What We’re Reading: September 13, 2012

Today’s roundup of interesting articles and links from around the web includes important news related to the job market, an update on the Aoki controversy, and a free ITunes course sponsored by NARA.

Discussion Related to Employment in Academia

Restricted Entry: At Inside Higher Ed, coverage of the debate surrounding a job ad that required: “Ph.D. in English or American Studies or closely related area awarded between 2010 and time of appointment.” Critics, according to Inside Higher Ed, claim this excludes those who “those who earned their doctorates before 2010 and have been unable to secure tenure-track jobs because of the bad job market.” The article mentions an AHA statement on age discrimination.

Push for Full Disclosure: Also from Inside Higher Ed, Kaustuv Basu covers the AHA’s new transparency statement that suggests history departments should publish placement records of where their graduate students find employment. 

AHA and Employment: Recent Activities Concerning the Job Market and the History Student: Allen Mikaelian writes for AHA Today detailing several important items the AHA has recently addressed in relation to transparency, jobs off the academic track, and contingent faculty. 

For those entering the job market, there are countless informational resources available on the web, including Minding Your Manners for the Conference Interview, How To Save A Bad Interview, Cover Letters and C.V.’s for History Job Seekers, and a how-to video produced by the AHA for job seekers at the AHA annual meeting.

History in the News

Uses of History: Is 2012 like 1980? A line in a memo from the Romney campaign, attempting to downplay recent polls showing Obama pulling ahead, claimed that “Political campaign historians will recall President Jimmy Carter led Ronald Reagan by a near double digit margin late in the fall in 1980.” This is just the latest attempt to compare the 2012 election to the one that led to the stinging defeat of Jimmy Carter.. The comparison has found supporters (here, here, and here) and detractors (here, here, here, and here).

America Transformed: The Pivotal Year 1619: We are seven years away from 2019 and the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans at Jamestown. The AHA is pleased to see Norfolk State taking an early look at this central event in American history.

FBI Files Reveal New Details about Informant Who Armed Black Panthers: Seth Rosenfeld, author of a new book on 1960s radical activism in the Bay Area, defends his claim that Richard Aoki was an FBI informant by presenting and analyzing newly released documents. Rosenfeld’s claim has been questioned by activists and academics, and many continue to question the claim (here, here, and here).

New York State’s Curious, Century-Old Law Requiring Every City and Town to Have a Historian: At the Atlantic Cities, a look at official historians in New York state. AHA executive director James Grossman, interviewed for the piece, notes the law is a result of the late 19th-century “local history rush,” and explains that “Cities began using history as an economic asset.”

The Death—and Life—of Small Downtown America: Kaid Benfield for The Atlantic reports on the decline and local business disinvestment from downtowns across America.

In Praise of Presidents Who Aren’t Good Family Men: Historian Michael Kazin argues in The New Republic for a new model for measuring presidential candidates beyond their familial relationships. 

Historic Visions of the Future: A slideshow of postcards produced between 1899 and 1910 that predict what life would be like in Paris in the year 2000. 

Wiki Loves Monuments Photo Contest: The online encyclopedia wants your photos of sites in the National Register of Historic Places, and will award vouchers for photography equipment to the winning entries. So far, 6,965 photos have been submitted, and can be viewed here.

Activities Related to Access and Library Lending

Superman, Grab a Book: A New York designer puts a lending library into a New York City pay phone kiosk. Thus far, he has installed libraries in four kiosks.

ITunes U: United States Constitution by National Archives and Record Administration: In celebration of the upcoming Constitution Day (September 17), the National Archives is offering a free course titled Exploring the United States Constitution, as well as blog posts, online articles, videos, documents, and activities for the iPad. 

Lies, Damned Lies, and Open Data: With governments releasing more information than ever, David Eaves from Future Tense writes about the future impediments to the open data movement and the issues of credibility and reliability.

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