AHA Today

What We’re Reading: February 18, 2010 Edition

AHA Staff | Feb 18, 2010

2010 Distinctive DestinationsDue to last week’s winter weather and office closing we’ve rolled two What We’re Reading posts into one.  First off, hear from Patrick D. Tardieu about threats to Haiti’s cultural heritage. Then, check out articles on sociology and religion, budget cuts in Britain,  NTHP’s dozen distinctive destinations, merging history and the language arts, history on the moon, and history in Antarctica. We also have two film links: one on Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness and the other on “The Death of the Biopic.” In the digital history category, read about digitally reuniting documents, online textbooks, and experimenting with new technologies. We still have a few more weeks left in February, so we’ve put together a number of Black History Month links on a North Carolina sit-in site, Black History in Virginia, Oregon’s black pioneers, and Frederick Douglass. And finally, just for fun, see a graph of what one wore to college 70 years ago and take a quiz on your knowledge of presidential history.

  • Pulling Haiti’s Culture From the Rubble
    The Chronicle speaks with Patrick D. Tardieu about the threats to Haiti’s cultural heritage. Tardieu is chief conservator at the Bibliothèque Haitienne des Pères du Saint Esprit and director of the library at the University of Quisqueya.
  • Sociologists Get Religion
    Following on the heels of the AHA’s study about the rise of religious history, Inside Higher Ed reports on a new study (PDF) highlighting similar trends in sociology.
  • Writing off the UK’s last palaeographer
    Budget cuts are hitting higher education in Britain, as well as the U.S. The
    Guardian reports that a proposal to eliminate palaeography at King’s College
    in London has caused an uproar–and some questioning about how that fields
    relates to other disciplines such as history.
  • 2010’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations Offer an “Embarrassment of Riches”
    Each year, for the past ten years, the National Trust for Historic Preservations puts together a list of places to visit that have maintained a distinctive character and that have “a strong commitment to historic preservation, sustainability and revitalization.” This year they’re looking for your favorite spot from the twelve they’ve selected. Vote now and be entered to win a free two-night stay at any Historic Hotel of America.
  • Is this on the test? Integrating American history into language arts
    Jenny Wei, an education specialist at the National Museum of American History, discusses ideas on how to merge history lessons with language arts education.
  • History on the moon
    The State Historical Resources Commission in California is taking steps to preserve the 106 artifacts left on the moon during the 1969 landing.
  • History of Antarctic Exploration is Riddled with Tragedy   
    Antarctica is a bit of an enigma, clouded with visions of penguins, polar bears, and ice caps. Read the tragic tales from early adventures to the tundra by brave men who put everything on the line to learn more about this enigmatic continent.


  • Herskovits Film Now Airing on PBS Independent Lens
    The American Anthropological Association recently noted on their blog that the film Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness, which won this year’s AHA John E. O’Connor Film Award, will be airing on the PBS program Independent Lens.
  • The Death of the Biopic
    Newsweek reporter Ramin Setoodeh asks "Are Biopics History?" Biographical films about Charles Darwin and other notable historical figures are hardly turning a profit, and seem near extinction. But biopics about lesser known figures such as Erin Brockovich are doing well in the box office. Setoodeh suggests that the example of shows like "The Tudors" may point the way forward.

Digital History

Black History Month

  • Fifty Years Later, N.C. Sit-In Site Becomes Museum
    The Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., was the location of sit-ins by the Greensboro Four in the fight for desegregation 50 years ago this February. Today the International Civil Rights Center and Museum “will open to the public for tours of exhibits depicting life under Jim Crow, the power of civil disobedience, and, of course, the famous lunch counter that played a key role in this country’s civil rights movement.” Watch a video recounting the historic sit-in from CNN and listen to the story on NPR’s Morning Edition.  
  • Rare Stories of Black History in Virginia
    The Manassas Museum just opened their new exhibit Sites and Stories: African American History in Virginia this past Tuesday, capturing rare stories as told on the roadside historic markers that pepper the sides of Virginia roads.
  • Oregon’s Black Pioneers
    In an effort to surface and preserve Oregon’s black pioneers, the Oregon Northwest Black Pioneers is currently planning to build a museum in Salem, Oregon to retell the stories from these pioneers. The article contains two interactive features: 1- You can roll your computer mouse over one of five pictures of black pioneers to hear their individual stories; and 2- You can watch two videos that talk about black history in Oregon and the influence of these pioneers on the state’s history.
  • Ticket reveals speech by Frederick Douglass
    Sifting through papers donated to them, the Stamford Historical Society came across a ticket from May 24, 1888 addressed to the Hon. Frederick Douglass. With a little bit of research, they soon discovered that the legendary Frederick Douglass gave a speech on race, injustices, and hypocrisy. 


Contributors: Debbie Ann Doyle, Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, Jessica Pritchard, and Robert B. Townsend

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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