By James Grossman and Allen Mikaelian
Is it appropriate to reference “Jim Crow” when discussing the rash of new laws and measures further regulating who can vote and under what conditions? Do the rhetorical analogies fit the historical facts? Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning watchdog best known for mercilessly wielding its trademarked Truth-o-Meter™, is somewhere between skeptical and incredulous. Last year, the editors of Politifact counted one Democrat’s statement evoking Jim Crow as a finalist for “lie of the year.” Politifact Georgia took to task a mayoral candidate for making an analogous comparison between a crackdown on undocumented workers and the infamous “black codes” (enacted a generation earlier than the Jim Crow era and quickly erased by Reconstruction).
Jonathan Gottschall’s new headline-grabbing book, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human
, explains the evolutionary advantages of being a storytelling species.
Article By: Allen Mikaelian
Whatever might be the truth about the apocalyptic eschatology of the Mayan calendar and its endtimes forecast for the Gregorian 2012, one thing is clear, it seems: The Mayan people knew about extracting pleasures from their existential present, as they appear to have used tobacco. That the peoples of Mesoamerica used nicotine could be surmised from other evidence, but a study published on January 12, 2012, in Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell, provided material evidence of tobacco use by the ancient Maya.
Article By: Pillarisetti Sudhir
George Washington chopped down a cherry tree. Christopher Columbus discovered North America. Abraham Lincoln owned slaves. While these three statements are false, false, and false, they’re myths still perpetuated, often since childhood, through rumor and misunderstanding. Discover more U.S. history myths, and explanations of their origins, in the following posts we’ve rounded up. You may just learn something.
Article By: Elisabeth Grant
In last week’s What We’re Reading we featured an article from the Boston Globe that considered the possibilities of preserving smells and saving them as historical artifacts. Jumping off from that fascinating idea, we bring you a few more articles on smell and history.
Article By: Elisabeth Grant
Our timely links this week include an obituary for broadcaster Daniel Schorr, the first declassification report from the National Declassification Center, news on the 20th anniversary of the ADA, the re-release of Senator Byrd's musical album, a brief history of data visualization, and a new site for creating courses. If you're looking for a good read this summer check out NPR's list of historical fiction. Finally, check out our collection of image-related links, including the Library of Congress' Great Depression color photographs, Harvard Law School Library's legal portraits, food posters from World Wars I and II, and some historic D.C. photos.
Article By: Elisabeth Grant and Vernon Horn
Is it time for a change? Tom Scheinfeldt thinks so, when it comes to c.v.’s and digital achievements, while Dan Cohen sees room for change in publishing and scholarly values. Read also about digital analysis of text by computers, the effects of photography on culture, and history as theater in Washington, D.C. Finally, for fun, take a look back at an article from the 1982 issue of The Atlantic,
and remember computers of yesteryear. And check out a collection of gadgets (dating back to the 20’s) that just didn’t make the grade.
Article By: Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, Jessica Pritchard, and Robert B. Townsend
Though the 124th Annual Meeting concluded over a month ago, C-SPAN has only just aired footage of the “Reflections on Proposition 8” session, now available for viewing online. In other news, the LA Times
has released the names of finalists for their book prize. This list includes three AHA members. Also check out links to a new task force report on graduate and professional education, the obituary of Jack Pole, the ICA statement on Haiti, and controversy around a new JFK series from the History Channel. For teachers we mention two articles: one on the positives of teaching at a community college and another on a lesson plan on the Olympics. Finally, peruse photo tampering through history, check out a newly discovered ancient temple in Turkey, visit the Black History Trail in Tuskegee, Alabama (without leaving your house), and see a history of International Women’s Day.
Article By: avid Darlington, Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, Arnita Jones, Jessica Pritchard, and Robert B. Townsend