What We’re Reading: October 24, 2013

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!

WWR_09-26-12YEARS12 Years a Slave: The Movie

Slavery’s Shadow

Annette Gordon-Reed, for the New Yorker, discusses the unique challenges the genre of slave narratives pose for historians.

The Surprisingly Central Role of Slave Women in 12 Years a Slave

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.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. Fact-Checks 12 Years a Slave

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

Caribbean Nations to Seek Reparations, Putting Price on Damage of Slavery

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.”

The Education Our Economy Needs

Norm Augustine in the Wall Street Journal: “We lag in science, but students’ historical illiteracy hurts our politics and our businesses.”

The End of the Nation-State?

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.”

The Quest to Build a National LGBT Museum

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

Sessions of Possible Interest for Archivists at American Historical Association 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.

Maps of the Annual Meetings of the American Historical Association and Organization of American Historians

A really cool map that plots the history of the AHA (and OAH) annual meetings, via MapStory.

Conference Themes: Why, Dear Lord, Why?

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

How Not to Blow an Interview

Useful tips on interviewing for a job in academic administration—many of which also apply to interviewing for a faculty position—from the Chronicle.

19 Deeply Horrifying Vintage Halloween Costumes

It seems that Halloween costumes of the past eschewed the provocative in favor of terrifying.

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