March 05, 2009
This week we start off with the revelation that the CIA has destroyed 92 interrogation tapes, verifying a fear the AHA expressed in 2008. Then, Tony Grafton takes a look at graduate school past and future, a history professor is interviewed in the Freakonomics blog, the LOC unravels the origins of the automobile, and a new audio tour explores historic D.C. Finally, we link to a number of articles for a section we’ve titled “History in Hard Times.”
- CIA Destroyed 92 Interrogation Tapes, Probe Says
Monday of this week news broke that the CIA destroyed 92 interrogation tapes during the Bush administration. This news verifies the AHA’s concerns of the past years. In February 2008, letters signed by AHA Executive Director Arnita Jones and the AHA Council were sent to federal authorities urging the CIA to inform all its employees that records may not be alienated or destroyed except under the procedures of the Federal Records Act. Read more at the AHA blog (" AHA Objects to Destruction of Guantanamo Records")
- Obama Administration releases Bush Justice Department memos on torture
These nine newly declassified documents document the Bush administration’s attempt to legally justify torture. The New York Times online has reprinted them here.
- Graduate school in a New Ice Age
Given the current state of the academic job market and decision time for new class of doctoral students, former VP for professional issues, Tony Grafton, revisits the difficulties of past and future for history graduate programs in the Daily Princetonian.
- What Do Truckers Have to Do With Country Music, Food Prices, and Politics?
In this Freakanomics blog post, Shane Hamilton, an assistant professor of history at the University of Georgia, talks about the past and present of the effects of trucking in the U.S. Hat tip.
- Truth About the Car’s Origins Actually a Bit Murky
Matt Raymond, the Library of Congress’s director of communications, comments on who invented the automobile and points to a fun LOC site: Everyday Mysteries.
- Civil War to Civil Rights Audio Tour
Cultural Tourism DC has put together audio tours of historic sites in D.C. that can be downloaded to your iPod or mp3 player. See the map of featured historic sites (PDF), and visit the web site for more information.
History in Hard Times
As these difficult economic times continue, we’re aware layoffs and cutbacks will occur at institutions around the country. Please send us news of this type to Robert B. Townsend.
- Cutbacks at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library
The Oregon Historical Society has announced it is closing its doors to researchers from February 28th to March 13th and is laying off staff. While their web site states that they will reopen March 13, a number of sources indicate that the library may remain closed to all but photo and film reproduction services. Hat tip.
- Layoffs at Harvard? Skidding Economy Could Claim Books, Jobs
Taken together with the news (in the item above) from the OHS, this news may be, in the words of the Library Journal author, a "chilling harbinger of things to come in this economic downturn."
- Cash-strapped N.J. Historical Society to slash hours, staffing
Also, the New Jersey Historical Society faces similar problems and cutbacks.
Contributors: Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, and Robert B. Townsend