Blogs > Cliopatria > A Conclave and a Revelation

Dec 7, 2005 3:59 pm

A Conclave and a Revelation

Philadelphia's American Historical Association convention on 5-8 January 2006 will host the world's largest conclave of History Bloggers. [ed.: How much competition is there for that honor?] Specifically, we'll gather on Saturday 7 January at 9:30 a.m. for a panel discussion about history blogging. The panel includes Rick Shenkman of POTUS, Manan Ahmed of Chapati Mystery, David Beito of Liberty & Power, Juan Cole of Informed Comment, Sharon Howard of Early Modern Notes, and myself. The winners of The Cliopatria Awards for 2005 will be announced at the session. I hope all history bloggers will have an opportunity to identify themselves there, so we can meet those we've known only virtually. Anonymous or pseudonymous bloggers, of course, need not do so.

Our colleague, Alan Allport, staffs the AHA's Local Arrangements Committee for the Philadelphia convention, assuring me that Cliopatricians move in the highest ranks of the profession. His article,"Philadelphia for the Poor and Thirsty," Perspectives, 43 (December 2005), 42, suggests that the ranks may not be too exalted, he understands our condition very well, and he knows what the priorities are. We'll expect to adjourn from the session on Saturday to the Cliopatricians' Third Annual Banquet. [ more ... ]

I feel obliged to say something about the odd case of Professor William Bradford at the Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis. Several of us here at Cliopatria, myself included, were inclined to take up his cause when it first became known in June. In many ways, he seemed like a strong candidate for tenure. He had excellent teaching evaluations and more publications than a number of his senior colleagues. After the still-unresolved Ward Churchill fiasco at the University of Colorado, the cause of a real native American with degrees from very strong institutions seemed like a worthy one, and his argument -- that he was being discriminated against because he is a conservative -- seemed plausible.

And all of those things may yet be true. But his story began to come apart when he, like John Lott [ed.: Why is he still at the American Enterprise Institute?], was forced to admit the use of sock puppets in internet exchanges. He has resigned from the Law School faculty after it became known that his claims for his military service were false. He saw no more active duty than George Bush did. He did not earn a Silver Star; and he did not retire as a Major. His story begins to sound like an odd blend of John Lott's and Mt. Holyoke's Joe Ellis. Once questions were raised, it was all too easy to show that both Joe Ellis and William Bradford doing their academic thing when they claimed to have been on the battlefield. That a major part of his self-representation was false helps, I think, to explain some of the frenzy about Bradford's campaign for tenure. Behind it lay the fear of exposure.

Some of the claims that Bradford made for himself were false, but some of his charges may yet be true. There is no evidence that those who opposed his being tenured had any intuition that his claims about military service were false. Still, I'm a little unnerved by how easily I might have been used as a spokesman for his cause. Smart conservative legal scholars, like Eugene Volokh, were not. But I challenge "Professor X" of David Horowitz's Front Page Rag, who took up Bradford's cause with such zeal, to give us a final article about the discrimination against this" conservative" legal scholar – one that acknowledges that his hero was, in part, a fraud. Given the recent revelations, however,"Professor X" may have been William Bradford. Yet another lie brought to you by David Horowitz.

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Sherman Jay Dorn - 12/11/2005

Like Greg, I've discovered that many of my grad-school haunts have disappeared. But some remain, such as Harmony Vegetarian Restaurant (135 N 9TH St), where you can get one of the few vegetarian hot and sour soups.

Jonathan Dresner - 12/8/2005

Some grist for your mills, in Philadelphia: Nature Magazine's survey of blogs in science has some interesting thoughts, particularly regarding the exchange of ideas a creation of virtual labs.

Greg James Robinson - 12/8/2005

Decidedly, Philadelphia eating has changed since I was a student at Penn. In those days, I discovered Ethiopian and Indian food via cheap restaurants in West Philly. When I went downtown I invariably ate Vietnamese food at one of the hole-in-the-wall restaurants on North 11th Street. When I last passed through the city two years ago, many of these restaurants had closed. In contrast, Vietnam Restaurant, my favorite Vietnamese, had grown and become more fancy and pricy. I nevertheless still recommend it to my CLIOPATRIA colleagues and any others (it is at 221 North 11th Street).

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