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 (∞)
Cross-posted from Blog Them Out of the Stone Age
Let's say you have carte blanche to populate a history department located in, say, the U.S. midwest. For purposes of the exercise, the department has no preexisting faculty -- or, if you like, numerous faculty will retire over the next five years, and you are asked to develop a strategic plan showing what the department should look like in five years. Select the faculty positions you consider most important for the 8,000 undergraduate students who attend this liberal arts college. You have fifteen FTE (full-time equivalent) slots available and a salary/benefits budget of $1,290,000, with benefits computed at 36 percent of salary. (Thus, a faculty member receiving $50,000 in salary would also require $18,000 in benefits.) You can count on an annual pool of 1.5 percent (e.g., $19,350 for the first academic year), for merit increases.
FY 5: 1,290,000 (Year 1 of the strategic plan)
FY 6: 1,309,350
FY 7: 1,422,225
FY 8: 1,493,336
FY 9: 1,568,003
What positions -- areas of specialization -- would you select, and why?
Invisible Adjunct (February 2003 - August 2004)
Despite its name, the Invisible Adjunct's weblog was not defined by its attention to the problem of adjuncts in higher education. Or more properly, its interest in the plight of adjuncts was not reducible to a list of specific and narrow grievances suffered by the Invisible Adjunct herself.
The Invisible Adjunct held up a mirror to higher education and asked whether it liked what it saw. She drew in readers who had thought their own alienation from and disappointment with academia was only a private and personal feeling. In her postings and in the discussions that followed, they discovered that they were not alone. Whether they were currently suffering the trials of adjunct employment, had left academia as ABDs, or were struggling to make sense of life as a tenured professor, many readers found that they shared common dissatisfactions with academic life.
However, Invisible Adjunct's site was not for whiners, or axe-grinders with primordial grudges against the professoriate. She also pushed readers to consider what was valuable and precious about higher education. She consistently elevated the tone and substance of the conversation as a writer and as a host. The Invisible Adjunct's site brought together many readers and many issues under a single roof, in a shared dialogue. When the site ended, many of those conversations fractured and became far more divisive.
Maybe that was inevitable. Certainly no one faulted the Invisible Adjunct for shutting down her site, as she had promised, once she decided to give up on the quest for a regular tenure-track position. I think that one of the signs of academia's underlying problems is that someone like the Invisible Adjunct wasn't able to find a regular position, and that in some small but crucial way, academia has suffered for it. Because I like to think that had she found the position she was seeking, and kept her site going, that perhaps some of the most frustrating contemporary debates about academic politicization and similar issues might have been less divisive, less captive to the larger fractures in the body politic. One host, and one writer, really can make all the difference, and for an important time, the Invisible Adjunct did.
-- Timothy Burke
Mode for Caleb (July 2004 - August 2006)
I discovered Mode for Caleb, Caleb McDaniel's brilliant blog about history, academia, religion, politics, culture, and jazz, in September or October 2004, right around the time I was launching my own blog on a few of those subjects. Every post Caleb wrote made me realize that I'd have to work a lot harder than I'd planned. What Mode for Caleb showed me was that this new medium we're improvising need not be flimsy or disposable. Like the jazz music Caleb loves, blogging and history blogging in particular can be deep and rewarding and complex. With all due respect to the instapundits and daily link harvesters (we need them too) Caleb showed how well the history blog works in the long form. Call it"smartblogging"--or don't, that's pretty awful--week after week, Caleb delivered sustained intellectual solos, extended virtuoso riffs on teaching and writing, American and transnational history, nuclear weapons and the abolitionist mind.
Each of his posts claimed to be"improvised," but if that's true, he's an even more terrifying genius than I think he is. They all struck me as meticulously crafted, and worthy of serious thought and time. They're worth rereading, too: do yourself a favor and spend some time with his series on transnational history, or his case for nuclear abolitionism, or his essay on the origins and meanings of Memorial Day. It doesn't matter that these posts were written by some graduate student somewhere you'd never heard of. If anything, that makes it cooler. Those posts represent a powerful mind at work, and you got to see it in action (or else you get to now), in your browser or RSS reader, for free. If the story of Invisible Adjunct, our other inaugural Hall of Famer, exposed a failure--not a personal failure, by any means, but a collective failure of the academic profession–Mode for Caleb represents a glowing success. It's Caleb's success--he's got his PhD now, a tenure-track job, and a new baby on the way. We envy his students and wish him well. But it's a success for the medium of academic blogging, too.
