Friday, August 1st, 2008

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History Carnival #67

 

History Carnival #67

Hello, #67 coming right at yer!

In the tradition of alternative presentations of the History Carnival I’ve grouped items into (loose!) categories and added a music video to fit each category.

Murder

Over here in Britain knife crime is seemingly out of control with a number of young people having been murdered this year. It’s a classic example of folk devils and modern media hysteria with most people now believing that they are more likely to get stabbed to death than trip over their own shoelaces as they make their way to their local store.

But, nowt today is as bad as our mediaeval forbears suffered, at least, according to J. Carter Wood at Obscene Desserts.

Figures are quoted in the article Just a Shot Away for homicide rates in the late Middle Ages of between 20 and 40 murders per 100,000, compared to 0.5 to 1 per 100,000 in Europe today.

Admittedly,  I’m at a bit of a loss just how one can quantify murder in the medieval period with such precision, but Wood’s states: ‘there still seems to be so much violence about in European countries. And perhaps there is: but not by historical standards’.

Over at Appalachian History Dave Tabler asks Was it murder? Or a heart attack?

Edith Maxwell may have been sentenced to 25 years in gaol in 1935 for the murder of her father, but did he really die from her blows or from heart failure?

All that we know is that dad, enforcing "the "code" of the Virginia mountains, where women and children had to obey and submit to the father" chased young Edith around the house with a carving knife. She struck back with a high heel shoe. Father died.

The understanding jury took a full hour to find her guilty.

Meanwhile, Tony Yayo and 50 Cent say that out in the street they call it MURDER!

Digital

If there was a History Carnival Award for Originality and Coherent Thought it would surely go to Mills Kelly,  Associate Director of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, and author of Edwired blog.

In June his three part series entitled Making Digital Scholarship Count created waves by arguing that there needs to be a reassessment of academic publishing methods and peer appraisal in the net age.

In July he returned again to the same subject, but this time as a podcast on Digital Campus.

Digital archives of primary source material are, thankfully, expanding.

Clio and Me points its readers to the Time Online Archives, while Chartist Ancestors reviews and analyses the Northern Star collection at Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition – www.ncse.ac.uk. The Northern Star was the central Chartist newspaper between 1838 and 1852.

Continuing on this theme I present to you the Sleng Teng Riddim Mix – a mix of digital reggae tracks from the 1980s.

Corporate Control

I’m more convinced than ever that our government in the UK, aided and abetted by its multinational corporate friends would like to turn the internet into an online version of a suburban shopping mall.

Rob MacDougall in his fantastic article The Gilded Age Internet and the People’s Telephone provides an historical precedent for this in the advent of the telephone in the US in the 19th century.

According to MacDougall, the early telephone system was decentralised and provided a

“vibrant expression of a new participatory telephone culture, one marked by locally owned and oriented networks, by social and indeed frivolous use of the telephone, by experimentation and innovation among users as well as producers, and by communal practices like eavesdropping and rural party lines”

This ended when AT&T reasserted its business control over the new means of communication. Will this happen too to the internet over the next ten years?

In homage to a potential tomorrow, Devo present their Corporate Anthem for the new world wide web:

Civil War

Hell have no fury like a Civil War blogger, and just to prove that Kevin M. Levin instigated a total of nine posts – yes, nine! - on his site, Civil War Memory, to the same subject in July.

His wrath came as a response to this event:

To read Levin’s rebuke, The Myth of Black Confederates, click on here, and it has – a rare bird in 99% of the blogging world - a lively debate with each instalment.

While over at TOCWOC Brett Schulte goes back to basics and offers A Guide to Civil War Books for Beginners.

Evolution

In any contemporary political debate it’s good to have a thorough historical understanding of the issues on the table. Anti-evolutionists have, uniquely in a Western nation, a loud voice in US discourse. John M. Lynch on Stranger Fruit provides an invaluable run down on the evolution of anti-evolution thought (pun intended) in America.

Moving along a similar historical trajectory is the Edge of the American West and its coverage of a legal case from July 1925: Tennesse vs. John Scopes, also knows as the "Monkey Trial".

In Spring of that year it had become forbidden in law in this US county to teach evolution. As the legislation stated it was

unlawful for any teacher in any of the Universities, Normals and all other public schools of the State which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State, to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals

It was only a matter of time before this became a matter for the courts to settle, and John Scopes, a part-time science teacher, stepped up to the plate by teaching evolution to his pupils with the intention of being prosecuted.

Did John Scoopes emerge a victor? Read “I do not think about things I don’t think about” to find out.

This is Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution (well you try finding a song about evolution!)

Obama Madness!

He’s the talk of the town, and Barack Obama sure gets about: Afghanistan, Iraq, Britain and Germany where he recently spoke to a crowd of 200,000.

The choice of venue for this Obamafest was in Berlin at the eastern side of the Victory Column.

A place that the Daily Kos declares is arguably "one of the most historically evocative spots in Berlin for his speech."

In Obama, one million Germans, and history there is brief telling of the story of this German monument that covers the Bismark and Third Reich eras.

But, in truth, our political leadership is so bereft of historical knowledge that the conclusion in the article seems the most likely explanation: he picked the one spot in Berlin that can accommodate the huge crowds.

Over at Milestone Documents Barry Alfonso draws parallels between Obama’s candidacy and that of William Jennings Bryan’s efforts in the Democratic party in the late 19th century.

Hear Cocoa Tea sing his song of praise for Obama:

American Revolution

The Declaration of Independence on The Historic Present argues that the ideas behind the founding of the USA were revolutionary regardless that it excluded women and Blacks for some or all of its benefits.

Meanwhile over at American Creation July 19 saw a detailed post on the religion of Thomas Jefferson and serves as a reminder of how, in contrast to the ideals of the founding fathers,  basic notions of Christianity and the separation of Church and state have become so distorted in contemporary America.

Odds’n'Sods

A cautionary tale of dependence on rich benefactors for museums and historical sites is told on New York History blog as billionaire Deborah Mars refuses to give promised capital to Fort Ticonderoga, NY. The management are having to face drastic options in order to stave off complete closure.

And finally, is there a special lady in your life who you’d like to buy a gift for? Then why not purchase the electric corset (Electricity not supplied).

Thanks to all those who submitted nominations for Carnival #67. I know I haven’t featured them all, but it’s an entirely personal choice and I acknowledge all those writing across the web on a myriad of historical subjects.

!! As a reminder there is now another means of submitting nominations to the History Carnival. Bookmark your entry with "historycarnival" at del.icio.us. !!

The next History Carnival will be hosted by Mike Ramalho at Osprey Publishing Blog

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