25 April 2006

So That's What's Wrong with my Dissertation!

You Should Be a Science Fiction Writer

Your ideas are very strange, and people often wonder what planet you're from.
And while you may have some problems being "normal," you'll have no problems writing sci-fi.
Whether it's epic films, important novels, or vivid comics...
Your own little universe could leave an important mark on the world!

I was looking for some reason why I've been enjoying writing a small section about cannibalism and witchcraft. I'm not sure if the BlogThing explains it...

(H/T Elle, ABD)

24 April 2006

O Historians, How Many Archives Have YOU Visited?

My friend and library buddy Scott Sowerby turned in his dissertation today. (In Harvard parlance, this means he sent it off to be read and approved by each of his committee members. Our department does not require an oral defense.)

Scott dropped by my carrel, which is just down the hall from his, to tell me this news. After many congratulations, he told me he spent a long time on the bibliography. Really? Why?

It turns out Scott visited no fewer than 127 archives while doing his research, all of which had to be listed in his bibliography. That doesn't include, he tells me, all the archives whose manuscripts he consulted on microfilm. He wrote me in an email this evening that he was surprised that the number was so high, but that visiting all those municipal archives added up.

I guess so!

I've mentioned Scott on my blog before; he was featured in the Harvard Gazette a few years ago in a story about one of his finds in a little archive in the north of England.

So, congratulations, Scott! We eagerly await The Book.

15 April 2006

It's History Carnival Time Again!

Welcome to History Carnival #29! Enter and treat your brain to some history candy.

We begin with the time before written history, the upper Paleolithic, with a discussion of early art at John Hawks's blog.

And now, Ancient Rome. Archaeolog writes about Hannibal in the Alps, with wonderful photographs. At Philobiblon, Natalie Bennett tells readers what the Romans did to women in early Britain. The answer is unpleasantly fascinating. Memorabilia Antonina brings Roman influence from the past into the present and the future as we might imagine it, beginning with James (Tiberius) Kirk.

From the Romans to the Dark Ages, which according to Got Medieval, were truly dark, especially as presented in the movies. (Warning: funny post. When read in the right fram of mind, it will cause you to spray coffee on your keyboard.) In case you haven't get noticed, Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog, and T-Shirts. Master Chaucer reminds us how to properly celebrate Spring, by makinge melodye.

Another Damned Medievalist
excoriates a reporter's misrepresentations on finding a knight templar's tomb, and receives a communique from the historian who found it.

The Gypsy Scholar writes from Seoul, South Korea on medieval depictions of Christ as a warrior.

Blogging the Renaissance has a great post about The Book of Sports (1633). Perhaps we should have our own Book of Sports to combat obesity?

It's a shame that the engraver Matthaeus Merian did not do the illustrations for the Book of Sports. Giornale Nuovo reports on Merian and his engravings.

Ancarett of Ancarett's Abode looks at a recent article which she argues romanticizes women's past in her post "Feminism Kills Again!" We certainly shouldn't romanticize the women Laura James of Clews: The Historic True Crime Blog writes about in "The Best Jail Cell in Paris."

At No Great Matter, a bit of environmental history. It seems even the German "wilderness" is man-made. Other man-made things in the Carnival: automatons, which, as Digital History Hacks points out, have a history of their own.

The Old Foodie writes about Dr. Livingstone's Breakfast. I bet Dr. Livingstone would have enjoyed a $40 omelette too!

Jonathan Dresner writes about indicted Cheney staffer Lewis Libby's novel, The Apprentice, set in Meiji Japan at Frog in a Well Japan.

In American History, Caleb McDaniel asks, Is the Constitution a pro-slavery document?

For historians of the American Civil War, armchair and professional alike: on the events of April,1865 at Civil Warriors, and Kevin Levin writes about the prevalence of the Lost Cause in Civil War art.

Ralph Luker is known for giving history buffs a daily history-minded reading list over at Cliopatria, but in this post he shares with readers some of his fabulous scholarly work on Reverend Vernon Johns.

Axis of Evel Knievel analyzes comparisons between Bush and Truman.

Hiram Hover contemplates what this year's Guggenheim Fellowships say about the state of the field.

The state of the field might be that United States history is becoming transnational history. Inspired by Thomas Bender's article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (which, unfortunately, is subscriber-only), Caleb McDaniel, Robert KC Johnson, Rob MacDougall, and Coffee Grounds debate the transnational history of the US. Cliopatria is hosting a symposium on Bender's work tomorrow, which I will link to when it becomes available.

But for those who continue to believe borders matter, Boston History tells us why even small boundaries, like that between Roxbury and the South End, matter.

Sergey Romanov asks of some primary documents, when did the Soviets know about Auschwitz?

Nathanael Robinson
writes about history and memory among the Germans after World War II at The Rhine River.

In other primary sources, El Tarikpresents some great primary material on the 1956 Suez Crisis.

And now, for our special History Carnival Theme, Taxes and their Histories. On April 15th in the United States, The Taxman Cometh for us all, even Presidents. Streetsideinvestor tells us the top five tax troublemakers ever. World History Blog asks if high taxes cause decline. For the interested, the Tax History Project provides wonderful links to all sorts of historical perspectives on taxation at home and abroad.

Now, a word from your host. This History Carnival received over fifty nominations (that's right, count 'em!) A sincere thank you to all who submitted posts, including Sharon, Alun, Natalie, and Jonathan, all of whom submitted many posts. This Carnival represents an embarassment of riches for your host; I could not include many great posts for want of space and coherence.

