What We’re Reading: April 16, 2009 Edition

Justice David Souter - The Humanities in a Civil SocietyTo start off this week’s What We’re Reading we note the historians that have won 2009 Guggenheim Fellowships. Then, we point to a video of Supreme Court Justice David Souter speaking on "The Humanities in a Civil Society” and news of the architectural team chosen to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Read articles on the past and future of the economy, how to use Wikipedia as a teaching tool, and ways to “establish learning outcomes for undergraduate majors in history.” Finally, check out museum channels on YouTube, book binding digitization, and, just for fun, the history of White House pets.

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation

  • 2009 Guggenheim Fellows
    The following historians have won 2009 Guggenheim Fellowships (Hat tip):
    • Robert Beachy, Goucher College
    • Jeffrey Bortz, Appalachian State University
    • Kate Brown, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
    • Veena Das, Johns Hopkins University
    • Pierre Force, Columbia University
    • Peter Galison, Harvard University
    • Risa L. Goluboff, University of Virginia Law School
    • Annette Gordon-Reed, New York Law School/ Rutgers University
    • Amy Greenberg, Pennsylvania State University
    • Karen Halttunen, University of Southern California
    • Benjamin Carter Hett, Hunter College/Graduate Center, CUNY
    • Noel Lenski, University of Colorado
    • Theodore J. Lewis, Johns Hopkins University
    • Charles Marsh, University of Virginia
    • Roderick A. McDonald, Rider University
    • Mae M. Ngai, Columbia University
    • Tara Nummedal, Brown University
    • Leslie Peirce, New York University
    • Carla Gardina Pestana, Miami University
    • Jacob Soll, Rutgers University
    • Deborah Gray White, Rutgers University

What Else We’re Reading

  • “The Humanities in Civil Society” – Supreme Court Justice David Souter
    C-SPAN has posted video of Supreme Court Justice David Souter participating in a talk put on by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, where he discusses "The Humanities in a Civil Society."
  • Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture
    The Smithsonian announces that Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup is the architectural team chosen to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture to be located on the National Mall near the Washington Monument. The selection was made by a jury chaired by Museum Director Lonnie G. Bunch III. Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup was among six firms that entered a design competition in January. They will now be asked to respond to an official Request for Proposal to design the new building, scheduled to open on the National Mall in 2015. See also the official press release (PDF).
  • Socialism has failed. Now capitalism is bankrupt. So what comes next?
    That is the question posed by the noted British historian Eric Hobsbawm, in the Guardian‘s Comment Is Free blog (the essay first appeared in the newspaper’s print edition of April 10, 2009). Even while arguing that the future belongs to "mixed economies in which public and private are braided together in one way or another," Hobsbawm goes on to say that the goals of such economies should not merely be "rising income and consumption for a few individuals, but widening the opportunities and what Amartya Sen calls the ‘capabilities’ of all through collective action," even if it requires redistribution of private accumulation.
  • Assigning Wikipedia in a U.S. History Survey
    Jeremy Boggs integrates writing for Wikipedia into his history classes, and produces some surprising results: “students learn that not just anything can be published on Wikipedia, there are rules and policies in place for the content that gets to stay on Wikipedia.”
  • What Should History Majors Learn?
    Sterling Fluharty examines two recent articles on efforts to “establish learning outcomes for undergraduate majors in history” at a number of universities and weighs in.
  • Bookmark These! History Sites on YouTube
    The National History Education Clearinghouse suggests a number of museums that now have channels on YouTube. These include: the Newseum, the Computer History Museum, the Library of Congress, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • Netherlands Decorated Books Collection
    For those doing book binding research, see this collection of Dutch books from 1893 to 1939. Hat tip.
  • The Bizarre History of White House Pets
    With the Obama’s new puppy all over the news the mental_floss blog takes a look back at the history of presidential pets. Hat tip.

Contributors: Noralee Frankel, Elisabeth Grant, Arnita A. Jones, and Pillarisetti Sudhir

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