Things Noted Here and There
Scott Jaschik,"Too Much Information?" Inside Higher Ed, 11 October, and Jacob Gershman,"Blogging Prof Fails to Heed His Own Advice," New York Sun, 11 October, discuss the reactions to the denial of tenure to Daniel Drezner at the University of Chicago and what, if anything, it had to do with his blogging. There is, however, good reason to believe that it had nothing to do with his blogging.
Brendon I. Koerner,"Blood Feud," Wired, n. d. When the slaves of Oklahoma's"Five Civilized Tribes" were emancipated, they became a part of their former owner's tribe – that is, until a stake in casino gambling profits became an issue.
Remember the discussion of Emma Dunham Kelley-Hawkins six months ago? She'd been acclaimed as an African American novelist by no less an eminence than"Skip" Gates, when a Brandeis student turned up substantial evidence that Kelley-Hawkins was white. Among others, Henry Farrell, Caleb McDaniel, and Scott McLemee discussed the issue. Still, there were difficult holes in the research trail. Now, a researcher known only as Neil seems to have filled some major ones by locating Kelley-Hawkins in the 1870 and 1880 census records. coffee grounds has the report of further evidence that Kelley-Hawkins was white.
Richard Byrne,"A New Postwar History of Europe Examines the Uneasy Embrace of East and West," CHE, 14 October, reviews Tony Judt's new book, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. It will raise eyebrows, says Byrne, both for its finding European theorists (Lacan, Derrida, Althusser, Kristeva) marginal to late 20th century European intellectual life and for its holding the United States role marginal to the reconciliation of eastern and western Europe.
At Primal Subversion South Africa's Sean du Toit and anduril.ca Canada's Ken Ristau go in search of the historical George W. Bush 17 centuries from now. Historical criticism of the sources yields hypotheses that: a)"he was a Charismatic comedian and social commentator, who clearly had a large media following and attracted lots of fans"; b)"in fact the office of 'president' never existed - it's pure legend. The United States were governed mainly by a monarchy"; and c)"there was, in fact, a President named George Bush. Yet, at the same time, ... George W. Bush is largely a fictitious character." Bernard Sauvant of the Free University of Central Kansas argues that
The sheer outlandishness and improbability that you would have two presidents with the same names, engage in parallel international conflicts with the same enemy (and this second one as a"preemptive" invasion), and be surrounded by many of the same characters strains credulity. It is, therefore, manifestly obvious that this second George Bush never existed. The tradition is, in fact, what we historians call a doublet.
Frank Rich,"The Faith-Based President Defrocked," New York Times, 9 October, is one of the most powerful indictments of GWB I've seen anywhere.
James Yee,"An American in Chains," Times Online, 9 October, is an excerpt from the new book by the Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo who was falsely accused of being a traitor. When the government found it could not prove that case against him, it smeared his reputation on different grounds. Thanks to Manan Ahmed for the tip.
Konrad M Lawson - 10/17/2005
Interesting, thanks for the link to the review. Tony Judt is presenting on the book later this week here so I'll have to make some notes on the pres.
Ralph E. Luker - 10/12/2005
In the first place, there is the assurance of Drezner's department chairperson that the blogging was not causative. In the second place, I've been in communication with some people who are close to the situation, but I am not free either to name or quote them. The danger is that there would develop a narrative of false causation. Just because Daniel Drezner is well known in some circles for his blogging does _not_ mean that it had anything to do with his being denied tenure. It is much more reasonable to believe that the decision had more to do with the department's internal politics and a sense of where it ought to make a long term financial investment. As I've said, I think the decision was a bad one, but I don't believe it had anything to do with Dan's blogging.
Leo Edward Casey - 10/12/2005
What a blogging tease! There is "good reason" to believe that this had nothing to dow tih his blogging, but not even a hint on what the good reason is? Is this a faith-based proposition?
James Stanley Kabala - 10/11/2005
The Ristau piece is funnier and more based the way scholarship of ancient history actually operates; the du Toit one hews too closely to the Jesus Seminar parallels.
Both pieces err in presenting Bush and the Republican and Democratic parties as something a thirty-eighth century person would care about. In the Canticle-for-Leibowitz world that the pieces present, in which civilization has been wiped out by war and the twenty-first century world is being reconstructed with great difficulty, this is highly unlikely. Indeed, it's highly unlikely even if (God willing) mankind makes it to the thirty-eighth century in one piece and records of earlier times are plentiful.
Anne Zook - 10/11/2005
I do hope it doesn't turn out that blogging had any impact on the two tenure decisions mentioned in the article.
Many of us non-academics are very happy to have the chance to hold conversations with 'experts' whose thoughts we would not otherwise be able to hear.
Jonathan Dresner - 10/11/2005
I think Jonathan Wilson is right when he calls the du Toit and Ristau pieces "historiographical satire": the parallels to Biblical and other proto-historical source analysis are pretty thick. It's cute, though.