History Buzz January 3-6, 2013: American Historical Association 127th Annual Meeting in New Orleans Recap: Historians Look Back, and Inward, at Annual Meeting


History Buzz


127th Annual Meeting

Source: AHA 2013

New Orleans, January 3–6, 2013

2012 Logo

General Information

The 127th annual meeting of the Association will be held January 3–6, 2012, in New Orleans at the New Orleans Marriott and Sheraton New Orleans. With 272 sessions, the program is one of the largest ever assembled by the Program Committee. The AHA has previously met in New Orleans two times, in 1903 and in 1972. More than 1,500 scholars will participate in AHA sessions, and four dozen specialized societies will meet in conjunction with the AHA. William Cronon (Univ. of Wisconsin–Madison) will deliver the presidential address the evening of January 4 during the General Meeting. At the same event, the AHA’s book prizes, the Awards for Scholarly Distinction, and other awards will be announced. Many of the profession’s most distinguished members will be present to deliver papers and more than 1,500 scholars will participate.

Historians Look Back, and Inward, at Annual Meeting

Source: NYT, 1-4-13
Sessions at American Historical Association conference look at storytelling, used goods, and the relationship between horses and humans across three continents.

Some 4,000 historians descended on New Orleans on Thursday for the American Historical Association’s four-day annual meeting, replacing the chants of departing Sugar Bowl revelers with more sober talk of job interviews, departmental politics, and — at least in the official panels — the past itself.

As usual, the meeting’s 300-plus sessions touched on contemporary issues like climate change, the 2012 presidential election, and the Arab Spring, along with more purely scholarly topics big (“Horstory: Equines and Humans in Africa, Asia and North America”) and small (“Trash and Treasure: The Significance of Used Goods in America, 1880-1950″). But for many in attendance, the most urgent question was the state of the historical profession itself in an era of budget cuts and declining humanities enrollments….READ MORE

History Buzz February 28, 2012: David McCullough, Gordon Wood: Students need more uniform teaching of US Constitution, Historians say at panel “The Teaching of Constitutional History in the 21st Century University”


History Buzz


Students need more uniform teaching of Constitution, historians say

Source: The Oklahoma U Daily 2-28-12

Instructors need to teach the U.S. Constitution to all students in a stimulating way to create well-educated citizens who are aware of their responsibilities, according to seven panelists in a discussion Tuesday.


Photo by Astrud Reed

Panelist Akhil Reed Amar, Yale Law and Political Science Professor, responds to a question from Diane Rehm, NPR radio program host and event moderator, at Monday’s “The Teaching of Constitutional History in the 21st Century University.”

Students, faculty and visitors crowded into Catlett Music Center to hear noted historians share perspectives on teaching America’s founding in a panel titled, “The Teaching of Constitutional History in the 21st-century University.”

National Public Radio host Diane Rehm moderated the panel, which was part of OU’s inaugural “Teach-In: A Day with Some of the Greatest Teachers in America.”

The U.S. needs leaders and teachers who can make the Constitution relevant to students of all ages and backgrounds, Pulitzer-prize winning historian David McCullough said.

“There is nothing wrong with the younger generation,” he said. “The younger generation is terrific, and any problems they have, any failings they have, and what they know and don’t know is not their fault — it’s our fault.”

Teachers are the most important people in the society, and they should not be blamed for these failings either, McCullough said.

“I think that history, the love of history and the understanding of history begins truly, literally at home,” McCullough said.

In today’s education system students are not trained enough to ask questions, and this is a serious issue, he said.

Some students get all the way to college and have very little knowledge about the Constitution, said Kyle Harper, director of the OU Institute for American Constitutional Heritage.

“One of the exciting things about teaching in college is that you are teaching adults, and you are teaching kids who are becoming adults,” Harper said.

Harper aims to create situations for debate in classrooms to make college students realize that the facts on a page influence their political lives, he said.

