What We’re Reading: April 30, 2009 Edition
Can it really be the last day of April already? As this month rounds up, we round up too, with links to recent rankings and winners, current events, and articles on a variety of topics. Read the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of history programs, hear how President Obama measures up in his first 100 days, and see who ArchivesNext is calling the Best Archives on the Web. Then, check out how the stimulus bill will help the National Park Service, learn of recently unearthed Ben Franklin letters, reflect back with the ACLS, and see NPR’s take on the history of the flu. Finally, sift through a hodge podge of links covering topics like oral history policies, wine, the Titanic, and more.
Rankings and Winners
- History – Ranked in 2009
U.S. News & World Report has released their rankings for history programs in 2009. While we remain dubious about the validity of these rankings, particularly given the wide variation in expertise among particular field specializations, they do offer an impressionistic view of how other members of the discipline perceive the departments.
- Commentary: Give Obama an ‘incomplete’
Historian Julian E. Zelizer, who participated in the election 2008 forum at the 123rd Annual Meeting, comments on President Obama’s first 100 days in office, and compares him to past presidents.
- Winners: 2009 Best Archives on the Web Awards
The ArchivesNext blog announces what their judges deem the Best Archives on the Web for 2009 (and a few honorable mentions). Some of the winners include: Historical Notes from OHSU, Mapping Our Anzacs, and Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century.
- National Park Service Stimulus to Help Historic & Cultural Sites
The National Trust for Historic Preservation reports on how the stimulus bill will aid some National Park Service projects, but raises concerns about how maintenance of historic structures is being neglected.
- New Ben Franklin Letters Discovered in London
Discovered by Alan Houston (UC-San Diego), the sensational find centers on Franklin’s interactions with Gen. Edward Braddock in 1755, when Braddock led a failed expedition to capture French Fort Duquesne in modern-day Pittsburgh. There is more information on the find in the next William & Mary Quarterly.
- ACLS Humanities E-Book
Our colleagues at ACLS Humanities E-Book reflect on ten years (extending back to when they were History E-Book) and speculate that "[t]he print monograph and journal…are succumbing to the pressures of the economic crisis."
- Looking Back at the Flu
The flu has made headlines for nearly a century—the Spanish flu, the avian flu, and now the swine flu. Browse through NPR’s picture show illustrating history’s solutions to an enigmatic virus, such as gargling and wearing a facemask, which are precautions people still take today.
- UMKC’s Respectful Oral History Policy
Zach Schrag highlights a model institutional review board policy at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, which takes a sensible and nuanced position on oral history.
- Living in History
A recent study, spearheaded by psychologist Norman R. Brown from the University of Alberta, looked at the ways in which historical events shape lives, scientifically referred to as "historically-defined autobiographical periods" (H-DAPs). “The results of this study indicate that it is epoch-defining public events — those with personal significance, and not necessarily historical importance — that cause personal memory and history to become entwined, leading to the formation of H-DAPs and causing us to ‘live-in-history.’”
- Song of the Vine: A History of Wine
Cornell University Library presents an online exhibition covering the history of wine making. Detailed information on the history of wine is accompanied by images of artifacts, illustrations, and documents.
- How Historical Fiction Went Highbrow
Roberto Rodriguez talks about the Key West Literary Seminar in this article from The Atlantic, and considers reality and imagination in historical fiction.
- The last Titanic survivor, rescued aged nine weeks
Millvina Dean is the last living Titanic survivor. Hear her story, and see the Titanic memorabilia she’s auctioning off to pay her nursing home bills. Hat tip.
- Ghost Buildings of 1929
The New York Times takes a look at buildings that never were, due to the stock market crash of 1929.
Contributors: David Darlington, Elisabeth Grant, Jessica Pritchard, and Robert B. Townsend
This post first appeared on AHA Today.
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