Archive for 2011

December 9th 2011
Plagiarists: srsly, d00d?

Posted under students & unhappy endings & wankers

Dr. Crazy caught a plagiarist this week.

Plagiarists have no idea how much they don’t know, and no clue about how much we know about our own subject as well as how much we know about what they don’t know.  The ones that always amuse me most are the students who think they’re being clever by using a book 80 or 100 years old.  Google books is now making that scheme pretty transparent, but it just kills me that 1) they think that academic interests and writing styles aren’t subject to change over time, and 2) that it’s not patently obvious when they plagiarize something written by a fusty academic writer from the 1920s or 1930s (or even earlier) and try to pass it off as work by an early twenty-first century college student.

Continue Reading »


December 8th 2011
Public History Ryan Gosling

Posted under American history & fluff & jobs & students

Via Leslie M-B at The Clutter Museum, we learn that someone has made a very funny mashup called Public History Ryan Gosling, in which said Gosling “seduces you with public history theory.”

Too funny.  But I must ask you:  Continue Reading »


December 7th 2011
Plagiarists: I’d turn back if I were you!

Posted under childhood & jobs & students & unhappy endings

Nice use of the subjunctive, but please correct punctuation!

Tenured Radical offers more thoughts on academic honesty, plagiarism, and cheating this morning in the form of an imagined conversation with her imagined spawn as she sends the child back to college after Thanksgiving break to complete hir exams.  Go read, and send it on to your students.  Continue Reading »


December 6th 2011
Plagiarists take warning!

Posted under bad language & jobs & students & unhappy endings

Make my day!

Flavia at Ferule and Fescue wrote recently about snagging some plagiarists in an upper-level class for majors, and she writes about how sad it makes her although of course she’s standing up for fairness and academic integrity.  Go read the whole thing, but here’s a little end of term/exam week plea for students:

[T]his is what I’d like to tell my plagiarists, and what I wish they’d hear and believe:

“You did something unethical, and you knew it was unethical; ‘giving you a break’ would be unfair to your classmates and it would be unfair to you; it’s my job to enforce academic standards and to see that you wrestle honestly with tough intellectual tasks. You’re selling yourself short when you think that you can’t come up with good ideas or write a good paper on your own. You will fail this class and the academic dishonesty charge will go on your record. Continue Reading »


December 4th 2011
CV etiquette question: how much is TMI?

Posted under jobs

Classy Claude writes in with an interesting question:

Dear Historiann,

I’m just totally curious:

  • Should CVs include lists of places where one’s book has been reviewed?
  • Should CVs include lists of other articles/books that cite one’s own work?
  • Should CVs include lists of articles/media outlets where one has been interviewed?

I have seen all of these things recently and I was sort of shocked, but maybe this is the way of the future?  What do you and your readers think? 

Your Pal,

Classy Claude

Wow, Claude–I don’t think I’ve ever seen a CV quite like any of the ones that may be coming across your desk, but I haven’t been on a search committee since 2004-05, or in terms of the evolution of technology and trends in the profession, since the War of 1812Continue Reading »


December 2nd 2011
Teacher, Teacher

Posted under art & fluff & students

Lesson one, just begun:  growing up is not much fun. Continue Reading »


December 1st 2011
More thoughts on Penn State: a former insider’s view

Posted under American history & jobs & unhappy endings

Today’s guest post is from a former faculty member at Penn State.  Ze talks about the hierarchical administrative structure of the university, and wonders if it might be part of an explanation for why top administrators at Penn State made the catastrophically bad decision to harbor a child rapist and to conceal his crimes. 

Are u ready for some football?

I began my career at Penn State and spent seven years there, getting tenure, before I moved on.  It’s been awful to watch the events of the last month play out.

Most of the commentary about the child sex abuse allegations against the former football coach and the administrative failure to stop it have focused on the corrupting influence of football — on the health and safety of women and children; on academic affairs; on the budget as a whole.  These critiques are important.

But I never had a lot of contact with the football program.  No football player ever enrolled in one of my classes, but perhaps that was because of the courses I taught, which are about gender and poverty.  (Not so popular with male athletes?)  Football wasn’t a world I knew well.

I did, however, have contact with the university administration, and the way I see it, it deserves more attention in the analysis of what went wrong at Penn State. Continue Reading »


November 30th 2011
Teenager hurts nasty pol’s fee-fees!

Posted under American history & childhood & Gender & happy endings

Big Tent Democrat at TalkLeft:

[Ruth] Marcus states that “I may sound alarmingly crotchety here, but something is upside down in the modern world, which has transformed [Kansas teenager Emma] Sullivan into an unlikely Internet celebrity and heroine of the liberal blogosphere[.]” You don’t sound crotchety Marcus, you sound insane. Sullivan was too mean in her tweet about a politician? And you claim to cover these people?

Something is upside down in this world when a so called journalist can get this up in arms over a tweet that is disrespectful to a pol while being just fine with the past decade in Washington, DC.

Ruth Marcus, a supremely silly woman, is nevertheless only reflecting the reality of the world for people under age 30 or so.  Teenagers and young people aren’t permitted to talk back to nasty pols, even passively through Twitter.  Continue Reading »


November 28th 2011
Diane Ravitch: the only honest reformer, or an opportunitistic, grudge-bearing polemicist?

Posted under American history & Gender & jobs & students & women's history

Used and discarded by the king!

In “The Dissenter” in the current New Republic (h/t RealClearBooks), Kevin Carey has written a fascinating article on professional education reformer Diane Ravitch.  As many of you may recall, she has switched sides recently from being a conservative supporter of No Child Left Behind, charter schools, and vouchers, to identifying those very reforms as part of an intentional effort to “destroy” public education.

The whole portrait of Ravitch is worth the read.  Like many women of her generation (Ravitch was born in 1938), she achieved her graduate education only after marrying and starting a family.  Even then, she couldn’t win acceptance into Columbia’s doctoral program in History–she was deemed too old (at 34!) and too female.  But Carey makes it clear that hers is really the career of a polemicist, not an academic.  More important than graduate school is the fact that she volunteered for six years at The New Leader, “a small but influential publication of the anti-communist left, [where she] asked for a job. When the editor, Myron Kolatch, said he couldn’t afford to hire her, Ravitch offered to work for free.”  Carey continues:

The New Leader was where Ravitch received her true education. The small staff was crammed into one room on the fourth floor of an old building. Then and future luminaries like Daniel Bell and Nathan Glazer would drop by to turn in their latest essays; strong argument was prized. “This is where she learned how to write,” says Kolatch. Ravitch worked intermittently for The New Leader until 1967, when she took a part-time assignment from the nonprofit Carnegie Corporation to report on the city’s school system.  Continue Reading »


November 27th 2011
Occupy this space

Posted under American history

The Occupy Movement, however unclear in its message and agenda, has been much more politically influential than a decade of blogging by so-called progressive bloggers. Human bodies are much more newsworthy, and donations of time and energy in person are so much more effective than the hundreds of millions of hours spent in virtual spaces by bloggers and their readers.

Social media has not transformed politics, although it may have transformed political organizing and communications. The only thing that really gets attention is showing up in person and making some non-virtual noise.


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