Cliopatria: A Group Blog
Aaron Bady (∞); Chris Bray (∞); Brett Holman (∞); Jonathan Jarrett (∞); Robert KC Johnson (∞); Rachel Leow (∞); Ralph E. Luker (∞); Scott McLemee (∞); Claire B. Potter (∞); Jonathan T. Reynolds (∞)
Suitable posts might be focused on a historical topic, reflections on the particular challenges and rewards of studying, researching and teaching history, reviews of history books or web resources, discussions of 'popular' histories, etc.
You should include in your email: the title and permalink URL of the blog post you wish to nominate and the author's name (or pseudonym) and the title of the blog. It's also a good idea to put"History Carnival" somewhere in the title of the email. You can submit multiple suggestions, both your own writing and that of others, but please try not to submit more than one post by any individual author for each Carnival (with the exception of multi-part posts on the same topic).
If you have any further questions about the criteria for inclusion, check out the Carnival homepage.
Here's a list of over two dozen tenured associate and full professors of history who are blogging. If you know others, please mention them in comments.**
Jonathan Bean, Southern Illinois University, Liberty & Power
David Beito, University of Alabama, Liberty & Power
Timothy Burke, Swarthmore, Easily Distracted
Juan Cole, University of Michigan, Informed Comment
Stephen Davies, Manchester Metropolitan University, Liberty & Power Sherman Dorn, University of South Florida, Sherman Dorn
Mark Grimsley, Ohio State, Blog Them Out of the Stone Age
Alonzo Hamby, Ohio University, POTUS
Joan Hoff, Montana State University, POTUS
KC Johnson, Brooklyn College, Cliopatria
Jeffrey Kimball, Miami University, POTUS
Stanley Kutler*, University of Wisconsin, POTUS
Mark LeVine, University of California, Irvine, Mark A. LeVine
Allan Lichtman, American University, POTUS
Dale B. Light*, Pennsylvania State University, Light Seeking Light
Deborah E. Lipstadt, Emory University, History on Trial
William Marina, Florida Atlantic University, Liberty & Power
Timothy Naftali, University of Virginia, POTUS
James Oakes, CUNY, The Graduate Center, Left2Right
Paula Petrik, George Mason University, History Talk
Thomas C. Reeves*, University of Wisconsin, Parkside, Thomas C. Reeves
Greg Robinson, University of Quebec, Montreal, Cliopatria
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.*, NYU, Huffington Post
Hugo Schwyzer, Pasadena Community College, Hugo Schwyzer
Melvin Small, Wayne State University, POTUS
Gil Troy, McGill University, POTUS
Ted Widmer, Washington College, POTUS
Jon Wiener, University of California, Irvine, Jon Wiener
Lawrence S. Wittner, SUNY, Albany, POTUS
Julian E. Zelizer, Boston University, POTUS
**At least one of my colleagues at Cliopatria may have been recently tenured and promoted to associate professor. I don't mean to ignore you. Just let me know and I'll add your name to the list.
In addition to these, there are history bloggers who may be tenured as associate or full professors, but who choose to blog pseudonymously.
Regardless, however, of whether you favor an activist or a passive role for trustees, no doubt exists that they have one clear role: serving as the fiduciary guardians for the public.
This role would seem to compel aggressive action by the Indiana University trustees in the Bradford case—since, apart from heaps of negative publicity, the Law School’s handling of the matter is exposing the university to potential financial liability. Stripped to its basics, the case involves a white executive vice chancellor, William Plater, and two senior white faculty, Florence Roisman and Mary Mitchell, leading a campaign to oust an untenured faculty member who belongs to an EEOC protected class (Bradford is Native American, and also a veteran).
At the same time, this trio supported the promotion and early tenure of a white candidate, Robin Craig, whose credentials resemble Bradford’s. This action would make it difficult for the university to contend that Bradford’s scholarship was insufficient for reappointment, despite the votes of Roisman and Mitchell; and his teaching commendations speak for themselves. Roisman, meanwhile, publicly informed Bradford, “My conviction that you are not deserving of or likely to earn tenure here is not based on any political views you may hold, and I have made that clear in every statement I have made on the subject. I made that clear in the discussions in the Promotion and Tenure Committee.”
If I were an Indiana trustee, Roisman’s heated public statement would cause me grave concern. First, by publicly revealing her vote and discussing her arguments before the college’s Promotion and Tenure Committee, she undeniably pierced confidentiality. In light of Roisman’s actions, I can’t see how, if this case winds up in court, the university could have any credible claim to the confidentiality of any element of its process. The genie, to be blunt, can't be put back in the bottle.
