Comments Policy: There will be no purely personal attacks, no using the comments section to tease someone else relentlessly, and no derailing the comments thread into personal hobbyhorses. Violators will be dealt with politely and swiftly.
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
- Academic Cog
- Bully Bloggers
- Center of Gravitas (GayProf)
- Chapati Mystery
- Confessions of a Community College Dean
- Constitutionally Speaking
- Corey Robin
- Crooked Timber
- Dame Eleanor Hull
- Easily Distracted
- The Edge of the American West
- Ferule & Fescue
- Joe. My. God.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money
- Legal History Blog
- Madwoman With a Laptop
- New Deal 2.0
- New Kid on the Hallway
- Nursing Clio
- Pat Griffin's LGBT Sport Blog
- Reassigned Time 2.0
- Religion in American History
- University Diaries
- We Are Respectable Negroes
- American Historical Association Blog
- Chronicle of Higher Education
- Inside Higher Ed
- Juan Cole's Informed Comment
- Ms. Magazine
- National Public Radio
- New York Times
- States of Devotion
- Ta-Nehisi Coates/ The Atlantic
- The Book (The New Republic)
- The Book Bench
- The Daily Kos
- The Nation
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...
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
Category Archives: Activist Historian
June 8, 2012, 2:53 pm
….Is more African American history, of course. In the wake of Naomi Schaefer Riley’s ignorant and widely criticized blog post mocking young female scholars just beginning their work in this rich field, so many responses come to mind.
Riley, who seemed to have been genuinely surprised at how poorly the idea of closing African American Studies department was received, responds to her critics here and here. In both pieces she seems to be arguing that having a political viewpoint about a field entitles you to criticize anything and everything about it, as if you had actually read the scholarship. She also suggests that, as a journalist who is not an academic, she should not be held to standards of accuracy when she…
May 17, 2012, 2:00 pm
I have received a lot of thoughtful reactions to the TEDx talk posted below, not only in the comments section, but in private communications as well. Responding to one new colleague who wrote me a gracious note, I admitted that I was a little self-conscious about the “ums” and “ahs” that punctuate my performance.
The more I have participated in visual and aural media as a scholar, the harder I have worked to eliminate speech quirks that I find distracting and amateurish. Everything is now memorialized on line, and anything not said well on the first take is recorded forever. Some of my performances sound embarrassingly unpolished to my own ear, and are discouragingly unlike the confident, fluent PBS Newshour talking head that I long to be. As I listen to …
May 9, 2012, 9:45 pm
In case you missed this on April 14 2012 (which you did if you weren’t one of about 200 people at TEDx Connecticut College, “Rethinking Progress”) my talk just got posted to the TED site by the fabulous students who put on this event. Enjoy. And admit it: like me, you’re grading. You don’t want to read anyway.
April 20, 2012, 12:19 am
I was sitting in the lobby of the Milwaukee Hilton and a civilian came up to me. “Hey,” he said: “Have I seen you on the History Channel?”
“Uh, probably,” I said. There are three different documentaries about crime in the 1930s that feature me as a talking head. From time to time, someone makes the connection: the working class family who lives across the street, a small child on the subway, and my all-time favorite, the men at the men’s shelter on Third Street in lower Manhattan. Because of this, I think the History Channel is one of the most popular enterprises ever created: not only do people love history, but I suspect that institutions – prisons, shelters, halfway houses – leave it on all the time because it is completely non-controversial.
“But you know …
April 8, 2012, 12:53 pm
I am currently operating about a month behind on much of my professional mail because of the job-switch thing. Therefore, it wasn’t until I was riding the train last week that I picked up on American Historical Association President William Cronon’s article, “Professional Boredom” (Perspectives on History, March 2012, 6-7.) Without explicitly linking his thoughts to the job crisis, Cronon raises some issues about how we evaluate the quality of historical work, and what the consequences of defining the category of “good history” might be.
Cronon’s piece reminded me of a turn of phrase that irritates me more the older I get, which is characterizing a scholar or a piece of work by that scholar as “smart.” Most of us do it, but it either means nothing (original? well done? fun to read?) or it means way too much (“I have put X in the smart bin and that is that.”) What is worse is to…
March 31, 2012, 4:20 pm
Those of you who have friends at Rutgers University, New Jersey’s flagship R-I, know that, like many public institutions, it has had to absorb deep cuts in state funding over the past few years: last year it lost 15% of its budget.
Those of us who have been in the position of managing cuts at the departmental and divisional level for the last few years have all kinds of stories to tell. Personnel cuts are often directed at the most vulnerable workers: remaining secretarial staff and administrative assistants have to take on more work; food, sanitation and maintenance services get “outsourced” to for-profit companies; and the adjunct teaching force is cut (see how flexible it is to hire faculty by the course? Milton Friedman told you this was a good idea!) Best case scenario for all non-administrative staff is that positions vacated through retirement or other voluntary means (this…
March 19, 2012, 7:29 pm
Today my editor wrote to say that he was actually holding our new book in his hand! It was the hardback edition, which I think is worth your eyeteeth to own if you are not on a library acquisitions budget. Soon, however, the University of Georgia Press will be rolling out and shipping copies of Doing Recent History: On Privacy, Copyright, Video Games, Institutional Review Boards, Activist Scholarship, and History That Talks Back for the mean, lean paperback price of $22.95. Reserve yours by clicking the link above; by going to Powell’s (where you can see the whole table of contents and register to win free books by commenting on ours); or Amazon (where you save no money, get no table of contents, but may qualify for free shipping.)
Better yet, why don’t you mosey into your local independent and/or university bookstore and say, “YO! Where’s that book edited by Potter and Romano…
March 14, 2012, 1:38 pm
If there is anything better than spring break, it’s spring break in a warm place. And if there is anything better than shaking off the gloom of our Northeastern non-winter with a little southern sunshine, it is visiting places that you have imagined through the study of literature and history.
Wait — being an adult means not being dragged around to museums, national landmark homes and other edifying places whenever you go on vacation? Aw, c’mon.
This year’s break is in the Florida Keys, where I have never been but have always wanted to go as I am a fan of Everything Ernest Hemingway. For those of you who have only gone to resort-y places in Florida, or whose visits are confined to relatives living in planned communities, it is a truly…
October 25, 2011, 11:08 am
Judith Butler, a leading voice in the resistance to university budget cuts in the California System, declares solidarity with Occupy Wall Street:
(Tenured Radical’s fingers upturned and wiggling.) Hat tip.
See below for my own views of the crisis in education and its relationship to the Occupy movement. Related links include:
Occupy Education, a website carrying messages from adults and children “that challenge public school to become something more than it is – messages that dare public school to serve students’ passions instead of politicians and vendors’ coffers.”
Jayna Brown and Jack Halberstam on “the US fall.”
The brilliant Chauncey DeVega on “An Inevitable Challenge? Of Race, White Privilege and the Occupy Wall Street Movement.”
March 3, 2011, 6:00 pm
|A piece of the Berlin wall at the RRPL|
This morning at breakfast I was shamelessly eavesdropping on a group of men who, I came to understand, are local car dealers. I suspect that they are also the kind of guys who meet once or twice a week for breakfast because they like each others’ company and it gives them a chance to have a real conversation at least once that day. As I sat down at the next table, one of them was holding forth about hybrid and electric cars. “The part I don’t get,” he said to his friends, “is that the people who buy them are actually believing the horse pucky that electric vehicles are better for the environment than gas powered vehicles.”
“Yeah, well just wait until someone gets stuck out in the desert in one,” his friend said. They all contemplated that for a while. “It’s just like all the opposition to nuclear energy,” another one of the guys volunteered….