Good morning and welcome to another Week in Early American History. I’m your host, Tom Cutterham.
Before we begin, please all stand for the traditional reading of the Declaration of Independence. This week William Hogeland reflected on the fantasy of an egalitarian founding that can sometimes be conjured up by some of Jefferson’s soaring prose, while revolution buffs pledged to hold more get-togethers in Williamsburg, and novelist Alex Myers explained his new book about Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a man in order to fight with the Continental Army. Meanwhile, The Appendix went looking for the Haitian Declaration of Independence, thousands of images from the French Revolution went online at the French Revolution Digital Archive, and Presidents Obama and Hollande made plans to visit Jefferson’s pad, Monticello.
But it wasn’t all revolution this week in Juntoland. Archaeologists uncovered “an ancient and extensive Native American village in the middle of downtown Miami.” Now they hope to secure UNESCO World Heritage status before developers build a hotel and restaurant on top of it. There was a moving video for the “change the mascot” campaign (below). Over at Religion and Politics, there’s a thoughtful take on 12 Years a Slave that grapples with the role of religion in film and public memory. A fantastic-looking schedule and paper abstracts have been released for “Race and Nation in the Age of Emancipations: A Symposium on the Atlantic World” at Rice University in two weeks’ time. And at the end of June this year, Molly O’Hagan Hardy explains, “anyone anywhere” will have access to the Evans-TCP—that is, the corpus of clean, machine-readable texts lovingly transcribed from the Evans’ Early American Imprints database.
Two giants of the early American field have been in the press spotlight this week. David Brion Davis’ new book, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation, is just out, and to mark the occasion The Chronicle traced his long reach through generations of graduate students. Fellow “national treasure” Eric Foner revealed his thoughts on Disney’s Lion King in an interview for Columbia’s student magazine (he also mentioned that Obama’s education policy “is a disaster,” and that contra the proud tradition of Charles Beard, Columbia’s history department should be in the humanities division, not the social sciences). And to cap it off, Foner reviewed Davis’ book in the pages of The Nation, writing that it “brings to a conclusion one of the towering achievements of historical scholarship of the past half-century.”
In professional development/destruction news, Josh Boldt wonders if adjunct professors should write recommendation letters, while Exeter University (UK)’s new Imperial and Global History Network offers a handy “beginners guide to writing a post-doc research proposal,” and the New York Times suggests a remarkably ill-thought-out “solution” to the US tenure system: three tracks, for teaching, research, and both. As some on twitter pointed out, the article’s illustration didn’t help matters. Let’s all cheer ourselves up with a little bit of Abe (’cause he’s all the history you need in Illinois, right Ken?).
Your native American village in downtown Miami doesn’t surprise me. Here in Toronto archaeologists have identified something like 192, I think i is, old village sites within Metro’s boundaries.
The First Nations community centre at Vaughan Road and St. Clair has a welcome sign on the outside proclaiming “20,000 years in business at the same location.” Probably a bit of a stretch, but one gets the point.