Welcome to the carnival. I’d recommend the library, a leather armchair, a long winter evening (you might want to draw the blinds in the southern hemisphere), a dog to keep your feet warm, and a glass of whatever tipple takes your fancy – or you might want to bring the bottle …
In part inspired by the loss in one week of two great women, I called for posts celebrating the lives of women achievers. Ralph E. Luker on the History News Network provided an appropriate place to start, putting the lives of Coretta Scott King and Betty Friedan in context.
Robert Tatum on The Information Junkie concludes Scott Kinghad a tremendous influence over the civil rights movement. On Friedan, Intellectual Conservative accepts she “was a remarkable woman who deeply influenced the culture of her time”, but says “women’s liberation” would have arrived without her.
But so many great women never had the chance to be famous, to write their name on what’s usually called history. Jennifer, on Penguin Unearthed, digs out the story of her father’s mother. “At the end of her high schooling, she sat for a University Scholarship, an exam for the whole of New Zealand, to decide who got put through university by the state. That year, nine scholarships were awarded (all to boys), and she came 10th. The year before and after that, there were more scholarships awarded (also all to boys).” It is a story that, in varying forms, you read and hear so often.
And that’s been the case throughout written (and pre-written) history, a point that Alun makes in his excellent post on feminist archaeology. “I donâ€™t think the real question is ‘is a “feminist archaeology” needed at all?’ Itâ€™s ‘is a “feminist archaeology” inevitable?’ ”
But lest I be accused of being unbalanced, I will note that some women found fame for all of the wrong reasons. Laura James on CLEWS: The Historic True Crime Blog has found a picture of one of them, Countess Marie Tarnowska. Laura says she was “one of the world’s worst women”.
Now, a light interlude … but no you can’t make anything so prosaic as a cup of tea, for Other Men’s Flowers has a small selection of recipes from a 1923 cookbook assembled from the suggestions of 400 actresses. Go on – you know you want to collect half a pint of rose petals …
Or if you would prefer a musical break, Diamond Geezer explores the white cliffs of Dover. You will, however, have to find your own MP3 of Vera Lynn. (Go on – leave one in the comments.)
For some visual stimulation, the always stunning Giornale Nuovo offers a “paper museum” that blooms, and crouches and growls.
But if you want to go highbrow, I’m going to use the host’s privilege of one link here to point you to one of my other blogs, My London Your London, where I reviewed an amazing theatre performance that blends ancient Greek music and Cheironomia with the stories of the classical world. It sounds inaccesible, but if Gardzienice ever come your way, I’d say you have to see them.
Break over, I turn back to the weighty, geopolitical stuff. On The Moor Next Door, Nouri Lumendifi offers a theory of nationalism. The English/French/American model developed to legitimise pre-existing structures; the “eastern” model as a reaction to this. As someone who considers themselves a “citizen of the world”, I’m always interested in explanations for what I consider a curious phenomenon.
Sticking to the “nation-building theme”, on CLASSical Liberalism (yes those caps have meaning) Kenneth R. Gregg introduces Tadeusz (or Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura Kosciuszko (pronounced KOS-CHOOS-KO. (But being Australian, I knew that – our biggest mountain, which Europeans would call a hill – is named after him.)
But is the American nation living through a giant Groundhog Day? That old question – can you use the past to predict the present? – is explored with more than usual sophistication by “the editor” on the OUPBlog: perhaps the nation really is re-entering the political world of 1976?
If you can’t answer that, the problem might lay in the lack of theory. On Blog Them Out of the Stone Age, Mark G. concludes that military history still sucks. (Correction, apologies, this was a guest post on Mark’s blog by Nicolas Palar.) It needs to look beyond the battlefield, he suggests. Tom, on Big Tent Extra, however, sounds like a man who’s entered this fight once or twice before: It is s a dynamic, complex, interesting, and important field of study, he says. And on goes the debate: Alan Baumer on Frog in a Wall (China) suggests historians are prepared to show their “ignorance” in this field in a an odd way.
Now I’ve whipped that old argument up nicely, I’ll switch my stirrer over to another bubbling cauldron, that of colonialism, or subaltern studies, or Orientalism or ….. (fill in your term of preference). On Frog in a Wall, Jonathan Dresner has a go at coining a new term – colonialogy – for the field. Owen Miller responded to that from the perspective of the continuing Korean/Japanese historiographical struggle.
Whew, after all of that, I feel the need for a bit of nicely digestible narrative.
I’ll begin with another time and another place, far, far away … Laputan Logic is travelling the Indian Ocean with a 10th-century sea captain, Buzurg (“Big”) ibn Shahriyar. (The book survives today in one copy in an Istanbul mosque – the sort of fact that immediately make me wonder how many similar wonders have been lost to us.)
