What We’re Reading: August 8, 2013

Today’s What We’re Reading features history on TV this fall, the Serendip-o-matic tool, escaping the parent trap in museums, a Facebook narrative of WWII, and much more!

History in the News

“Your Country Needs You”—The Myth about the First World War Poster that “Never Existed”

HNN linked to an interesting article on the outsize role of a British WWI recruiting poster in popular memory.

The Golden Age of Journalism (History)

Joseph Adelman for Publick Occurrences 2.0 offers historical parallels between news of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s move to purchase the Washington Post and the newspaper culture in early America.

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On Thinking about the Dissertation AS a Book

What should a dissertation be? At US Intellectual History Blog, Rachel Shelden writes, “From my perspective, one of the best conversations to come out of the embargo controversy is what a dissertation should look like in the first place.”

History on TV This Fall

PBS has announced a six-part history series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., premiering in October, and C-SPAN is starting the second season of First Ladies: Influence and Image in September.

Digital History

Serendip-o-matic Seeks to Replicate Thrill of Archival Discovery Online

One Week, One Tool, a program from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, offers a search engine for historians to explore “unexpected connections between the material you already have at hand, and the universe of sources beyond your fingertips.”

The Future Is Now: 15 Innovations to Watch For

Historian Steven Mintz “predicts” 15 innovations that will change higher education in the next few years, including e-Advising, growing number of hybrid courses, MOOCs, and data-driven instruction.

History and Memory

In Prince George’s, Remains of a Man Believed to Be a Former Slave Are Laid to Rest

The Washington Post had an interesting article on the reburial of a 19th-century African American man who may have been a slave, which suggests the importance of memory even when the details of an individual life were not recorded.

Open Season on History

Taft Kiser for the New York Times reveals the subculture of history hunters, individuals who hunt private and public property for historic relics and sell them on the open market.

Escaping the Parent Trap: Facing Tough Topics with Kids at the Museum

Sarah Erdman, fellow at the National Museum of American History, offers tips for parents of inquisitive children at the museum.

News in Higher Education

LSU Not A Trade School

Historian Gaines Foster recently offers an open letter in defense of the humanities and social sciences. Foster, a Dean of the Humanities and Social Sciences at LSU, argues in the piece that liberal arts majors “know how to analyze a problem, how to write and how to talk.” These skills, he pointedly remarks, “can be applied to ever changing jobs” as categories of jobs emerge over time.

Joyce Brown of FIT, on Using Your “Third Ear”

Historians in the AHA’s Tuning project and elsewhere work to help students formulate clear and compelling explanations of what they learned in history and how those skills can translate to jobs and
careers. In this interview from last month, Joyce F. Brown, president of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, talks about what she learned from her education in psychology and what she listens for when she interviews job applicants.

US Higher-Education System Perpetuates White Privilege, Report Says

Although college campuses are attracting more minority students, campus officials have report an increasing polarization on the basis of race and ethnicity, says a report released in late July by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

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Fun and Off-Beat

If Facebook Existed during World War 2

A narrative of World War II, as told by status updates, comments, and “complicated relationships” on Facebook.

18 Barbie Dolls from the ’80s and ’90s that Are Worth a Fortune Now

Buzzfeed takes a look at some of the most expensive vintage Barbies on the open market (eBay), including a “Pink Jubilee” Barbie from 1989 that is being offered for $2,999.

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