-- Rob MacDougall
If IA were here, I'm pretty sure that she would respond by saying something like:"I'd like to thank the Academy ..." and I would smile at her references. Already, my day would be better. But this is simply to say,"The Academy would like to thank you, Invisible Adjunct and Caleb McDaniel."
Since, History also needs to be on your computer desktop, Jeremy has a flickr group up where you can add your own creations.
Or you can just tell us what you think History is in the comments. And we will put the cheekiest one up for you.
1. My colleague Bill Turkel assures me that his graduate course in digital history has no hidden syllabus; the questions he's assigned his students are exactly the questions he's wrestling with right now. In which case, I intend to get his students to see if they can hack my TiVo so it works in Canada. This reminds me: Bill's course here at the University of Western Ontario and Josh Greenberg's similar course at George Mason University have unleashed twenty-six new history bloggers on the 'sphere. Blogrollers take note, and completists despair.
2. The second half of my post was basically a mash note to Eric Rauchway... and that was written before he outed himself as a Whoey! If you thought I was a Rauchway fanboy before this, just watch me now. Eric sees the good Doctor (who?) as one in a long line of English heroes who are" crypto-foreigners," used by their creators to meditate on what it means to be British. I'd add to his list Christopher Banks, the Consulting Detective from Kazuo Ishiguro's When We Were Orphans, and, since he's already opened the door to geek culture, the principals in Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The other consequence of Rauchway's post? If he can talk about Doctor Who at TNR's Open University, never again will I refrain from posting something at Cliopatria because I think it might be toonerdy.
2 1/2. Ralph's mentioned it already, but I will be hosting History Carnival XL (extra large?) at Old Is The New New on Sunday, October 1. Keep those nominations coming to electromail - at - robmacdougall - org (not com) or use the handy form.
In one of his occasional guest posts for Altercation, the blog of journalist Eric Alterman, LTC Robert Bateman writes concerning National Review Online's "Sounding Taps" article.
Bateman returned earlier this year from a hitch in Baghdad and is currently assigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon.
As Bateman's article has no convenient permalink, and as he owns the copyright, with his permission I reproduce it here in full:
I generally don't much care where I get my news, so long as it appears factual. A fellow academic recently sent one story along, the link is below, and I believe it is worth some thought. As Altercators know, I am of the opinion that during War or Peace, it is important for citizens of a Democracy to understand war. The article highlights the sorry state of affairs for military history within academia.
In this case, because this story comes from National Review, it should be viewed with some dose of healthy skepticism. But in my opinion it does, generally, accurately portray the state of affairs on campus, although it is also a little too loose with the facts about what military history is about for my tastes. The author's disdain for"social history," for example, is idiotic. He raises the point that"social history" is infecting military history, without even realizing the irony that several of the noted historians he cites as paragons consider themselves to be social historians as well. The development of"social history" fields has only been a boon, at the intellectual level, for serious military historians because it has opened our eyes to new ways of thinking about old issues.
But on another level he is right in his gross assertion that military history is disdained, military historians held in generally low esteem, and the field may be in danger of dying out ... during a time of war.
I think he is also correct, to some degree, in asserting that this is occurring in no small part because those with the authority in most history departments do seem to conflate the study of the military with militarism. The irony, of course, is that several of the most liberal democrats I know ... are military historians. But see the story here and decide for yourself. Professor Mark Grimsley has also started a discussion about the article on Cliopatriahere, and, of course, there is always Grimsley's own ever interesting blog, here.
September 28, 2006
Cross-posted from Blog Them Out of the Stone Age
Jeez, where to begin?
