A Student of History

June 21, 2007

Society of Civil War Historians

Filed under: Wars — John Maass @ 11:22 pm

The Society of Civil War Historians will host an academic conference. This represents a new era for the Society at its first biennial conference on June 15-17, 2008, at the Union League in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. SCWH welcomes panel proposals or individual papers on the Civil War era broadly defined. The goal of the conference is to promote the integration of social, military, political, and other forms of history on the Civil War era among historians, graduate students, and professionals who interpret history in museums, national parks, archives, and other public facilities. The deadline for receipt of proposals is September 15, 2007. Submit proposals to William Blair, Director, Richards Civil War Era Center, 108 Weaver Building, State College, PA 16802. (814) 863-0151. Email RichardsCenter@psu.edu.

June 20, 2007

Still a long way to go….

Filed under: Ireland — John Maass @ 7:15 pm

From the Irish Examiner:

Protestant and Catholic children in the North are living parallel and separate lives divided along sectarian lines 10 years on from the second IRA ceasefire, a survey confirmed today.

A poll of 667 children chosen randomly from 35 schools across the North showed Protestants were more likely to define themselves as British and Catholics more likely to see themselves as Irish.

Encouragingly however, around half of Catholic children and around half of Protestants were happy to be labelled as “Northern Irish”.

June 19, 2007

Is an Afrocentric approach to learning good or bad?

Filed under: The Academy — John Maass @ 11:11 am

Is an Afrocentric approach to learning good or bad?  Scholars have debated this issue recently, and an article appers on this matter here.

One of the more controversial debates now going on in intellectual circles is over Afrocentrism, a movement that argues that traditional history has undervalued the contributions of Black Africa to ancient Greek and Western thought. At the center of the debate are Afrocentrists and those attacking them, most recently Mary Lefkowitz, who wrote “Not Out of Africa.”

Recently Lefkowitz’s publisher, New Republic Books, sponsored a debate between her and a leading Afrocentrist, Martin Bernal, author of “Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Culture.”

Did the Brits Kill Rasputin?

Filed under: The world today — John Maass @ 6:41 am

From the Telegraph:

Grigori Rasputin, the infamous Siberian mystic, was murdered as part of a British Government plot to depose Tsar Nicholas II and replace him with a malleable Anglophile bisexual, a major new Russian book and film are to claim.

Going back on promises

Filed under: The world today — John Maass @ 6:34 am

Not that we ought to be surprised but the Democrat-led Congress has broken another pledge.

Despite the new Democratic congressional leadership’s promise of “openness and transparency” in the budget process, a CNN survey of the House found it nearly impossible to get information on lawmakers’ pet projects.

Details here.

June 17, 2007

NC Gov. Manipulates History

Filed under: NC History,The past that is still with us — John Maass @ 4:04 pm

Click here to read about North Carolina’s version of airbrushing people our of photographs like Stalin did.

Most politicians would love a chance to edit their page in the history books.

Gov. Mike Easley’s staff actually did.

Last year, members of Easley’s press office heavily rewrote an entry on him in a book by state-employed historians on North Carolina’s governors.

Over several drafts, they deleted a reference to a failed U.S. Senate bid, speculation that he dislikes campaigning and a note that he had a boyhood reputation “for making mischief.”

They added a quote from Easley about patriotism, a line about how he successfully led the state to a “new global economy” and the fact that USA Today once named him one of the country’s top drug busters.

Is it a castle or is it not?

Filed under: Historic Preservation,Ireland — John Maass @ 9:48 am

There is a very interesting story in The Telegraph about an effort to get restoration money for a castle in the Newry (Co. Down) area, in order to promote tourism.

One problem-the castle may never have existed!

When a well-known rogue asked Elizabeth I for money to build a castle in Ireland, she turned him down flat, suspecting he would pocket the cash for himself. Now, 450 years later, it appears that the Heritage Lottery Fund has not been so astute. The fund granted £1.5 million to “restore” the castle, which historians are claiming never existed.

