James Grossman of the American Historical Association has a few words to the wise about “using” history …
History isn’t a ‘useless’ major. It teaches critical thinking, something America needs plenty more of30 May
At the Chronicle of Higher Education, philosopher Michael Patrick Lynch offers some helpful perspective on the Digital Age here:
It is this combination that makes Google-knowing distinctive: at once seamlessly integrated into individual experience but outsourced and guided by the preferences of others. It is both in and out of our heads. That is what makes it so useful, and also so problematic. The Internet is at one and the same time the most glorious fact-checker and the most effective bias-affirmer ever invented.
For Lynch’s entire piece, see here: Teaching in the Time of Google – The Chronicle of Higher Education
Q&A: Historian Amy Greenberg says curriculum revisions miss a major part of the story.
Is it a comma or a period? This was the central question on June 23, when historians, archivists, and history enthusiasts gathered at the National Archives for “Punctuating Happiness,” a 16-scholar symposium on one of the most iconic documents in US history—the Declaration of Independence—and its renowned phrase: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It may seem that whether the punctuation mark following the last word is a period or a comma is but a small point of uncertainty, but in fact it has inspired further inquiry into the circulation of the text in print culture, the work’s interpretation from the time of its composition to today, and the document’s gradual deterioration, to name a few. The gathering’s takeaway, however, was that the Declaration is not merely one text with one meaning, but many texts supporting a multitude of interpretations.
For Stephanie Kingsley’s full report on the NARA symposium at the American Historical Association site, see here: After “Happiness”
Sacramento State student says she was kicked out of class for arguing that Native Americans were victims of genocide15 Sep
With various working definitions of genocide, debates about the term’s application to historical events can get heated. But can such debates ever get a student kicked out of class? That’s what a sophomore at California State University at Sacramento says happened to her, after she challenged a professor who allegedly said the term “genocide” wasn’t appropriate for U.S. settler and government actions against American Indians. The university disputes the student’s account, saying she was not kicked out of class, but it’s further investigating exactly what happened. Reports about the dispute have already spread widely among Native American advocates and scholars.
At InsideHigherEd, Colleen Flaherty reports on a case of how/how not to teach in a way that allows for differing interpretations of the history of U.S.-American Indian relations. Read the full report here: Sacramento State student says she was kicked out of class for arguing that Native Americans were victims of genocide | InsideHigherEd
Despite common perception, the university is a profoundly conservative institution whose core value remains the preservation of the cultures and traditions of the past. Permit the utilitarian winds of today to blow unchecked, and tomorrow we will wake up with our cultural heritage in shreds.
To paraphrase John Donne, every German department’s death diminishes me.
As a historian, I find much to agree with in the words of Kathryn Lynch, an English professor as well as a dean at Wellesley College (see above).
The immediate issue that brings her words is the proposal to weaken tenure at the University of Wisconsin campuses. However, tenure is not the real issue, according to her; rather, it is the value of the seemingly useless humanities. Read her entire essay here: Cutting the liberal arts undermines our cultural traditions – The Washington Post.
What the past teaches is that few things are self-evident, that the truth is less unbending than we might wish.
So notes journalist Ted Gup. And, he has a point, I think. Talking about the past is becoming more, not less, polarized–or so it seems. Read Gup’s entire piece at The Chronicle of Higher Education here: You Have Your History, I Have Mine – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.