What We’re Reading: August 30, 2012

Today’s roundup of interesting articles and links from around the web includes important news on federal record-keeping, confessions of a seventh-grade history teacher, and lively discussion of census collection by a group of historians on H-SHEAR.

News Related to History This Week

Overhaul of Federal Record-Keeping Ordered by NARA: The National Archives and Records Administration and the Office of Management and Budget announced a major overhaul in record-keeping policies: : “Federal agencies must manage all permanent electronic records in an electronic format by December 31, 2019, and must have plans to do so by December 31, 2013.”

Men Defining Rape: A History: Mother Jones covers definitions of rape from the Code of Hammurabi to Todd Akin.

Photographer of Iconic Burning Monk Photo Dies: Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Malcolm Brown died Monday night. Browne is responsible for the iconic “burning monk” photo that sent shock waves across the globe and caused the Kennedy administration to re-evaluate its Vietnam policy. Browne was 81.

Debates on India’s Past Continue

The debate on modern Indian history provocatively initiated by Perry Anderson (in three articles to which this series referred in earlier editions) continues with a clutch of incisively trenchant letters (from Karuna Mantena, Rosinka Chaudhuri, Ananya Vajpeyi, and others) in the August 30, 2012, issue of the London Review of Books.

Readers intrigued by this discussion may find resonances in an earlier, more contentious debate in the pages of the London Review of Books in November 2011 between Pankaj Mishra (who was profiled a few days ago in the New York Times and whose new book, From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia, was recently reviewed for the Financial Times by Mark Mazower of Columbia University) and Harvard University historian Niall Ferguson, the author of Civilization: The West and the Rest, the book that was the focus of the debate.

Discussion Related to Education

Confessions of a Seventh-Grade Texas History Teacher: A personal look at Bobby Jackson, a seventh-grade teacher who uses a variety of teaching methods to re-energize the topic of Texas history for his students. Thanks to Backstory with the American History Guys for the share.

Tenure 101: Written by Steve Saideman for Inside Higher Ed, this piece outlines the steps and materials departments generally expect tenure candidates to provide when they are up for tenure review. This is especially useful for history professionals early in their careers, as preparation for a critical hurdle on the path to academic success.
Lonely Men on Campus: Student Veterans Struggle to Fit In: In the Atlantic, student veterans discuss their alienation from campus culture.

Fun with History This Week

Census Reliability in the Early Republic: the H-SHEAR listserv has been animated in recent weeks by a conversation among listserv about the reliability of census materials, especially during the early 19th century. The conversation grew organically over a series of weeks and offers a rich amount of examples of inaccuracies and possible solutions for the diligent researcher. Thanks to the Jacksonian America blog for posting this thread.

District Comics Tells Unconventional Stories Using Unconventional Means: A 250-page comic book that traces D.C. history in 22 illustrated comic strips.

Identifying Historic Photos? Think Outside the Social Media Box: History@Work on using “traditional” media to crowdsource.

Researchers Identify Present-Day Turkey as Origin of Indo-European Languages: By using new methods of research, a group of researchers has announced in the latest issue of Science that it has identified present-day Turkey as the source of the Indo-European language family.

This Week on Kickstarter

Two projects from devastated regions. The Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum in New Orleans is seeking funds for planned exhibits to “ensure that the unique culture and history of this neighborhood is not forgotten.” In Franklin, Kansas, a community hit hard by a tornado in 2003, the Miners Hall Museum is raising funds to have murals on the side of buildings evoke the old mining town.

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