Wednesday, June 15, 2005

History Carnival #10

Welcome to History Carnival #10, the "Aluminum and Tin" anniversary of this particular blog roundup in which we, your humble synthesists attempt to cobble together something roughly approximating a narrative by culling the nooks, crannies, pedestals and ditches of the internet for the best history blog posts we can find. There were a lot of politically tinged posts in this one, and I included every submission I received, so I attempted to balance out some of the more contentious debates. Hopefully, I was successful.

To quote an old Maine fisherman, "I don't know much, that's all I know." This salty paraphrase can also serve historians well. As such, I cast my net far and wide and hope that my bountiful harvest can add fuel to your intellectual fire. (Yes, the mixing of metaphor's was decidedly on purpose. I'm trying to have some some fun here...) The topics are roughly organized by some theme, though it may be discernable only to me, and it should also be obvious that many, if not most, of these posts could be cross-classified in any number of ways. Finally, it's tough following in the giant footsteps of "the Creator," but I shall try. Well then, off we go!

In the beginning...(at least relatively speaking)

Andy at Egyptology News is keeping tabs on the important and controversial archaelogist Zahi Hawass (1, 2, 3) while Jim Davila discusses pseudepigrapha. (Definition provided for those, like me, who have no idea what "pseudepigrapha" is.)

Welcome To...Medieval Times!

Alterior reminds us that there were some successful medieval businesswomen who managed to break through the stained-glass ceiling. Barista takes a look at the medieval diet. Paul at Country Reports offers a two-part (1,2) post on his favorite German castles while The Gray Monk offers a post on a historical church. Magistra et Mater compares medieval and modern emotions. Despite this wealth of interest in the era, Prof. Blogger is pessimistic about the job prospects for a medievalist.

People are People...

Melinama at Pratie Place digs for some historical treasure on the origins and background of the pirate Jean Lafitte and disovers that there really was no mystery after all.

Laura James investigates the true crimes of one Countess Tarnowska, "The Russian Enchantress."

The Little Professor boils down the "canon" of works all good Victorians must know and admits to guilt when an otherwise canonical author's lesser work simply doesn't measure up.

Kenneth R. Gregg
writes about the classical liberal economist Harriet Martineau.

Barista expels a breath over some of the pioneers of hot air ballooning in Australia.

The Energizer Bunny of U.S. Historiography or Debating the American Founding and its Legacy

Ralph Luker hosted a symposium to discuss Barry Gewen's historiographical review article "Forget the Founding Fathers." He elicited a positive response from Gewen, too.

Callimachus observes that the old triumphalist history of the U.S. has been replaced by a different, more cynical triumphalism. Maybe he should talk to Tom Corrente, who, after correcting High School AP History exams, laments that students are parroting back "the usual mythological meta-narrative about the Revolution."

The Civil War Era (Minus Ken Burns!)

Multiple Mentality attempts to clear up a few "myths" about the Civil War while Dimitri Rotov remarks upon the centrality of numbers in Civil War history and how they are manipulated to make narratives more compelling.

Mark Grimsley delves deeper into the background of Emmett Till while Chris at Outside Report leads with Till's recent exhumation in a broader essay on Southern Reformation (past and present) and the people who he is "surprised" to find enabling it. Eric Muller and his commenters discuss the arguments for and against slavery reparations and Dr. History takes issue with an analogy in Freakonomics that compared the KKK with. . . real estate agents(?!).


Steve Feinstein quotes Winston Churchill on the inherent unpredictibility of war plans and uses a failed U.S. air raid on Romania in WWII to illustrate his point. Ironman at Political Calculations remembers the Korean War. Wretchard discusses John Keegan and the problem with contemporary applications of Just War Theory. Claudia's Last Defender of Bucharest is offered without comment.

"New York, London, Paris, Munich, everybody's talking about pop" culture. . .

Nils Gilman thinks there are deeper historical and sociological reasons for the media's constant, breathless reporting on missing white girls. Derek Charles Catsam reviews the new movie Cinderella Man and finds it both good and (mostly) accurate, though a tad "treacly." Alex Soojung-Kim Pang discovers that the designers of the "new," retro-looking Ford Mustang took some inspiration from the past, including recreating the sound of a particular muffler, and wonders if a historical sound has been recreated for such a reason before. 100 Word Minimum took a picture, wondered about the history that lay behind it, and found out. Kudos!

Behind the Green Door

The revelation that Mark Felt was the (in)famous "Deep Throat" has everyone talking, and Rob MacDougall has some "Deep Thoughts" of his own, which includes information on some other secrets that the Washington Post has been holding back. Sherman Dorn takes another tack and uses Mark Felt, George Wallace and Anakin Skywalker in a query as to whether redemption is conceptually an individual or a collective act.

Caleb McDaniel points out in his "crude version of the often romanticized history of jazz and drugs" that before sex, drugs and rock-n-roll, there was sex, drugs, and jazz. (And before that?) Meanwhile, Scott Kaufman takes a peek under Clio's blouse and finds what we'd expect.

