What We’re Reading: April 26, 2012
Today’s roundup of interesting articles and links from around the web includes reports on the 2012 Jefferson Lecture, HNN coverage of the OAH/NCPH annual meeting, a look at never constructed buildings in Washington, D.C., the connection between history and law, 101 nonfiction stories, and more.
- 2012 Jefferson Lecture: Wendell Berry Laments a Disconnection From Community & Land
In the 2012 Jefferson Lecture, which took place this past Monday, Wendell Berry “delivered a characteristically eloquent yet scathing critique of the industrial economy and its toll on humanity.” Also check out Inside Higher Ed’s report.
- HNN Coverage of OAH/NCPH Annual Meeting
The joint annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians and National Council on Public History, which AHA Deputy Director Robert Townsend attended, took place last Wednesday, April 18 to Sunday, April 22. HNN was there, recording video, reporting on award winners, and providing coverage of each day.
- AAUP Election Results Reflect Backlash Against Recent Leadership Decisions
AAUP elections prompt a critical blog post from ACTA, "Whither Academic Freedom?", followed by a strongly-worded response by John K. Wilson at Academe Blog.
Glimpses of the Past
- Map of Unbuilt Washington
The National Building Museum’s exhibit Unbuilt Washington features “unrealized proposals for noteworthy architectural and urban design projects in Washington, D.C., from the 1790s to the present.” To coincide with the exhibit they’ve created an online interactive map, featuring the locations of the unrealized projects and the drawings of what was not to be.
- Dirty pages reveal medieval fears, prayer habits
An innovative approach to book history’s long standing questions on reading habits and reception: Measure the amount of dirt on each page. Dr. Kathryn Rudy of the University of St. Andrews uses a densitometer on medieval prayer books, and claims, "through analysing how dirty the pages are we can identify the priorities and beliefs of their owners." Hat tip to The History Blog.
- New Racism Museum Reveals the Ugly Truth Behind Aunt Jemima
The Atlantic covers the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, due to open April 26 at Ferris University in Michigan.
- Dusting Off First Drafts of History
Andrew Nagorski, a journalist during the collapse of the Soviet union reflects on the maxim that "journalism is the first draft of history" and notes that often what reporters get wrong is more valuable than what they get right.
- Can Students Learn Law "Without Knowing One Whit of History"?
The Legal History Blog’s Karen Tani is in a discussion on the uses of history in courses on poverty law. Amy Wax, Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at University of Pennsylvania Law School, is skeptical that history can help with today’s most important domestic policy questions: "I submit that all these questions can be meaningfully addressed without knowing one whit of history."
- Shift Happens
David Weinberger looks back on Thomas Kuhn’s pivotal book , The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
- 101 Spectacular Nonfiction Stories
Conor Friedersdorf has posted his annual roundup of some of the best recent journalism. In this collection he includes Evan Fleischer’s “The Last Two Veterans of WWI,” Ariel Dorfman’s “My Lost Library: Books, Exile and Identity,” Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “The Legacy of Malcolm X,” and much more.
- Jargon To Jabberwocky: 3 Books On Writing Well
How well historians write has been a concern for probably as long as there have been historians writing (see our recent blog post “Debating ‘Professional Boredom’ in History” and the 1926 AHA report, “The Writing of History.” Historians and others looking to write for a wide audience may be interested in checking out the three books profiled in this NPR Books article.
Contributors: Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, Allen Mikaelian
This post first appeared on AHA Today.
Please read our commenting and letters policy before submitting.