The NRO article makes much of the apparent failure of the American Historical Review to publish much concerning military history. But it overlooks the fact the 2004 annual meeting of the American Historical Association had as its theme"Thoughts on War in a Democratic Age." And while there is truth in the fact that the American Historical Review seldom publishes military history, no one has checked independently to see if 1) military historians are actually submitting articles for consideration by the journal; and 2) the submissions meet the high standards expected from any flagship professional journal.
A contraindication may be had by noting that the Journal of American History, generally considered to be as"leftist" as the AHR, has in fact commissioned an article on the current state of the field of American military history. Wayne E. Lee, a rising star at the University of North Carolina, is currently completing that study.
Noticing that miitary historians were no longer even trying the organize sessions dealing with their field, the program committee for the 1996 Organization of American Historians annual meeting used its clout to insist upon a"presidential session" that showcased military history. I suspect the 1997 program may have done the same. In any event, at the request of a committee member I organized a session for the 1996 OAH -- the subject was race and war in the American experiences; panelists included the late Craig M. Cameron of Old Dominion University,myself, and Brian M. Linn of Texas A&M, as well as our commentator, Tami Davis Biddle, then of Duke University. Our moderator was John Shy of the University of Michigan.
The 1997 OAH panel took the form of a round table on the future of teaching military history in civilian academe. In this case, I can't recall who else was on the panel -- maybe I can look it up -- but I recall that Richard H. Kohn presided over it.
No doubt about it, some in academia indeed view military history with jaundiced eye, just as others are impatient with women's history or unwilling to provide enough faculty positions to cover adequately the non-North American, non-European regions of the world. And it must also be acknowledged, candidly, that military historians have not always been good ambassadors for their field. But the situation is nowhere near as bleak as the article portrays.
The business about the"problem" of the infiltration of social history into military history, for its part, is by far the weakest part of the article. Edward M. Coffman, the Wisconsin professor emeritus the author praises in the second paragraph of "Sounding Taps," was in fact a social historian of the American army. Coffman wrote two classic works on the subject -- The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army in Peacetime, 1784-1898, and The Regulars: The American Army, 1898-1941 -- and trained a generation of fine military historians, many of whom employ the same approach; e.g., Joseph T. Glatthaar's Forged in Battle: The Civil War Alliance of Black Soldiers and White Officers.
The article quotes John A. Lynn on his belief that once he retires from the University of Illinois, he will probably not be replaced. But it overlooks the fact that in 1997, Lynn wrote a classic article for the Journal of Military History in which he argued that gender history and the new cultural history provide powerful tools by which to get at a core concern of military history: the experience of combat.
I could go on longer -- and I think I will. But first, time for a steaming cup of coffee.
Cross-posted from Blog Them Out of the Stone Age
John J. Miller of National Review Online was kind enough to email me a heads up that he's not taking my barrage of posts lying down. He gives me plenty of what-for on the Phi Beta Cons page of National Review Online. The page is subtitled,"The Right Take on Higher Ed." I'll give him a paragraph's head start, then let you jump to the page itself:
Well, my article on the decline of military history as an academic field has at least one professor all atwitter. Mark Grimsley of Ohio State is so flustered by it that I'm having trouble keeping track of his attacks on the theme of the article, the quality of my reporting, and my personal integrity — but the main one seems to be this, followed by this, this, and this. I guess he really takes the whole"publish or perish" thing to heart.
Gavin Bowd,"Liberty, Equality, and Fecundity," Scotsman. com, 24 September, reviews Lucy Moore's Liberty: The Lives And Times Of Six Women In Revolutionary France and David Lawday's Napoleon's Master: A Life Of Prince Talleyrand. It's a reminder of the limited vision of the revolutionary enlightenment. Thanks to Arts & Letters Daily for the tip.
At Inside Higher Ed, our colleagues, Mark Grimsley and Scott McLemee, have back-to-back columns: Mark's"An Inappropriate Illness," Inside Higher Ed, 26 September, wherein he fields considerable discussion in the comments; and Scott's"A Liberal Dose of Reason," Inside Higher Ed, 27 September, wherein he reviews Michael Bérubé's What's Liberal about the Liberal Arts? Classroom Politics in Higher Education. Don't miss the podcast.
