井の中の蛙

2/1/2012

History Carnival CVI (December 2011-January 2012)

Welcome to the 106th Roundup of History Blogging, a double-sized edition. Fortunately, being a blog, we never really run out of space.

First, the two biggest events of the annual calendar happen in January: The American Historical Association Meeting and the Cliopatria Awards. Both, fortunately, have nice, tidy round-up posts I can link to! The Cliopatria awards for 2011 included

There was a LOT of blogging and tweeting at this year’s AHA, much of it centered on the groundbreaking #THATCamp — the first held in conjunction with a national organizational conference — which brought a lot of heavyweight and beginning digital history folks together. There were even some interesting historical papers delivered, I’m told. Check out the collection: it covers just about everything I read on the conference, and then some. Next Year In New Orleans!

A public service announcement: Sharon Howard has updated the Early Modern Commons blog aggregator, http://commons.earlymodernweb.org/, and the general history aggregator, http://thebroadside.org/. If you’re not getting enough history in your media diet, this is the one-stop shop. OK, two stop shop.

For the remainder of the carnival, I’m mostly going to be posting titles and what I hope are intriguing quotations: nothing fancy, but there’s some really neat stuff here.

Historiography and Method

Jeremy Bangs: Always More Pilgrim Books – What’s Next? – A Bibliographical Survey

This evening I’d like to lead us on a quick browse in the library, curious about when it was that we first thought we knew everything there was to know about the Pilgrims already.

The Award-Winning Wonders and Marvels: Impotence in the Archives: or, a Research Trip Failed

much of my work in archives is tied to physical memory. Looking back at my notes over the years, I can remember the way in which documents looked or smelled at the time. More importantly, I can remember where to find specific points in my notes.

Peter Rowlett: Apparently Gauss got in this bar fight with Hilbert…

Principle A tells me nothing should be produced with errors, but Principle B suggests work with minor errors should be taken in good faith. Both cannot hold.

Also, Einstein was a straight-A math student.

Jane Stevenson, Texts and Textiles: Self-Presentation among the Elite in Renaissance England is Not so much a blog post, as a full-fledged, open access journal article. How do we feel about that? I feel pretty damned good: open access journals, like blogs, make it easier to see what historians do and engage their work. Not sure we’ll make it a regular feature: host’s option?

Textiles and fashion were central to court life, and even, in themselves, a means of communication. They attracted what seems to us a completely disproportionate amount of available resources, infinitely more than the paintings and other more permanent artefacts which are now more familiar to us.

Award Winning Demography and the Imperial Public Sphere Before Victoria: Scottish Solidarity and the Historiography of the Tobacco Trade

Will Thomas at Ether Wave Propaganda has been doing a fascinating series on Tactile History, about recreating experiments and methods to study them directly.

What the Sumerians can teach us about data:

Gathering data is not a neutral act, it will alter the power balance, usually in favor of the people collecting the information.

Pedagogy And Public History

Open Plaques blog: Finding Flann O’Brien: plaques, places, tongues and names

Next in our investigation of the plaques we come to the matter of his three names (four if you include the Irish spelling of his first), possibly confusing for the Open Plaques naming system (we currently list two of them). Brian O’Nolan, the civil servant. Flann O’Brien, the pseudonym of the literary author. And Myles na cGopaleen – his pen-name as the famous satirical ‘Cruiskeen Lawn’ columnist for The Irish Times newspaper, a column that brought him more notoriety in his lifetime than his books and made him unpopular with the grandees of the Irish state.

Joseph Adelman: Behind every good historian is someone who read an awful early draft and patiently explained what he/she was actually saying.

Andrew D. Devenney, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Follow-up on Playful Historical Thinking Class Experiment”

In the end, I am glad I conducted the experiment and have already adopted small elements of it into a couple of my courses this semester (namely the modular topic format and a greater focus on non-lecture activities in class to stimulate playful historical thinking). However, in its current form, the class needs more polish to buff out the dents, smudges, and scratches.

Jonathan Rees, Why is there no history department at the University of Phoenix?

History departments die by efficiency because sitting around contemplating the answers to ageless questions doesn’t really do all that much for the gross national product. Therefore, I think we in history and many closely-related fields will disappear in the coming wave of technology-induced efficiency unless we offer a different set of values through which to justify our existence. I happen to be rather fond of joy. Sitting around contemplating the answers to ageless questions may not be efficient, but it is lots of fun.

Brandon Watson, “Correction in the Classroom”

there is a form of critical thinking most students engage in a lot….the assessment of whether a professor is worth learning from at all.

