Thursday, March 08, 2012

Linktastic Voyage

Loads of stories that have caught my eye have begun to pile up on my tabs. My intent was to give each a full post, but with my pace of late, let's face it -- that wasn't gonna happen. So here are some links with commentary as apt:

You know what? President Obama has accomplished a hell of a lot, especially given the political context within which he has had to operate.

The Miller Center at UVA has started a blog, Riding The Tiger, that promises to look at the presidential election in historical context.

Cliopatria, the first among equals of the History News Network Blogs is closing its doors. Ralph Luker, paterfamilias of Cliopatria, did yeoman's work herding cats over there for more than 8 years. When he started blogging at HNN Ralph was one of a precious few professional historians who saw the potential for blogging as a medium of blending historical, political, social and cultural questions. In large part due to his nurturing thousands of historians now blog.

Ruy Teixeira thinks much of the hullaballoo about Independent voters is nonsense and he recently found himself reviewing an especially nonsensical book about Independent voters. Negative reviews are fun.

This about sums up my feelings.

Voter ID laws, created to create a solution to a problem that doesn't exist (but really simply created to make it harder for Democrats to vote), might just end up having unintended consequences.

Students in one history class at my alma mater are making campaign ads rather than writing final papers. I love this idea:

There’s a catch, though. The students can only use images, quotes, documents, and music from the era. They cannot use anything that came afterwards. An image of the White House burning in 1812 would not work for the election of 1808. They cannot use images of Leutze’s famous Washington Crossing the Delaware, a product more reflective of the 1840s than the 1770s. Their assignment is to capture the spirit of the age – not the spirit of our historical memory.
I might have to appropriate this idea and adjust it for my students.

At the Chronicle Leonard Cassuto argues that the comprehensive exam needs to be changes because it does not seamlessly fuel the way toward writing a dissertation. The problem with this solution is that it assumes rather than proves the seamlessness. The fact is that the comprehensive exams are rather different from the dissertation -- and frankly I've always argued that in many ways the comprehensive exams are what separates history PhD's from laymen -- learning to respect both the history and the historiography is vital. There is a lot of material out there. I am of the belief that before one does original work one should immerse oneself in the books and articles that have come before. And in so doing get to really know the history as well.

In which I say some stuff about the new UT system post-tenure review policy.

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