Second, Roisman’s vehement denial of ideology as a factor in her vote increases the likelihood of a negative judgment by the EEOC against the university should Bradford file a racial discrimination claim. If his scholarship and teaching were acceptable; and the law school, as I noted yesterday, doesn’t use collegiality as a criterion; and Roisman says that ideology played no role in her negative vote; and she supported the tenure and promotion of a similarly credentialed white candidate, it’s not hard to see the EEOC making a finding of racial discrimination.
I’ve yet to see any public statements, one way or the other, from any of the Trustees. But it would seem to me a violation of their fiduciary duties for them to sit idly by while the actions of Law School administrators and senior faculty expose the University to a potentially significant financial judgment.
"You'd better be prepared for the jump into hyperspace. It's unpleasantly like being drunk."
"What's so unpleasant about being drunk?"
"You ask a glass of water."
-- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
So, the National Enquirer is reporting that the President is drinking (no, I'm not linking to it; it's bad enough that I have to talk about it). My first reaction, honestly, was John McCutcheon's:
Though the National Enquirer says that it's so
For their lies and distortions they're paying good dough
But there are some things enquiring minds don't need to know
I don't care
But, of course, it seems important, being the President and all, so I had to give it some thought.
On further reflection, I've discovered that not only don't I care, but that it doesn't matter. There's an old Jewish joke (with apologies to Chris Bray, inter alia):
War was on the horizon. Two students in the Yeshiva were discussing the situation.
"I hope I'm not called," said one."I'm not the type for war. I have the courage of the spirit, but nevertheless I shrink from it."
"But what is there to be frightened about?" asked the other."Let's analyze it. After all, there are two possibilities: either war will break out, or it won't. If it doesn't, there's no cause for alarm. If it does, there are two possibilities: either they take you or they don't take you. If they don't, alarm is needless. And even if they do, there are two possibilities: either you're given combat duty, or non-combatant duty. If non-combatant, what is there to be worried about? And if combat duty, there are two possibilities: you'll be wounded, or you won't be wounded. Now, if you're not wounded, you can forget your fears. But even if you're wounded, there are two possibilities: either you're wounded gravely, or you're wounded slightly. If you're wounded slightly, your fear is nonsensical, and if you're wounded gravely, there are still two possibilities: either you succumb, and die, or you don't succumb, and live. If you don't die, things are fine, and there is no cause for alarm; and even if you do die, there are two possibilities; either you will be buried in a Jewish cemetery, or you won't be. Now, if you are buried in a Jewish cemetery, what is there to worry about, and even if you're not . . . but why be afraid? There may not be any war at all!"
-- Nathan Ausubel, A Treasury of Jewish Folklore (abridged by Alan Mintz) p. 63.
It's entirely possible that the story is wrong, either through error or deliberate falsehood. I'm sure the Enquirer was sufficiently careful not to be liable for libel, but that doesn't mean that their sources are unimpeachable (sorry). There's several ways the story could be wrong, including the possibility that he's had other episodes of alcoholism in the last five years. More to the point, even if the story is true, it's not at all clear to me that it matters in the slightest.
First, political perception. Either you think George Bush is a good president, or you don't. If you think he's a good president, it's pretty likely that you're going to be sympathetic to his plight (if you believe it) and trust enough in his aides, advisors, family and Christian faith to pull him and the country through. If you thought he was a good president until Katrina, then this story is tailor made for you, because it describes the hurricane's aftermath -- and American losses in Iraq -- as the proximate cause of his putative return to drink. If you don't think he's a good president or nice person, this isn't likely to decrease your opinion of the administration or man.
Second, policy and governance. Again, if you think the Bush presidency has largely been a failure (or worse, successfully wrongheaded), then logically you can't argue that his drinking is a bad thing: this administration wasn't going to make things better, anyway.
If you think that the President is largely an"idea man" who relies heavily on his staff for details and follow-through (and no matter whether you think this is a good or bad model for the presidency), then alcohol is not going to change the way things are done in the West Wing.
Now, if you think that the administration has been on the right track, and that the President has played a significant and detailed role in that, you have something of a problem. It might be that occasional or even regular drunkenness would not interfere in the performance of his duties (I'm not going to be the first to cite Lincoln's line about Grant, am I?). It certainly wouldn't be the first time that a drinker occupied the White House (I'll toss that question over to our presidentialist neighbors) or someone preoccupied with something other than the presidency. The Republic has survived and if we all do our duties as citizens, it will survive this as well.
