an important contribution to the field of envirotechnical history and theory.
On the behalf of the prize committee: