Blogs > Cliopatria > Conventions, Awards, and Carnivals

Nov 11, 2006 1:37 am

Conventions, Awards, and Carnivals

The program for the American Historical Association's convention here in Atlanta, 4-7 January 2007, is now online. Elisabeth Grant at AHA Today points to some of its salient sections. Among the Cliopatricians, Tim Burke will appear on a panel,"Transparency in Graduate Education: What Future Historians Need to Know and History Departments Ought to Tell Them." (There is also, of course, that lesser, but recurrent, question: Has Timothy Burke paid his AHA dues?) Several of us will be there to make the case for a resolution against speech codes in the Business Meeting; others of us will be on the job market; and still others will be there to cheer them on. We'll gather, formally, for the 4th Annual Banquet of the Cliopatricians and, otherwise less formally, for libations and talk about history.

November's Perspectives is also online, with the news that the AHA's Roosevelt-Wilson Award will go to my Congressman, John Lewis. That's an improvement on its first Roosevelt-Wilson Award to Senator, former Klansman, and Porkmeister Supreme Robert C. Byrd. But it also prepares you for the hype about Atlanta being the"birthplace of the civil rights movement." Don't even get me started.

Don't forget to submit your nominations for The Cliopatria Awards. Throughout November, nominations will be open for:

David Noon will host History Carnival XLIII at Axis of Evel Knieval on Wednesday 15 November. Send your nominations of the best in history blogging since 1 November to him at jfdhn*at*uas*dot*alaska*dot*edu or use the form.

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Ralph E. Luker - 11/12/2006

Generally speaking, David, I take your point. It's one that I've made elsewhere. My primary reservation about it is that not everyone in the past was sexist, racist, and homophobic. Not being a Klansman was an option that millions of people in Byrd's generation had taken. His bigotry was even retro. He was active in the Klan in the 1940s, when it was in decline -- not in the 1920s, when it was so widely influential.

Oscar Chamberlain - 11/12/2006

I did know about the "nigger" content. That suggests I was wrong about has having left things behind.

However, you might do me the favor of reading my comment more carefully: I did not object to your mention of pork.

David M Fahey - 11/12/2006

Maybe not exactly relevant, but the thought does occur to me that practically every person in history whom most of us admire was sexist, racist, homophobic, etc., by the standards of the twenty-first century. And what about attitudes toward smoking, animals, the environment, etc.? Aren't we lucky to be so much better than almost everybody who lived before us?

Ralph E. Luker - 11/12/2006

You easily forget that Byrd was still using the word "nigger" in his public pronouncements as recently as four years ago; and, with Byrd re-elected and Democrats taking control of the Senate, if you think that he's left his porkmeistering sins behind him, you're full of illusions.

Oscar Chamberlain - 11/12/2006

"Am I also supposed to forget that John Lewis was a civil rights activist?"

"The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar."

No, I would not forget the good that men and women do. But I would accord a bit more mercy to those who have left some old sins behind and not brand them with those sins with every mention.

Ralph E. Luker - 11/11/2006

I continue to refer to Senator K. K. K. Byrd as such because his admirers on the left engage in what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called "cheap grace" in his case. Am I also supposed to forget that John Lewis was a civil rights activist? Would either of them be where they are had they not been what they were?

Oscar Chamberlain - 11/11/2006


There are a number of good reasons that Byrd should not have received the honor--and a few good reasons why he did.

But isn't the statute of limitations up on identifying him first and formost as a Klansman? It was wrong; it's a blot that requires strong attention in any biography; but he does seem to have changed.