In most graduate schools Constitutional history is always there, but undergraduate schools simply neglect it, Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Gordon Wood said. Even in graduate training, issues of race and women have preoccupied graduate training and the writing of history….READ MORE

History Buzz February 22, 2012: Daryl Michael Scott: Historian finds Carter G. Woodson manuscript


History Buzz


Historian finds Woodson manuscript

Source: West Virgina NPR, 2-22-12

A Howard University professor visited Marshall University yesterday to discuss his discovery of Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s lost manuscript.

Woodson was a graduate of Douglass High School in Huntington and later served as the school’s principal, as well as dean of what is now West Virginia State University. He was the second African American to earn a Ph.D from Harvard University and the only offspring of former slaves to receive a doctorate in history from any university.

Daryl Michael Scott of Howard University discovered the manuscript in a storage container about five years ago and then had it authenticated. Scott published the manuscript as “Carter G. Woodson’s Appeal: The Lost Manuscript.”

Scott says he knew immediately it was something new.

“I knew everything that he had written, so I knew I had never read this and I knew it was his because I knew his handwriting and I knew how he wrote, his writings were in the margins of the manuscript, it was type written, but in the margins he had made notes and made changes and I knew his handwriting,” Scott said.

Scott is also vice president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History which was founded by Woodson in 1915. Woodson is widely known as the “father of African American history.”

Woodson came up with the idea for Negro History Week in 1926, which is now Black History Month. Woodson also started the influential “Journal of Negro History” in 1916. Scott says to read work that went unpublished for so long was quite an experience.

“Indeed I felt fortunate to find the manuscript and I had a friend who said for all your hard work you’ve come across this manuscript and doesn’t it make it worth all of it and quite often I say no, but in fact it does, the fact that you can find a manuscript by someone who has been so influential in American Life and African-American life it’s been a good feeling,” Scott said….READ MORE

History Buzz February 10, 2012: Peniel Joseph: Stetson University presents civil rights / social justice lecture by historian


History Buzz


Peniel Joseph: Stetson University presents civil rights/social justice lecture by historian

Source: Florida Courier, 2-10-12

Stetson University presents author and historian Dr. Peniel Joseph to speak on “Stokely Carmichael and American Democracy in the 1960s” as part of the university’s civil rights and social justice lecture series, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23. The lecture will be held in the Rinker Auditorium of the Lynn Business Center, 345 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand, and is free and open to the public.

Joseph, a professor of history at Tufts University, is currently working on a biography of Black Power icon Stokely Carmichael and his involvement in the American Civil Rights Movement, and that will be the focus of Joseph’s lecture at Stetson.

Carmichael, who later changed his name to Kwame Ture, was a well-known black activist in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. He was involved in such organizations as the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and participated in the Freedom Rides. He was one of the authors of the manifesto “Black Power.” Carmichael spoke at Stetson in 1997 and died the following year.
Professor Joseph is the author of the award-winning Waiting ‘til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America and Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama, as well as editor of The Black Power Movement: Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era and Neighborhood Rebels: Black Power at the Local Level.

Joseph is the founder of the “Black Power Studies” subfield whose reverberations have widely impacted interdisciplinary scholarship within the academy and popular conceptions of civil rights and Black Power outside of it. He is a frequent national commentator on issues of race, democracy, and civil rights who has appeared on CNN, MSNC, and NPR. During the 2008 presidential election he provided historical analysis for the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer.

For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at (386) 822-7515.

History Buzz February 9, 2012: Hasan Jeffries: ‘New wave’ Civil Rights historian shares untold past


History Buzz


‘New wave’ Civil Rights historian shares untold past

Source: The DePauw News, 2-9-12

 Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jackie Robinson made great strides for Civil Rights, but Ohio State University professor Hasan Jeffries says social movements take more than just a great individual.

“When you focus on an individual or an individual organization, you miss a lot more that’s going on,” Jeffries said.

