The Week in Early American History

TWEAHWell, technically, this will be the last two weeks in early American history since we missed last Sunday. Let’s get to it:

A couple of major book awards were announced, with Andrew O’Shaughnessy’s  The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire taking home the New-York Historical Society’s annual American history book prize, and the 2014 Bancroft Prize being shared by two books, including Ari Kelman’s A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek

Speaking of books, New York has put up a short video advertisement for Sylviane Diouf’s recently-released Slavery’s Exiles: The Story of America’s Maroons. Check it out on Youtube.

Molly Warsh, author of the forthcoming American Baroque: Pearls and the Nature of Empire, 1492-1700, offered important historical perspective on “Venezuela’s long history of boom-and-bust” over at The Conversation, concluding that “in Venezuela as elsewhere throughout the Americas, colonial legacies of violence and inequality continue to defy resolution. It is sobering to remember how long and tortured a history the country has with the natural wealth that sustains and warps its present as it did its past.” That point is an equally valid summary of this New York Times article on the ways in which Brazil’s push to prepare for the upcoming World Cup and Olympic Games intersects with its slave past, with multimillion dollar construction projects going on next to crucially-important archaeological sites of slave markets, living quarters, and cemeteries.

On a lighter note, early American history is coming (returning?) to the theater, with the premier of “HAMILTON” set for January 2015, and “Red Velvet,” the story of antebellum African American actor Ira Aldridge, coming to St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn on March 25. The New Yorker, meanwhile, featured a fascinating essay on the history and legacy of “America’s first professional songwriter” Stephen Foster, whose last song, “Beautiful Dreamer,” was posthumously published 150 years ago this month. And on a recent episode of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart hosted a game show called “The Weakest Lincoln” featuring Judge Andrew Napolitano and “Abraham Lincoln.” The panel of judges consisted of James Oaks, Manisha Sinha, and Eric Foner. Who says academics aren’t reaching the public?

Looking for a podcast to tide you over until the appearance of the next offering from The Junto Podcast Network? Check out the latest offering from Talking Empire, on Adam Smith and Empire. Interested in volunteering for National History Day? Sign up to be a judge here.

We’ll wrap up with a handful of academy-related links. Patrick Iber contemplates quitting academia at Inside Higher Ed, concluding that “the academic job market has taken so much from me over the last years; I don’t want to let it take away my career as well.” In the Chronicle of Higher Education, Sara Hebel explores the transition of a higher education from public to private good. And last but certainly not least, Nadine Muller is soliciting guest posts at her blog on academia and mental health.

See something we missed? Leave a link in the comments.

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