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Tag: history

Clubs of GR

The following is an excerpt from the same chapter draft as last week’s post. Grand Rapids’ Club Scene According to the Peninsular Club’s constitution, the club’s primary function was “to promote social intercourse amongst its members.” In order to accommodate the city’s preeminent elite on both sides of the political aisle, the club refused to express any “opinion on any religious, political or social question.” On everyday but Sunday, members could frequent the club house from seven in the morning until midnight, though special occasions could keep the club open until four in the morning. The club was still open… Read Clubs of GR

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DH and the (Social) Sciences

The topic of poster sessions came up a short time ago among some other history graduate students and I was surprised at the responses. While not outright hostile, I got the sense (perhaps incorrectly to be fair) that few were open to the idea of creating a poster themselves. This response was surprising to me because I had just come across the AHA’s poster session list for its 2011 conference (which was not its first venture into poster sessions) as well as the fact that in many other disciplines posters are a widely used medium for research. Perhaps it was… Read DH and the (Social) Sciences

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Defending Peer Review

The Aporetic: What strikes me about argu­ments in sup­port of open peer review is that they are often premised on a utopian vision of our dig­i­tal future and a dystopian view of our ana­log present. The utopi­anism is nei­ther sur­pris­ing nor prob­lem­atic. Pro­po­nents of change are under­stand­ably enthu­si­as­tic. Once exper­i­ments are launched, some of this enthu­si­asm will be tem­pered by expe­ri­ence. There is every rea­son to expect these mod­els to improve through trial and error. I am con­cerned, though, about the extremely neg­a­tive views of cur­rent peer review prac­tices that seem to moti­vate the reform move­ment. There is no doubt… Read Defending Peer Review

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A Few of My Favorite Things

With some fudging on how many items can be in a “top five”, here are my top six “top five” lists (in no particular order): 1. Top Five History Books (Listed in the order in which I read them) 1. Rats, Lice & History: The book that really made historical thinking click for me in my first history class freshman year. 2. A Midwife’s Tale: The book professors have assigned to me in three different courses, a great microhistory. 3. Nature’s Metropolis: The book that has stuck with me for years–I just really like Cronon’s approach. 4. Nation among Nations:… Read A Few of My Favorite Things

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Can Micro be Macro?

Even though I am still trying to finish my MA thesis, I cannot help but think forward to finding a dissertation topic. Now I like my MA thesis topic, and I think there is still much I could do with it, but I want to really love my dissertation topic (I think you need to in order to finish it). So recently I have been thinking about some potential avenues that might bring some of my diverse historical interests together into one project. In the past, I have dove directly into primary sources, and I probably will start that way… Read Can Micro be Macro?

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My View on Historical Reenactments

I’ll just admit it up front: I’m not a big fan of historical reenactments. I always tend to look at them the way this Monty Python sketch portrays them. That being said, reenactments are not innately bad, just very hard to do well. In a pure sense, reenactments are another attempt at understanding the world of the past, just as academic scholarship should attempt to do. The problem seems to be in execution. Bad reenactments can innocently allow specific details, like clothing, to overtake the importance of understanding the meanings of the event being reenacted or, more sinisterly, whitewash history… Read My View on Historical Reenactments

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Civil War Reenactments

Here’s a good piece on Civil War Reenactments in Texas. It’s well timed too, since my Monday post will be on historical reenactments. The Texas Observer: Here in Texas, it’s becoming popular to celebrate the war as the opening salvo in the conservative campaign for states’ rights. Neo-Confederate organizations and pro-secessionists are among the leading groups in organizing Texas’ commemorative events. Their version of history downplays the role of slavery in the Civil War and encourages anti-federal government political ideology. They make no bones about it: They’d be happy to see Texas secede again …. “The Sons of Confederate Veterans… Read Civil War Reenactments

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Humanities Blogs

Interesting list of the “50 Best” humanities blogs.  The list includes many good non-academic blogs (from NPR, New York Times, The New Yorker, etc.), but does not recognize many historical blogs (though there are plenty of good ones).

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Spatial history and interdisciplinarity

Cliotropic: Humanities training is useful in capturing the texture and details of individual experiences, and I want to use mapping tools in an exploratory way to visualize things that I might see as trends. The kinds of analysis I’m interested in are more like how qualitative social scientists use interview-coding software to analyze their interviews with research subjects. It’s possible that GIS isn’t the tool I need and that Google Maps is a better option, but I want to be in an interdisciplinary community where I can meet people who do spatially-oriented work and learn from them.

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Citations and E-Books

Tushar Rae at the Chronicle: The inability to find passages limits scholarly research, academics complain, because they depend on citations not only to track down and analyze text, but also as a testament to the accuracy of their own work. Dan Cohen (via twitter): If the Kindle’s new “real page numbers” require a print edition a reference, what happens if there is no print edition? (1/2) Doesn’t Kindle’s “real page numbers” turn printed books into the 21st century version of the platinum-iridium meter bar kept in Paris? (2/2) Mark Sample (via twitter): The introduction of “page” numbers is a step… Read Citations and E-Books

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