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  • Originally published 04/10/2017

    Yale takes note of its special role in World War I

    At a ceremony historian Paul Kennedy noted that a grand total of roughly 9,500 Yale graduates and students served in the war, including in the Red Cross, YMCA, and other non-governmental bodies.

  • Originally published 11/20/2015

    Don’t Repress the Past

    James Livingston

    Students at Yale U. want to rename one of its residential houses, Calhoun College, to avoid honoring John C. Calhoun, a 19th-century proponent of slavery and secession.

  • Originally published 02/04/2015

    At Yale History Department enrollments spike

    Students and faculty in the department pinned the uptick in enrollments on the department’s increased efforts at student outreach. However, some also suggested that this may be a reversal of what they described as a turn away from the humanities following the 2008 recession.

  • Originally published 08/28/2014

    Seeing the Great Depression

    A new project from Yale invites viewers to explore some 175,000 images of America in the 1930s and '40s.

  • Originally published 07/29/2013

    Yale's Ben Kiernan: Genocide goes on all around us today

    Remote tribes in Indonesian Papua and the Amazon are at grave risk of genocide and it is happening now in Syria and the Sudan, despite the world saying ''never again''.So says a genocide expert, Yale University history professor Ben Kiernan. Papuan tribes - more than 40 regarded as ''uncontacted'' - faced genocide by the Indonesian military, he said. ''Not enough is known about what is happening in Papua, but lots of refugees are fleeing,'' he said.In Papua, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru indigenous people faced deforestation, disease and violent confrontation. Although only the violence could be called genocide, diseases brought by ranching and logging often could not be called accidental....

  • Originally published 07/29/2013

    NYT: Historians Seek a Delay in Posting Dissertations

    FIRST came years of being a foot messenger in New York City and working in data entry. Then, frustrated with his life, and feeling the responsibility of providing for a child, Michael D. Hattem entered the Borough of Manhattan Community College — the only college that would admit him, he says, as a high school dropout with a G.E.D. He succeeded at community college, and, in 2011, graduated from City College.Today, Mr. Hattem, 38, is a graduate student at Yale working on a dissertation in American history that “explores the role of competing historical memories of 17th-century Britain in shaping late colonial political culture.”He told his exceptional story to help explain why he came to the defense of the American Historical Association last week when it issued a statement calling on universities to allow newly minted Ph.D’s to “embargo” their dissertations for up to six years — that is, keep them from being circulated online....

  • Originally published 07/19/2013

    Stephen Kantrowitz, Sydney Nathans, and Brett Rushforth finalists for 2013 Douglass book prize

    The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition announced on Thursday the finalists for the $25,000 Frederick Douglass Book Prize, awarded to books dedicated to African American history.This year's finalists are Stephen Kantrowitz's More Than Freedom: Fighting for Black Citizenship in a White Republic, 1829-1889 (Penguin), Sydney Nathans's To Free a Family: The Journey of Mary Walker (Harvard) , and Brett Rushforth's Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous & Atlantic Slaveries in New France (University of North Carolina).Stephen Kantrowitz is professor of history and director of graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Nathans is professor emeritus of history at Duke, and Brett Rushforth is associate professor of history and director of graduate studies at William & Mary.The winner will be announced in the fall, and the award will be presented in New York City in February.

  • Originally published 07/10/2013

    Joseph J. Ellis remembers his mentor Edmund Morgan

    Joseph J. Ellis (b 1943) was educated at the College of William and Mary (B.A.) and Yale University (M.A., Ph.D.).  Since 1972 he has taught courses in American history at Mount Holyoke College, where he also served as Dean of Faculty for ten years and Acting President (1983-84).  He recently retired from his position as the Ford Foundation Professor of History Emeritus.EDMUND MORGAN, who died Monday, was my teacher at Yale from 1965 to 1969 and my mentor and role model in America history ever since. In our last conversation, he declared that he was ready to go, that he had outlived his beloved Benjamin Franklin and did not wish to outlive himself.Ed was a rare breed, almost extinct these days, revered within the historical profession as the epitome of scholarly sophistication, while also the author of books that the general public found readable and seductive.He was a small man, almost diminutive, but the famous description of James Madison also applied to Ed: “Never have I seen so much mind in so little matter.” A plausible case can be made that he was the most significant and influential American historian in the last half of the 20th century....