Finally, there's Dana Larson,"Popeye the Pothead," Canabis Culture/Marajuana Magazine, 2 February 05. Lately, the weed seems less threatening than spinach. What can I say? It [the article, that is] comes highly recommended by an anonymous tipster.
It is hard to convey how much anger that I have for Dennis Hastert right now.
Democrats are guilty of many sins, but to my knowledge none of their votes made this man Speaker of the House.
- - -
For those of you who may be new here and need context for this entry, please read this.
PS: In fairness, 7 Republicans voted against the monstrosity, and 34 Democrats voted for it.
Cross-posted from Blog Them Out of the Stone Age
Thanks for nothing.
"Sounding Taps," your September 26 article in National Review Online, is on the surface a sympathetic lament for the supposed marginalization of academic military history. But it is constructed so tendentiously, and overlooks so many relevant facts, that it is really quite misleading.
So misleading, in fact, that you may have done more to harm academic military history than any bunch of"tenured radicals" has managed to do in many years, if ever.
Take, for example, your starting point: Wisconsin's failure to run a search to fill the Ambrose-Hesseltine Chair. You say that"more than $1 million" sits in the endowment. That sounds like a lot, but it isn't. At Ohio State, the minimum needed to fund an endowed chair is $1.5 million, and even then internal funds are routinely needed to top off the chairholder's salary. Two million dollars is a more realistic figure nowadays.
You could have started with Ohio State. We do have $1.5 million sitting in a bank to fund an endowed chair in military history, and guess what? My department, which includes numerous historians of gender, class, race, and culture -- and even a historian of fashion -- voted unanimously to run a search to fill the position at the earliest possible moment. To do less, everyone understood, would have been an insult to the benefactor, General Raymond E. Mason.
Got it? Not just an endowed chair in military history, but one endowed by, and named for, a retired Army general.
That's how radical my"tenured radical" colleagues are.
Oh, I nearly forgot: a second endowed chair in military history is coming online over the next five years, through the generosity of a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. Not because they're ashamed of military history, I feel obliged to add, given your genius for subtle distortion of anything that doesn't fit your agenda, but because they're modest. Fancy that.
It will not surprise you to know that many wealthy people who wish to give something back to their society are both politically conservative and often fascinated by military history. But they didn't become wealthy by making bad investments, and your article conveys the distinct message that giving money to support academic military history would be a bad investment.
Again, thanks for nothing.
My field's professional organization, the Society for Military History, has plans afoot to approach benefactors and"marry them" to receptive history departments in order to create more military history positions.
I sure hope those potential benefactors don't read National Review Online. You've given them good reason for pause. We'll urge the opportunity, they'll wave"Sounding Taps" in our face.
Thanks. For Nothing.
You concede that a few military history programs do exist, but their existence hurts the point you want to make, so you blat out the names and hurry on. One name you don't blat out is Duke University. Another is the University of North Carolina. I wonder why not? Could it be that Duke and UNC are too well known as bastions of liberalism? It's kinda awkward for your thesis that Duke and UNC have jointly created -- actually revived -- one of the best military history programs in the country. In fact, since unlike you I like to be honest in my presentation, the Duke-UNC program is as good as ours at Ohio State and arguably even a little better.
But it gets no mention at all from you. I wonder why?
Happen to have heard of COL H.R. McMaster, the Army officer who during Desert Storm won the battle of the 73 Easting and nowadays regularly makes headlines for his tough-minded, innovative approach to the Iraqi insurgency? He got his PhD from UNC, after study in the Duke-UNC military history program.
I could go on, and believe me, I will. That's the great thing about blogging -- I could never win an argument with someone who buys ink by the barrel, but I have access to as many electrons as National Review Online.
Let's face it, pal. You don't give -- as my drill sergeants used to say -- a lusty crap about academic military history. Yours are crocodile tears. You'd love to see us disappear, because it would make a nice talking point in the increasingly stupid culture wars.
Well, sorry to disappoint you. Our graves ain't dug yet. And right now, the only one I see wielding a shovel is you.
Thanks. For. Nothing.
