Blogs > Cliopatria > Things Not Yet Noted

Sep 20, 2006 3:34 pm

Things Not Yet Noted

Karen Armstrong,"We Cannot Afford to Maintain These Ancient Prejudices Against Islam," Guardian, 18 September, traces the intertwining of western anti-semitism and anti-Muslim sentiment.

Camille Paglia,"In Our Hall of Mirrors, a Queen Looms Large," CHE, 22 September, wonders about the recent ubiquity of Marie Antoinette.

Cindy Crosby,"The Bird Man," Books and Culture, September/ October, reviews recent books about the life and work of John James Audubon.

William Grimes,"Recovering Lost Relatives from Holocaust Oblivion," NYT, 20 September, reviews Daniel Mendelsohn, The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million.

Dave Davisson points out that university presses have begun blogging. Here's a list of them:

Harvard University Press
MIT Press
Oxford University Press
University of Chicago Press
University of Nebraska Press
Yale University Press

More power to them. This may not, however, be the most effective way to engage the blogosphere, where institutional blogs don't do well and traffic gravitates to strong individual voices. I'm not interested in reading a publisher's latest press releases.

Finally, historians struck out in the MacArthur Foundation's ‘genius awards' this year for the first time in many years. The Foundation has an odd way of categorizing their winners, but 25 historians, 17 American historians, 11 historians of science, 8 historians of religion, 7 art historians, 5 classicists, including our contributing editor Thomas G. Palaima, and 3 biographers make up the largest group of winners in the Foundation's past. The Leiter Report has complained that philosophers have been grossly under-represented in the past. Complaint did them no good. The philosophers also struck out, again this year.*
*NB: In an e-mail, Jacob Levy correctly points out that the MacArthur Foundation included no one in academic humanities and social sciences this year, perhaps for the first time ever.

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David Lion Salmanson - 9/21/2006

No matter how you translate this, the Pope is commenting on the tone of the quote not the substance. Thus, I think Armstrong is understated in saying "without comment." Plus, she is trying to write and respond quickly. You cannot hold her public intellectual writing to the same standard as her academic books.

Ben W. Brumfield - 9/20/2006

Furthermore, even if you give Armstrong the benefit of the doubt for having seen a weak translation, analysis based on faulty data is not terribly useful.

Ben W. Brumfield - 9/20/2006

There has been a history of translations, but the weakest I've seen (the Christian Science Monitor's "somewhat brusquely") still does not qualify as "without qualification".

I won't defend the pope's choice of Paleologus -- perhaps it's some coded message about Ahmedinejad, perhaps it really just happened to be the book he'd finished reading -- but would have a problem insisting that Benedict consider Paleologus's statement as he phrased it in the original "beyond the pale of acceptable opinion". Deeply counterproductive, undiplomatic, or flat-out stupid I'd buy, on the other hand.

David Lion Salmanson - 9/20/2006

I don't see how the Pope's noting the brusqueness of the comments changes what appears to be the Pope's tacit approval of the comments. To me the Pope's caveat's - no matter how they are translated - seem to say: don't be turned off by the tone - this guy is speaking the truth. On the rest of the Armstrong piece, much of it lines up with knowledge I already had re: Jews being targeted during the Crusades etc.

Ralph E. Luker - 9/20/2006

I dunno, Ben. The link you cite indicates that there's a history of English translations of the Pope's speech at Regensburg; and you have to give Armstrong the benefit of doubt on the time at which she read the text. Even so, if I refer to a judge's sentence of a person in her court as "harsh," it certainly doesn't mean that I reject its legitimacy. Benedict, after all, had a wealth of texts that he might have cited up front in his address and he chose to quote from a text that yields, even from him, the comment that it is "surprisingly harsh -- to us". That doesn't suggest that it is, to him, beyond the pale of acceptable opinion.

Ben W. Brumfield - 9/20/2006

The Armstrong article is disappointing, in that she characterizes astoundingly harsh — to us surprisingly harsh as "without qualification and with apparent approval." One wonders how much credence to give the rest of her factual assertions.

Jonathan Dresner - 9/20/2006

...waiting to be recognized. When the first blogger gets a grant, call me.

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