What We’re Reading: May 22, 2014

Today’s What We’re Reading features the story of the classic white shirt, why STEM needs more gender studies, a database of the best commencement speeches ever recorded, and much more!

Puffy_Shirt_2006History Links

The Story of…the Men’s White Shirt

From the Victorian era to Seinfeld, this item of clothing used to and can represent many things, including power, class, and wealth.

God in America

This PBS documentary series discusses the history of religion in America.

The London Evolution Animation

A fascinating look at the development of Greater London from the first Roman road network to the 21st century.

Return of the Buddha: The Qingzhou Discoveries

Sixth-century sculptures of the Buddha were buried in the 12th century and discovered in 1996.

Tiananmen at 25: Enduring Influence on U.S.-China Relations and China’s Political Development

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China held hearings on the Tiananmen Square massacre and Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Chancellor’s Professor of History, University of California, Irvine, was part of it. Video and transcripts.

Research and Teaching

The FIRST Act Has Two Flaws That Could Limit Future Discoveries

David J. Skorton, president of Cornell University, has an op-ed in the Washington Post. The AHA has encouraged members to write their representatives in Congress to oppose this act.

My Syllabus, With Trigger Warnings

Jon Zimmerman reveals his Intro to United States History syllabus, complete with trigger warnings and amusement.

Harvard Goes All In for Online Courses

The Boston Globe recently featured HarvardX, a project made up of 30 online courses and nearly 1.3 million signups around the world, with particular attention paid to former AHA president and HarvardX teacher Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

Unusual Undergraduate Research Project Yields Book on Botched Executions

An Amherst professor talks about the value of engaging undergraduates in the research process.

Why STEM Students Need Gender Studies

Carol Colatrella discusses the many reasons why gender studies scholarship contributes to student development, and the potential for interdisciplinary scholarship.

Archives and Records Management

The Ghost Files

Columbia University historian Matthew Connolly and a highly interdisciplinary team of researchers are using text mining to approach the problem of gaps in the National Archives.

Managing Records in Mobile Environments: Addressing Records Management Implications

Records Express offers a series of three blog posts dedicated to the topic of mobile technology and records management, illustrating fundamental challenges associated with securely archiving and retrieving documents created and stored on mobile devices.

Professional Issues

An Academic Working Dad

A thoughtful piece about academic parenting from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

chipotleFun and Off-Beat

The Los Angeles Review of Cups

The Los Angeles Review of Books provides a wittily sarcastic set of reviews of the series of short works by major authors that are being printed on fast food chain Chipotle’s cups and bags.

The Largest Vocabulary in Hip Hop

Analysis of rap lyrics to discover number of unique words in a sample of 35,000. Most of the pack falls well below William Shakespeare’s 5,170, exceptions include Aesop Rock (7,392) and most of the Wu-Tang Clan (average 5,895).

The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever

NPR has built a searchable database of over 300 commencement speeches, dating back to 1774.

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