What We’re Reading: July 12, 2012

Screen Shot of History Hits the Campaign TrailToday’s roundup of interesting articles and links from around the web includes the 2012 Public History Reader’s Survey, writing for history buffs, an interesting French take on AHA President William Cronon’s “Professional Boredom” piece, Google Maps extended, and more.

News

2012 Public History Readers Survey
The National Council on Public History is seeking information from a wide variety of practitioners, educators, and students about how they receive information on public history. Please assist by responding to the 10–15 minute survey.

History Hits the Campaign Trail
Campaign Stops, a New York Times blog, picks up the work of Washington College’s “Historically Corrected” project with a look at recent uses of history by President Obama and Governor Romney.

Confidentiality Right Rejected
Inside Higher Ed covers the federal appeals court decision to allow a subpoena of oral history records at Boston College pertaining to the IRA, despite promises to interview subjects of lifetime confidentiality. This adds to previous precedents, and serves as a reminder that oral historians should be very wary about promising confidentiality.

Discussions

Workingman’s Constitution
Also at Campaign Stops, William E. Forbath (Univ. of Texas) argues that “liberals must remind Americans of the constitutional promises and commitments” that we must heed “in attending to the economic needs and aspirations of ordinary Americans.”

Writing for History Buffs
Alexandra M. Lord, founder of the Beyond Academe website, defends the “history buff” in an article at the Chronicle, and discusses The Ultimate History Project, which publishes articles by historians outside the academy.

Screen shot of Histoire Sérieuse et Histoire Grand PublicHistoire «Sérieuse» et Histoire Grand Public : La Concurrence des Histoires?
An interesting French take on AHA President William Cronon’s “Professional Boredom” piece, which refers back to a 1926 AHA report on the same subject (which was chaired by the French ambassador to the U.S.). Seems that the sins of academic writing are not exclusive to this side of the Atlantic.

The Difference between Live and Taped Lectures
Arthur Camins of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute reflects on the great lectures by historians Harvey Goldberg and George Mosse, and why they can’t simply be recorded and still retain their full power.

Why Can’t the Bronx Be More Like Brooklyn?
Adam Davidson for the New York Times Magazine writes aboutthe Bronx’s inability to catch up with other boroughs’ economic growth and moves towards gentrification.

Miscellaneous

Google at the Gates
The “street view” feature of Google Maps extends its reach inside the campuses of 27 colleges and universities across the United States, and many more around the world. Steve Kolowich from Inside Higher Ed discusses the implications.

Proper Grammar as a Matter of Fashion
John McWhorter, professor of linguistics, American studies, and Western civilization at Columbia University, discusses the changes in English grammar, and why “Linguists insist that it’s wrong to designate any kind of English ‘proper.’”

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