Category Archives: History

Posts about history and the profession of history

There Can be More than One

My esteemed colleague Zachary Schrag’s guest post reminded me of the cable TV staple Highlander, in which immortal characters battle each other extravagantly while insisting–for no apparent reason–that “there can only be one.” There can be more than one model, and existing journals don’t have to annihilate each other so that one may live forever. […]

Guest Post: More Babies in that Bathwater

Today we feature a guest post, a critique of American History Now from my esteemed colleague Zachary Schrag. ◊ I love my iconoclastic colleagues, but oh, how they provoke me! First, Hacking the Academy comes out. Then Dan Cohen gives a talk for Open Access Week. Then Mike O’Malley announces his plans for American History Now. (Not to […]

PressForward and American History Now

The Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media recently got a grant from Alfred Sloan Foundation. The “Press Forward” initiative is described here. Part of the grant will establish American History Now, a new kind of professional journal. Yours truly is to be the managing editor. Managing editor of what? What do we want a new […]

“History-ness” and video games

I recently read the first two George R.R. Martin books (game of thrones? song of swords? One of the problems with the Kindle is you don’t get reminded of the titles). I liked them at first, but got really sick of them by the end. They’re relentlessly “plotty,” with lots of cliffhangers but little or […]

The Imaginary Public

It’s campaign season again–really, when is it not campaign season–and again we get endlessly treated to speculations about image and perception and style. Here’s a typical example, from today’s Washington Post. “Rick Perry has distanced himself from George W. Bush’s brand of conservatism,” says the headline, and it goes on to tell us how Perry […]

A Memorial that Suits its Subject

Like him or hate him, Franklin Roosevelt makes nearly every American historian’s list of the  top three Presidents. It’s always Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt, with everybody else a pretty distant fourth. FDR was elected to four terms: he served during the depression and the greatest war in world history. He oversaw the development of the […]

WWII and Wartime Theater

FDR had a gift for theater. It might have had a lot to do with his paralysis, and the elaborate and taxing steps he took to conceal it. He had handrails and ramps set up behind podiums he had hand controls in his car. With the discrete assistance of aides, and a cane he could […]

The Astonishing Antebellum Money System

We often talk about “money” as if it’s always been the same, a simple and constant measure of value, the “bottom line” of meaning. But “money” has rarely been a static thing, especially in the US. The chaotic money system Americans used before the Civil War boggles the imagination. I gave a lecture about this […]

The Unseen Spectacular

Washington DC is full of monuments. Some of them we all know, some of them I go by and have no idea who the person is or what they did. Everybody knows the Lincoln and the Jefferson and the Washington: most people ignore what must be one of the most powerful and compelling pieces of […]

Why Libertarians Love Slavery

Recently Senator Rand Paul argued that wanting universal health care was a form of slavery. And his father, Ron Paul, similarly argued that Social Security and Welfare are also forms of slavery. Ron Paul also argued, on Hard­ball with Chris Math­ews, that he would have voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, because the Act, […]