What We’re Reading: June 13, 2013

Today’s What We’re Reading features a roundtable of links from historians on the recent NSA scandal, a “gripping” history of ice cream, more on MOOCs, real life inspirations for Game of Thrones, and much more!

Historical Perspectives on NSA Revelations

Two long views argue that this is nothing new. Walter Pincus recalls “a little history and a little law,” and concurs with a statement he attributes to Professor Harry R. Rudin: “the two peoples most willing to trade civil liberties for personal security were the Germans and the Americans.” And Foreign Policy has been grabbing attention with the headline: “America: Choosing Security Over Liberty Since 1798.”

Stephen Adams for Dispatches from Economic History offers a look at the history of Silicon Valley’s long running relationship with the federal government in “Silicon Valley’s Long History of Government Codependance.”

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History in the News

A Historian’s Guide to Summer—The Ice Cream Edition

Nursing Clio blogger Sean Cosgrove offers a “gripping, and topical, tale of historical nastiness, mixed with a touch of twenty-first-century intrigue” history of ice cream.

Learning from Taksim Square: Architecture, State Power, and Public Space in Istanbul

Heghnar Watenpaugh at the Society of Architectural Historians blog: “For an architectural historian, it is no accident that both the great plans to remake Taksim, as well as the way protestors’ speeches and actions often invoke history and architectural memory to buttress their arguments in the present.”

News in the Humanities

Academic Researchers Using Crowdfunding Platforms

In the face of diminishing federal research funds, a growing number of academics are crowdsourcing their scholarly projects.

Some Long Term Perspective on the “Crisis” in Humanities Enrollment

Ben Schmidt pokes at the data used to argue that humanities enrollments are dropping precipitously. “I suspect we’re probably better if we don’t buy into the narrative of collapse at all. More people are majoring in humanities fields. More books are being published in them. Whatever problems we have, they’re not really about quantity.”

Digital Media News

UPenn’s Stephanie McCurry to Lead MOOC on History of Slavery

Historian Stephanie McCurry joins a growing stable of professors experimenting with the MOOC format. While more academics test the proverbial waters, Cary Nelson, former president of the AAUP, voices concern over faculty members’ intellectual property rights.

How to Do Research on the Movies

An interesting narrative about film archives on History News Network by author Thomas Doherty, with particular regard to the discussion of how digitization has and hasn’t changed the research process, and how serendipity can shape what ends up in the archives.

When Artworks Crash: Restorers Face Digital Test

If “a Web-based work becomes technologically obsolete, does updated software simply restore it? Or is the piece fundamentally changed?”

Every Library and Museum in America, Mapped

A set of heartwarming data and an uplifting map from the IMLS showing that there are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the US..

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Fun and Off-beat

The Real-Life Inspirations for Game of Thrones

Laura Miller at Salon sees shades of the Wars of the Roses in the battles over Westeros.

LES Bid Selects “Babel Blocks” for Delancey History Fence

History in the form of street art.

 

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