“For both nations and inviduals have sometimes made a virtue of neglecting history; and history has taken its revenge on them.” — H. R. Trevor-Roper “The Past and the Present: History and Sociology” (1969), cited in Tosh, ed. Historians on History, p. 197.
Welcome to the September 1, 2006 edition of history carnival. I’m finally hosting a carnival with a number as high as my age! In honor of the quotes meme making the rounds, I’m going to use my personal quotation file as, um, decoration around the rich collection of material in this carnival. As usual, I’m making up categories as I go along: anyone who treats them as strict or comprehensive cataloging gets what they deserve!
“Chronology, so the saying goes, is the last refuge of the feeble-minded and the only resort for historians.” — Joseph J. Ellis
Geological History (and souvenirs): John McKay recounts a visit to an erratic rock and discusses the geology, the glory of seeing natural history in situ, and the tragedy of souvenir hunters.
Jim Davila at PaleoJudaica takes us on a photographic tour of Vindolanda “an early Roman fort near Hadrian’s wall which is important for its Latin epigraphic discoveries. Vindolanda is also the setting for Barabara Bell’s Minimus books — Latin primers for children.”
“Historical awareness is a kind of resurrection.” — William Least Heat Moon
Grant Jones presents a WWII hero and Tim Abbott presents his grandfather’s story as a US Navy Surgeon in the South Pacific at Walking the Berkshires
Sayaka presents a discussion of the historical documentary ari no heitai [ant soldiers], about Japanese revisionism about the war in China, particularly the post-1945 anti-Communist campaign
Miland Brown explains that "Falling into Aztecs hands in war time was a not a good idea…".
“And this is a matter of which no historian can afford to be simply a dispassionate chronicler and analyst. However great his intellectual and moral detachment, in the last resort he is committed to the values, and to the society, that enables him to remain so detached. He is a member of the polis and cannot watch its destruction without himself being destroyed.” — Michael Howard The Lessons of History (1989), cited in Tosh, ed. Historians on History, p. 187.
Trillwing’s excellent post about one woman in science history at The Clutter Museum included a lament for the paucity of female history bloggers. Ralph Luker responded with a remarkable collection of women history bloggers which spurred much discussion. Here goes: I’m disappointed at the paucity of Asian History Bloggers outside of Frog In A Well….
As Ralph Luker says, “Donald Rumsfeld already has nominations for the next Bad History Carnival from Derek Catsam, Kevin Drum, Hiram Hover, and John Prados.” I suspect we’ll miss Rumsfeld when he’s gone. I’d like to find out.
Orac took some time away from his vacation to strike back at an anti-Darwinist argumentum ad nazium posted at Respectful Insolence. Sergey Romanov also got his licks in, as did a few other folks.
An Artistic Interlude
“Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children. Life is the other way around.” — David Lodge, British Museum (1965)
Another one I’ll admit to: John McKay’s brief history of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
word into art 4 at Verbal Privilege is a dramatic demonstration of the power of modern art when it uses historical material and themes (see more here). The final piece in that post is stunning; even if (especially if) you have doubts about politically engaged modern art, look at it.
Brett Holman suggests David Tiley’s art, life, terror, the fascinating tale of a women whose artistic talent allowed her to survive the Holocaust and then go on to become a Disney animator, but whose art is being held [that's carefully chosen words, there] by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum.
Teaching, teaching, teaching
“A bashful person cannot learn, nor can an impatient one teach.” — Hillel
Dave Fagg’s iHistory Podcast Project deserves a serious look for anyone interested in new technology teaching tools.
In honor of the new semester, Alan Baumler and I discuss our history syllabi. This is an ongoing series at Frog In A Well, and we’d love to see more folks join in: there’s lots of syllabi on the web, but not a lot of discussion of syllabi content and course organization. There should be more.
“I wonder why we hate the past so.” — W.D. Howells to Mark Twain
“It’s so damned humiliating.” — Twain’s reply
Martin Rundkvist raises a more troubling issue: E-mail migration and the loss of data.
