What We’re Reading: May 8, 2008 Edition

This past week we’ve been reading a lot of news, and share it with you now in this week’s What We’re Reading. The news of historian Charles Tilly’s death last Monday has been reported around the blogosphere (and therefore you may have already heard), but we link to a remembrance by Claire B. Potter. Also find links to a joint statement on Iraqi records from two organizations, support for a Senate bill from the American Library Association (ALA), reports that the Smithsonian will maintain control of the Arts and Industries Building, and a symposium honoring Gerhard Weinberg by the German Historical Institute (GHI). Other less newsy topics in this post include a Q & A with David Kyvig, Lisa Spiro’s survey of digital materials, a look how academia views biographies, trial proceedings of Old Bailey, and books by and on Michel de Certeau. Finally, we turn once more to Jonathan Rees’s use of YouTube in class, and how he’s looking for your input on what you use.

  • Charles Tilly Dies, April 29, 2008
    Claire B. Potter, also known as Tenured Radical, remembers Charles Tilly, after finding out about his death on April 29th.
  • SAA/ACA Joint Statement on Iraqi Records
    Society of American Archivists (SAA) and the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) recently released a joint statement "on the fate of records captured or otherwise obtained by the U.S., and those removed by private parties, during the first and second Gulf wars."
  • Library Group Favors Senate Over House Bill on Orphan Works
    The Chronicle’s Wired Campus blog reports on the American Library Association’s opinion on a Senate bill on orphan works and copyright.
  • Smithsonian to keep control of Arts and Industries Building
    The Smithsonian has decided to hold onto the Arts and Industries building, “keeping open the possibility that it could one day become a Latino history museum.”
  • Perspectives on National Socialism, Global War, and the Holocaust: Symposium in Honor of Gerhard L. Weinberg
    A recent symposium was held by the German Historical Institute to honor historian and AHA member Gerhard L. Weinberg. See the GHI web site, linked above, for a rundown of the speakers.
  • New book by prize-winning NIU historian
    David Kyvig’s new book on impeachment will be launched next week, but Northern Illinois University offers a brief Q&A preview.
  • How Many Texts Have Been Digitized?
    Lisa Spiro (director of the Digital Media Center at Rice University’s Fondren Library) offers an interesting survey of the availability of digital materials using the bibliography of her 2002 dissertation on 19th-century bachelorhood. She found 83 percent of her primary sources and 37 percent of her secondary sources, and promises a follow-up on qualitative issues. This will be well worth following.
  • Biography, the Bastard Child of Academe
    Steve Weinberg of The Chronicle writes on how “[a]cademe has generally disdained the art and history of biography.”
  • The Proceedings of Old Bailey (1674 to 1913)
    Records of crime and punishment in that green and pleasant land across the Atlantic are all set up now to yield up a treasure trove of people’s history, as trial proceedings of the Old Bailey in London have been posted online for free access. Genealogists, social historians, and the merely curious can dredge through the records of 197,945 trials held from 1674 to 1913 to find all sorts of fascinating bits of evidence about an England and its people in transition.
  • The Quest of Michel de Certeau
    Books by and on Michel de Certeau (1925-1986), the celebrated French intellectual and Jesuit scholar who is best known perhaps for his Practice of Everyday Life, are discussed in a long review article in the New York Review of Books, by Natalie Zemon Davis, president of the AHA for 1987 and the Henry Charles Lea Professor emeritus at Princeton University. She provides in this review essay a lucid and accessible analysis of Certeau’s work, situating it in its intellectual context, and finding, in the process, interesting resonances and intersections with two of Certeau’s exact contemporaries–Michel Foucault, and Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI.
  • What are the best YouTube clips for classroom use?
     Jonathan Rees wants to know which YouTube clips you use in the classroom. Two weeks ago we linked to his post about how to use YouTube when teaching history (also see his article in the May issue of Perspectives on History), but now is your chance to add to the discussion.

Contributors: Elisabeth Grant, Arnita Jones, Pillarisetti Sudhir, and Robert Townsend.

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