The history professor visited DePauw Wednesday afternoon to deliver a lecture stemming from his doctoral dissertation on the intersection of the 1966 elections and start of the Black Power movement in Lowndes County, Alabama.

John Ditma, a former DePauw University history professor who introduced Jeffries, said the young professor is on the “cutting edge” of a “new wave of Civil Rights history.”

But Jeffries said he doesn’t think he has discovered anything new. “It’s not about creating new history,” he said. “It’s about reemphasizing the history we do have and whose voice is heard.”…READ MORE

History Buzz January 31, 2012: Fred Anderson: Noted historian to speak on empire and liberty at Western Michigan University


History Buzz


Noted historian to speak on empire and liberty at Western Michigan University

Source: WMU News, 1-31-12

Photo of Dr. Fred Anderson.


A historian in wide demand for his views on a variety of historical topics will address an audience next month at Western Michigan University as a visiting scholar.

Dr. Fred Anderson, professor of history at Colorado State University, will speak at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, in the Meader Rare Book Room of Waldo Library. His presentation, titled “Empire and Liberty in 18th-Century North America,” draws upon the Oxford History of the United States volume he is writing with Miami University Distinguished Professor of History Andrew Cayton and is free and open to the public.

Anderson, one of the Organization of American Historians’ “distinguished lecturers,” earned his bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University in 1971 and his doctoral degree from Harvard University in 1981. He has taught at Harvard and has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Charles Warren Center of Harvard University, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

He is the author or editor of five books, including “Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 ” which won the 2001 Francis Parkman Prize as best book in American history. Together with Cayton, he recently published “The Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America, 1500-2000.” His most recent book, “The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War,” was the companion volume for the Public Broadcasting System television series of the same title. He and Andrew Cayton are currently engaged in writing “Imperial America, 1672-1764,” a volume in the Oxford History of the United States.

Anderson’s visit is sponsored by the WMU Department of History and Center for the Humanities and through WMU’s Visiting Scholars and Artists Program….READ MORE

History Buzz January 30, 2012: James Gelvin: Professor explains Arab Spring events in book “Rethinking the Arab Uprisings One Year Later”


History Buzz


Professor explains Arab Spring events in book

Source: Daily Texan Online, 1-30-12

Guest lecturer James Gelvin delivers a lecture titled “Rethinking the Arab Uprisings One Year Later” on campus Monday evening. Gelvin was hosted by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies to discuss the causes and developments of recent protests in the Middle East.

Guest lecturer James Gelvin delivers a lecture titled “Rethinking the Arab Uprisings One Year Later” on campus Monday evening. Gelvin was hosted by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies to discuss the causes and developments of recent protests in the Middle East.

Uprisings in Egypt, Syria and other countries in the Middle East have inspired civil unrest throughout the world, including the Occupy Wall Street movement, said a visiting professor in a Monday talk.

UCLA history professor James Gelvin offered an overview of the 13 month span of events known as the Arab Spring revolutions and uprisings at the event sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern studies. Gelvin presented his book, titled “The Arab Uprisings: What Everyone Needs to Know.”

Over the past 13 months, young people in the Middle East have staged protests for the reformation or replacement of their political systems, Gelvin said. These protests have emphasized the importance of social media in our time, he said.

Gelvin said it’s a part of the job of public historians to address these current events and explain them.

“What most Americans don’t have is an overview of these events and concepts,” Gelvin said. “It’s hard to keep exact track of the events because the media coverage shifts constantly.”

Buzzwords used in the media such as “social media revolution” and even the term “Arab Spring” itself have different meanings than those prescribed by the media, Gelvin said.

“People are looking at this as if it’s something new,” he said. “This has been going on for some time and only a historical perspective can offer an evolution of these events.”…READ MORE

History Buzz January 25, 2012: Kenneth Swopes: Ball State professor recalls his sabbatical in China & research on Ming Dynasty


History Buzz


Ball State professor recalls his sabbatical in China

Source: BS Daily News, 1-25-12


Kenneth Swopes, associate professor of history explains his research about the Ming dynasty while pointing out relics that have helped him with his research. He talked about his findings to students and other professors Tuesday afternoon in the Burkhart building.

