January 24, 2013
By Allen Mikaelian, Bill Cronon, and Vanessa Varin
Today’s What We’re Reading features readings related to the 2013 inauguration, gender in higher education, and how nucleotides may hold the key to the future of archives.
Inauguration News and Readings
History News Network (HNN) has dutifully combed the web for inauguration-related writings by historians, including pieces by Ian Reifowitz, Ira Chernus, Gil Troy, Bradley Craig, Rick Shenkman, and Roblin Lindley. HNN also features a great roundtable of links to articles related to Martin Luther King Jr.
“When Times Change, So Must We”—The Uses of History in Obama’s Second Inaugural Address
Andrew Heath, writing for History Matters, reflects on President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address, analyzing the comparisons Obama drew to the past.
As always, we are looking to feature more historians’ reactions to the inaugural address. Post your links in the comments below, or tweet us @AHAhistorians.
Issues in the Profession
Being Married Helps Professors Get Ahead, but Only If They’re Male
The Atlantic picks up on pieces of Robert Townsend’s article in Perspectives on History, interviews historians, and draws conclusions from the data. A lively discussion follows in the comments section.
Paternal Parental Leave
More on gender in higher education. Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed reports on a study that “challenges the idea that men in academe can abuse gender-neutral parental leave policies to focus on research rather than parenting—or teaching.”
Speaking of gaps in higher education, Michael D. Hattem recently contributed an piece for The Junto blog, entitled “Where Have You Gone, Gordon Wood?” in which he suggests scholars’ opinion on Wood’s work can be “a window into possible generational differences between historians.” A discussion over social media ensued, and Hattem dutifully storified the conversation for us, including a Twitter discussion between historians over “cultural baggage.”
Some PhDs Choose to Work Off the Grid
What exactly is an independent scholar? The Chronicle answers this popular question with a much needed in-depth look at the growing population of independent scholars and their contributions to academia.
On the Report by the National Association of Scholars about U.S. History at UT
From the editor of Not Even Past, a critique of the recent report by the National Association of Scholars, which claimed that race, class, and gender are over-emphasized at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.
The National Association of Scholars Report on American History
The NAS study of history has been roundly panned by historians as methodologically and conceptually flawed. Here’s a different view: “Although conservatives reflexively assume race, class and gender dominate American history, there is now incontrovertible evidence that this assumption is true.”
Odds and Ends
Shall I Encode Thee in DNA? Sonnets Stored on Double Helix
NPR reports on what may become the future of the archive: strands of nucleotides. “If you took everything human beings have ever written—an estimated 50 billion megabytes of text—and stored it in DNA, that DNA would still weigh less than a granola bar.”
Island Stories (?)
On Inside Higher Ed, one administrator discusses his efforts to push sustainability into teaching concepts and the academic environment as a whole.