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Jun 22, 2005 5:07 pm

More Noted Still ...

Anne Applebaum,"Give This ‘Attic' A Story To Tell," Washington Post, 22 June, argues that the Smithsonian's Museum of American History needs to shut down, not just to fix the plumbing. It needs to rediscover its mission. At Political Animal, Kevin Drum makes Applebaum a bet about public ignorance. Maybe evidence of it shouldn't be a measure of institutional failure.

Mark Danner,"What Are You Going To Do With That?" New York Review of Books, 23 June, addresses the humanities major in the post-9/11 world.

Steven D. Krause,"Blogs as a Tool for Teaching," Chronicle of Higher Education (subscriber only), 24 June, identifies pitfalls, as well as opportunities.

Richard Newman reviews John Ernest, Liberation Historiography: African American Writers and the Challenge of History, 1794-1861 (UNC Press, 2004), 21 June, for H-SHEAR. Ernest replies here; and Newman responds to him here. This is a fascinating discussion of Ernest's identification of a tradition of doing history as an oppositional act.

Does a Love Doctor need a Ph. D.? Andrea Jones has a great article in this morning's Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Tiy-E Muhammad, who you can see currently on TBS's"The Real Gilligan's Island." He has claimed to be a psychologist, but is not registered as such, either in Georgia or Illinois. He taught psychology for four years at Clark-Atlanta University and says he left because he lost interest in doing it. When asked if it was because University officials discovered his lack of credentials, he said"I don't have a problem with that." Subsequently, he claimed to have a doctorate from a diploma mill, but he apparently hasn't even bought that, yet.

Finally, here's an update of sorts on the doings of some of our colleagues at Cliopatria. Chris Bray is, of course, at Fort Benning. As far as I can tell, Tim Burke and Greg Robinson have gone underground, but Alan Allport occasionally raises his head above the Horizon. Jonathan Dresner gives a report on his recent Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast conference at Claremont. The prolific Sharon Howard has created her own food blog, A Rich Cabinet. Rob MacDougall bids a fond farewell to Cambridge, MA, and prepares to move to the University of Western Ontario. Now that he has a job, we get access to his wonderful livejournal, RoBoTNiK. Like Bob Hope, Jonathan Reynolds is off on the road to Morocco and we'd love it if he would post from there. Nathanael Robinson continues to drink his way through the archives in Alsace. His computer is giving him hell, but he's got terrific photographs of Basel and Wissembourg over at Reise-Krise.

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Jonathan Dresner - 6/22/2005

I'm not a subscriber to CHE, so I haven't read the article, but there's no reason that blogs can't be collaborative: posts can be edited, even in blogger, by multiple people if they have administrative status. You can sort of replicate a wiki structure by setting up a blog and giving all the participants administrator permission, so that all posts are editable by all members.

Or you could even track changes, by having each person who makes a change post a fresh version of the piece being worked on, with comments about what's been changed.

No reason it can't work, with a bit of structure.

Manan Ahmed - 6/22/2005

Blogs do allow threaded comments [ok, not blogger...]. What Krause laments lacking in blogs [collaborative enviornment], he can find in wikis. The lesson of Krause's piece is that vague assigments and un-defined use of technical tools will not get you any results. Blogs aren't going to automatically make students interact or participate. It will always be up to the instructor and the parameters of the assignment.

Nathanael D. Robinson - 6/22/2005

Dell France is giving me hell. I don't think they want to honor my on-site, anywhere in the damn world, whatever happened, come hell or high water warranty. But I am still finding interesting stuff, including on the theater in French, German, and Alsatian dialect.

Louis N Proyect - 6/22/2005

Danner fancies himself a kind of latter-day John Reed, but he has more in common with Gerald Rivera who like him turned out dubious reports for ABC-TV.

Danner tells the Berkeley students that it takes a Dostoyevsky to comprehend Serb denial of responsibility for a mortar attack that Danner observed in Bosnia. I guess that makes NY Times reporter David Binder another Raskolnikov:

"Amid the roar and blinding flashes of NATO's airstrikes against the Bosnian Serbs, the impetus for the bombing was obscured: the August 28 explosion in a narrow, enclosed market in the center of Sarajevo that killed thirty-seven people.

"Within a day of that explosion, investigators for the U.N. Protection Force under Lieut. Gen. Rupert Smith 'concluded beyond all reasonable doubt that the lethal mortar round had been fired from a Bosnian Serb position in the suburb of Lukavica, 1.5 to 3.5 kilometers southwest of the marketplace. On August 30, NATO's bombs began to fall.

"The crucial U.N. report on the market massacre is classified, but four specialists--a Russian, a Canadian and two Americans--have raised serious doubts about its conclusion, suggesting instead that the mortar was fired not by the Serbs but by Bosnian government forces.

"Similar suspicions were raised following the February 5, 1994, mortar shell explosion that killed sixty-eight Sarajevans in the adjacent Markale marketplace. The origin of that shell was never determined officially. The U.N.'s after-action report in 1994 (also classified) was based on separate examinations of the impact sight by eleven artillery specialists over a period of nine days and ran forty-six pages. General Smith's report was based on three hours of on-the-spot investigation and covered only one page. Yet virtually nobody has questioned how the blame was assigned this time almost immediately to the Bosnian Serbs."

Nation Magazine, October 2, 1995