Edward P. Kohn,Archives
tags: Top Young Historians
Edward P. Kohn, 38
Teaching Position: Assistant Professor Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey (2003-), Acting Chair (January-July 2007), Department of American Culture and Literature.
Area of Research: Twentieth century U.S. history and history of U.S. foreign relations, diplomatoc history.
Education: Ph.D. in History, McGill University, Montréal, Canada, May 2000.
Major Publications: Kohn is the author of This Kindred People: Canadian-American Relations and the Anglo-Saxon Idea, 1895-1903 (McGill-Queen's University Press, December 2004), He currently working on a new book manuscript tentively entitled A Hot Time in the Old Town: Theodore Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan, and New York's Killer Heat Wave of 1896.
Kohn is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles including: "A Necessary Defeat: Theodore Roosevelt and the New York Mayoral Election of 1886," New York History, Spring 2006; "Crossing the Rubicon: Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and the 1884 Republican National Convention," Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 5, 1, January 2006; and "'The Member from Michigan': The Political Isolation and Unofficial Diplomacy of John Charlton, 1892-1903," Canadian Historical Review, June 2001.
Awards: Kohn is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Fulbright Scholarship February-November 1991: Renowned international scholarship for study abroad. Completed Master's degree in New Zealand.
Robert Vogel Award Received: April 2002: Proud to be first recipient of annual award from History Students' Association recognizing "excellence in teaching."
Formerly Assistant Professor, Department of History, McGill University, 2000-03.
Kohn has written for the popular media including Canada's Globe and Mail; He has appeared on NTV/CNBC-e for a live, one-on-one studio interview on American presidential election and Turkish-American relations (3 November 2004); On CNN Turk as a member of panel at Turkish-American Association's "Election Watch 2004," discussing U.S. presidential elections and the candidates' campaign strategies (2 November 2004), and gave various Television/Radio interviews to Montreal media commenting on start of war in Iraq (March 2003).
I still do not think I have become used to the very flexible concept of "time" in academics. Perhaps because historians regularly deal with decades and centuries, this seems even more pronounced in our craft. My dissertation advisor had an almost Zen-like attitude toward deadlines, viewing them as artificial restraints on the thinking process. "You also need time for reflection," he told me early on, probably not knowing that my "reflection" took the form of video games, movies, and Simpsons re-runs. As it turned out, though, my seven years of dissertation work was speedy compared to others. Getting my dissertation published as a book took another four years, as the publisher was forced to wait on funding decisions. One result is that I am still reading new reviews of my book, based on words I wrote nearly ten years ago. This reflects the long delay also in getting articles or book reviews published in journals. Recently I wrote a fairly stern letter to the editors of a journal I had submitted an article to, pointing out that I had not heard anything from them in nearly a year. I received an apologetic reply informing me that the both the editor and assistant editor had recently died!
The result is that most of us in this profession have several works in "the pipeline" at once: a new project, a work under consideration at a journal, another work undergoing final revisions, and something just about to appear. I am not sure how many other occupations force an individual to plan their projects over several years - perhaps civil engineers building a dam. I try to make sure my graduate students understand that, with the common piece of advice that our occupation is a marathon, not a sprint. With undergraduates, time management is a constant juggling act, and poses pedagogical problems to the instructor. On the one hand, in a class of two hundred you can not really have students handing in papers when they feel like it, and a fair deadline is a necessary leveler. On the other hand, I am keenly aware at all times that my class is not the center of their 18- to 22-year-old universe. I am in competition for students' time and attention with several other professors, extracurricular activities, and their busy social lives. Thus, when asked for more time by a student (and I am much more sympathetic to "I ran out of time," than "A distant relative I have not seen in 15 years died"), I try to be flexible to a point.
And managing my own time is one reason I entered academics. If I wanted to work nine-to-five, I would have worked in a bank. Time away from the desk, or out of the office, is a necessary part of any creative or intellectual process. My advisor was essentially correct: an historian needs time to reflect, mull, cogitate - to leave all the facts at the back of one's mind and wait for inspiration. During my Ph.D. work I came up with more ideas walking my dog than sitting at my desk. As Emerson said…. But I guess I will finish this later - the Simpsons is on.
By Edward P. Kohn
About Edward P. Kohn
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