So that's it. Unless there is a significant question of policy which hinges on the sobriety of the President, it's not something that deserves any more attention.
The Bradford case, in its most basic form, really isn’t about tenure. At its heart is an academic mystery: this past spring, why did 5 of the 15 members of the IU Law’s personnel committee have voted against Bradford’s reappointment—in effect demanding his immediate dismissal? Bradford’s record of scholarly publication is extraordinarily good. His teaching has been prize-winning. And, as Slater reaffirmed, IU-Indianapolis Law doesn’t use collegiality as a criterion. So, what criteria did the Bradford Five employ? Several months into the controversy, the university still hasn’t offered anything approaching a plausible explanation.
The identities of two members of the anti-Bradford coalition are publicly known. Bradford has contended that his relations with Professor Florence Roisman deteriorated when he refused to sign a statement prepared by Roisman defending Ward Churchill, and has claimed that Roisman retaliated by opposing his reappointment. Roisman has termed the allegation"deeply offensive and outrageous," since she is “devoted to the principle of academic freedom." Indeed, she publicly informed Bradford, “My conviction that you are not deserving of or likely to earn tenure here is not based on any political views you may hold, and I have made that clear in every statement I have made on the subject.” As she has refused to discuss her reasons for opposing Bradford, however, these denials ring hollow. Nor can Roisman hide behind the wall of confidentiality of the personnel process, since she has publicly admitted that she voted against Bradford's reappontment. (This admission alone would seem to me to violate the university's personnel policies.) Apparently Roisman wants to invoke confidentiality only when she lacks an explanation that will be publicly defensible.
Moreover, it has recently come to light that Roisman supported the tenure bid of a candidate who differed with Bradford not in scholarly credentials but in gender and ideology. Could it be, then, that Roisman’s definition of “the principle of academic freedom” is flexible enough to allow her to base votes on gender or ideology rather than a candidate’s credentials? To quote from one of her students (who described her as a fine teacher), “Prof. Roisman is not always a model for diversity. It is true that adhering to a principled position is acceptable and encouraged. But Roisman arguably takes it to another level by advocating her extreme positions at the expense of dissent.”
Ideology seems to be a secondary explanation for the vote of Professor Mary Harter Mitchell, whose credentials recall the adage that second-class departments make third-class hires. Indeed, departments risk future personnel difficulties when they bring on board even one mediocre member, lest the mediocre work feverishly to ensure that their colleagues are even weaker than they are. Since Mitchell ceased functioning as an active scholar two decades ago, it’s not hard to see why she viewed Bradford as a threat. Even before she stopped publishing, her production was so meager as to raise questions about the criteria the law school used to hire her in the first place. Amazingly, however, even though her last legal article came in 1987 and she has produced only one book (under 200 pages, published by a press called ”The Foundation”), Mitchell was recently awarded an endowed chair financed by Finish Line founder Alan H. Cohen.
The university’s response to the matter has intensified the crisis. For much of the summer, IU Law officials relied on procedural arguments, essentially hoping to obscure the issue. They alleged first that Bradford wasn’t eligible for tenure, then that he had failed to apply for tenure, and finally that he had improperly applied for tenure. The university chancellor recently conceded, however, that each of these procedural elements was wrong: that Bradford was eligible to apply for tenure and that he had properly filed his application.
Currently, the University has moved in a different direction. Roisman and Mitchell have filed an “ethics” allegation against Bradford, and the University’s vice chancellor has convened a special committee to investigate. Bradford, quite properly, has refused to cooperate with what is little more than a kangaroo court.
I've heard that both Fox News and the Chronicle are going to be covering this case, so I doubt we've heard the last of it.
I was very sorry to read this article in the morning's LA Times: Turkish Court Cancels Meeting to Discuss Armenian Massacre.
A court Thursday ordered the cancellation of a conference where Turkish academics were expected to challenge the official version of the events surrounding the mass deaths among this nation's Armenians during and after World War I.
For almost a century, the Turkish government has denied that more than a million Armenians were victims of a systematic genocide between 1915-1922. But the wall of denial has shown recent signs of cracking. Famed Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk is quoted by the Times as recently saying "1 million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in these lands but no one but me dares say so." For his candor, Pamuk was arrested and charged with "insulting Turkey's national dignity."