The item below appeared in yesterday's National Review Online. Over the course of that day, I received several private emails asking what I thought of it. Later today I'll have a post
TAPS FOR MILITARY HISTORY
Why military history is being retired
JOHN J. MILLER
A decade ago, best-selling author Stephen Ambrose donated $250,000 to the University of Wisconsin, his alma mater, to endow a professorship in American military history. A few months later, he gave another $250,000. Until his death in 2002, he badgered friends and others to contribute additional funds. Today, more than $1 million sits in a special university account for the Ambrose-Heseltine Chair in American History, named after its main benefactor and the long-dead professor who trained him.
The chair remains vacant, however, and Wisconsin is not currently trying to fill it. “We won’t search for a candidate this school year,” says John Cooper, a history professor. “But we’re committed to doing it eventually.” The ostensible reason for the delay is that the university wants to raise even more money, so that it can attract a top-notch senior scholar. There may be another factor as well: Wisconsin doesn’t actually want a military historian on its faculty. It hasn’t had one since 1992, when Edward M. Coffman retired. “His survey course on U.S. military history used to overflow with students,” says Richard Zeitlin, one of Coffman’s former graduate teaching assistants. “It was one of the most popular courses on campus.” Since Coffman left, however, it has been taught only a couple of times, and never by a member of the permanent faculty.
One of these years, perhaps Wisconsin really will get around to hiring a professor for the Ambrose-Heseltine chair — but right now, for all intents and purposes, military history in Madison is dead. It’s dead at many other top colleges and universities as well. Where it isn’t dead and buried, it’s either dying or under siege.
Although military history remains incredibly popular among students who fill lecture halls to learn about Saratoga and Iwo Jima and among readers who buy piles of books on Gettysburg and D-Day, on campus it’s making a last stand against the shock troops of political correctness. “Pretty soon, it may become virtually impossible to find military-history professors who study war with the aim of understanding why one side won and the other side lost,” says Frederick Kagan, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who taught at West Point for ten years. That’s bad news not only for those with direct ties to this academic sub-discipline, but also for Americans generally, who may find that their collective understanding of past military operations falls short of what the war-torn present demands.
At Rhine River, Nathanael Robinson has a roundup of locations for digitized, searchable German language periodicals.
Harvey Blume,"Q & A with Niall Ferguson," Boston Globe, 24 September, finds NF at his provocative best, profoundly on target one moment, deeply wrong the next, and even both in the same breath. On the invasion of Iraq and Osama bin Laden, for example:
if it was to be done, it should be done well or not at all. But I didn't oppose it. With the benefit of hindsight, I regret that. It was a disaster to commit so few troops and to have no coherent plan for reconstruction. It was in defiance not only of British imperial history but of successful American occupations-for example of Germany, Japan, and Korea, where the United States stayed long enough to change institutions.
But typically, American interventions last only a few years. In the case of the Middle East, the result will be turning Iraq into a Haiti on the Tigris.
IDEAS: How do you understand radical Islamism? Is it, as some say, the successor to Marxism?
FERGUSON: It is. The great category error of our time is to equate radical Islamism with fascism. If you actually read what Osama bin Laden says, it's clearly Lenin plus the Koran. It's internationalist, revolutionary, and anticapitalist-rhetoric far more of the left than of the right.
Read the whole thing, as they say. Thanks to Manan Ahmed for the tip.
Via Jacob Levy, congratulations to both:
Radley Balko, who brings us up to speed on"The Case of Cory Maye," ReasonOnLine, October. Given where he started, the news is better. Balko should get a lot of credit for pursuing the case.
John Holbo, who vaults into publishing as the editor of the Glassbead Books imprint of Parlor Press. Initially, at least, it will publish texts from book events generated by Crooked Timber and The Valve. Their first production: Looking for a Fight: Is There a Republican War on Science? It is a series of essays in response to Chris Mooney's The Republican War on Science.