"The corner of first and first. . . the nexus of the Universe" or where History, Religion and Science intersect

Mano Singham examines Intelligent Design theory through a historical microscope (or would it be a macroscope?) and thinks science has nothing to worry about. Yet, according to the study of Studi Galileiani, it was the scientists themselves who created the problem when they initially decided to use flawed rhetoric to refute creationism in the first place.

Brandon at Siris provides some contextual analysis concerning Pierre Duhem's "Physics of a Believer" in an attempt to better understand how Duhem could be both a positivist and a scientific realist. Sarah Elshazly posts a story by David Storobin on how DNA has linked Israelis and Palestinians, which calls into question some of the historical presumptions made by each.

History with a Religious "flavor"

Nate Oman sees links between Mormons, Greek Religion and immortality and Kirby at Christian Origins investigates the "little textual problem of Mark 2:26."

Tony at Storyteller's World is looking for advice on writing a particular church's history. Perhaps he can look to David Gleicher, who began blogging his institutional history of the early years of Chicago's Hebrew Theological College in May (he continues, with parts 2, 3 and 4).

Jonathan Dresner considers his own mixed emotions over the revelation that Pope John Paul II's personal papers weren't destroyed as had been ordered by the Pontiff.

Ahistoricality offers a strange-but-true story that couldn't have been made to speak!

Historical Theories and Concepts

Rob at Detrimental Postulation pondered three formulations of "History's Dreams of the Future." Robbie Taylor's alternate histories make counterfactual dreams of the past, but Scott Eric Kaufman (deja vu) believes such alternate histories are based on a concept of oversimplified historical causation.

The Head Heeb opened a colloquy on the applicability of the term or concept of "apartheid" to various political systems throughout world history.

Chapati Mystery examines the concept of Empire and offers a bountiful buffet for comparative historians (aforelink is to a topic index that includes all six posts) while Seth Sanders has his own ideas about empire.

Lorraine Berry at Culture Kitchen asks, "What Is History Allowed to Teach Us?"

Final Historian warns that "the internationalization of the local" will lead to conflict throughout the next century.

Spinning Clio: History and Politics or a lame and obvious attempt to start a meme with a self-referential sub-heading

There was a big discussion over a conservative list of "bad" books with Kevin Drum, Matthew Yglasias, Ken Masugi and Joseph Knippenberg just some of those who joined in the ideological fray. It also served as a jumping off point for Eric at Classical Values who offered up his "Ten Most Harmful Musical Compositions of the 19th and 20th Centuries." (Personally, I take exception to the inclusion of G-N-R's Appetite for Destruction. Welcome to the Jungle, Eric!) Dave Beito was inspired and thought that a list of the ten worst Presidents would be worth compiling and offers his own nominee for #1. Hint: It's a big "Deal."

Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities theorized that everyone could be Hitler someday and offered a helpful list to prove his point. In response, Orac called for an end to using the "H-(Hitler) Bomb" as a rhetorical device, but some still didn't listen so he mentioned it again. (Besides, once the Fuhrer enters the room, the debate has probably "Jumped-the-Shark").

Michael L. Trent posts about the Senate's apology for not previously passing anti-lynching legislation and John Hinderaker offers one reason as to why the Senate was so tardy. The State of... offers a theory concerning the more contemporary political motivations behind the effort while Dave Niewart considers lynching a hate crime and calls for something other than this "appallingly hollow gesture." With all that said, David Hardy offers that it's the Supreme Court, not the Senate, that should be doing the apologizing.

Ray Girvan wondered about the political agendas behind historic "then-and-now" pictures of the British landscape and Razib examined old traditions that are actually relatively recent in their formulation. The CrankyProfessor remarked upon the apparent usefulness of a bad historical analogy.

Hugo Schwyzer recaps the history of the gay rights movement, Mark Schneider looks back at the 60's and says "radical leftist politics has always been essentially elitist and anti-democratic," and Chris Bray finds similarities between the rhetoric of some modern American conservatives and that of 20th century communism.

An op-ed by a relative of a 9/11 victim has caused Jeff Jarvis (and here and here) to be suspicious about the history that will be told at the tangentially affiliated International Freedom Center located near the World Trade Center Memorial at Ground Zero in New York City. Barbara O'Brien claims "sour grapes" are behind the same op-ed. Setting the prospective or suspected historical content of the IFC aside, I'm not sure whether it's appropriate to have a historical presentation so physically close to such an emotional memorial in the first place.

Sharing the Methodological Wealth

Kelly in Kansas passes along the idea of "real-time" blogging historical diaries, an idea that Samuel Pepys has taken up from beyond the grave. Exploratoria also regularly links to travelogues both historical and personal, such as the diary of Robert Whyte, an Irish immigrant to America c.1848. Sharon Howard is doing some deep digging in the archives (and part 2). Yes, I actually envy her. (Admit it, you do too!)

