Sunday, August 2, 2015

Civil War Panel and Reunion Update

Yesterday, August 1, descendants of the New York 154th regiment gather at St. Bonaventure.  Part of the ceremonies included formally giving the Mark H. Dunkelman and Michael J. Winey Collection of the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry to the Friedsdam Library.  They also got to see a fine exhibit from the collection in the Quick Center for the Arts and a panel of Civil War historians from the Emerging Civil War hosted by Chris Mackowski of the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  The day concluded with a bbq and live music from Rush the Growler.

The 'strange' death of Warren G. Harding

Today PBS reminds us that this is the anniversary of The 'strange' death of Warren G. Harding.  If you want to find out more about this, and what happened after his death, you can always check out my book Dead Last:  The Public Memory of Warren G. Harding's Scandalous Legacy.  Harding's place in history, and in the presidential rankings, is fascinating.

For the Liberal Arts, All is not Lost in the Digital Age

Although I risk turning the blog into a place to rant about the crisis in the humanities, I am deeply interested in how fields like history fit into the 21st century.  Since it is summer and I don't have new stories about what our great students are doing I'll post this column in the Miami Herald "For the Liberal Arts, All is not Lost in the Digital Age." The author makes some good points.

Taken from the article:
"“Liberal arts majors who want to be in the tech field have to educate themselves in the basic concepts, and if they can prove they understand it well enough, they become invaluable,” Nickel said. When he looks at résumés, he doesn’t immediately dismiss one that leads with a liberal arts degree. After all, he said, developers may create a product, but it takes a smooth talker in the board room to convince investors to buy.
There has been a bit of a backlash to the STEM push, with a string of stories in mainstream media and business publications praising the virtues and versatility of those liberal arts majors, particularly the ones willing to learn the language of computing."
I am not part of the STEM backlash, such as it is.  STEM is hugely important but it isn't the whole story.  For those of in fields like history, the digital age could actually be an opportunity providing we are willing to experiment and adapt - not always the easiest thing to do but it can be fun.

Read more here:

Thursday, July 30, 2015

That "Useless" Liberal Arts Degree....

"That "Useless" Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech's Hottest Ticket" over at Forbes is is a great article on the value of the liberal arts degree in the Tech World.  From the article:  "MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee argue in a recent book, The Second Machine Age, that today’s tech wave will inspire a new style of work in which tech takes care of routine tasks so that people can concentrate on what mortals do best: generating creative ideas and actions in a data-rich world."  Later on, the author continues "As LinkedIn data show, most of the migrants have created nontechnical career paths in Silicon Valley. The list starts with sales and marketing (14%) and goes on to include education (6%), consulting (5%), business development (5%) and a host of other specialties ranging from product management to real estate. Add up the jobs held by people who majored in psychology, history, gender studies and the like, and they quickly surpass the totals for engineering and computer science."

I'd like to think that my digital history class and the game design materials we're introducing to public history only helps open doors to these types of jobs.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Experience the power of a bookbook™

Civil War Panel Aug 1

Civil War panel discussion won’t just look back
at 154th Regiment’s reunion August 1 at SBU

Public invited to reunion events; tickets still available for dinner/concert

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y., July 23, 2015 — The Civil War historians visiting St. Bonaventure University next week won’t simply be reflecting on a battle that ended 150 years ago.

They’ll discuss why the ripple effects of the nation’s darkest period still wash over us today.

The Confederate flag controversy that boiled to the surface in South Carolina after the church killings June 17 in Charleston is just one example.

“The Civil War is still very much with us today,” said Kristopher D. White, a co-founder of the blog Emerging Civil War and one of the historians who will be part of a panel discussion on Saturday, Aug. 1, at the 30th annual reunion of the Descendants of the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

Most of the men from the 154th were from Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties.

“People have strong opinions about some of these hot-button topics, but there really needs to be calm, rational discussion from all sides. We hope to offer some of that.”

The panel discussion will feature Civil War authors White, Eric Wittenberg, Derek Maxfield and Dan Davis, and be moderated by Dr. Chris Mackowski, professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure and a prolific Civil War author.

Wittenberg’s critically acclaimed works have focused on the plight of everyday cavalrymen of the Civil War, and have addressed nearly every major cavalry battle of the Civil War. His battlefield preservation work includes serving as the vice president of the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation, and he is a member of the governor of Ohio’s Advisory Commission on the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

The reunion will celebrate the donation to St. Bonaventure’s Friedsam Memorial Library of the Mark H. Dunkelman and Michael J. Winey Collection of the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry. The collection includes documentary material as well as numerous prints, objects and artifacts related to the regiment.

Descendants of the 154th will gather from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The reunion activities beginning at 3:45 are open to the public and free, except for the closing barbecue and concert at 6 p.m., which is open to the public but costs $30 per person. Registration for the dinner/concert closes July 29 and can be made at

The first public event is the opening of the Quick Center for the Arts exhibition of  “The Hardtack Regiment: 154th New York Volunteer Infantry.” The exhibition is part of the collection of regimental artifacts from the collection of Dunkleman, author of several books about the men of the 154th regiment.

Among the cases of artifacts are letters written from the battlefield, carte de viste (small photos) of soldiers and items carried by the soldiers into battle. A to-scale mural of the regiment’s memorial at Gettysburg Battlefield is also in the exhibition. The exhibition will be open through Nov. 15.

A timeline of public events:

• 3:45-4:15 p.m.: The opening of the Quick Center exhibition of Civil War artifacts.
• 4:15-5:15 p.m.: Panel discussion with Civil War authors and historians (Quick Center).
• 5:15-6 p.m.: British scholar James Brooke’s “The Last and Most Precious Memento,” a look at portrait photography and the Union soldier (Quick Center).
• 5:15-6 p.m.: Browse the Quick Center exhibition and a second one in Friedsam Library, a short walk across campus. The Friedsam exhibition focuses on photographs and documents from Winey’s collection.
• 6 p.m.: Barbecue dinner under a tent on the lawn next to the Magnano Centre’s Café La Verna, followed by a musical performance by Rush the Growler. The band will perform its renditions of letters and poems written by members of the regiment, set to period music. Register at

For more information about reunion activities or to register, go On-campus accommodations are available for $50 per night and may be booked online as well.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things.  St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #3 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.    


Monday, July 20, 2015

Minecraft in the Classroom & ComputerCraftEdu

The blog has been pretty quite this summer, mostly because it is summer.  In some ways its downtime and in other ways it is time to do the the behind the scenes stuff that makes a university work.  I just finished with page proofs - important but not very interesting to anyone but me and my publisher.  I'm also planning for the fall.  As many know, I've been looking for ways spruce up the Public History class; to that end I've been looking at Minecraft.  This isn't as crazy as it sounds.  Minecraft has launched an educational arm and is showing up in the K-12 system.  Check out "Using Minecraft as a Learning Tool" for more on that.  The video is from the Minecraftedu YouTube channel.  I also need to thank various people who have been sending me articles about this.  Pretty cool.