Finally, seen over at Dial"M" for Musicology:"A CFP (Call for Papers) arrives over one of the musicology lists--there is a new online journal that will be called Radical Musicology. I cannot get past this. So, if they publish me, I'm happening and radical and de rigueur and à la mode, and if not I'm…what, Old Musicology, God help me, or just Old? How damning is it, really, to be Not Radical? Perhaps the real question is how damning will it be to have your stuff appear in the previous issue of Radical Musicology, not the forthcoming one? (‘Oh, yeah, X's stuff. That's so Winter-Spring 2007…')"
His senior year he made all A’s and B’s. It nearly killed him, but he did it. The Briarcrest academic marathon, in which Michael started out a distant last and had instantly fallen farther behind, came to a surprising end: in a class of 157 students, he finished 154th. He had caught up to and passed three of his classmates. When[former Ole Miss basketballer] Sean [Tuohy] saw the final report card, he turned to Michael with a straight face and said, “You didn’t lose; you just ran out of time.”
He had had a truly bizarre academic career: nothing but D’s and F’s until the end of his junior year, when all of a sudden he became a reliable member of Briarcrest’s honor roll. He was going to finish with a grade-point average of 2.05. Amazing as that was, however, it wasn’t enough to get him past the N.C.A.A. He needed a 2.65. And with no more classes to take, he obviously would not get it.
Now it was Sean’s turn to intervene.
From a friend, Sean learned about the Internet courses offered by Brigham Young University. The B.Y.U. courses had magical properties: a grade took a mere 10 days to obtain and could be used to replace a grade from an entire semester on a high-school transcript. Pick the courses shrewdly and work quickly, and the most tawdry academic record could be renovated in a single summer. Sean scanned the B.Y.U. catalog and found a promising series. It was called “Character Education.” All you had to do in such a “character course” was to read a few brief passages from famous works — a speech by Lou Gehrig here, a letter by Abraham Lincoln there — and then answer five questions about it. How hard could it be? The A’s earned from character courses could be used to replace F’s earned in high-school English classes. And Michael never needed to leave the house!
Thus began the great Mormon grade-grab. Mainly it involved [advisor]Sue Mitchell grinding through the character courses with Michael. Every week or so, they replaced a Memphis public school F with an A from B.Y.U. Every assignment needed to be read aloud and decoded. Here he was, late in his senior year in high school, and he had never heard of a right angle or the Civil War or “I Love Lucy.” But getting the grades was far easier than generating in Michael any sort of pleasure in learning. When Briarcrest gave him a list of choices of books to write a report on, Mitchell, thinking it might spark Michael’s interest, picked “Great Expectations.” “Because of the character of Pip,” she says. “He was poor and an orphan. And someone sort of found him. I just thought Michael might be able to relate.” He couldn’t. She tried “Pygmalion.” Again, he hadn’t the faintest interest in the thing. They got through it by performing the work aloud, with Michael assigned to the role of Freddie. “He does wonderful memory work,” Mitchell says. “It’s a survival technique. You can give him anything, and he’ll memorize it.” But that’s all he did. Engaging with the material in any deeper way seemed impossible. He was as isolated from the great works of Western literature as he was from other people. “If you asked him why we’re doing all this,” she says, “he’d say, ‘I got to do it to get to the [National Football] league.”’
As the article indicates, with a tremendous amount of love and support, Michael accomplished a great deal. However, although he and those who helped him deserve tremendous credit, when he faced the final obstacle to his admission to the University of Mississippi, instead of overcoming it, he was not only allowed to but encouraged to go around it. One might well argue that the final verdict in the case lies in Michael's classroom performance at Ole Miss. However, continuing evidence of widespread willingness to help college athletes beat the academic system surely justify concerns that Michael may get through college the same way he got in.
But I'm a pretty aggressive researcher and, eventually, I found that I could both correct and annotate the documents that Gandy had published and add to them from collections of material that had otherwise survived: essays published within Vernon Johns' lifetime; transcriptions of taped sermons and speeches; and manuscript sermons and notes. After an extensive search, I more than doubled the volume of material that Sam Gandy had published. Here's the Project's current table of contents.
The most fruitful source of additional material by or about Vernon Johns turned out to be newspapers. I did a massive search, sometimes in printed text and, otherwise, microfilm editions of these newspapers and periodicals:
Alabama Tribune, 1948-53.
Atlanta Constitution, [1946-60].
Atlanta Daily World, [1946-63].
Atlanta Journal, [1946-1960].
