Another draft of U.S. history takes a hard right | Grand Forks Herald | Grand Forks, North Dakota

Another draft of U.S. history takes a hard right | Grand Forks Herald | Grand Forks, North Dakota

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An interesting online publication

April 10, 2010 1 comment

Cross posted at Military History Blog

Thanks to the Society for Military History website for making me aware of this online military history publication. A solid group of scholars, who organized as the Michigan War Studies Group created the Michigan War Studies Review, which, according to the announcement on the SMH website, is seeking contributors. I urge everyone to subscribe to this publication,which is free, and to tell others interested in military history about this site.

Some exciting new reading arrived today

March 3, 2010 1 comment

While I have plenty to read in graduate school, I do need to make time for pleasure reading. Today, I received a package containing two books I ordered from They are part of a larger series put out by The Historical Society, which is a good group to consider joining. I ordered Recent Themes in Historical Thinking: Historians in Conversation and Recent Themes on Historians and the Public. I also have Recent Themes in Military History and Recent Themes in Early American History. All of these books are collections of some of the best essays on the subject covered that appeared in editions of Historically Speaking, which is the Historical Society’s newspaper-type publication that features some great essays and articles that are slightly less formal than the peer-reviewed articles that appear in their journal. I look forward to reading these new books and hope you will consider looking at them and add them to your library.

Getting ready for the Red River Valley History Conference

This Friday, March 5, the Beta-Upsilon Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta will host its 5th Annual Red River Valley History Conference at the Memorial Union on the UND campus. Several student will present papers on a variety of topics. In addition, staff from our Dept. of Special Collections, as well as local archivists will present a panel on careers in public history. Finally, Dr. Robin Jensen will deliver the keynote address as part of the 2010 Robert Wilkins Lecture at 4:00PM entitled “Living Water: Rituals, Spaces, and Images of Early Christian Baptism”. Below is the schedule of panels:

Panel 1: (9:15-10:30)—Memorial Room

Race and Gender in 19th Century America

Chair:  Daniel Sauerwein, UND

“No Country For End Men:  A Re-Evaluation of American Small Ensemble Blackface Minstrelsy From 1843 to 1853.” By Dorothea Nelson, UND

“Independence in Cape Palmas:  The Contentious Path for Autonomy in Maryland in Liberia” By Matthew Helm, UND

“Women and the American Civil War” By Chad Holter, UND

Panel 2: (9:15-10:30)—President’s Room

Controversy in American History


“What Are You Afraid Of? How Governments Have Reacted to Real (or unreal) Threats” By Mark Hermann, UND

“The Lost Environmentalists:  The Struggle Between Conservative Christianity and the Environment in the 1970s” By Neall Pogue, NDSU

Panel 3 (10:45-12:00)—Alumni Room

Material Culture, New Media, and How They Shape History


“Grandma’s Cookie Jar” By Kathryn Nedegaard, UND

“French Heritage Tour 2009 – Directed by Dr. Virgil Benoit with IFMidwest” By Emilie VanDeventer, UND

“William Bligh or Jack Aubrey? Two Alternative Historical Views of Nelson’s Navy” By Jon Eclov, UND

Panel 4: (1:00-2:30)—Memorial Room

“Career Paths for History Majors: Opportunities in Museums and Archives”

Chair:  Daniel Sauerwein, UND

Leah Byzewski, Director, Grand Forks County Historical Society

Curt Hanson, Head, Department of Special Collections, UND Library

Mark Peihl, Archivist, Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County

Michael Swanson, Assistant Archivist, Department of Special Collections, UND Library

Alison Voss, Head Curator/Director of Education, Bonanzaville

Panel 5: (1:00-2:30)—Alumni Room

Art and Faith in European History

Chair:  Dr. Bill Caraher, UND

“Caught between the Old Man and the New:  Women and the Body of the Soul in High Medieval Ghost Stories” By Christopher Gust, UND

“The Theology of Existential Salvation in the Interrogative Sayings of the Desert Fathers By Paul A. Ferderer, UND

“A wild boar from the forest:” Martin Luther as a Model of Rebellion, 1520-1525” By Danielle Skjelver, UND

“The New Topographics: Emergence and Legacy” By Ryan Stander, UND

Panel 6: (1:00-2:30)—President’s Room

The Power of Persuasion in early 20th Century America

Chair:  Dr. Kimberly Porter, UND

“Father Coughlin: A Historiography of the Radio Priest” By Emilie VanDeventer, UND

“Henry Ford’s Anti-Semitism and Influence on the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (Nazi Party)” By Paul Robinette, UND

In addition, conference participants have the option to partake of a lunch and there will be displays for various on and off-campus entities, including the Society for Military History, Elwyn B. Robinson Dept. of Special Collections, Civil War items by Stuart Lawrence, to name a few. I hope you will come out and join us if you are in the area.

An interesting new blog on Public History

As someone interested in public history and is getting into an oral history project this semester, I always like to make others aware of new blogs and sites devoted to such pursuits. Some of my colleagues are engaged in a public history internship course this semester and have set up a blog for it called The Muses’ Web. I encourage you all to check it out and have linked it in my blogroll.

An interesting article from the Times

Monday’s New York Times had an interesting article regarding the political leanings of university professors. The article argued that a university professor is a “typecast” career field, similar to how nursing is viewed as a gender-typed field. It does concede the role of progressive reforms in higher education fostered the current state of the system, causing most professors to be liberal. Overall, the article is interesting and made me reflect on why I chose to be a historian.

I am a conservative and am not ashamed to say it, but I do keep my views rather quiet do to the culture of universities. This is not to say that my department is this way, as they are great people to work with, though we would disagree on political and social subjects. I keep my views quiet so that people get to know me on other levels and are not tempted to pre-judge me based on my views.

I chose my career path because of my love of history, as well as to show young conservatives that you can be successful in academia. Further, history is in an interesting state as a discipline. While many in the public enjoy history, particularly military history, the profession is leaning into more fields that do not resonate as well with the public, fields that comprise social history. I will state that I have no problems with historians researching in their personal areas of interest, but that courses in universities should try to reflect traditional areas more, like military, economic, and diplomatic history. This is because of the nature of college, which is now driven by the bottom line. If history is to remain relevant and independent as a field in the university, it must do what is needed to maintain student interest in the field. Overall, it will be interesting to see what debate this article fosters. I hope you all read it and ponder.

A fun first day in North Dakota History

Today was the first day in History 220:  The History of North Dakota, and we covered the basic ground today. We handed out the syllabus, the first paper assignment, and a short quiz to gauge students’ knowledge of North Dakota history. We also covered the rules of the course, which were influenced by some events last semester, including no texting, no conversations on non-class subjects, and, the big one, no plagiarism. We had a very large group this day and I look forward to helping them gain better knowledge on the state.