Today’s What We’re Reading features reactions to the movie adaptation of 12 Years a Slave, the effort to build a national LGBT museum, one blogger’s quest to eliminate conference themes, incredibly creepy vintage Halloween costumes, and much more!
Annette Gordon-Reed, for the New Yorker, discusses the unique challenges the genre of slave narratives pose for historians.
Brenda Stevens reveals the strong connections slave women played, both in the original work and the new screen adaption, in the “labors, loves and losses” of antebellum plantation life.
His verdict: “It’s an amazing film,” he says, “the best film about slavery ever made from the point of view of a slave.”
History and Public Culture
Fourteen nations “plan to compile an inventory of the lasting damage they believe they suffered and then demand an apology and reparations from the former colonial powers of Britain, France and the Netherlands.”
Norm Augustine in the Wall Street Journal: “We lag in science, but students’ historical illiteracy hurts our politics and our businesses.”
Parag Khanna in the New York Times: “we should think beyond clearly defined nations and ‘nation building’ toward integrating a rapidly urbanizing world population directly into regional and international markets.”
At Slate: “Someday, somewhere in Washington, D.C. … there may sit a National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Museum. That might sound surprising, considering that sodomy was illegal in the District until 1993…” Tim Gold, CEO of the Velvet Foundation, is optimistic: “I’m hoping to see this in the next five years.”
AHA Annual Meeting
Many thanks to Kate Theimerfor putting together this list! In addition, historian and blogger John Fea has compiled a list of digital history and methodologically focused panels.
A really cool map that plots the history of the AHA (and OAH) annual meetings, via MapStory.
The Historiann questions whether the history discipline should instill a “five year ‘time out’ on conference themes.” A great discussion in the comments thread is worthy of a read as well.
Odds and Ends
Useful tips on interviewing for a job in academic administration—many of which also apply to interviewing for a faculty position—from the Chronicle.
It seems that Halloween costumes of the past eschewed the provocative in favor of terrifying.