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Contributors to this collection, edited by Claire Potter and Renee Romano, consider the wide range of challenges the practice of contemporary history poses. These essays address sources like television and video games, the ethics of writing about living subjects, questions of privacy and copyright law, and the possibilities that new technologies offer for writing history. Doing Recent History offers guidance and insight to any researcher considering tackling the not-so-distant past. Buy the Book
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The Chronicle Blog Network, a digital salon sponsored by The Chronicle of Higher Education, features leading bloggers from all corners of academe. Content is not edited, solicited, or necessarily endorsed by The Chronicle. More on the Network...
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Claire Potter's is the first book to look at the structural, legal, and cultural aspects of J. Edgar Hoover's war on crime in the 1930s, a New Deal campaign which forged new links between citizenship, federal policing, and the ideal of centralized government.
War on Crime reminds us of how and why our worship of violent celebrity hero G-men and gangsters came about and how we now are reaping the results.Buy the Book
Oh That Liberia! Or, Why Every Supermodel Needs A Liberal Arts Education
August 6, 2010, 12:23 am
Diamonds are not always a girl’s best friend. At least, not when they are given to her by agents of a head of state who is supporting a criminal insurgency; when she has gone and lost them; and when an international criminal court wants to know what she was doing with uncut, contraband stones in the first place.
Life as an international supermodel is, of course, super-full of important commitments — beside which investigating rape, murder, slavery and impressing children as soldiers in a civil war surely pales. After reminding the judge that “it was a big inconvenience” for her to appear at the war crimes tribunal at the Hague, where a UN special court is trying former Liberian president Charles Taylor, supermodel Naomi Campbell admitted that she she had received a bag of “dirty pebbles” at 1:30 A.M. after having dinner with Taylor at South African President Nelson Mandela’s house in 1997. Campbell, who says she is used to strangers dropping off gifts in the middle of the night, said she didn’t know the rocks were blood diamonds. As she explained, she is used to diamonds being “shiny” and “in boxes.”
Oh! Aren’t we all, darling? And that cross Campbell is wearing (she is in the white dress, standing to Taylor’s right) is encrusted with shiny diamonds, so you can see why Girlfriend was confused.
The famously ill-tempered Campbell claimed that she gave the “small, dirty looking stones” to Jeremy Ratcliffe, who runs Mandela’s children’s charity in South Africa, but they haven’t turned up since. Taylor claims he had nothing to do with the trade in illicit diamonds, with which he is accused of having been paid in exchange for funding the dirty war in neighboring Sierra Leone.
Asked whether she had been flirting with Taylor at the dinner, and whether he had promised to send her a few diamonds, Campbell said that was nonsense: she had no idea who Taylor was, had no idea what blood diamonds were, and — this is where the liberal arts education would have helped — had never heard of Liberia before that night. This is particularly odd, since Campbell is said to be associated with a number of charities in the region, and claims to have a passionate interest in sub-Saharan Africa.
But perhaps its just the continent she cares about (a common problem among Europeans and Americans, many of whom speak about “Africa” as if it were one country.) Or perhaps it is only people who live a little further “sub” who capture Campbell’s interest. Below is an April 23 2010 film clip of Naomi Campbell caring so deeply about the war-torn region in and around Liberia that she has not yet come up with a cover story about the blood diamonds, agreed to testify at the trial, or even admitted that she knew Taylor was present at the dinner.
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