• Military History Digest #162

    by Cliopatria



    The Military History Digest is a self-chosen collection of recent military history from around the web.

    ANNOUNCEMENT: The next Military History Carnival will be on August 29th. Nominations are needed of the best of the military history web. Go here to submit a blog post.

  • Things Noted Here & There

    by Cliopatria

    London High Court's award of £65,000 to Sarah Thornton for a "malicious" review of her book, Seven Days in the Art World, prompts Francis Wheen's "The hunting of the snark," Financial Times, 5 August. "Writers ought to fight with their own weapon – language," Wheen argues. "Thirty years ago I rubbished Clive James's epic (and, as I thought, shamelessly genuflecting) poem about the Prince of Wales, 'Charles Charming's Challenges on the Pathway to the Throne'. James never complained. But a few years later he published a poem that began: 'The book of my enemy has been remaindered/And I am pleased.' And I thought: touché!"
    See also: Tim Burke, "Seven Days in the World of Books on Fire," Easily Distracted, 8 August.

  • I Beseech You, in the Bowels of Christ, Think it Possible You May Be Mistaken

    by Cliopatria

    In 1906, the Bronx Zoo opened an extraordinary new exhibit that was designed to improve the scientific knowledge of zoo patrons: in the Monkey House, interacting with the primates, they displayed a young Congoloese man named Ota Benga, who had also been put on exhibit at the Natural History Museum and the 1904 World's Fair. The exhibit helped laymen to understand the "missing link" in the evolutionary progress from monkeys to humans; as such, it reflected the very latest in racial science, as it was being objectively studied by scholars like the distinguished Harvard PhD and University of Chicago Professor Charles B. Davenport, the author of several highly regarded monographs (on, for example, the objective use of quantitative methods in scientific inquiry). Unfortunately, a group of black clergymen objected to the display, arguing that Ota Benga was a human being who should be treated with dignity.

  • Up the Down Staircase

    by Cliopatria

    New candidate for worst historical analysis of the Tea Party movement and our current political moment: the consistently denser-than-a-poundcake Richard Cohen at the Washington Post, who wrote last week (via) that we can understand the Tea Party by applying Hannah Arendt's observations about totalitarianism. "As we have known since Lenin’s day," Cohen warned, "a determined minority is hands down better than an irresolute majority."

    And so if the Tea Party wins, dire consequences will follow: "The Tea Party has recklessly diminished the power and reach of the United States. It has shrunk the government and will, if it can, further deprive it of revenue. The domestic economy will suffer and the gap between rich and poor, the educated and the indolently schooled, will continue to widen. International relations will lack a dominant power able to enforce the rule of law, and the bad guys will be freer to be as bad as they want."

  • Friday's Notes

    by Cliopatria

    Maurice Keen, "O My Chevalier," Literary Review, August, reviews Nigel Saul's For Honour and Fame: Chivalry in England, 1066-1500.

    Robert Fraser, "John Donne in the labyrinth," TLS, 3 August, reviews Francesca Bugliani Knox's The Eye of the Eagle: John Donne and the legacy of Ignatius Loyola, Robin Robbins, ed., The Complete Poems of John Donne, and Jeanne Shami, Dennis Flynn and M. Thomas Hester, eds., The Oxford Book of John Donne.

    Claire Harman, "Island Records," Literary Review, August, reviews Katherine Frank's Crusoe: Daniel Defoe, Robert Knox and the Creation of a Myth.

  • The 2011 World History Association Conference Wrap-up

    by Cliopatria

    Well, the Great Firewall succeeded in keeping me from posting while I was in Beijing, but I can at least make a few comments about this year's World History Association meeting.  Hosted by the Global History Center at Capital Normal University, this was certainly one of the best WHA meetings to date.  There were record numbers of panels and attendees.  And, thanks to the East Asian location, a number of the participants were first-timers for the WHA, which helped give the conference a fresh vibe.

    What stood out for me at the conference?  Well, I have to say I was impressed by Capital Normal University.  The local conference committee did a great job in organizing the meeting, which went off very smoothly.  There was even simultaneous translation for the keynotes and major presentations.  The students at Capital Normal were also very impressive.  They were as tireless and smart as they were numerous, which is saying something.  Every conference room had a student in charge of making sure that the speakers were attended to with water and tech support.

    Once again, also, I was impressed that the

  • 2011 World History Association Post-Conference Highlights

    by Cliopatria

    Well, I have to say that this year's World History Association meeting in Beijing, hosted by the Global History Center at Capital Normal University, was one for the record books.   Over 250 papers were presented, and roughly 800 people attended.  Being located in East Asia also meant that a host of first-time WHA attendees were in the mix, which added a delightful freshness to the panels and discussions. 

    A number of things impressed me about the conference:

    Capital Normal did a great job.  The faculty and administration clearly had their act together, and the conference went off without a hitch.

    The students at Capital Normal were first rate.  The only things that exceeded their numbers were their intelligence and enthusiasm.

    The papers on SE Asia in World History were particularly good.  This bodes well for the upcoming Siam Reap Symposium on SE Asian in World History to be hosted from January 2-4 in 2012.

    Once again, the WHA showed that it has a great  knack for knowing how to pace a conference.  A good balance of panels, keynotes, and down time for