What We’re Reading: October 13, 2011 Edition

This week we’ve rounded up responses to Anthony Grafton and Jim Grossman’s "No More Plan B" article, linked to Governor Scott questioning the value of liberal arts degrees (and the American Anthropological Association’s response), and noted poor storage conditions for the collections of the National Museum of American History. Also find articles on the history of protests in America, Steve Jobs’ archives at Stanford, distance education, Google Books and copyright, and a map showing the rise of newspapers across the U.S.

No More Plan B - The Historical SocietyNo More Plan B
AHA President Anthony T. Grafton and AHA Executive Director Jim Grossman’s article “No More Plan B,” which challenges the idea that history PhD’s first career choice should be a tenure-track job, has generated some great discussion. Below we roundup a few articles posted in response:

  • “No More Plan B”—Apocalypse or Opportunity?
    Dan Allosso takes to the Historical Society blog to argue that “[E]ach of us grad students can find a way out of the “Plan B” trap, by deciding what we do that benefits society."
  • More Ph.D. Puzzlement
    Rohan Maitzen at Novel Readings suggests that there is an "elided step" in the logic of the Grafton/Grossman proposal.
  • No More Plan B - Chronicle

  • Dissertations vs. Journal Articles for Grad Students
    Using the “No More Plan B” proposal as a springboard, Michael Ruse (chair of the history of science department at Florida State) asks whether the dissertation is useful for students going on to careers outside of academia.

News

Occupy Wall Street

  • CNN Occupy Wall StreetWall Street protest’s long historical roots
    Nicolaus Mills, professor of American studies at Sarah Lawrence College, looks back at the history of political movements (including Coxey’s Army in 1894 and the Bonus Marchers in 1932) that have led up to the Occupy Wall Street protests, in a report for CNN.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs ArchiveEducation

  • Learning at a Distance
    The U.S. Department of Education reports that one in five undergraduate students were enrolled in some distance education course in 2008. That marked an increase of 250% in just 8 years!
  • Big History on Campus
    Kaustuv Basu details a new trend towards teaching "Big History"—from the big bang to the present—that is taking shape around the country. With the help of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation the movement has even spawned a new organization, the "Big History Association."

Google Books

  • Google Books & its discontents
    Shane Landrum at Cliotropic questions the way Google Books represents the past depending on a reader’s location, in an effort to accommodate different copyright laws.

US Newspaper MapMaps

Contributors: Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, and Robert B. Townsend

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