A historian of late imperial and northeast Asian military history presented the culmination of his sabbatical findings to a room full of students and colleagues Wednesday afternoon.

Kenneth Swope, associate professor of history, gave students and fellow professors the opportunity to learn more about the Ming Dynasty.

Swope’s research was a self-described overview of the book he wrote, which will be published at the end of this year.

Swope had planned to have the book published sooner, but by “happy coincidence,” he ran into the problem of having more primary sources than he had hoped for while on sabbatical in China.

“A lot of Chinese primary documents out of the archives in Beijing or Nanjing — where the two main archives are — are still published in hardcopy,” Swope said. “They’re not up on the internet or published digitally.”

One collection Swope used for his research was a collection of 102 volumes, about 500 pages each, of copies of handwritten documents from the Ming Dynasty.

The collection is estimated at $20,000-$25,000.

Swope said he read about 48 of the volumes for his sabbatical research.

“With reduced budgets and things, universities libraries aren’t able to buy these things,” Swope said. “So you still have to go there to do research.”

The book, entitled “The Military Collapse of China’s Ming Dynasty,” is the result of several years of work and research by Swope.

Beginning with an introduction from department chair Kevin Smith, Swope talked about the collapse of the Ming dynasty.

Attributing the fall of the Ming Dynasty to Emperor Wanli, Swope made a connection between the dynasty and American politics.

Swope provided reasons for the fall of the ancient power with significant reasons being economic and political factors.

“The first problem was economics, money problems,” Swope said. “Again, this is something we can identify with given the fiscal problems of our own government.”

With the Ming Dynasty, they had large amounts of physical wealth and were far more advanced than many other places in the world because their wealth had increased due to the finding of America.

Citing land taxes as the base of revenue, Swope connected the rich of the Ming Dynasty to part of the country’s economic problems.

“The rich found ways to dodge taxes,” Swope said. “The upper one percent of the Ming Dynasty were dodging all the taxes.”

History Buzz January 25, 2012: James Davis: Civil War lecture to be history professor’s last at Illinois College


History Buzz


Civil War lecture to be history professor’s last at IC

Source: Jacksonville Journal-Courier, 1-25-12

Illinois College invites the community to attend a presentation on how Illinois College and the Jacksonville community were involved in the Civil War.

Historian and Illinois College Professor Emeritus of History James Davis will be speaking on the subject 7 p.m. Wednesday in Room 6 of the Kirby Learning Center. This will be the last chance to attend a lecture by the retired professor before he moves to Michigan this spring.

The program is free and will feature the activities and events associated with the Civil War along with subtopics that include life in the town and college during the war, roles played by Jacksonville and IC during the war, and the impact of the war on the community and nation.

Davis specializes in 19th century American history and has authored three books, including “Frontier Illinois and Dreams to Dust,” which was nominated for four awards including the Parkman Award and the Bancroft Prize.

As a faculty member since 1971, Davis was the first to earn the Harry Joy Dunbaugh Distinguished Professor Award twice (1981 and 1993) and has taken students to do research in places like the Library of Congress and the National Archives. He has also taken students on trips to the Soviet Union, France and other countries, as well as to Civil War battlefields.

During his time at IC, Davis has received a number of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities including three grants to direct Summer Seminars at the college on the American frontier for teachers from all over the country and two grants to study Russian art and architecture in Russia.

History Buzz October 13, 2011: Pauline Maier Constitution worth study


History Buzz



Source: Jackson Sun, 10-13-11

Pauline Maier

Massachusetts Institute of Technology history professor and author of “American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence,” Pauline Maier reminded students from all over West Tennessee that the U.S. Constitution is about the rights of its people.