Since I’m (roughly) in the vicinity, I’ll then point you to The Palm Leaf’s account of the dynasties of southern India. I immediately want to know more about “the revered elder sister of Raja Raja Chozhar, the consort of Vallavarayar Vandiyathevar, Azwar Paranthakar Kundavaiyar”, but I’m not sure that’s possible.
Turning back to the military, on The Dougout, Grant Jones has an account of the chequered career of Gregory “Pappy” Boyington. Again on the Korean Frog in a Well (could I put in a plea for Latin font blog heads on these, BTW, to make them easier to sort apart?) K.M. Lawson allows us to follow his explorations of the archives of the early postwar US occupation of Korea There seem to be lots of minutes of meetings involved; just the thought sends a shiver down my spine …
On Airminded, there’s an explanation of some poignant Japanese ARP posters. It reminds me of an English account of the immediate pre-WWII period, when multiple references are made to “gas chambers”, which then meant rooms sealed in the home of surviving a poison gas attack. There’s a second set of Japanese posters here.
Now you are not allowed to pull out the tapes until you’ve finished with the carnival, but on Memorabilia Antonina, Tony Keen is shocked to find that Boris Johnson (the British Conservative Party’s resident buffoon) has presented a decent account of Ancient Rome and its meaing for the EU.
Boris as a good “small government” Tory wouldn’t agree, but I can’t help thinking that an official town historian, required by statute – wouldn’t it be nice if London had employed one of those? Well, Blake Bell on Historic Pelham reports, New York State has required that from at least 1913.
I said “no tapes”, but you might want to turn to check out your bookshelf at this moment. On Nomadic Thoughts, Will says there’s only one text you should have for Meso-America, The Ancient Maya, now up to its sixth edition. On A Canadian Lefty in Occupied Land, Scott, meanwhile recommends Sex, Dissidence and Damnation: Minority Groups in the Middle Ages. (You can’t say the carnival isn’t a broad church.)
If you’re feeling like taking up your pen yourself a retro-blogger, the gorgeously named The Rev. Vicesimus Knox, has some suggestion on the personality you need if you want to be a satirist.
Now, are you sitting comfortably? Well I’m about to really transport you far, far away …
On “The Official and Unofficial Weblog of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project” (no, I don’t understand how that works) there’s an invitation not just to visit, but to get digging …
On the Portable Antiquities Blog, however, the digging has already been done. The work is all in the interpretation, of a mysterious runic fragment of gold. The conclusions are considerably more extensive than you might expect. (For those who don’t know, this is the blog of the scheme that encourages members of the public to present for recording archaeological objects that they have found. I hear regularly that it is throwing up vast amounts of information, as well as the occasional bobby pin.)
Glaukopidos is meanwhile wondering about the nature of archaeological evidence. How can you tell what an armless, legless, headless statue was?
But false identification can be a problem in lots of places. Now I’m sure you’ve remembered Valentine’s Day – you have remembered, haven’t you? – but if you need to send a belated apology, what could be better than turning to the words of Sappho. But whose words are they? Classics in Contemporary Culture has the answer.
If you’re going travelling, you’ll want the right wardrobe – BibliOdyssey offers some suggestions from the 19th-century Le Costume Historique.
Not being a teacher myself, I’m afraid for all those academics straining at the leash I’ve left the “professional” section to last …
First up here, on Logan Lounge, Jeremy reviews a book on “the origins of us” – in other words a history of universities.
Then, a lament with which I’m sure many researchers will be familiar – The Little Professor finds she has too many Hermentrudes and too few Catholics. Data sets just never arrive in neat, appropriate quantities.
But this seems an appropriate point to mention something new and even revolutionary in the research world – research built around what was once a vast and unwieldly body of data, the records of London’s Old Bailey court, which have suddenly been made astonishingly accessible and usable through the internet. That inspired Jonathan on The Head Heeb to organise the First Online Symposium on the Old Bailey Session Papers. Eight researchers participated, yours truly among them, and I think I can say entirely fairly that the standard is excellent – and the range of papers illuminating. Conclusions were drawn on everything from the Polynesian community in early 19th-century London to the evolution of new forms of policing through word proximity searches. (Those into number-crunching will want to check out that paper.)
But what caused the murder in the university? History: Other suggests the victim was probably one of that dreaded breed, the seminar mutterer.
Finally, I’ll admit that Bardiac drew me in with his intro – anyone for a ovarium instead of a seminar? – but there are some excellent ideas in his post about teaching Chaucer. And that seems a nice point to finish the carnival on …
Thanks very much to everyone who contributed – particularly the carnival founder Sharon Howard, Alun and Jonathan Dresner; all errors are of course mine. If you find them, please tell me and I’ll fix them ASAP.
UPDATE, 11.30am: Just realised I missed a nomination: Blood & Treasure is enjoying some Aubrey blogging. Among the highlights, Mary, Countess of Pembroke, the greatest Patronesse of witt and learning of any Lady in her time. But of course, that means she must have been sexually deviant …