Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Marketing for Crash!

As the global financial markets crash makes news Amazon hit me up with this advertisement.  I really don't know how the Amazon algorithms work.  I spend more time on Amazon looking at sporting goods and comic books than I do my own books.  Okay, I confess to having bought a few books on economics.  But... my hope is that Amazon is selling books on market failures rather than targeting me with my own book.

A Second Interview with Dr. Horowitz

The largest circulating newspaper in Argentina Clarín published another interview with Dr. Horowitz ( in Spanish).  This interview focused on the current state of the labor movement in Argentina and its relationship with politics.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dr. Horowitz's Interview

Dr. Horowitz was interviewed by Clarin, the largest circulation newspaper in Argentina.  You can listen to it (in Spanish) here.  (Don't forget the power of Google translate.)  The interview discusses the main arguments of Horowitz's book Argentina’s Radical Party and Popular Mobilization, 1916-1930 (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2008)which was recently published in Argentina as 
         El radicalismo y la movilización popular (1916-1930) (Buenos Aires: Edhasa, 2015). It also touches on connections between the era that Horowitz studied  and politics in subsequent eras, especially the 1940s and 1950s and the present.

Friday, August 14, 2015

STEM or Liberal Arts?

STEM or Liberal Arts:  A Trick Question for College Students is another article on the seeming debate between STEM and liberal arts majors.  The takeaway, we need both.  The author writes that "it’s a mistake to think that STEM is the only route to a rewarding and well-paying career in tech or business, whether with a web startup or a huge multinational."  STEM is hugely important and any student who has taken my classes know that I think that one of the defining features of the 21st century is that technology is integrating into everything.  In the article, the author writes that "the bigger point is that most students would do well to study both STEM and liberal arts and develop both left-brain and right-brain skills and thinking.  The example I use with my college-bound teen is that software engineering is a very valuable skill to have, but software engineering combined with superb communications skills, even more so."  I would argue the reverse is also true.  The humanities major who is comfortable with tech is also marketable.  Looking forward to teaching public history and digital history this year.

DNA Test for Harding

With a two-term sitting president leaving office and a large, large number scrambling to take his place, it is once again time to revisit presidential legacy and rankings.  Get ready for a lot of it.  This means Harding again reenters the historical consciousness as our worst president - maybe.  If you are going to discuss Harding in the news, you are probably going to be talking about his private life.

The New York Times reports that "DNA Is Said to Solve a Mystery of Warren Harding's Love Life."  Other outlets are widely reporting the result.  Fox News notes that first DNA testing confirmed the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings and now it has answered another presidential mystery.  Do the DNA test change Harding's place in history?  Probably not.  It is not shocking or even news that Harding slept around, he was after all called a He Harlot, something I couldn't resist as a chapter title in Dead Last.  Not that long ago the Library of Congress released the correspondence between Harding and his mistress Carrie-Fulton Phillips.  The story also mentions that "The testing also found that President Harding had no ancestors from sub-Saharan Africa, answering another question that has intrigued historians. When Harding ran for president in 1920, segregationist opponents claimed he had `black blood.'"  Again, not a surprising finding  but an interesting testimony to changing times.  Some still hold it against Harding that he might have been of a mixed race ancestry.  Not that long ago the idea that Harding was of mixed race was the "shadow" in Francis Russell's Shadow of Blooming Grove, the best known and damning Harding biography.  Does all this mean Harding will now rise in the rankings?  No.  Teapot Dome and Veterans' Bureau Scandals (among others) still loom large in a short presidency.  It does show that Americans have long liked a little tabloid mixed in with presidential politics.

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: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/education/article29241376.html#storylink=cpy