Turkish ultra-nationalists are unwilling to allow discussion of the Armenian Genocide, even when silencing that discussion seems very likely to threaten Turkey's case for admission to the European Union. It's a bit difficult, after all, to imagine admitting a country that jails authors for "insulting national dignity" into the same union that includes the great liberal and tolerant democracies of Western Europe. But even though a growing number of Turks seem eager to confront the past and openly discuss what was done to more than a million of their neighbors, powerful elements in the country are willing to jeopardize EU membership in order to maintain the fiction of national innocence.
I have a particular concern for this issue because I teach at Pasadena City College, where perhaps 20% of the student body is of Armenian descent. The larger Glendale-Pasadena area of Los Angeles has the largest concentration of Armenians in the Western Hemisphere, and they play a vital role in local politics and public life. Years ago, when I first began teaching my Modern Europe courses at PCC, I never mentioned the Armenian Genocide during my lectures on the First World War. One after another, semester after semester, Armenian-American students asked me to begin to cover it. At first I resisted, with the excuse that the tragedy didn't technically take place in Europe. But I began to read more and more material in response to their requests, and became convinced that for both moral and historical reasons, the narrative of what happened in 1915 had to be included.
True confession: what really pushed me "over the top" was something less laudatory: in early 1997, I briefly dated a young Armenian-American woman who asked if I ever taught the subject of the genocide in my classes. When I said "no", she lectured me over sushi for half an hour. Her charm and her passion helped push me along considerably! (This was before the moment, mind you, when she told me that our "relationship" wouldn't go anywhere because she could only be "serious" about an Armenian fellow.)
In the years since I began regularly including a segment on the Armenian Genocide (just as I include a segment on the Holocaust), I've had dozens of students come up to me and thank me, often with tears in their eyes, for giving legitimacy to a story they've heard over and over again from their parents and grandparents. I hear the same refrain each time: "We've never heard this from someone who wasn't Armenian. Thank you for noticing, thank you for recognizing that this is important enough to teach." I'll admit that the gratitude of these students is a considerable encouragement to continue to lecture on the subject, and it has spurred me to expand the amount of time I devote to it.
My father, a Viennese-born war refugee, has received several thousand dollars in compensation over the years from the Austrian government. Austria and Germany have each accepted responsibility for the destruction of so many millions of Jews. Compensation, however inadequate, has been paid; the truth has been acknowledged; profound remorse has been expressed. I know how important this is. That sense of remorse on the part of the government is one of the things that allows my family to have such generally warm feelings about Austria and Austrians, despite what happened in the 1930s and 40s. But my Armenian friends have received nothing from Turkey. No compensation, no remorse, no acknowledgment that what was done to their ancestors was real and inexcusable. I had hoped, especially after Pamuk's brave declaration, that Turkey might be ready to face the truth. I had hoped that if nothing else, the carrot of European integration might be sufficient cause to rethink the policy of denial that has characterized the Turkish response for generations. Yesterday's court decision suggests that I -- and others -- have been too optimistic.
Michael Vorenberg,"A Debt Unpaid," Washington Post, 18 September, reviews Mary Francis Berry's new book, My Face is Black is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations, which fleshes out the history of the call for slave reparations in the United States.
Between 1967 and 2003, Cardinal Archbishops John Krol and Anthony Bevilacqua protected at least 63 priests who sexually abused hundreds of children in the archdiocese of Philadelphia. Here is the Grand Jury Report on the Sexual Abuse of Minors by Clergy, which has just been released. Thanks to Mr. Sun! for the tip. [ ... ]
Manohla Dargis,"Once Disaster Hits, It Seems Never To End," New York Times, 23 September, reviews David Cronenberg's new film"A History of Violence."
David Herman at the UK's Prospect invites you to vote for five from this list of the leading public intellectuals in the world. Jared Diamond, Niall Ferguson, Timothy Garton Ash, Eric Hobsbawm, Paul Kennedy, Enrique Krauze, and Bernard Lewis are the historians on the list of nominees, but none of them made my list of five. In"Any Sufficiently Advanced Punditry is Indistinguishable from Bullocks," Daniel Davies at Crooked Timber mocks the exercise.
