Thursday, February 25, 2016

#Bonas Payne talks about new book, importance of thinking about history

Feb 24, 2016 |
By Julia Mericle, ’17
A new book by St. Bonaventure University history professor Phillip Payne, Ph.D., frames the story of the 1929 stock market crash within the booming New Era economy of the 1920s and the bust of the Great Depression. 
Cover of Phillip Payne's new book 'Crash!'“Crash! How the Economic Boom and Bust of the 1920s Worked” was released by Johns Hopkins University Press in December.
The book by Payne, chair of the Department of History, discusses the topic of speculation in economics, specifically explaining the 1929 stock market crash.
Payne said the idea for the book originated when he was talking to an editor at an American History Association meeting about the launch of a new series called “How Things Worked.” The meeting was shortly after the stock market crash in 2008, and Payne said his students were shocked so he talked about it in his classes.
The book is intended for an undergraduate audience and aims to make complicated stories understandable, according to Payne.
“A lot of effort went into making this book accessible, a book you can pick up and read without a deep knowledge of economics or politics,” Payne said.
Kevin Sidoran, a senior biochemistry major, is in Payne’s “United States History since 1865” class this semester.
“Dr. Payne is a storyteller,” Sidoran said. “He is able to segue almost any discussion or side comment, however irrelevant, to what we are covering in lecture, and he always pulls in little tidbits of background info to make the larger ideas more tangible and coherent.” 
Payne said he noticed many students are not interested in the topic of speculation in stock market crashes, but that it has real impact on their lives.
In the 19th century, bankers were just about the only ones following the stock market, according to Payne, but now the stock market is increasingly part of the economy.
Payne said he tells young people they need to think about history, especially in the turbulence of the modern economy, where people move from job to job. 
A major takeaway from the book, according to Payne, is that to get to that level of speculation, to get to where the economy gets blown up, people have to forget it happened before and convince themselves the current time is different.
“In 1929, they convinced themselves the stock market was a money making machine and it was never going to crash,” Payne said. “In 2008 they convinced themselves of this again.”
Payne said we are still dealing with many of the issues discussed in his book in the current presidential election, such as fallout from the 2008 crash and transitions taking place in the economy with technology and globalization.
In addition to Payne’s interest in economic history, his areas of research include Warren G. Harding and exploring how popular culture is shaped by politics and vice versa. He is the author of “Dead Last: The Public Memory of Warren G. Harding’s Scandalous Legacy,” released by Ohio University Press in 2009.
Learn more about Payne and the history department via the blog

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 #5 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.     

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Congress to Campus

SBU Alum and former history major James Walsh will be visiting campus.  From the press release:
James T. Walsh (R-N.Y.) and Richard H. Stallings (D-Idaho), former members of the U.S. House of Representatives, will visit St. Bonaventure University March 6-8 as part of the Congress to Campus program. 
The #CongresstoCampus duo will visit classes, be available for media interviews, and present a public forum on the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on global issues such as immigration, terrorism and trade. 
There are two major events to which students are invited:

1.       The Public Forum on the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on global issues such as immigration, terrorism and trade.
Monday, March 7, 4-5:30 p.m., Rigas Theater.  Tickets may be ordered by contacting the Quick Center Box Office 716-375-2494

2.       The Tuesday Lunchtime Forum on the Northern Ireland Accords as a model for negotiating peace in the Middle East
March 8, 11;30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., University Club ($3 for those without an SBU meal plan)

Monday, February 8, 2016

More on humanities majors and careers

Mathew Sigelman in "Getting Past the Lazy Debate" makes some really good points, ones that students in Digital and Public history have heard.  It's worth reading.  He makes smart points about what employers are looking for and the relationship between liberal arts education and vocational skills.

From his essay:
"Or consider this: across the labor market, many of the jobs that are both fastest growing and in highest demand are those that bring together different skill sets, like marketing and data analysis, or graphic design and programming. Such positions, which have grown by 53 percent over the last four years alone, are often hard to fill because technically oriented training programs tend to be tightly focused. By contrast, these “hybrid jobs” require people who can bridge domains and synthesize ideas.
Liberal arts graduates may not have direct training in those domains, but the liberal arts live within the core framework of interdisciplinary synthesis and critical evaluation. That’s a world apart from more technically oriented programs that dispatch their graduates into the workforce with a fixed portfolio of skills that, while marketable, may be of fleeting currency. In fact, even within a given occupation, the core work activities can evolve quickly, rendering a “practical” program obsolete. In the fast-growing field of data analysis, the entire skill set has shifted over just a three-year span away from pure statistical computation to place much more emphasis on visualization and business analysis."

Friday, February 5, 2016

Sorcery Scares, Witch Hunts and Exorcism in Asian History

Chris Dalton is teaching Sorcery Scares, Witch Hunts and Exorcism in Asian History as our First Year Seminar in the Fall. The goal of the first year seminar is to offer a small class that introduces students to the discipline of history.  How do historians ask questions?  How do historians approach a problem?  What is historical thinking?  Professor Dalton's topic promises to not only be intellectually challenging but a great deal of fun.

Game Design Summer Camp

Gaming CampLet’s learn how to design and build a game!
Like games? Like playing games? In this camp, we’ll explore the principles of game design focusing on board games.
Games are all around us. The rise of computers and the internet has led to an explosion in gaming – obviously video and mobile games but also board games. It turns out gamers and the internet go together. Not only do we play games, but we use games to advertise, to get in shape, to learn, and the list goes on. The use of games for other purposes is called gamification.
Together we will answer these questions. What makes a game? What makes a game good? Fun? Interesting? Marketable?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Value of an Education in the Humanities

Adam Frank in "What is the Value of an Education in the Humanities," makes interesting points about this new world we live in.  Not only has the economics of higher education changed, but we've reached a point where separating the humanities from technology isn't wise.  He writes:
"The point: The old barriers between the humanities and technology are falling. Historians now use big data techniques to ask their human-centered questions. Engineers use the same methods — but with an emphasis on human interfaces — to answer their own technology-oriented questions."  As you read the article he lists technologies, including GIS, that every student should know how to use.