What We’re Reading: October 22, 2009 Edition
In the news this week, AHA President Laurel Thatcher Ulrich has won a prestigious award, the Gates Foundation has donated a significant amount to the African American History and Culture Museum, and a Russian historian has been detained for violating “privacy laws” in his research. We also link to two articles on the history of healthcare. One comes from the History Guys and another from James Mohr, history professor at the University of Oregon. Then, peruse images that have been faked, drawn, or added to Flickr. There are also a number of other articles on a variety of topics, including: Google Books, open access, the value of a college education, a new Lincoln exhibit, and the National Book Awards. Finally, we round this post out with a little fun: creepy songs from the Library of Congress archives.
- AHA President Laurel Thatcher Ulrich Wins Kennedy Medal
Last Thursday, October 15, AHA President Laurel Thatcher Ulrich became the 10th recipient of the John F. Kennedy Medal of the Massachusetts Historical Society. This award recognizes distinguished service to the cause of history. See also the Harvard Gazette’s coverage of the event.
- Gates Foundation Gives $10 million to African American History and Culture Museum
The Smithsonian announced last week that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed $10 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is expected to open in 2015.
- Russian historian arrested in clampdown on Stalin era
Michael Suprun, a Russian historian who studies the treatment of German prisoners in the Soviet gulag system, has been detained by authorities for violating state "privacy laws" for his research. This is part of a larger crackdown on historical research that prompted a letter of concern from AHA president Gabrielle Spiegel last year.
Health Care and History
- Body Politics: A History of Health Care
From the History Guys, this podcast explores “the origins of the health care debate, and try to explain how we wound up with a system so different from the European model.”
- What’s Wrong with American Healthcare?
James Mohr, history professor at the University of Oregonand editor of New Perspectives on Public Health Policy, discusses the current healthcare situation against a historical backdrop. He explains, “We have to find ways to combine what is positive and unique about our system while eliminating the historical anomalies that make it unsustainable.”
Photographs and images
- The Case of the Inappropriate Alarm Clock – Part I
Propaganda is nothing new, especially political propaganda. In his seven-part series, The Case of the Inappropriate Alarm Clock, Errol Morris explores the government’s photo fakery from the summer of 1936 drought. See also Part Two of The Case of the Inappropriate Alarm Clock, where Errol Morris sits down with James Curtis, a professor emeritus at the University of Delaware, to discuss the calculated manipulation of the Farm Security Administration’s famous photographs.
- Herblock – Through the Eyes of History
The Library of Congress opened up their new exhibit, Herblock!, this past Tuesday, chronicling the works of Herb Block, a legendary Washington Post political cartoonist. Having covered 13 presidential administrations, Block, in many ways, became a part of history. In this Washington Post article, Michael Cavna asks his cartooning colleagues “to share their remembrances about him and/or insights about his work to share their memories of Block’s work.”
- Mathew Brady Photos on Flickr
The NARAtions blog announces new Mathew Brady Civil War photos they’ve added to Flickr.
- Settling the Google Book Debate
Erick Schonfeld, co-editor of TechCrunch, weighs in on the Google Books debate.
- Income models for Open Access
Anyone interested in the economy of scholarly communications will want to read SPARC’s new study on Income Models for Open Access. It is light on details and a little too oriented to the sciences, but it offers a terrific conceptual overview of the issues with a really helpful taxonomy and a good list of different open access projects.
- The Way We Live Now – The College Calculation
This article from the New York Times examines calculating the value of a college education in difficult economic times. It asks some tough questions like: Is a "return on investment" really the best metric available? What do we do with people who start a four-year program and don’t finish? And how will colleges and universities cope with increasing enrollments during hard times (as people go to college rather than tough it out in the job market) while higher education budgets are slashed?
- Lincoln and New York
The New York Historical Society is hosting an exhibit on Lincoln and New York through March 25, 2010. No time to travel? Visit the exhibition web site to explore items, peruse related curriculum materials, and learn more about Lincoln and New York. Hat tip.
- National Book Awards – 2009 Finalists
The National Book Foundation, which hands out the annual National Book Award, has announced this year’s finalists. The winners will be announced November 18. Hat tip.
- Songs That Go Bump In The Night
Though it’s not quite Halloween yet the Library of Congress offers a collection of spooky songs from their Performing Arts Encyclopedia. Some of their finds? “Dooligan’s Ghost” from 1892, “The Dead Actress” from 1888, and “The Ghost that Never Walked” from 1904.
Contributors: David Darlington, Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, Jessica Pritchard, and Robert B. Townsend
This post first appeared on AHA Today.
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