Baltimore Afro-American, [1931-34], 1955-1963.
Baptist Leader, 1948-53.
Birmingham World, 1948-53.
Charlottesville Daily Progress, .
Chicago Defender, 1919.
Congregational Year-Book, 1915.
The Expected, [1941-1965].
Farmville Herald, 1898-99, .
Lynchburg Daily Advance, 1929-34, 1941-43, 1961.
Lynchburg News, 1912-15, 1919-26, 1929-33, 1941-43.
Minneapolis Morning Tribune, .
Montgomery Advertiser, 1948-53.
Montgomery Examiner, 1948-53.
Negro Yearbook: An Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro, [1912-1938].
New York Age, .
New York Amsterdam News, 1926-33.
Norfolk Journal and Guide, 1919-65.
Oberlin Review, 1915-18.
Painesville Telegraph, , .
Philadelphia Tribune, 1933-34.
Richmond Afro-American, [1939-1951].
Richmond Planet, 1911-15, 1919-27, 1929-31, 1934-38.
Richmond Times, .
Second Century, 1961-62.
Spelman Messenger, [1952-53].
Washington Afro-American, [1962-1963].
West Virginia Digest, 1939-41.
Those newspapers and periodicals yielded some very interesting documents: two series of newspaper columns that Vernon Johns had published between 1930 and 1945 and his letters to the editor scattered over a period of 50 years. At Cliopatria, I published a sample newspaper column here and a sample letter to the editor here. There was another set of things from these newspapers – articles about Vernon Johns that included significant excerpts of his words. My series editor, Michael O'Brien, persuaded me to include them in an appendix to the volume of essays, sermons, and speeches. You'll find them so listed in the table of contents. They include examples of the early reporting by Joe Azbell, a white reporter in Montgomery, who would become well known for breaking the story of the Montgomery bus boycott, and prominent African American journalists like Lerone Bennett, Jr., and Carl Rowan.
There's something about the alphabetical listing of periodicals in vertical text that manifests itself as pride. Theologically, I suppose, we Protestants would call it"works righteousness" and pride, especially in one's works, goeth before a fall. As I said, I'm an aggressive researcher, but I'm also a technologically retarded one. My colleagues, Manan Ahmed and Miriam Burstein, recently directed my attention to Google News Archive, NewspaperArchive.com, and paperofrecord.com. Gad, after all that needle-in-a-haystack newspaper research I'd already done and eliminating the citations that refer to some other Vernon Johns, they turn up 350 more newspaper articles about the man that I've never seen before. Gad zooks! Will my project never finish or do I do this in order that it never finish?
Grammaticks Department: The first thing that baffled me in elementary school was diagraming sentences. I never understood why it was important to know how to bracket"See Dick, Jane, and Spot run." And, yet, its lesson – that words play specific roles in coherent sentences – remains with me. Scheiss Weekly and elementaryhistoryteacher may be on to something, however. Take a sentence of historical importance and, even if it is more complex, the experience of close analysis cuts across fields of study and highlights major themes and subordinate ideas. Thanks to Jonathan Dresner for the tip.
Free Speech Department:"Conservative UGA Student Mag Trashed," AJC, 23 September, is further evidence that freedom of speech and the press on campus are at risk.
Gun Control Department: After Ohio State's Saul Cornell appeared in Minneapolis-St. Paul recently, the Star-Tribune's editorial,"The Constitution's Gun-Control Pledge," 23 September, generated a detailed response from our friend, Clayton Cramer. Clayton's finished reviewing the page proofs of his book, btw, which will appear anon by a Thomas Nelson imprint. Nelson needs to clean up its online biography of Clayton, however. It's been two and a half years since he last taught at Boisie State and George Fox's website has never heard of him. We wouldn't want Michael Bellesiles catching Clayton guilty of false advertising or anything.
Mass-Observation Department: Caleb Crain,"Surveillance Society: The Mass-Observation Movement and the Meaning of Everyday Life," New Yorker, 11 September, is a nicely crafted essay about the eccentric mass-observation movement in World War II-era England."Mysteries reside in the humblest everyday things," [said one of its founders];"they are a kind of legacy, and the poet, by examining them, can extract 'an idea of"what I am" from the past.'" For more, see Crain's Steamboats Are Ruining Everything. Thanks to Brian Sholis, In Search of the Miraculous, 22 September, for the tip.*
*See also: Sharon Howard's Early Modern Notes, which has lots of good links.
