October 06, 2011
In the news this week, Virginia has revised error-ridden history textbooks but historians still have concerns. Also, updates on the William Cronon e-mail controversy, a former National Archives employee pleads guilty to stealing sound recordings, a House bill proposes eliminating the Teaching American history program, and good news for print: more magazines were started and fewer were shut down this year. You’ll also find responses to President Anthony T. Grafton and AHA Executive Director Jim Grossman’s recent article “No More Plan B,” tips for conference goers, and more.
- Virginia Approves Revised History Texts
Historians criticize the Virginia State Board of Education’s announcement that it will issue revised versions of discredited textbooks instead of replacing them. The AHA weighed in on this issue many months ago in an essay from Executive Director Jim Grossman. See also the Huffington Post’s report.
- Groups Investigating E-Mails of Professors in Michigan and Wisconsin Produce No Evidence of Wrongdoing
The Chronicle of Higher Education offers an update on the e-mail controversies from this past spring involving AHA President William Cronon and labor historians in Michigan.
- Statement on Stolen National Archives Sound Recordings
David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, released a statement earlier this week about the theft, by Archives employee of 40 years Leslie Waffen, of hundreds of archived sound recordings, including one of Babe Ruth. Learn more about the case here.
- House Budget Plan Would Slash Funding for 31 Programs
Education Week reports on a bill that would cut funding for 31 programs, including the Teaching American History program.
- More Magazines Started, Fewer Shuttered, in ’11
In a small piece of good news for those with an affection for print, Crain’s reports that the magazine industry actually expanded a bit in the first three-quarters of the year.
Careers in History
- “No More Plan B”
Inside Higher Ed reports on AHA President Anthony T. Grafton and AHA Executive Director Jim Grossman article “No More Plan B: A Very Modest Proposal for Graduate Programs in History,” the cover story of the October 2011 issue of Perspectives on History. See also the comments on the article.
- Making the Most of the Professional Conference
The Chronicle’s “On Hiring” blog offers tips for how conference attendees can network, find new opportunities, and maybe even find a job.
- Google’s Loss: The Public’s Gain
Former AHA President Robert Darnton discusses his dream of a Digital Public Library, and offers a critique of both the Google Books project and the recent lawsuit by the Authors Guild against the Hathi Trust.
- Hofstadter’s “Lost” Book
Ben Hufbauer argues that Richard Hofstadter’s college textbook, The American Republic, though nearly a lost book today, is really one of his finest scholarly contributions, on par with his other great works, and “revolutionized what an American history text could do.”
- Online Access to the Founding Fathers’ Papers
The National Archives announced last week that the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, in cooperation with the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, will “provide pre-publication access to 68,000 historical papers of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington that have not yet been published in authoritative documentary editions.”
- Religion in the Colonial World
The new issue of History Now offers some excellent suggestions and lesson plans for teaching religion in the U.S. history survey at all levels.
- Origins of Halloween and Day of the Dead
Learn the history of Halloween and Day of the Dead celebrations through resources and lesson plans at EDSITEment.
Contributors: Debbie Ann Doyle, Elisabeth Grant, Jim Grossman, Vernon Horn, and Robert B. Townsend