Historical Sources

In Pursuit of History: The Complaint of Christmas: A Serialised Christmas Tale

a story written in 1631 that … recounts the adventures of Christmas, who visits earth on the 25th December as an old man (a precursor to Father Christmas no doubt) along with his companions, the 12 days of Christmas. His adventures take him around Europe and then to England where he discovers what has become of Christmas charity and hospitality.

Mercurius Politicus, Seventeenth Century Crowd Funding

Taylor segmented his subscribers into seven categories:

1 Those that have paid.
2 Those that would pay if they could.
3 Those that walke invisible, and are not to be found.
4 Those that say they will pay, who knowes when.
5 Those that are dead.
6 Those that are fled.
7 Those Rorers that can pay, and wil not.

Ben Breen: American Monsters: Images of Brazilian Nature from Early Modern Europe

Although comparisons to the Garden of Eden were frequent, these images also reveal a profound anxiety about the abundance of nature in the Neotropics.

Historical Episodes

Interview with author Sarah Wise about her book on death and the illicit cadaver trade in early 19th century London

But Londoners loved these attractive, exotic-looking little Italian waifs, and would also defend other types of beggars if anyone appeared to be hassling them. Ordinary city-dwellers seemed to me, in reading the primary source material, to be a lot less withdrawn and in their own little world than we city-dwellers are today, and seemed to show more class, or social, solidarity.

Streets of Washington: The Prolific Mrs. E.D.E.N. Southworth and her Georgetown Cottage

Supposedly it was on his deathbed that Captain Nevitte persuaded a local priest to rechristen little Emma with two additional names so that here initials would spell out E.D.E.N., a melodramatic gesture particularly well-suited to the novelist-to-be.

Photo Essay: The History of Air Travel

Modern air travel’s safety and accessibility are greatly indebted to aviation’s long history of experiments, failures, accidents and deaths.

Romeo Vitelli: The Benjamin Rush Prescription (Part 1)

not only did Lewis and Clark set out on their expedition armed with microscopes, compasses, three mercury thermometers, and other scientific instruments, they also carried more than six hundred mercury laxatives, each four times the size of an aspirin

Natalie Bennett: Can we choose to descend to a less intensive, simpler level? Have we done it before? is reviewing Joseph A Tainter’s The Collapse of Complex Societies (1988)

Alan Flower, Napoleon’s Secret Navy

In October 1805, within days of the disaster at Trafalgar, the French minister of Marine and Colonies, Vice Admiral Denis Decres, started to lay the groundwork for the reconstruction of the French fleet.

Current Events and Echoes

What would New Years be without some Chinese astrological etymology and cultural appropriation? Also, in Asian connections, I had a short piece on Japanese food policy history in light of the Fukushima disaster.

A remarkable story of renegade historical preservationists:

UX’s most sensational caper (to be revealed so far, at least) was completed in 2006. A cadre spent months infiltrating the Pantheon, the grand structure in Paris that houses the remains of France’s most cherished citizens. Eight restorers built their own secret workshop in a storeroom, which they wired for electricity and Internet access and outfitted with armchairs, tools, a fridge, and a hot plate. During the course of a year, they painstakingly restored the Pantheon’s 19th- century clock, which had not chimed since the 1960s. Those in the neighborhood must have been shocked to hear the clock sound for the first time in decades: the hour, the half hour, the quarter hour.

The Lincoln-Douglas-Gingrich Debates

It’s already slightly creepy to challenge the first African American president to a debate modeled on debates over the legitimacy of slavery. It’s doubly disturbing if you look at the actual content and context of the original debates, which was circus like and full of racist demagoguery.

Ohio Woman Wants Whites Only Pool Sign Reinstated

A woman in Ohio continues to claim that having a ‘Whites Only’ sign hung at the public pool is not racist. … changing her argument to assert that the sign is an antique and therefore apart of her heritage.

That’s Not History: Equality and Fairness in Persia v. American Exceptionalism

So, freedom of religion and culture, civil liberties, property rights, freedom of movement, and the abolition of slavery. Not too shabby on the equality front. But wait! There’s more!

USIH on Charles Murray, inter alia: Post Civil Rights Intellectual Ferment and Race

Racial politics were persistently perplexing, despite the successes of the civil rights movement, largely because, as President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed in a Howard University speech on June 4, 1965, “equality as a right and a theory” was not the same thing as “equality as a fact and as a result.”

Moving Forward

The History Carnival is in good shape for upcoming hosts through June, but always looking for volunteers for later. Next month’s edition will be hosted at The View East by blogger and Twitterstorian Kelly Hignett. I hope this lives up to the “bumper edition” billing!

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