Natalie Bennett’s Diarist Lady discusses Touching the King’s Evil, in great (historical!) detail.
Kevin Levin’s discussion of Ken Burns in the classroom was worthwhile.
Alan Baumler shared a fascinating Han-era document we’ve both used in class.
Language and history
“If the evidence that existed always spoke plainly, truthfully, and clearly to us, not only would historians have no work to do, we would have no opportunity to argue with each other.” — John H. Arnold, History: A Very Short Introduction, p.13.
How should historical fiction writers deal with archaic terminology? Carla explains her common-sense approach
Amanda McCloskey presents an etymology of biliary atresia, drawing on folklore, comparative linguistics, history and medicine.
“If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.” — Baruch Spinoza
sepoy sent along Martyrification, a brief history of a woman sniper and her memorial.
Nene Adams is doing a series of crime recapitulations, including a fascinating example of blood libel stymied by forensic pathology and a contemporary of Jack the Ripper.
David Noon presents Nat Turner’s Uprising saying, "for professional and personal reasons, my blog has been reduced to a daily recounting of horrific anniversaries — this entry, I think, is one of the better ones in the series…. It also happens to coincide with the day Bernard Lewis stupidly predicted the world would be cast into a lake of fire…." I can’t improve on that.
“Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don’t.” — Pete Seeger
Ralph Luker shared a piece of his own research, a lovely example of how a simple footnote can be an education if you take it seriously and do it right.
Tim Burke offers a dilemma of historical writing from his own work in You Can’t Tell the Players Without a Scorecard (also here), and discusses the dynamics of the end of Apartheid. Finally, in a challenge answered by far too few (I’ll get to it after this carnival is up, really!), he asks about the cleavages and battlefields of our respective subfields.
Finally, Brian Ulrich waxes nostalgic for the “cutting edge” scholars of the past
Politics, of course, means bad history
“At a certain point one ceases to defend a certain view of history; one must defend history itself.” — E. P. Thompson
Konrad Lawson examines George Will’s Yasukuni essay and finds it historically lacking. I thought the concluding point comparing Yasukuni visits with the Confederate flag issue was good, though. In related news, Yasukuni’s got fiscal issues and PR problems, to boot.
Another Damned Medievalist found Creationist Beowulf, apparently a common element in hard-line Christian homeschooling
Sergey Romanov takes on The Ugly Voice denial videos at Holocaust Controversies. When he’s not doing that, he’s going up against David Horowitz, whose web projects have featured a hard-core Holocaust denier (and don’t miss the George Soros debate, either).
Speaking of the Nazis, apparently some people can’t tell the difference between an opportunism and conspiracy. Happens all the time.
“Children who tell adults everything are trying to make them as wise as they. Just as children who ask questions already know why the sky is blue and where the lost kitten has gone. What they need is confirmation that the odd and frightening magic which has turned adults into giants has not completely addled their brains.” — Richard Bowes, “The Mask of the Rex.”
Mum to Laura guestblogs at Autism Street and attacks pseudoscience by using blindness as a metaphor for autism. It’s an interesting exercise in counterfactualism as satire.
Joe Kissell presents a geographic absurdity, a group of islands off of Newfoundland which are French territory. As usual, I have another ITOD post which I think is worth reading, particularly for the mystery.
Until Next Time!
“Not only are there no happy endings, there aren’t even any endings.” — Neil Gaiman, American Gods (2001: 483)
In sad news for the Carnival (a minor side effect of momentous happy news in real life), Caleb McDaniel, after hosting HC #37 is going out of blogging on a high note, while he embarks on fatherhood and assistant professorhood. There’ll always be space for him in the HC!
That concludes this edition. If you think you can do better, volunteer to host an upcoming edition. Or just submit blog articles to the next edition of history carnival, to be hosted at Cliopatria (Update: The High Cliopatriarch Himself, Ralph Luker, will host!), using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blogcarnival.com index page or our very own homepage.
“History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.” — Abba Eban
Many thanks to those who submitted their own posts, those who submitted other folks’ work, and those bloggers who I’ve shamelessly selected on my own authority.