Junto March Madness: Round 3 Results

JMM15So, there were quite a few close races this round, including one that came down to the last hour. (Literally!) CAN YOU FEEL THE MADNESS?!?!?!?!!!11?!?!

Jonathan Edwards and Thomas Paine clutched victory from the jaws of defeat by the slightest of margins. Benjamin Franklin is basically looking like this. And Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass are heading for a slave narrative showdown.

There is a quick turnaround this week, so you have little time to catch your breath. Voting for the Elite Eight is tomorrow. Continue reading

Junto March Madness: Round 3 Voting

JMM15You know what’s totally anticlimactic? NCAA March Madness after the first two rounds. You know what only gets better and better? The Junto’s March Madness. Let’s do this.

Will Thomas Paine continue his domination? Will Graham Crackers continue destroying everything in their path? Will I have to keep coming up with rhetorical questions?

Voting closes Tuesday at 5pm. Continue reading

Junto March Madness Round 2 Voting: Brackets 3 & 4

JMM15As we move into voting for brackets 3 & 4, lots of questions remain unanswered: will Roger Williams’s Key Into the Languages of America continue its cinderella run? Will Graham Crakers gain more momentum? Will Junto readers be able to explain their excitement for this tournament without sounding imminently nerdy? Only time will tell.

Voting closes on Thursday at 5:00pm. Results for all four brackets will be announced on Friday. Continue reading

Junto March Madness: Round 1, Day 1 Voting

JMM15The time has come: trash talking is over; voting begins. As a reminder, you can find the entire bracket here. Today, we will vote on brackets 1 and 2; Wednesday, we will vote on brackets 3 and 4. We have included arguments on behalf of various documents, written by either Junto bloggers or friends of the blog. Please, feel free to add your arguments in the comments, because the purpose of this month’s “tournament” is to provide a resource for teachers of early American history.

Let the games begin! Continue reading

Junto March Madness 2015: The Unveiling of the Bracket

JMM15The wait is over. For the next few weeks, over-specialized nerds across the country will huddle over their desks, pencils in hand, brows furrowed, debating matchups and predicting winners. Lines will be drawn. Disagreements will be had. Relationships may be strained. The historiographical world as we know it may never be the same again.

That’s right, the Junto March Madness Bracket has finally arrived!

This year, the bracket is focused on primary sources. Specifically, primary sources that you would use in the classroom. These could be larger edited collections, single letters, or even an engraving. This is meant to introduce readers and teachers to new pedagogical tools designed to unlock the study of the past. Continue reading

Guest Post: William Black, Gordon Wood’s Notecards and the Two Presentisms

Today we are pleased to have a guest post from William R. Black (@w_r_black), a PhD student of history at Rice University. His research examines how Cumberland Presbyterians dealt with slavery, sectionalism, theological controversy, and professionalization in the nineteenth century.

blogsize-obama-gordon-woodGordon Wood riled up the #twitterstorians with a review of his advisor Bernard Bailyn’s latest book, Sometimes an Art: Nine Essays on History. Much of the review is not so much about Bailyn as it is about later generations of historians, who (according to Wood) have abandoned narrative history for “fragmentary,” obscure monographs on subaltern peoples. Wood attacks these historians for being “anachronistic—condemning the past for not being more like the present.” He continues: Continue reading

A Tale of the Classroom: Introducing Richard Dunn’s Book to Undergraduates

Dunn Roundtable CoverRichard Dunn has written a big book. Normally, big books like Dunn’s are primarily meant for fellow academics, grad students who need to pad their comps list, and the super-interested general public. (That category still exists, right? Right?) For academics, these types of books influence two aspects of our scholarly life: our own academic projects and our classroom instruction. The previous participants in the roundtable have focused on A Tale of Two Plantations’s contribution to the former category, while I would like to focus my remarks on the latter. So I am going to skip the basic parameters of a book review—namely, identifying the key arguments and weaknesses of the volume—and focus on how this book can work with undergraduate students.  Continue reading

Guest Post: Strange Constitutional Bedfellows: The First and Third Amendments in the Mormon Quest for Religious Liberty

Today’s guest post comes from Spencer W. McBride, who has blogged with us before. Dr. McBride received his PhD at Louisiana State University in 2014 and is now a historian and documentary editor at the Joseph Smith Papers. His research examines the politicization of clergymen during the American Revolution and in the early American republic.

JS LegionOf the ten amendments that comprise the United States Bill of Rights, the third amendment is arguably the least controversial. Go ahead, think back to your high school civics class and try to remember what rights are protected by the third amendment. Can’t remember? Don’t feel too bad. It is rarely invoked by politicians and political activists, it does not often spark heated debates in the media, and the U.S. Supreme Court has never heard a case in which it was the primary basis. Let’s face it, since the adoption of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, Americans have not been overly concerned that the government will quarter troops in the homes of private citizens without their consent. Continue reading

The Junto Enters the Terrible Twos!

I acknowledge the generous help of Michael Hattem in gathering all the statistics and relevant information for this post. And just as he is the real puppeteer behind the curtain of the post, he serves a similar function for the entire blog in general; appreciation is herein expressed, once again, to him.

BIRTHDAY-CAKE-2-year-oldTwo years ago today, The Junto announced its entrance into the academic blogging world. When I originally conceived of the idea for the blog and pitched it to three fellow grad students (Michael Blaakman, Katy Lasdow, and Eric Herschthal) in an uptown Manhattan coffee shop in September(ish) 2012, I merely wanted to come up with a small community that could alleviate my alone-ness of studying American history while living in the UK. A few months later, the blog was born; two years later, our empire expands. It is becoming fairly common to meet people at an academic conference and, after I share my name, the person replies, “Oh, you’re Ben Park from The Junto?” It makes me smile every. single. time. I could have hardly conceived of where the blog has gone since our humble beginnings. Yet here we are. What follows is a general report of what has taken place since we last celebrated our blog’s birthday. Continue reading

Guest Post: Megan Brett on the Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800

Today’s guest poster is Megan R. Brett. Brett is a doctoral student in History at George Mason University where her dissertation will focus on the challenges faced by early American diplomatic families stationed overseas. She is also a Digital History Associate at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 5.11.52 PMThe Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800, is a rich resource, not only for its content but also as a community transcription project. Only a small percentage of the transcribers identify as educators or academics; what draws people to volunteer their time deciphering 18th century handwriting? Continue reading