Ken Heineman, whose book, God is a Conservative: Religion, Politics, and Morality in Contemporary America (New York University Press), appears in a new paperback edition this fall;
KC Johnson, whose book, Congress and the Cold War (Cambridge University Press), will be published this fall; and
Jonathan Reynolds, whose book with Erik Gilbert, Trading Tastes: Commodity and Cultural Exchange To 1750 (Prentice Hall) has just been published.
Historians Proliferate! Congratulations to:
Russell Arben and Melissa Fox. Russell recently moved to Western Illinois University and Mrs. Fox is on schedule to give birth to a fourth little Fox in about six months. He'll keep us posted on all that at In Medias Res.
Richard and Leanne Bailey who are expecting a little Bailey in about six months. Richard is teaching at Indiana University, Southeast, while he finishes his dissertation at the University of Kentucky. He keeps us posted about that at Etcetera Whatever, but if you want to keep up on the little one, try Baby Bailey's Blog: A Nine Month Odyssey.
Sex: Louis Menand,"Stand By Your Man: The Strange Liaison of Sartre and Beauvoir," New Yorker, 19 September, examines the complicated sexual lives of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. This is fairly sordid stuff, exploitation parading itself as liberation. There's no question but that Sartre and Beauvoir exploited many other people. The question, says Menand, is whether Sartre exploited Beauvoir or the reverse. In any case, their exploitations became the essence of their own relationship. Scott McLemee's"Things Done in Secret," Inside Higher Ed, 22 September, reviews a new book about Harvard's star chamber proceedings against gay students in the 1920s.
What's in a Name? Stonewall Jackson & the Death of God: Almost forty years ago, Thomas Jonathan Jackson Altizer's"death of God" theology was headline news around the country. He didn't intend it that way, but briefly, in a moment that seemed near apocalyptic for lots of other reasons, as well, the"death of God" stood as shorthand for the death of many things: illusions about domestic reform and international ventures, hope for newly established third world countries, belief in the essential innocense of American influence in the world. All of those memories came flooding back when I read Brad Johnson's"A Theological Memoir" at The Weblog. The Weblog also scored a post by Altizer, himself.
But Johnson's post took me to T. J. J. Altizer's"Living the Death of God: A Theological Memoir." As often as I'd seen his name, it had never occurred to me that Altizer was named for Stonewall Jackson. The Southern family, an alcoholic father, a domineering mother, a seminary diagnosis of mental illness – it rang lots of bells. But he's named for Stonewall Jackson. I've often wondered about people and their namesakes. Would we still think about Martin Luther King in quite the same way if he had retained his original name, Michael King? Or does being Martin Luther King lend the presumption of"here I stand" in our heads? Or, take another example: Huey P. Newton. It never occurred to me that Newton was a namesake until I learned that he was born in Louisiana and, after making the connection with Huey P. Long, I've never thought about Newton in quite the same way: another Southern demagogue, but now dressed in black and translated to the West Coast. It's an odd permutation.
I suspect that Altizer wouldn't put much stock in being a namesake. For most of his career, he used only the initials and undiscerning people like me saw nothing in them. I really need Mark Grimsley's help here, but I've read enough memoirs of the period to know that, for many Southerners, the death of Stonewall Jackson was the death of Confederate hope. And the tragic realization was that his own men had killed him."God is dead," said Nietzsche."God remains dead. And we have killed him."
The CUNY B.A. program is one of the shining lights of the university. The program allows talented students, in consultation with a faculty mentor, to design their own majors and then take approporiate courses from any of the 19 CUNY campuses. The last two CUNY B.A. students I have advised are both now getting their History Ph.D.'s--one at Cornell, the other at UCLA.
A CUNY B.A. administrator recently sent around an e-mail alerting students to an essay competition sponsored by Vanity Fair, which has a top prize of $15,000. Given the quality of CUNY B.A. students, it seemed that one might be competitive for the prize.
Here was the announcement from the administrator.
In 1,500 words or fewer, explain what is on the minds of America's youth.
What's on the minds of America's youth today? More than 30 years ago, young people across the country staged sit-ins for civil rights, got up and protested against a misguided, undeclared war, and actually gave a damn if a president lied to them. Although a lot has changed since then, there are still racial divides, and America is once again mired in a largely controversial war. Back in the 1960s and 70s, a similar climate motivated great numbers of young people to act, organize, and take to the streets in defiance. Today it seems as if younger Americans are content to watch their MTV, fiddle with their game players, follow the love lives of Brad, Jen, Jessica, and Paris, and assume the hard work is being done for them by others. What has changed? Is it simply that we do not have motivating factors such as a draft or Kent State to bring us together, to anger us? What is going on inside the minds of American youth today? In 1,500 words or fewer, explain what is on the minds of America's youth.
