Guest Post, Vaughn Scribner: “Fabricating History PART TWO: The Curious Case Continues”

A few weeks ago, we hosted a guest post from Vaughn Scribner on mermaids. Since sequels are all the rage in Hollywood, we are having him back for seconds.

Mermaid 1

Figure 1: Image from Gottfried’s Histora Antipodum oder Newe Welt (1631). Image after de Bry. Accessed via ULB Sachsen-Anhalt.

Well, here we go again. Just when I thought I had figured out the riddle of Captain John Smith’s alleged seventeenth-century mermaid sighting, research threw me a curve ball. A quick recap: in a recent Junto post, I argued that Alexandre Dumas added a brief (supposedly legitimate) story of Smith meeting a mermaid into his fictional 1849 adventure tale. Dumas’ fabricated account, I demonstrated, steadily gained a life of its own as subsequent historians cited it as fact. I had solved the “Curious Case of John Smith, a Green-Haired Mermaid, and Alexandre Dumas.” Or so I thought. Continue reading

Guest Post: The Payroll Union’s Paris of America

Pete David is a songwriter from Sheffield, who performs with the band, The Payroll Union. They have produced two EPs—Underfed & Underpaid and Your Obedient Servant—and have two albums: The Mule & The Elephant and their most recent, Paris of America.

Andrew Heath (@andrewdheath) is a lecturer in American History at the University of Sheffield in the UK. He spent several years in grad school in Philadelphia, where he became fascinated by the city’s nineteenth-century past.

The album cover of Paris of America.

The album cover of Paris of America.

Paris of America, a new album by the Sheffield U.K.-based band The Payroll Union, is the product of a two-year collaboration between  songwriter Pete David and historian Andrew Heath. With the help of funding from Sheffield University, Pete and the band explored the turbulent history of antebellum Philadelphia: a city in which racial, religious, and social strife earned it the title of “mob town” of the Union. Here, they reflect on the project, and the possibilities of exploring the history of the Early Republic beyond the more familiar routes of text and film.   Continue reading

Guest Post: On Publishing Journal Articles

Update: The Junto is sorry to report that C. Dallett Hemphill passed away on Friday, 3 July, after a brief illness. Hemphill received her BA from Princeton, and her PhD in American Civilization from Brandeis University. Through her own scholarly work, contributions to the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, and her position as Editor of Early American Studies, she was a big supporter of junior scholars. She is remembered both for her contributions to the field and profession and as a warm and generous scholar. This was her recent guest post for The Junto, in which she offered advice to junior scholars on publishing journal articles.

Guest Poster C. Dallett Hemphill is Professor of History at Ursinus College. She is also Editor of Early American Studies, which is published by the University of Pennsylvania Press for the McNeil Center for Early American Studies.

275_dallettI’m grateful to The Junto blog for inviting me to discuss how to publish a journal article. Although the views that follow are my own and the details of the process vary somewhat from journal to journal, I know from conversations with other editors that there is consensus on the essentials.

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Guest Post: The Foundations of New England States’ Rights as a Unique Entity

Today’s guest post comes from Jordan Fansler, who received his Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire at Durham in May 2015. The following is based on his dissertation, “A Serious and Jealous Eye: Federal Union in New England, 1775 – 1821.”

kr-1759-neStates’ rights looms large in discussions of both historical and contemporary American politics and its federal union. For good reason, the ante-bellum states’ rights movement of the South is often the first to come to mind, but such a narrow focus does not do justice to the topic as a dynamic historical phenomenon, nor does it provide adequate context for the more modern manifestations of states’ rights movements. In the early republic, New Englanders promoted their own brand of states’ rights, to protect a type of near-sovereignty they attributed to their legislatures, as the best way to promote their interests and shield individuals from distant oppression.

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Guest Post: Incorporating History and the Humanities into International Business

Chryssa Sharp is an Associate Professor of International Business in the Robert W. Plaster School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. She earned a PhD in Management from the University of Calgary in Canada and an MBA in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Dr. Sharp’s industry experiences encompass aspects of marketing, strategic planning, and cross-cultural communications. She has also been involved with developing programs to support small business exporting.

globe-flags_moneyHistorical knowledge plays an important role in the international business field. Ironically, as programs in the humanities are forced to justify their relevance to administrators, elected officials, and the general public, we, as a society, are in need of those fields’ contributions to creating the desired “global citizen.”

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Guest Post: Disaster, Death, and Distilleries

Today’s guest post comes from Jordan Smith, a PhD Candidate in Atlantic History at Georgetown University. His dissertation, “The Invention of Rum,” investigates the development and production of rum in the seventeenth and eighteenth-century Atlantic World.

Warning: This post contains graphic accounts of industrial accidents.

RumOn a recent research trip to Barbados, I stopped by the Mount Gay Visitors Center. There, between tastes of a variety of rums, tour guides regaled me with a heroic tale of Barbados’s place in the invention of rum. Afterwards, I was handed a brochure which proclaimed Mount Gay to be “the rum that invented rum.” The reasoning for this marketing strategy is simple enough—Mount Gay is one of many distilleries that makes a financial killing off of linking their product to a happy history of ingenuity and originality. Yet accounts of eighteenth-century distillery disasters suggest that this invention and innovation of rum was often undergirded by shocking violence.   Continue reading

Review: Andrew Beaumont, Colonial America & the Earl of Halifax, 1748-1761

Andrew D. M. Beaumont, Colonial America & the Earl of Halifax, 1748–1761. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

NB: This review is written by frequent guest poster, Christopher F. Minty, the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Postdoctoral Fellow at the New-York Historical Society and Eugene Lang College at The New School for Liberal Arts.

Andrew Beaumont has written a provoking biography of George Montagu Dunk, second earl of Halifax (1716–1771) that covers the crucial period between 1748 and 1761. This book offers a re-evaluation of how we understand colonial American politics and, by implication, it forces us to reconsider the origins of the American Revolution.It also reorients our understanding of British figures who wanted to centralize the Empire during the eighteenth century. For Beaumont, we should look less at the familiar cast of characters: George Grenville; the Earl of Bute; William Pitt, later Lord Chatham; and Lord North. There are others, of course. But, we are familiar with these men. We know their stories. We know their contributions. Beaumont does not argue that we should look away from these men. Rather, he argues that we should look at other “ambitious men” and how they affected the British Empire. In this book, Beaumont examines the “Father of the Colonies,” the Earl of Halifax. Continue reading