Radical History Department: Christopher Phelps,"Morris Slavin: 1913-2006," Against the Current, September/ October, marks the passing of a historian of the French revolution and one of the last American Trotskyists.
If you miss what some of my colleagues are thinking here at Cliopatria, I recommend that you read some of their other blogs:
Manan Ahmed's Chapati Mystery
Chris Bray's Histori-blogography
Tim Burke's Easily Distracted
Miriam Burstein's Little Professor
Jim Cobb's Cobbloviate
Rebecca Goetz's Historianess
Mark Grimsley's Blog Them Out of the Stone Age
Sharon Howard's Early Modern Notes
KC Johnson's Durham-in-Wonderland
David Kaiser's History Unfolding
Michael Kazin's Open University
Rob MacDougall's Old is the New New
Scott McLemee's Cogito Ergo Zoom
Nathanael Robinson's Rhine River
Hugo Schwyzer's Hugo Schwyzer
I will admit that my first thought when I started this blog in my head was to say this: “If anyone wants to know why I don’t think Republican moderates matter, here’s the proof.” And that is true. However, standing alone that statement is a distortion of a more complex, and infinitely sadder reality.
First of all there are the Democrats. Really, they exist. And a few, most consistently Russ Feingold of my fair state, have actually taken a stand on this issue that mattered. Most happily ducked this debate, just as they have ducked in the past. Oh, it made strategic sense to do so. The Republican division was convenient politically, and it gave political cover for opposing America’s use of torture for a bit. That way they could hold on to voters like me.
“Political cover for opposing . . . torture.” That is why the surrender of McCain and company and the cravenness of most Democrats are not the whole story. The politicians and research wonks of both parties have put their fingers to the wind and decided that torture helps the president and the Republicans. And I guess they are right.
Oh, it can’t be called torture. And there are still limits. The CIA can’t boil people alive. Barring rendition, of course.
I live in a country in which a majority of citizens are willing to torture to secure a slightly greater illusion of safety. The majority of our national politicians accept this. I guess that way they all can settle back in peace and watch 24.
So that is why I am sad.
Stephen Metcalfe,"The Shakespeare Wars," Slate, 20 September, reviews Ron Rosenbaum's The Shakespeare Wars: Clashing Scholars, Public Fiascoes, Palace Coups.
On this day in 1906, the Atlanta Race Riot broke out. It raged for three days. At its end, two white and between 25 and 40 black people had died.
However, the inconvenient truth is that after centuries of religious wars, Christendom long ago gave it up.
Apart from Kevin's telling citations, you'd think Krauthammer would remember that the twentieth century nightmare arose from triumphant Christian heresies in the heart of Christendom that can't be blamed on Islam.
Pasadena, California's All Saints Episcopal Church that Hugo Schwyzer wrote about here will go to court, resisting an IRS demand for the surrender of documents, according to a unanimous vote by the vestry yesterday.
Who in a position of authority at Columbia would daft enough to invite Holocaust denier/genocidal maniac/most notorious and powerful anti-Semite of the current age/etc. Ahmadinejad (who, by the way, I saw on t.v. claiming today claiming that the 35,000 people who protested his speech at the U.N. were actually one hundred paid Zionist stooges) to speak?David Bernstein,"Columbia U. Dean Invites Ahmadinejad to Speak," Volokh Conspiracy, 21 September.
If a high school student wrote such a"sentence" in an essay, would you reject his application for admission to college post haste? Yet, Professor Bernstein not only commits this atrocity to the internet, but it gets quoted and linked to by Professor Reynolds!
Apart from the substance of Bernstein's grievance, which apparently has no merit because the invitation has been revoked, what meltdown of literacy would cause Bernstein to publish a sentence like this and what meltdown of discretion would cause Reynolds to replicate it? If I ever commit such an act of public indecency, please turn your heads and Don't Quote Me!