What We’re Reading: July 18, 2013

Today’s What We’re Reading features historians suing the New York Public Library, a gendered perspective on the Heart of the Matter report, five national parks you must see, and much more!

History in the News

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The Governor’s Bad List

Daniels vs. Zinn: Round II

Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed on the controversy surrounding Purdue University president Mitch Daniels, concerns over academic freedom in higher education (particularly as it relates to the study of American history), and the work of Howard Zinn.

The History of the Filibuster, in One Graph

Old, but still in relevant to today’s news, Ezra Klein for WonkBlog offers a graphical representation of the history of filibusters.

Decline and Fall of the History Men

Daniel Johnson laments “the end of history as the central pillar of high culture and national identity” in a long essay. “History in this sense is not the same as historiography or historical scholarship, of which there is more than ever before.… What has become problematic is the assumption that general historical knowledge, an informed consciousness of our past, is the essential framework for Western civilisation.”

New York Public Library Sued over Book Plan

A group of scholars, including historians, are suing the New York Public Library over its plans to replace the stacks with a circulating library.

News in the Humanities

Who Prepares Humanities PhDs for a Nonacademic Search?

According to Maren Wood and Beatrice Gurwitz, “less than 10 percent of respondents got any training from their advisers in the skills necessary for a nonacademic job search, such as networking, informational interviews, writing a résumé, and identifying transferable skills.”

Is the Dip in Humanities Majors the Result of Women’s Equality?

Inside Higher Ed takes a look at a gendered perspective on the Heart of the Matter report.

Digital History

Rescuers Rush to Preserve TV Shows Shot on Fragile Videotape

The Washington Post reports that decades worth of video recordings are at risk: “Two-inch-wide quadruplex (or quad) videotape, which was the TV-industry standard from 1956 through the late 1970s, was never meant for long-term storage of sound and images.”

Is This the Most Interesting Opening Paragraph Wikipedia’s Ever Published?

A tweet about British army officer Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart’s Wikipedia page goes viral: “He fought in the Boer War, World War I, and World War II, was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip and ear, survived a plane crash, tunneled out of a POW camp, and bit off his own fingers when a doctor wouldn’t amputate them. He later wrote that ‘frankly I had enjoyed the war’ when describing his service in the First World War.” Another tweet points us to his interesting wife, Countess Friederike Maria Karoline Henriette Rosa Sabina Franziska Fugger von Babenhausen.

Public History and Culture

Failed Monuments of Washington, DC

National Geographic hosts a slide show of rejected designs for the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and other landmarks of DC.

Preserving Historic Homes by Selling Them

History@Work offers an interesting post by a consultant who is working with a realtor to market historic properties.

Maryland Congresswoman Wants to Create National Park—On the Moon

By creating a national park, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) wants to protect the Apollo 11 landing site from the whims of “spacefaring commercial entities and foreign nations.”

Why Don’t We Have a Secretary of Culture?

The Atlantic asks why, unlike many of the world’s democracies, the US has no cabinet level post for the culture industries?

5 National Parks You Need To See Before You Die

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