Library of Congress introduces its World War I collections

21 Jul

Gayle Osterberg alerts the public to what the Library of Congress will be offering in the months leading up to the centennial of U.S. entry in the Great War: World War I: Time to Recall What This War Was About | Library of Congress Blog

Unremembered

15 Jul

What we do not remember. That’s most of history, isn’t it? Most names are not remembered, most stories not inscribed on shields or written in books or displayed on walls. Yet the procession of human history depends upon these things: the lives of the unremembered, the relationships they forged, their hopes and aspirations, and their triumphs and their laments. It’s inevitable that we’ll join them one day.

Although it appeared last month, I am still pondering Stephanie Paulsell’s Christian Century column about some art friezes along the Tiber River in Rome by William Kentridge. One of them simply says (in Italian; see the photo above) “what I do not remember.”

In light of the all the deaths in the news this past week or two, Paulsell’s comments above, and more, hit home for me and my work as a historian. Yes, remembering is what we historians try to do–that is, get our audience to remember. Yet, how elusive remembering is …

Source: Unremembered: William Kentridge’s frieze of Roman history | The Christian Century

The Pokémon Pandemic is Upon Us…Go Wash your Hands

14 Jul

Blogger Sarah Angleton has some astute observations here that connect Pokemon Go with history …

thepracticalhistorian

In February of 1512, a Spanish Conquistador named Juan Ponce de León received a royal commission to pillage, plunder, and claim the rumored islands northwest of Hispaniola. King Ferdinand specifically wanted this honor to go to Ponce de León, a Spanish son of a good Spanish family, because he did not want to cede any more power to Diego Columbus, the uppity son of that silly Italian fellow who’d done all the exploring for them in the first place.

Ponce de León had travelled to the New World initially on the second voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1493. Though it’s not clear what he did in the meantime, by 1504 he became the right hand man of the appointed governor of Hispaniola, Nicolás de Ovando, by effectively squashing a rebellion by the native Taínos.

Juan_Ponce_de_Leon Juan Ponce de Léon, pillager, plunderer, and Pokémon Trainer extraordinaire. Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Thus…

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Defining Evangelicalism

14 Jul

Evangelicalism, then, was the application of enlightenment ideas about self and society to Protestantism. And the core conviction this produced was the belief that God interacted primarily with individual believers. In today’s parlance, it was the conviction that authentic faith consists first and foremost in a “personal relationship with God.” Believers spoke to God in prayer, and God spoke back through the Bible. Moreover, God confirmed the authenticity of this faith through tangible, empirically-measurable evidence. This shift was revolutionary. Evangelicals summarily dismissed over a thousand years of tradition that held God engaged humanity as a community—the church—and established human authorities—educated and ordained ministers of the Word—for the sake of order. It also overturned the traditional evidence of faith: entrance into the church community through membership and faithful participation in the life of the church.

So argues historian Tim Gloege–and I find his argument rings very true to what I have found in my studies and experience.

Source: The Crisis of Corporate Evangelicalism, Part 2 – Defining Evangelicalism

Empathy, racial reconciliation, and the study of history

13 Jul

My mostly digital friend John Fea (we have physically met), historian at Messiah College, begins an astute op-ed for evangelicals here at the Christian Century site: On Sunday, after a tragic week …

Source: Empathy, racial reconciliation, and the study of history

Empathy, racial reconciliation, and the study of history

13 Jul

My mostly digital friend John Fea (we have physically met), historian at Messiah College, begins an astute op-ed for evangelicals here at the Christian Century site:

On Sunday, after a tragic week of race-related killings in Dallas, Minneapolis, and Baton Rouge, I took a seat in my white evangelical middle-class megachurch in central Pennsylvania. I didn’t know what to expect, but as the sermon began I found myself pleasantly surprised.My pastor used his scheduled sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37) to address the issue of race in America.

Source: Empathy, racial reconciliation, and the study of history | The Christian Century

Speed Limits–A Recommendation

10 Jul

Speed has become the measure of success–faster chips, faster computers, faster networks, faster connectivity, faster news, faster communications, faster transactions, faster delivery, faster product cycles, faster brains, faster kids, faster lives. According to the gospel of speed, the quick inherit the earth.

How did this new world of speed emerge, and why does it seem to be inescapable? …

[Further], [a]s some people speed up, others slow down; as some people work more than they want, others work less than they want or even not at all; as some people get “ahead,” others fall “behind.” What “winners” and “losers” in this new fast-paced economy share are the insecurity, anxiety, and discontent that speed creates.

So begins Speed Limits, by Mark C. Taylor (formerly professor at Williams College, now at Columbia University).

I am not quite finished with this book. However, I want to recommend it now because it seems so relevant to so many things now, e.g., FB, news, politics, violence, markets, games, gadgets, drugs, the Internet. It has been a long time since I have read something like this that helped me put together so many things about contemporary Western culture and society. Taylor ranges widely: history, religion, philosophy, technology, economics, finance, education, etc. His book is a marvelous example of liberal arts interdisciplinarity–all to the end of understanding better much of where we are now culturally. For a digitally-challenged senior like me, it has been refreshing to find someone older than me who can pull together so many threads of so many things that I am barely aware of, let alone comprehend.

If you are in higher education, this is the sort of book that would be worth having a faculty workshop on. It would also be worth having various college staff read it as well.

Pardon the irony, but: make haste and read it!

john pavlovitz

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