I was surprised that Vanity Fair (of all magazines) would sponsor an essay contest that was so openly ideological. So I checked the magazine's website.
Here's the Vanity Fairannouncement:
Essays must address the following topic: What is on the minds of America's youth today? Essays must not exceed 1,500 words of text (not including title, notes, bibliography, and other written materials). Essays must be in English. Essays must have a title. Essays must be double-spaced, in 12-point type, and should follow standard essay format.
No glorifcation of 1960s protests. No bald assertion that"today it seems as if younger Americans are content to watch their MTV, fiddle with their game players, follow the love lives of Brad, Jen, Jessica, and Paris, and assume the hard work is being done for them by others." No statement as fact that"there are still racial divides" comparable to those of the 1960s. No comparison of Iraq to Vietnam.
These ideas, of course, are all basic tenets of the"groupthink" Bauerlein described. And, in this instance, there's no reason to believe that the administrator's intentions were anything but honorable--she undoubtedly couldn't imagine that anyone would find these assertions at all controversial, and expected that laying them out would help the students focus their essays. Instead, of course, the administrator dramatically restricted the paths that any CUNY B.A. student could take to answering the open-ended question from Vanity Fair, and ensured that the student would come up with an unimaginative essay that reflected the basic outline from the administrator's e-mail.
Groupthink in action.
The"masterpiece" at issue is: Beito, Johnson, and Luker,"Consulting All Sides on ‘Speech Codes'," OAH Newsletter, 33 (May 2005): 11. The article appealed to our fellow historians to recognize that there are threats to freedom of speech and inquiry that come from both the right and the left and argued for an alliance across the ideological spectrum against all of those threats. It began and concluded with the threat to Ward Churchill's freedom of speech at the University of Colorado. In between, it cited three instances of threats to freedom of speech by the left against academic conservatives. [ ... ]
According to Ingersoll,"bad history" occurs when the historian challenges threats to conservative speech. Nowhere does Ingersoll challenge Beito, Johnson, and Luker on the facts of the three cases nor does he mention our defense of Ward Churchill's free speech rights. We have published"bad history," says Ingersoll, because we have construed politically correct speech codes as a threat to the free speech rights of conservatives. Speech on campus must be less free than it is"on the street corner," he argues, because offensive speech cannot be tolerated in the academy.
That -- not our ‘bad history' -- is the nub of the matter in Ingersoll's letter. His history is"bad" because he leaves out facts inconvenient to his argument. He ignores our defense of Ward Churchill's free speech rights. Ingersoll is wrong, not just because his history is blindered by ideology, but because, if we are to be free, we must be prepared to be offended occasionally by other people's speech. Do I believe that hurtful words like"nigger,""bitch," and"faggot," must be tolerated in campus speech? Yes, I do. I believe that decent people will not use offensive language and that self-respecting people may choose to shun those who use them, but I do not believe that speech on campus should be any less free than it is elsewhere in the world.
I believe that, despite the fact that I've been offended against by other people's speech many times and to serious material consequence. Despite having been shot at, fire-bombed, and jailed in the civil rights movement, I've been called a"racist" in the midst of a tenure review. In the midst of tenure reviews, I've been called both a"homophobe" and"a homosexual." For good or ill, I'm not nearly such a complex, conflicted, and interesting character."Classist,""sexist,""elitist" – all those words of politically correct abuse have been thrown at me to damage my career. To this day, I'd defend the right of my critics to speak their minds and my own right to defend myself against the worst of their charges. I'd defend Professor Ingersoll's right to publish accusations that I have published"bad history." As with others of my critics, one reason for defending his speech and publication rights is that he publishes evidence that refutes his own argument. He publishes his own"bad history."
As my comment on this posting points out (scroll down), I don’t have problems with worst case military planning. The military is supposed to prepare for the worst. I do have a problem with a level of secrecy so great that they actually invented a new classification for it. This is particularly troubling as the program actually needs a measure of publicity if it is to be successful in an emergency.
And that’s where the paranoia comes in. I can’t be the only person who realizes that public debate confers a legitimacy that would be essential for gaining quick cooperation in the face of a terrible emergency. If that is not important to them, then the next question is, logically, what is Granite Shadow’s real purpose?
