Welcome to another edition of This Week in Early American History! We wish a safe and healthy holiday to those who are observing Easter this weekend, and a Chag Kasher V’Sameach to those who are celebrating Passover. Now, on to the links….
It has been a busy, and sometime contentious week for debates about history, history pedagogy, and history and politics. Boston Globe columnist explored the modern day relevance of Senator Henry Clay in a discussion about divisiveness in our current political climate. News of North Carolina’s State legislature’s plans to require all UNC system faculty to teach 8 courses a year have been making the rounds on social media. Criticisms of academia have led Thomas Bender to ask whether historians have been victims of their own success?
Within the profession, there has been frustration over compartmentalization and labels. Liz Covart argued that the insistence on labeling historians (alt ac, independent scholar, etc) can be exclusionist and leads to a dismissiveness of scholars based on their employment status, rather than the merits of their work. On her blog, Historiann, Ann Little expressed consternation about the ease with which some in the profession shrug off the validity of entire subfields that are outside of their own.
In blog-related news, our own Ken Owen, Michael Hattem, and Roy Rogers were guests on Liz Covart’s Ben Franklin’s World podcast, where they discussed podcasting, blogging, and early American history. Also, Historiann responded to Michael Hattem’s post this past week—”Have Cultural Historians Lost the American Revolution?“—with her own insightful piece entitled, “American Revolution scholarship and the spirit of 1976.”
In cultural news, the Melungeon Heritage Association made the case for the importance of promoting Melungeon and Creole heritage today.
And finally, a heartfelt congratulations to Danielle Allen on winning the Zócalo Book Prize for her recent book, Our Declaration. Allen was recognized for “her insights into the significance of equality in America—from the 18th century to the present.”