The Week in Early American History

TWEAHHappy Easter and Passover to all celebrating!

With all the excitement around the Junto’s March Madness tournament (we even have a hashtag!), it’s a useful reminder that there are other things going on this week around the blogosphere. Once you’ve found all the Easter eggs (or, if you hid it really well on Monday, the afikoman), sit down and try out a few of these posts and stories.

At the Daily Beast, Jordan Michael Smith reviews a new book by Eran Shalev, American Zion: The Old Testament as a Political Text from the Revolution to the Civil War.

The spate of books and films about the Civil War and the discussion about them continues apace. The New York Daily News discusses Jim Downs’ new book, Sick from Freedom, as a corrective to the sanitized vision of slavery in Lincoln (or, the Historical Movie That No One Is Satisfied With Because It’s Spielberg and He Makes Big Statements About American History).

Over at History@Work, the blog of the National Council of Public History, Jessica Cochran offers some insights into how public historians might understand and complement historical films (with Lincoln and Django Unchained the most recent examples) as part of their work. Rather than simply the one line blurb, however, I want to include a brief quote that really gets to the heart of the post:

The similarity between movies and the work of public historians is testament to the inherent potential historical films possess for enriching interpretive frameworks in historical institutions. By engaging with Hollywood versions of history, we might realize that in some cases, half of our work as public historians has already been done for us. Perhaps the other half lies in the difficult task of addressing issues of historicity without invalidating the emotional connections that Lincoln and Django Unchained offer.

Kevin Levin, proprietor of Civil War Memory, argues that we need to look online, rather than simply to battlefields, to determine how future generations will view and understand the Civil War.

Climbing into our Wayback Machine, John Fea alerts us to a project to digitize the records of the Catholic parish in St. Augustine, Florida, which includes documents going back to 1594.

You just can’t get good fake china anymore. Boston 1775 reports on knock-off china with Society of the Cincinnati patterns.

Finally, from our resident academic labor experts, an Inside Higher Ed report on the precipitous drop in state funding for higher education, and a Leonard Cassuto column in the Chronicle offering a more humane and well-rounded approach to graduate training.


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