Category Archives: historiography

December 11, 2014, 10:07 am

And The Dead (Fields of History) Shall Rise Up

jefferson-davis-in-a-dress-1865-caricatureFollowing on the public hissies being thrown about the demise of The New Republic, there is apparently another cause for concern about the death of intellectual life as we know it: the history of the Civil War is being miserably neglected.

This will surprise many people. Am I the only one who remembers that some years back the Journal of American History announced that it was no longer accepting everything written about the Civil War for review? This was not because of an unreasoning prejudice against these books, but because they were completely awash in them and there were many other fields that needed the space.

Fact: military histories of the Civil War are staples for some university presses. They are not being published because they are exactly interesting, but because there is a solid and dependable market for Civil War and local history. There are enthusiasts out there who…

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January 15, 2010, 3:26 pm

Colonialism and Its Consequences: A Few Thoughts After Listening To NPR Today

Why do even good news reports allow US government officials to talk unchallenged about the grossly underdeveloped economy in Haiti (which amplifies disasters like the recent earthquake because of substandard housing and thin state resources that snap when taxed) as if it has nothing to do with centuries of European and American colonialism? In this story Timothy Carney, who was the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti from 1998-1999, speaks of the Duvalier regimes as emblematic of Haitian governments who “bled their people dry.” Well yes, but weren’t the Duvaliers and others virtually in the formal employ of Cold War-era United States foreign aid programs while they did that? And didn’t the United States think that an oligarchical regime that kept its people brutally policed was a good defense against Communism? And didn’t the United States keep Haiti in its thrall by foisting a crushing load of…

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November 7, 2009, 2:31 am

Hip-hop History Channel: Alexander Hamilton Rules

Snap along with Barack and Michele Obama as Zenith alum Lin-Manuel MIranda tells the life story of Alexander Hamilton, in the persona of Aaron Burr. Awesome. Hat tip.

May 17, 2009, 11:54 am

“Clarence Walker Can’t Say Those Things, Can He?” A Review of Mongrel Nation: The America Begotten by Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings

Any of us who know Clarence Walker personally are well aware that he can, and does, say those things. He is the Molly Ivins of the historical profession, a razor-witted, capaciously well-read scholar and critic of scholars, who is often seen at professional gatherings holding court in the hotel bar or leading a large group out to a fabulous restaurant. Because Clarence is my friend, I am immediately disqualifying myself as an impartial reviewer of his new book, Mongrel Nation: The America Begotten by Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009.) But on the other hand, since he sent me a free copy and I enjoyed it so much, I have to express my gratitude somehow. So in an act of fandom, as well as friendship, I am going to try to persuade you to read this delightful book too.

Now, you may say to yourself, “I have read so much on this topic, …

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May 3, 2009, 12:14 pm

Will Barack’s Little Dog Bo Be Next? Annals of Tearoom Journalism

I was going to write about something completely different today. Then, when pulling together my URL’s for that post, I ran into this commentary at Gawker headlined: “Bill O’Reilly Wonders Why Gay New York Times Reporter Acts So Gay.”

Needless to say, I clicked, since it is part of my DNA to click on all things that promise gayness.

Apparently Jeff Zeleny, a New York Times reporter who is, in fact, gay, asked Barack Obama what has most “enchanted” him about being President in the first 100 days (along with what has surprised and humbled him.) Media Matters was the first to report what millions of Fox News viewers saw shortly afterwards, which was an exchange between Bill O’Reilly and Bernard Goldberg that you can view for yourself here, along with Zeleny’s original remarks:

Goldberg went on at length about the lack of masculinity displayed by the reporter as O’Reilly chuckled in a…

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March 24, 2009, 2:17 pm

Readers Take Note: More on Judith Bennett’s History Matters

The Judith Bennett Roundtable continues over at Blogenspiel where Another Damned Medievalist chimes in on History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism.

March 16, 2009, 1:58 pm

Teach This Book! Judith Bennett’s History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism (Part 3 Of A Blogfest)

Note: those of you who have not yet discovered this series may wish to begin with the post by Notorious, PH.D. (March 2), and proceed to Historiann’s contribution (March 9). As a bonus, who but our very own Historiann would have the ova to refer to Lawrence Stone as a “complete tool” — not once, but but twice, baby! I ask you. This was what Joan Scott meant when she referred to “Stone’s explicit patriarchal posture” in a 1985 letter to the New York Review of Books, rendered into that earthy English patois so typical of historians working on the American 17th century.

OK, I admit it. I am one of those twentieth century feminist historians Judith Bennett is speaking to in History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), historians who have given little thought to the practice of premodern history. No — wait just a…

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