With nominations for the 2nd Annual Cliopatria Awards opening soon, I thought I'd offer up some of my best/favorite posts over the past year. Sure, I'd like some of 'em nominated (if they deserve it), but I also think it's a worthy exercise in and of itself. Blogging can get a little ephemeral and rediscovering one's own work may inspire further investigation down a forgotten path. Anyway, they are with a brief blurb about each:
Meet the new boss, will he turn out like the old boss?: Prompted by a Peggy Noonan column about the insular elite, I tied in a discussion of a "new elite," Glenn Reynold's Army of Davids, Alan Taylor's William Cooper's Town and Turner's frontier thesis.
I Like Medieval Women (Especially Queens) : An introduction to the study of medieval queens, with a few suggested readings.
A Positive Historical Baseline : I argue that we should be truthful about the missteps in America's past, but "[w]e should teach our kids to give their own nation and those who built it the benefit of the doubt" when first exposing them to American history.
The Historiography of the Early Middle Ages and National Homogeneity : After reading a piece by Götz Aly on re-contextualizing the Holocaust in which he mentions the medievalist Jacob Burchhardt, I delved into how current medievalists have shown that the concept of ethnically pure nation-states was a myth.
Qualifying Bennett's Jefferson: How Jefferson Was Able to Wage War on the Pirates : An excerpt from William Bennett's America: The Last Best Hope seemed to me to give too much credit to Thomas Jefferson--and to be too dismissive of the efforts of George Washington and John Adams--for how the U.S. finally dealt with the Barbary Pirates. In short, Jefferson used a Navy that he had previously and repeatedly tried to scuttle.
Historical Consumerism : Historian Stephen Fry spoke about why history matters and I explained why, and how, I discovered it matters to me.
And there you have 'em. The six bests post of the past year, IMHO.