D.B. Light calls attention to the website of social anthropologist Alan McFarlane as an example of how academics can share their research with the broader public and Paula Petrik provides us with a method to use footnotes and endnotes within a blog and points to another resource, too. No more excuses!

From the Mouths of Babes

After digesting all of the above, I urge you to read and reflect upon what Hiram Hover's five-year old son thinks about historians. (A little humility would do us all some good).

Happy Reading!

There you have it, History Carnival #10 is in the books. Thanks to all of the contributors and nominators, especially Sharon Howard, Ralph Luker and Jonathan Dresner. And don't be afraid to host one of these yourself!

The next carnival will be on Friday, July 1 and will be hosted by Brandon Watson at Siris. Email submissions and nominations to him at branem2[at]branemrys[dot]org.


Anonymous said...

Great job, Marc. Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for your efforts, Marc. Great work!

dearieme said...

Your chum Callimachus quotes someone as writing "Nowhere do we learn that Americans were ...first to fly across the Atlantic...". Just as well, don't you think?

Marc said...

Heh, well, Callimachus isn't exactly "my chum" as I've never corresponded with him/her. S/he's just someone whose post I linked to for the Carnival. (That's not to say I wouln't some day be their "chum" though). As far as the substance of your comment, I'm not up on my aviation history and perhaps I'm being thick, but I'm not sure what you're getting at. If you think there's a factual problem, you should probably bring it up with Callimachus. "I report, you decide." Or something like that.

dearieme said...

Just a friendly tease: so many Americans are indoctrinated with the belief that Lindbergh was first across. Not even close; he was the first to cross solo. It comes to something when even historians.....

Marc said...

No problem, so who did cross first?

Callimachus said...

Marc, Thanks for the link to my little post!

When I quoted the Frontpage article about Zinn's book, I figured the writers were making the common error of omitting the qualifying adjective "solo" from the sentence "Americans were first in flight, first to fly across the Atlantic." Like Dearieme, I figured they had Lindbergh in mind. But that error was not relevant to their point, or to mine.

However, now that I check into this, it gets more complicated than I knew. The British fliers Alcock and Brown made the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic, which I always thought was the first crossing.

But according to this article:

a man named Albert Read had crossed the Atlantic some weeks before them, west-to-east, stopping at the Azores along the way. Read was an American and a U.S. Navy officer. So it seems that the strict reading of the wording of the Frontpage article does fit the facts.

I didn't know that, though, and I'd be half surprised if they knew it, either.

Caleb McDaniel said...

Congrats on a great looking carnival, and thanks for the link! I'm looking forward to working my way through these!

Marc said...

Thanks for "clearing" that up! I found an article that confirmed your last fact. Btw, nice to make your acquaintance. Now perhaps we can be "chums"!

Callimachus said...

"Chums," lol. I guess that means we'll be tossed off the back of the same boat, to feed the same sharks.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Nice work, Marc! (Are you the marc who comes by my blog sometimes?)

Anonymous said...

Why do you (and so many others) use the word "carnival" for these things?

Who started it? Where did it come from? Is there some cultural or literary reference on which the term is supposed to be based?

I haven't found any dictionary definition for "carnival" other than the one we all already know. And since there are no rides, games or sideshows here, I'm curious why the word has come to be used in this context.

Marc said...

Another Damned...
Yep, that's me, and I really like your site. Though I'm technically an "Americanist," my minor is in Medieval and I was allowed to do my Master's Thesis on a medieval topic. (It's in final review). That just goes in line with my particular "non-traditional" pursuit of a history degree. But that's a story for another day...

Marc said...

Yes, I'm familiar with being that type of chum.

Re: the whole "Carnival" thing. First, it all started "way back" in 2002 with the "Carnival of the Vanities." Why he chose to call it a "carnival", well, ask him. Then, as further proof of the "imitation is the ...flattery" bit, others followed.

Anonymous said...

Excellent work, Marc, and thanks for saving my skin. Last thing I need is for people to associate me with myself. (I'm kidding, by the way, I'm proud of who I am, even when I write about, er, stuff.)

Eric said...

Nice work! And thank you for the link!

Anonymous said...

Honoured. Truly. The fact that you highlighted my brilliant work about old excreta and hot air says enough about me to leave me helpless with laughter. Those posts are some of my personal faves.

- barista

Chris said...

Great job Marc! Thanks much for includiing us over at OutsideReport.

dearieme said...

Marc, Mr C: thanks for the tip about Read; I hadn't heard of him either. Hats off to you historians!

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Wow, Marc -- Thanks! In terms of carnival, the idea os one of the world turned upside down -- think, for example, of the carnival in "Hunchback" Isn't the 'Carnival of the Vanities' kind of a combination of that and the 'Bonfire of the Vanities'? (the Savonarola one, not the one by Tom Wolfe)

Jerry A. said...

Many thanks! Flattered to be included here, and encouraged to roam slightly farther afield (though it's always going to come down to archaeologically excavated texts, which are the only way we can know anything, after all...)