Another site associated with the castle restoration gives their version of the “history” of the castle:

Rediscovered in 1996, Bagenal’s Castle survived enveloped in the premises of the former McCann’s Bakery on Abbey Way. The rediscovery is an exciting opportunity for Newry and Mourne to preserve and restore one of the most important aspects of local heritage and the building is of intense historical interest not least because it is the only known surviving castle in Ireland for which the original plans and elevations survive in the Public Records Office in London.

George, Dwight and Douglas

Filed under: New books — John Maass @ 8:59 am

In today’s Washington Post, there is a review of two new books on WWII leaders Marshall, McArthur, and Ike.

Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall: Three Generals Who Saved the American Century, by Stanley Weintraub, and George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace, by Mark Perry.

June 16, 2007


Filed under: Historic Places,NC History — John Maass @ 2:27 am

Interesting piece here on Fox News on using DNA to help solve the lost colony mystery of N.C.

“I don’t know what we’ll find in the end,” an expert told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper. “Part of the big question for me is, did the Lost Colony survive? Who is their family today? And where did they go?”

What have we become?

Filed under: The world today — John Maass @ 2:24 am

A giant silhouette of a naked pole dancer painted on a field beneath Gatwick Airport‘s flight path is disturbing the British countryside.

and this:

The University of California, Riverside, canceled final exams and a graduation ceremony Friday evening after finding a homemade firebomb on campus and receiving two threatening letters.

June 14, 2007

NC & American Revolution

Filed under: NC History,Wars — John Maass @ 8:18 pm

Update:  8/29/2008:  my article on NC and the Loyalists during the Revolution just came out in the N.C. Historical Review.

The North Carolina Historical Review

Anne Miller, Editor
Historical Publications Section
4622 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4622
Phone: (919) 733-7442
Fax: (919) 733-1439


FYI, I just updated my dissertation page with a more detailed introduction to it.

Artist’s inaccurate depiction of the battle of Guilford Courthouse (1781) showing American troops in far better uniforms than they would have worn at the time of this engagement.

Forgetting a colonial city

Filed under: Historic Places — John Maass @ 2:36 pm

I just got a letter from Charles F. Bryan, Jr.  He is the President and “CEO” of the Virginia Historical Society.  (Isn’t it odd that a society for the study of history needs a “CEO”?)  Mr. Bryan wrote to me (and thousands of others) to ask me if I knew “that the English establishment of Jamestown in 1607 was quickly followed by the French who established Quebec in 1608, and then the Spanish who pushed north from Mexico to establish Santa Fe in 1609.” 

It seems that in the rush to be first mentality at the VHS, they have forgotten St. Augustine, which preceded Jamestown.  It was founded in 1565, forty-four years prior to the landing and settlement by the English in Virginia.  “Funny” how the VHS mentions the Spanish in New Mexico, but not the Floridians who preceded the Virginia location. 

Line of Cannons

I e-mailed the VHS with my thoughts, and got this response:

We’re quite explicit in the book and exhibit about why St. Augustine is not included.  First, they had their 400th anniversary 42 years ago.  We don’t say that Jamestown, Quebec, and St. Augustine were the first settlements in the new world, just three that coincided and whose 400th anniversaries therefore coincide. 

In our view, St. Augustine always was part of the Caribbean world.  It “faced” the Caribbean and was a Spanish outpost to protect their shipping lanes.  It did not “face” the interior of North America and there was no significant migration of either Hispanic people or culture from there into the hinterland of North America.  The center for the diffusion of Hispanic culture into America north of Mexico was Santa Fe, notwithstanding iis being founded 44 years later than St. Augustine. 

We explain our view carefully in the exhibition and companion book.  One may not agree with us, but St. Augustine was carefully considered. 

I found this answer to be unsatisfactory, so I responded as such: “It is good to know that the research was done on St. Aug., but I think the interpretation is very contorted in order to suit the “Virginia First” perspective.”

This illicited the following snippy answer, about which you can make your own conclusions: 

If we wanted to take a chauvinistic approach toward Virginia, we wouldn’t have included Quebec and Santa Fe at all.  To most people, the striking thing about this exhibit is the concept that the settlement of North America was multicultural and multidirectional, not simply a westward movement from a single starting point. 

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