What We’re Reading: August 2, 2012

Today’s roundup of interesting articles and links from around the web includes news of the called boycott of David Barton’s book The Jefferson Lies, John Fea’s review of James Banner’s Being a Historian, a brief history of U.S. presidents and the Olympics, and more.

News

Cincinnati Area Pastors Urge Boycott of Thomas Nelson Publishers over David Barton’s Book, The Jefferson Lies
The book in question has been deeply controversial since its release. Now, a religious group is calling for a boycott because the book “glosses over Thomas Jefferson’s unorthodox and heretical beliefs about Jesus Christ,” his “racism,” and his slaveholding.

Pew Research Center Study on Rising Inequality in the United States
A report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center shows increasing residential segregation by income “during the past three decades across the United States and in 27 of the nation’s 30 largest major metropolitan areas.”

Education

New College of Florida Promotes Value of a History Degree
Shelby Webb from the Herald Tribune in Sarasota reports on the work of Carrie Beneš, one of the participants in the AHA’s Tuning project.

Ever-Growing Past Confounds History Teachers
NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” picks up on a blog post by Jonathan Rees that discussed a problem faced by teachers of U.S. survey courses—“what counts as 1877 to the Present will only get larger.” NPR asks teachers to respond online to the question: “As time marches forward, how do you make room for the new people and events that make up the recent past?”

Discussions

Being a Historian
John Fea reviews James Banner’s Being a Historian: An Introduction to the Professional World of History, which, he says, “should be required reading for every first-year student enrolled in a history graduate program. There is no other book like it.”

A Conversation with Robert D. Richardson
Robert D. Richardson, acclaimed biographer of Emerson, Thoreau, and William James, talks about the intersection of his own biography with his work as a biographer, offers practical advice on research and organization, and touches on the historian’s need for the imaginative capacity Keats called “negative capability.”

Turning “Plan B” into a “Plan A” Life
Susan Ferber, executive editor for American and world history at Oxford University Press, discusses her life after a history PhD—“Perhaps no one who knows of me as an Oxford editor would think that is the case, but virtually everything in my life since my high-school graduation has been the result of not getting what I really wanted.”

Mind in the Marketplace (Part 1): Taking the Leap into Historical Consulting
Christopher S. Clarke describes how “A combination of luck, hustle, and the enduring benefit derived from eleven years of pre-consulting experience as a museum historian have combined” to make him a “reasonably successful” freelance exhibition developer and consulting historian.

Miscellaneous

A Brief History of U.S. Presidents and the Olympics
Time’s Swampland blog has a series of short pieces on the intersection of politics and sport.

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