The Week in Early American History

TWEAHThe past week has brought a number of fascinating developments in the world of academe and early America. But I think by far the most exciting has been the arrival in mailboxes around the country of the Fall 2014 issue of Early American Studies—a special edition dedicated to “Critical Approaches to Sex and Gender in Early America.” The articles are rich, creative, and surprising; I haven’t been able to put the issue down. If you’ve not gotten around to reading it yet, head on over to Project Muse and enjoy. In case you have already savored the new EAS issue, though, here’s your weekly roundup of noteworthy online happenings to bide you through a crisp fall Sunday.

The controversy continued surrounding the Economist‘s retracted review of Ed Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told. Baptist is still eagerly responding, picking through the review’s racist approach to evidence, and weighing counterarguments the Economist should have raised. From another prominent voice in the study of American slavery, Jim Oakes outlines his own take on slavery and capitalism.

In New York news, Brian Murphy discusses infrastructure and scandal in both the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries in the summer issue of Common-Place. N-YHS highlights Dutch influence on American slang. And, in the Times, Russell Shorto commemorates the anniversary of the English takeover of Manhattan.

Elsewhere, Sarah Lampert offers a smart dissection of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s oft-quoted sentence about “well-behaved women.” Paul Putz discusses atheists in early America, and over at the Atlantic Jeremy Caradonna talks progress, sustainability, and industrialism. In the midst of the Ebola crisis, Sonic Woytonik notes parallels with the aftermath of Philadelphia’s Yellow Fever outbreak in the long process of understanding epidemics. And the Chronicle reports on Stephen Berry and Claudio Saunt’s digital initiatives at the University of Georgia.

The Steven Salaita speech-and-tenure dispute was certainly the largest academic news story of the week. But there were others, as well. Scholars are critiquing the economics of attending annual meetings, and universities’ contingent faculty labor crisis catches the eyes of the CBC. Twitter considers changes that could upend the way scholars use the platform. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences released a report on its survey of humanities departments. The New Yorker, bless them, chided their less traditional peers in the literary scene and spoke out in defense of footnotes. In teaching news, Bill Gates had some idea about history education or whatever, and he’s like super excited about it. More interestingly, The American Yawp, a free, online, collaborative, college-level U.S. history textbook went live in beta edition. And our own Joe Adelman introduces an imaginative commonplace-book assignment that he’s testing out this semester.

A quick look back at this week’s offerings at The Junto, in case you missed them: guest poster Simon Newman compares American and Scottish independence movements as the Scottish referendum approaches. Tom Cutterham recaps the British Group of Early American Historians‘ conference. Sara Georgini offers a roundup of early American art on display this fall. And Christopher Jones compares the historical memory of the War of 1812, encapsulated in the tone of the uniforms the University of Maryland football team wore onto the gridiron yesterday, with the actual outcome of the war.

And, finally, by applying a new and powerful doge-like critical lens, scholars have at last unearthed the marital struggles, hipster proclivities, and true ordinariness of George Washington’s everyday life. Have a good week!

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