“(The Constitution) is a result of direct ratification by the sovereign people,” she said. “That alone is extraordinary. It has lasted so long. How many constitutions have other countries written? How long has each one lasted?”

Maier spoke in the 15th annual lecture of the Carls-Schwerdfeger History Lecture Series, held Tuesday night in Union University’s G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel. The lecture was free and open to the public. About 300 people attended.

Maier is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of American History at MIT. She has appeared as a commentator for American Revolutionary documentaries by PBS. Maier also has written several books and articles in historical journals such as the Journal of Interdisciplinary History. She has reviewed books for the New York Times and Washington Post.

“She is a splendid American historian,” said Union President David Dockery on Tuesday. “We are very blessed to have a historian of her caliber to speak here tonight. We are very grateful to the Carls-Schwerdfeger families.”

Maier described the time between Sept. 7, 1787, and Sept. 13, 1788, as a period of endless debate.

“The country had struggled so hard to hold together,” Maier said. “Most controversial of all, the (Constitutional) Convention met in secret. They introduced the Constitution without having public feedback. It was, ‘Take it or leave it.'”

“(1787-1788) was almost a year of extraordinary debate and tumult,” she continued. “The Convention adjourned on Sept. 17. The Constitution was ratified on Sept. 13, 1788. Americans then read the Constitution. They knew it inside and out. They fought about it.”

Maier said many Americans today are unfamiliar with the Constitution.

“Most adult Americans have not read the Constitution,” she said. “At least, not since high school. We have to take it seriously, and it should be an integral part of our educational system.”

Maier said she hopes the American people will realize the worth of their Constitution.

“The fact is that the Constitution is worth understanding and arguing about,” she said. “You only argue about things you care about. We should be concerned about it.”

Charles Ogletree: Civil Rights Seminar Provides Basis for Book


History Buzz

Source: The State, 5-23-11

A day and a half seminar last week in Charleston on the late U.S. Judge Waties Waring and his landmark 1951 dissent in the South Carolina case that led to the overturning of America’s racial segregation laws will be the basis for a book.

The book will be put together by University of South Carolina School of Law professor Lewis Burke and will be an extension of remarks and speeches made at the seminar.

The seminar was called “J. Waties Waring and the Dissent that Changed America.”

“The book will be far more complete, with elaborations and footnotes,” said U.S. Judge Richard Gergel, one of the key movers in putting together the seminar, along with S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal and the State Supreme Court Historical Society.

The 1951 dissent by Waring, made while he was a federal judge in Charleston, in the Briggs v. Elliott case eventually became the basis for the famed 1954 U.S. Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education decision. The Brown decision eventually led to the dismantling of legally sanctioned segregation in America in schools, voting, housing, accommodations, parks, dining, libraries, buses and other areas.

Waring’s dissent in Briggs v. Elliott grew out of a Clarendon County controversy in which local whites refused to do anything about the grossly inferior public schools they made available to blacks.

The historic Brown decision was made of five cases appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in the early 1950s. But in those five cases, Waring was the only judge who said segregation was wrong. Waring’s “fingerprints were all over” the Brown decision, in the words of Harvard legal professor and civil rights historian Charles Ogletree, who spoke at the Charleston seminar….READ MORE

AHA Panel: Historians Criticized as Often AWOL From Public Debate Over ‘War on Terror’


Source: Chronicle of Higher Education, 1-12-11

Many historians say a key difference between the Vietnam War and today’s U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq is that far fewer members of their profession are stepping forward to be public critics of policies associated with the “war on terror.”

Participants in a panel discussion held here last weekend, at the annual conference of the American Historical Association, said historians’ relative silence about today’s policies stems not from agreement, but from trends in their field that have discouraged their scholarly peers from becoming actively involved in public debates.

They argued that historians in academe need to be doing much more to inform policy makers and sway public opinion on matters such as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, by sharing their views with members of Congress, submitting op-eds to local newspapers, giving talks, and reaching out to local activists….READ MORE

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