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    Edmund S. Morgan, historian who shed light on Puritans, dies at 97

    Edmund S. Morgan, an award-winning historian who illuminated the intellectual world of the Puritans, explored the paradox of freedom and slavery in colonial Virginia and, in his 80s, wrote a best-selling biography of Benjamin Franklin, died on Monday in New Haven. He was 97.His death was confirmed by his editor, Robert Weil.Like his mentor and fellow atheist, the Harvard historian Perry Miller, Professor Morgan found his richest material in the religious thought of Puritan New England and endless fascination in the theological debates and spiritual struggles of men like John Winthrop, Roger Williams and Ezra Stiles.“I think that any group of people who have a system of belief that covers practically everything, and who act upon it, are bound to be interesting to any scholar,” he said in a 1987 interview with The William and Mary Quarterly....

  • Originally published 06/26/2013

    George Chauncey: The Long Road to Marriage Equality

    George Chauncey, a professor of history and American studies at Yale, was an expert witness in both same-sex marriage cases decided Wednesday.NEW HAVEN — THE Supreme Court’s soaring decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional is a civil rights landmark, but the history leading up to it is poorly understood. Marriage equality was neither inevitable nor, until recently, even conceivable. And the struggle to secure it was not, as is commonly believed, a natural consequence of the gay liberation movement that gained steam in the late 1960s.It was not until the 1980s that securing legal recognition for same-sex relationships became an urgent concern of lesbians and gay men. In the 1950s, such recognition was almost unimaginable. Then, most states criminalized gay people’s sexual intimacy. Newspaper headlines blared the State Department’s purge of homosexual employees during the McCarthy-era “lavender scare.” Police cracked down on lesbian and gay bars and other alleged “breeding grounds” of homosexuality.

  • Originally published 06/26/2013

    Jim Sleeper: Don't Panic About the Voting Rights Ruling. Re-Strategize.

    Yes, the Supreme Court, in Shelby v. Holder, has gutted the Voting Rights Act's requirement that state and local jurisdictions with histories of racial discrimination obtain federal approval before they can alter an election-district line, move a polling place, or impose voter-registration requirements, such as photo I.D.'s.(I applaud Lani Guinier's suggestion yesterday, seconding Alabama civil-rights attorney James Blackshire, that, under the circumstances, every U. S. Attorney should deputize an assistant to litigate abuses that the Justice Department was empowered to prevent administratively until now.)

  • Originally published 03/05/2013

    April 2013 conference at Yale honoring Jon Butler

    Over at Religion in American History, Chris Cantwell, newly appointed Assistant Professor of History and Religious Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, calls our attention to an April 2013 conference at Yale honoring the work of American historian Jon Butler.  Presenters include James Bennett, Catherine Brekus, Stewart Davenport, Christopher Grasso, Alison Greene, Amy Koehlinger, Rachel Wheeler, and Molly Worthen. There will also be a toast from Harry Stout. The sessions have been crafted around Butler's seminal contributions to the field of American religious history.  They are titled: "Magic, Astrology, and the Early American Religious Heritage" "Jack-in-the-Box Faith:?: The Religious Problem in Modern American History" "Enthusiasm Described and Decried: The Great Awakening as Interpretive Fiction: "Awash in a Sea of Faith."...

  • Originally published 01/15/2013

    Charles Walton: The Missing Half of Les Mis

    Charles Walton is Associate Professor of History at Yale University.Before there were blockbuster films, there were blockbuster books. Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, published in 1862, was one of them. Thanks to a market-savvy publisher, this monument of French romanticism, which was serialized in ten installments, became an immediate bestseller across Europe and North America. Demand was so great that other authors, notably Gustave Flaubert, postponed the publications of their own books to avoid being outshined. On days when new installments went on sale in Paris, police were called in to stop impatient crowds from storming the bookstores. Some high-minded critics, not unlike those who spurn sensational Hollywood films today, found the hype distasteful. Edwin Percy Whipple, in a review for The Atlantic, referred to “the system of puffing” surrounding the book’s release in terms worthy of Ebenezer Scrooge: it was “the grossest bookselling humbug,” a spectacle “at which Barnum himself would stare amazed.”

  • Originally published 05/10/2016

    Ten Questions for Yale President Peter Salovey

    Jim Loewen

    Every year that it retains the name Calhoun College, Yale declares on its campus that John C. Calhoun was a hero worthy of the honor of having a building named for him.

  • Originally published 09/03/2013

    Revolutions: Three Different Kinds

    Revolutionary Moments

    Alyssa's posting, like Peter Stearns' earlier, implicitly touch on the questions of leadership and revolutionary stages. Perhaps in any discussion of revolutions it may be worth keeping in mind that those who begin revolutions rarely are the ones who finish them. (The American Revolution, perhaps better called by its other common term, the War for Independence, is an anomaly that perhaps misleads Americans about revolutions.) In comparing revolutions and leadership, perhaps several variants are worth keeping in mind ....