Probably, of course, its real purpose is as stated. As Robert Heinlein once noted in in “Logic of Empire”, I may“have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity." But secrecy, particularly in regards to military planning for situations in which civilian leaders are dead, lends itself to such confusion.
Oh yes. The military is supposed to be conducting a"'demonstration'" in D.C. today. I doubt if they will be carrying signs.
|They both occurred after a country, defeated on the battlefield, took steps to wipe away national humiliation and rise again||Hitler was elected, sort of, fourteen years after the end of WWI, in part on the strength of embittered veterans; Koizumi was re-elected sixty years after the end of WWII, after nearly ever veteran of that war has passed on|
|In both situations, a country shamed in military defeat felt persecuted, giving rise to politics of emotions, especially with regard to neighboring countries;||I don't have any idea what this means with regard to Japan, except that people still bring up WWII on a pretty regular basis, which is embarrasing. I guess that must be it.|
|In both situations, this"public pathos" was tapped to become an essential element in the political contest for votes, in the suppression of rational politics, and in the push toward a hawkish road;||When was the last time you saw an election in which an appeal to"rational politics" succeeded? Seriously, though, Japan's desire to rationalize its relations with its neighbors (in other words, to dominate them economically, instead of feeling guilty) was an element in this election, though far from a central one.|
|In both situations, a banner of reform was flown and the"ultra-appeal" of a party head was used to encourage voters to elect them; that party leader was a crafty, masterful actor during the electoral process;||By that standard, there ought to be a lot more Hitlers running around|
|Both situations used the dissolution of parliament to give the ruling party an overwhelming majority of seats;||This one made me laugh out loud: parliamentary systems always have to dissolve to have elections, even scheduled ones. When you have an election, often somebody wins. And the LDP has had bigger majorities than it does now|
|They both want to revise the constitution to give their leadership and their successors more power, and to normalize the military by resurrect the nation's army.||Japan's military doesn't need"resurrect"ion: it's already one of the most powerful on the planet, in technical terms, and one of the best-funded. Hitler's power came through emergency decrees and something a bit more drastic than constitutional"revision." Koizumi is, so far, sticking to the usual amendment process, and is well aware of the likelihood of failure in the referendum approval stage. Plenty of countries have endured stronger executives than Japan's current Prime Ministers without going fascist.|
Perhaps French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy might want to visit Britain for next year's Holocaust Memorial Day, which is held on January 27. Yesterday's Ha'aretzreports that Douste-Blazy revealed a shocking lack of knowledge of the Holocaust and European history during a recent visit to Israel's Holocaust memorial site, Yad Vashem.
The museum, which is an extraordinary achievement in public history, includes detailed maps showing the number of Jews killed in each nation occupied by the Nazis. Douste-Blazy asked why no British Jews were listed as murdered, prompting the museum curator to point out,"But Monsieur le minister, England was never conquered by the Nazis during World War II."
The Foreign Minister's response:"Yes, but were there no Jews who were deported from England?" Amazing.
"Race, class, and gender" is the mantra of the academic class, says Scott McLemee, but class is definitely the junior partner. Critical reflection on our own social status as an academic class is even more rare. But, in"Class Dismissed," Inside Higher Ed, 20 September, McLemee offers up a well annotated bibliography.
David Shribman,"How Will History Rate the President?" Toledo Blade, 18 September, is a thoughtful and mildly surprising comparison of the results of Jim Lindgren's recent survey of the opinions of 130 scholars with the findings of Arthur Schlesinger in 1948.
In"Soft-Peddling the Internment" at Orcinus, David Neiwart shows the damage done on the Right by Michelle Malkin's apologia for Japanese internment during World War II. But Eric Muller,"Michelle Malkin's Ever-Shrinking Defense of Racial Internment," Is That Legal? 19 September, shows that Malkin's response to Greg Robinson's discovery of the McCloy Memo is evidence that she has less and less room for maneuver. Give it up, Michelle!
In"Let Them Eat Wireless," Rob MacDougall tells a grim tale. In mid-July, he and Mrs. Mac moved to London, Ontario, where he's teaching at the University of Western Ontario. So, it's two months later and despite" competition," the MacDougalls are still awaiting a land-line telephone installation. The lackluster telephonicians must not know who they're messing with. He's publishing the history of their ass. [ ... ]
Prompted by a reading of Barbara Ehrenreich's Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passion of War, Natalie Bennett reflects on the causes of war at Philobiblion. Thanks to Jon Dresner for the tip.