Sharon Howard of Early Modern Notes runs the History Carnival, and is always looking for new hosts. You see, it is very easy! Just sit back and wait for the blogosphere to flood your inbox with great history writing.

The next History Carnival will be held on May 1 at Clioweb, hosted by Jeremy Boggs. Email your submissions to Jeremy at jboggs AT gmu DOT edu, or use the handy submission form at Blog Carnival.

13 April 2006

The Country's #2 Job...

...is not occupied by Dick Cheney. Actually, I mean the second best job in the country, which according to cnn.com is "College Professor." Here's what CNN had to say:
College professor:
Why it's great: While competition for tenure-track jobs will always be stiff, enrollment is rising in professional programs, community colleges and technical schools -- which means higher demand for faculty.

It's easier to break in at this level, and often you can teach with a master's and professional experience. Demand is especially strong in fields that compete with the private sector (health science and business, for example).

The category includes moonlighting adjuncts, graduate TAs and college administrators.

While I'm pleased to see my chosen profession ranked so well, I think the CNN folks focused their research on the science end of the profession. The situation for the humanities seems a less highly paid and a lot harder to get into then for "health sciences and business."

I would also note that "moonlighting adjuncts and graduate TAs" are the most exploited people in our industry; they work long hours with heavy teaching loads for little pay, often no health insurance, and sometimes no library access. Saying those folks have the "#2 job in America" is misleading.

11 April 2006

Unleash the Periscope, People!

My brother's a cappella group, The Back Row, based at Colorado College, has a new album out (titled, mysteriously, "Unleash the Periscope). Visit the website, enjoy the music, and if you really like it, consider buying a copy of the album!

05 April 2006

Welcome, US News and World Report Readers

If you've arrived at this blog via the April 10 issue of US News and World Report, welcome! Please stay and have a look around. You should also check out my links to other blogging academics at left. (It's a limited list; there are many, many more of us out there!)

The story in US News is titled "Blogging their Way Through Academe," and addresses med and law school blogs as well as grad student blogs like (a)musings of a grad student.

The story also quotes the now-infamous Ivan Tribble, whose two columns in the Chronicle of Higher Education warning against blogging grad students and untenured faculty set of a storm of metablogging in the academic blogosphere last year. Ivan Tribble's warning:
"Job seekers who are also bloggers may have a tough road ahead, if our committee's experience is any indication."
(I responded to Tribble in the Chronicle here.)

When I was interviewed for this article last December and January, I was still on the job market, and I told the interviewer that I didn't believe my blog would prevent me from getting a job, but I was frank with her, telling her that some academics didn't think blogging was a good idea.

Now I've been through the job process and I have a much better sense of the role blogging played in my job search. Blogging certainly came up in my job process. While on my campus visit to Rice, I met with graduate students who expressed a great deal of curiosity about the blog (aha, I thought--that's where all the sitemeter hits from rice.edu are coming from!). It came up over lunch with other faculty members later that day, but no one seemed uncomfortable with my blogging habit. Instead we had a brief discussion about the uses of blogging for inter-faculty communication and let it go at that. In other words, no one had a Tribble-like reaction to my blog. It wasn't a focal point of my campus visit; my scholarship and my teaching were much more important to my future colleagues.

I'm not the only non-pseudonymous blogger to have found employment this year: fellow Cliopat Caleb McDaniel will begin at the University of Denver this fall (while you're on his blog, take time to read his post about transnational political history--it's great stuff). I think if I were to do a brief, informal survey I would find that non-pseudonymous bloggers fared no worse on the job market this year than non-bloggers. (If anyone would like to comment on that, drop me an email at rgoetz AT fas DOT harvard DOT edu.)

If you're interested in other ruminations about academic blogging, I recommend Mark Grimsley's recent writing on the topic, here and here.

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful...

...But inside the library it is quite delightful.

Seriously folks, Old Man Weather had all winter to produce snow. Very little snow was forthcoming. Now here it is, the first week in April, the crocuses and daffodils are blooming, and I look outside to see spring transformed into a Winter Wonderland.

To escape the weather, I recommend reading the most recent edition of the History Carnival, hosted by my blog buddy Dave Davisson at Patahistory. Of interest to early Americanists: posts on Christopher Columbus's body and the birthplace of Miles Standish. I'd also include the post on Bishop Ussher's writings on the age and history of the world in the early Americana category!

Speaking of History Carnivals, the 29th Edition will be held here at (a)musings of a grad student on Saturday, April 15th.

Per the usual CFP for the History Carnival:

Email nominations for recently published posts about history to rgoetz AT fas DOT harvard DOT edu, or use the nifty submission form provided by Blog Carnival.

Suitable nominations might include posts on a historical topic, reviews of books or resources, reflections on teaching or researching history. The History Carnival is not just for academics and entries don’t have to be heavyweight scholarship, but they must uphold basic standards of factual accuracy. If you have any further questions about the criteria for inclusion or submission guidelines, check out the Carnival homepage (link above), or just send the nomination along anyway and let the host decide.

I do have a special request for history and historically inclined bloggers: since April 15 represents the Day of Doom in the United States (income tax filings due every year on April 15th!), I'm particularly interested in including a selection of posts on the epic history of taxes and taxation in the Carnival. If you've got something to say on the topic, send it along!

And, as a side note:
The next Carnivalesque will be an early modern edition and will be hosted by Kristine at Earmarks in Early Modern Culture on 16 April. Send nominations for posts written in the last couple of months about all things early modern (c.1500-1800CE) to: kristine DOT steenbergh AT let DOT uu DOT nl.