What We’re Reading: November 7, 2013

Today’s What We’re Reading features a look at 12 Years a Slave in contemporary Louisiana, balancing STEM, our growing move toward social media echo chambers, and much more!

WWR_09-26-12YEARSHistory in the News

Why 12 Years a Slave Will Always Matter in Louisiana

The book 12 Years a Slave has deep roots in the state of Louisiana, but writer Lamar White Jr. reveals how the new movie adaption is provoking a renewed discussion of “racial and economic injustices or historical revisionism in contemporary Louisiana.”

Rep. Mike Rogers says U.S. Shuttering of Intelligence Operation in 1929 Led to World War II

Politifact issues a “half-true” ruling on a politician’s use of history to defend the NSA’s snooping.

What If POLITICO Had Covered the Civil War? Playbook, Emancipation Day Edition

The New Republic relentlessly mocks the chatty gossip of the new media outfit that tries to make everyone feel like an insider. “BOMBSHELL: Wm. Seward once mocked E.M. Stanton with comic doggerel!” “NEW BATTLEGROUND POLL: Lincoln’s negatives are ‘through the roof’ in Va., N.C., S.C., Ga., Miss., Ala., Louisiana, Ark., Tenn. PLAY-BOOK TRUTH BOMB: Lincoln is not going to improve these numbers if he refuses to press the flesh.”

A Sense of Place

The New Yorker offers a piece about the architect of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is just being built on the mall.

Advocacy

Mr. President: Share the Armenian Orphan Carpet with the American People

Keith David Watenpaugh, who has an article in the October Perspectives on History, asks historians to sign a petition to take a gift from the Armenian people to the US out of storage: “The carpet itself is in storage at the White House and was reported to have been slated to be shown at the Smithsonian sometime in December. However it seems to have been caught up in the contemporary politics of the Middle East.”

Opinion: History, Civics and Balancing “STEM”

Josiah H. Brown, associate director of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, defends history in the Connecticut Mirror. James Grossman points out in this month’s Perspectives that there are many venues for historians’ advocacy. Brown shows that local papers are one of the best places to make the case.

Publishing and Multi-Media

Kent Anderson and Daniel Allington have recently blogged about open access, and the “hopes, limitations, and mandates associated with OA.”

Is My Facebook Page a Liberal Echo Chamber?

Kim Brooks for Salon asks considers whether our social media circles can act as echo chambers and had a deleterious effect on our ability to tolerate contradictory political and social opinions by others.

Teaching

The Power of Patience

Jennifer Roberts for Harvard Magazine extolls the virtue of considering the pace and tempo of the learning experience for students, particularly as teachers design their syllabi.

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