Joyce Jun'r posted about it six months ago, but I thought you'd want to know that the cremated remains of Nicolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are kept in the Rare Book Room of the Boston Public Library. Somewhere on the net, surely, someone is maintaining lists of the odd things early agreements oblige special collections to maintain.
For those of you who don't know about this effort, here's the short version: I'm interested in finding out if grad student bloggers really are at a disadvantage on the job market, as Tribble suggested. More than thirty responses is a lot, but I want more!!
Here's the survey--please take it!
I had originally asked for humanities and social sciences bloggers, but some correspondence with Bill Tozier convinced me that wasn't really representative or useful. So, science, math, and other non-humanities and social science bloggers, please report in for duty! If any lawbloggers read this site, I'd be interested in any professional harm lawbloggers have come to (something tells me lawblogs are an asset...)
Please, keep the responses coming! You all are awesome!
Arthur Schlesinger,"Forgetting Reinhold Niebuhr," New York Times, 18 September, argues that both the contemporary secular left and the contemporary religious right have much to learn from Reinhold Niebuhr, 20th century America's greatest social ethicist. My former student, Michael Baxter, offers an interesting companion piece in a critical evaluation of the legacy of Niebuhr's Catholic contemporary, John Courtney Murray.
Paul Kennedy,"America Agonistes," Washington Post, 18 September, reviews James T. Patterson's Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush v. Gore, the latest volume in"The Oxford History of the United States" series.
Niall Ferguson,"Peace is Spreading: The Troubling Thing is, We Don't Really Know Why," The Telegraph, 18 September, argues that the world is more peaceful in 2005 than it was a generation ago and that we don't really know why, but maybe it's because local people are fed up with the violence. Thanks to Richard Jensen's Conservativenet for the tip.
It's a nifty idea. Right now, there are still some glitches: it only"recognizes" editions in LOC or Amazon, which means that the 2000 first ed. of a book only available in a 2005 printing may be nowhere to be seen; the site currently leans towards US editions, although you can access Amazon's international catalogs (this will change once Tim, the site owner, incorporates the British Library catalog); and, as other users have noted in my own comments section, multivolume editions get inconsistent treatment. Nevertheless, the site is already well worth using.
[X-posted from The Valve.]
Recurrently, in thoughtful essays at Mode for Caleb, Caleb McDaniel asks"Is This Progress?" You can follow them in"Is This Progress? Part I" and"Is This Progress? Part II." They are excellent reading.
I see in my absence that:
1) Our colleague, Tim Burke, continues to give his best advice to our major professional organizations. If he has his way, formal sessions of one to three papers, a critique, and discussion will be banished from their conventions. Apparently drunk on the power of internet edicts, Burke would also eliminate most of our print journals and bar most pronouncements by our professional organizations on public policy issues.
2) Brooklyn College officially denies that our colleague, KC Johnson, is even an unindicted elocuter. Not only that, but I hear that they are considering the possibility of restoring him to the College payroll.
More seriously, on 14 September, I received this note from our colleague-in-arms, Chris Bray: [ ... ]
So I learned last night that the battalion I've been assigned to doesn't have enough slots for all the Ready Reserve soldiers it picked up, and plans to cut us from the roster. Which means -- or would have meant, as I'll explain in a moment -- that we'll all be recycled through another replacement company, andstarted over in a new training cycle with another battalion that will arrive later at Camp Shelby. If no[ne] of that makes sense, here's the shorter version: The army called us back to do jobs that don't exist, and so plans to warehouse us for a few more months before we actually deploy and begin to strike days from our one-overseas-year service obligation.
Faced with the possibility of several extra months in the army, and several more months at the amazingly miserable Camp Shelby, I jumped today on an opportunity to take the battalion's only definitely open slot -- guaranteeing that I will deploy overseas in November, and so get home by December of 2006. I am now an operations NCO in the battalion S-3 shop, which largely means that I will be making coffee for officers. An exciting use of more than a year of my life, but the alternative was potentially much more unpleasant.
So. I have a slightly new address:Sgt. Chris Bray
HHC, 2-128th Infantry
2490 25th Street
Camp Shelby, MS 39407
Fifth time I've moved in less than three months.
Having a great time.
Really, it's bad enough that the military would disrupt the graduate work of someone of Chris's obvious talent. But, given all the talk about manpower shortages in both Gulfs, it is simply outrageous that his time in service isn't more effectively used.