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May 26, 2006 12:09 pm

More Noted Things

Revise and Dissent is off to a great start. Already it features"Introducing Revise and Dissent," Alun Salt's"(From an Archaeologist's Perspective) Is Vandalism of Ancient Sites a Bad Thing?" and Kevin Levin's"Whose Civil War Is It?" Congratulations, btw, to R&D's Jeremy Boggs, who's just passed his comprehensive oral exams!

Boston's WGBH has put its archive of public speeches and panel discussions on-line. Its primary recordings include speeches by Calvin Coolidge, FDR, JFK, speakers at the 1963 March on Washington, and many more. Its line-up of historians includes Jeremy Black, Taylor Branch, Alan Brinkley, Richard Bushman, Robert Caro, Philip Dray, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, James O. Horton, Jill Lepore, David McCullough, Edmund Morris, Gary Nash, Arthur Schlesinger, Bruce Schulman, Nina Silber, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and many more.

"Churchill Fallout": Anne D. Neal and Dennis Baron, Inside Higher Ed, 26 May. Neal defends ACTA's report from Tim Burke and John K. Wilson; Baron defends Churchill from threats to academic freedom. ACTA has only itself to blame for associating its report with Churchill's name, when its content has nothing to do with the charges against Churchill and its methods scarcely reached beyond David Horowitz's level of sophistication. On the other hand, both John Wilson and Dennis Baron summon us to the battlements in defense of the indefensible. UC's report on Ward Churchill is the academy's self-policing at its best.

Nathanael Robinson and Manan Ahmed discuss Manan's"The Polyglot Manifesto."

Larry Cohler-Esses,"‘Yellow' Journalism!!," Jewish Week, 25 May, looks at how the false story of Iranian legislation to require religious minorities to wear badges got started and found legs. On a related note, in"Jews and Muslims in the Middle East" at Brian's Study Breaks, Brian Ulrich surveys the historical experience of Jewish minorities in the Muslim Middle East to help us understand issues like"dhimmitude."

Finally, in case you've not seen it yet:"Heroic Computer Dies To Save World From Master's Thesis," The Onion, 17 May.

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Robert KC Johnson - 5/27/2006

The comments section in the Barron piece contains a couple of remarkable statements from a Willie Mink, who describes himself as a midlevel prof:

"The avoided elephant in the room here is the fact that clearminded thought, research, and work into the complexities of human experience leads one toward left-leaning views. That’s because left-leaning views acknowledge the context-bound complexity of social experience much more fully than do views from the right. The right offers simple interpretations and answers, while the left offers much more complex ones, again because it acknowledges more fully the complexity of human experience. Thus, since academic inquiry calls for indepth analysis and interpretation, academia contains a preponderance of left-leaning thinkers. In sum: a ratio of 1:1 right and left would constitute a degradation of academic inquiry."

"A hiring committee comprised of well-informed academics (especially in the humanities) is not going to resist hiring a blatant conservative because of who or what that person IS. They’ll resist because his or her ideas and work are simplistic, and they’ll be simplisitc in that they’ll be ungrounded in convincingly complex research and evidence. Whether the ideas are clearly “conservative” or not is a factor unlikely to even enter the picture."

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