Tag Archives: Academia

A New Academic Conference at Jay Heritage Center


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constitution week 016This past September 18 – 20, in launching the first of what it hopes to be many academic conferences at its site, the Jay Heritage Center (JHC) faced a welcome challenge: to select a topic, a keynote speaker, and partner institutions sure to generate vigorous, enlightened and thought provoking discussions.

As a member site of NY’s Path Through History for its themes on Civil Rights and suitably inspired by our nation’s observation of Constitution Week each fall, JHC asked acclaimed scholar, author and Yale Law School Professor, Akhil Reed Amar to speak “On the Nature of Constitutions.” Continue reading

2013 MacArthur Fellows Announced


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enews_2013_fellows_featureMacArthur named its 2013 class of MacArthur Fellows, recognizing 24 exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for even more significant contributions in the future.

Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000 (increased from $500,000) paid out over five years. Without stipulations or reporting requirements, the Fellowship provides maximum freedom for recipients to follow their own creative vision. Continue reading

Journal Features Two Row Wampum Treaty Debate


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13220774-largeThe Journal of Early American History (JEAH) has published a special free issue that focuses on the Two Row Wampum treaty, a historical agreement between the Dutch and the Iroquois that purportedly took place on April 21, 1613 – a date that is based on an allegedly forged document. The treaty has been the subject of most discussion in recent months.

During the month of July and the first week of August supporters of the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign paddled from Onondaga Lake, and down the Mohawk and Hudson rivers to New York City to draw attention to environmental concerns and native sovereignty rights on Two Row Wampum treaty anniversary date. Continue reading

Peter Feinman: Scholars in the Public Mind


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home_revolutionThanks are due to Mike Zuckerman for his response to my series on the American Revolution Reborn conference which he organized. I appreciate his having read an unsolicited essay from a stranger whom he just met, for our extended email exchange, and for his contributing a post to New York History on this topic.

If I may, I would like to respond to his comments by separating them into two types: those that addressed the conference itself and those that refer to the more general question of America’s identity. Continue reading

Two Row Wampum: The Triumph of Truthiness


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Wampum-BeltsThe historic journey of Two Row Wampum is in the news. The journey by water from Albany to the United Nations has been recorded and chronicled each step of the way.

The culminating activity at the conclusion of the journey is to honor the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The paddlers consist of roughly equal numbers of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, paddling side-by-side in two lines to honor and bring to life the imagery of the Two Row Wampum.
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American Revolution Reborn:
Michael Zuckerman on American Exceptionalism


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home_revolutionI am grateful for Peter Feinman’s kind words about the conference I helped to organize, The American Revolution Reborn.  I am even more grateful for his unkind words.

Peter’s complaints and criticisms hit home.  He is right that elite academic historians embarrass themselves when confronted with questions like the one that one entire conference panel dodged: was the American Revolution a good thing or a bad thing?  He is right that many academic historians, and not just those at elite institutions, are reluctant to engage the conundrums that come of asking what part great men play in momentous developments and whether the leadership of one such man, George Washington, was indispensable to the winning of American independence?  And he is right, profoundly right, that ivory-tower educators never quite get around to the dilemma that ought to haunt all educators: how do we teach what we know to the young? Continue reading

NYSHA Publication Award Winners Announced


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Layout 1The New York State Historical Association (NYSHA) announced the winners of its three annual publication awards at its 110th Annual Meeting in July at Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

The winner of the 2013 Henry Allen Moe Prize for Catalogs of Distinction in the Arts is Audubon’s Aviary: The Original Watercolors for The Birds of America by Roberta J.M. Olson, the Curator of Drawings at New-York Historical Society. Continue reading

New York History Community: A Time for Action?


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New York State CountiesThis seems like a very opportune time for an initiative to strengthen state and local history here in New York.

Carol Kammen’s response to Peter’s Feinman’s post on the “Path Through History” initiative suggests creation of an advisory board and the use of electronic communications to stay in touch and inform New Yorkers about history. That is an excellent proposal and the timing is right for a new push in the public history era for several reasons: Continue reading

Researching New York Conference Call For Papers


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Researching NY ConferenceThe organizers of Researching New York 2013 invite proposals for presentations on any aspect of New York State history from any time period and from any perspective. The conference will take place on November 14 and 15 on the University at Albany campus, Albany, New York.

This annual conference brings together historians, archivists, public historians, graduate students, teachers, documentarians, and multimedia producers, to share their work on New York State history. Especially encouraged are submissions that reflect on the long and complicated history of religion in New York, including the intersections of religion and church history with the secular, civic, and public life of its citizens. Continue reading

A Missing Element Of Upstate History Tourism


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PhotographersNow that Memorial Day has passed and the summer tourism season is officially underway, it should be no surprise that the New York Times is full of articles about tourism. One article features Greece and the lure of the classical world for tourists. Greece has been experiencing a rocky road as of late but tourists are returning now that the situation appears to have stabilized.

Greece needs a shot in the arm from tourists given the plunge in the economy, so it would seem that the classically-named cities of upstate New York and the actual homeland of those cities have something in common. Continue reading

Conference on New York State History Taking Place June 6-8


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Cooperstown1Local historians and educators from across the state will gather in Cooperstown for the 2013 Conference on New York State History taking place June 6-8 at the Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum. The conference highlights the latest research on New York History and culture. The conference is open to the public.

Several features of this year’s conference are of interest the general public: The keynote address is by Walter Stahr, author of Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man, the evening of Friday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fenimore Art Museum auditorium. On Saturday, June 8, the annual Wendall Tripp Lecture offers “Another Leatherstocking Tale: Susan Fenimore Cooper, the Episcopal Church, and the Oneida Indians,” delivered by Laurence Hauptman of SUNY New Paltz. This lecture takes place at 12:30 p.m. in the Louis C. Jones Center of The Farmers’ Museum. Continue reading

History Books Featured As 2013 Pulitzer Winners


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LogevallThe 97th annual Pulitzer Prizes in Letters, which includes Nonfiction, History, and Biography, awarded on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize Board, were announced today by Columbia University.

In the category of History, for a distinguished and appropriately documented book on the history of the United States, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000) was awarded to “Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam,” by Fredrik Logevall (Random House), a balanced, deeply researched history of how, as French colonial rule faltered, a succession of American leaders moved step by step down a road toward full-blown war. Continue reading

Art Historian Barbara Novak Being Honored Sunday


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Barbara NovakBarbara Novak is one of America’s premier art historians.  Breaking into the world of American art history in the 1950s, when few professors taught the topic, Dr. Novak spent the next 40 years creating a foundation for the study of American art history through her seminal books and teaching.

Now the Helen Goodhart Altschul Professor of Art History Emerita at Barnard College and Columbia University, Novak has inspired generations of students to pursue careers in academic and museum life. Six speakers from a range of fields will offer personal stories of the wide sweep of Dr. Novak’s influence as a scholar and mentor. Dr. Novak will offer her remarks at the end of the event. Continue reading

Peter Feinman: Whither the Public Historian?


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APHNYS-Regions-Map1With the annual meeting of the Association of Public Historians of New York State (APHNYS) fast approaching and the centennial of the local government historians law on the not so distant horizon, as Bruce Dearstyne just reminded us, it is appropriate to examine just what is expected from municipal historians.

One may ask the proverbial question, “How are you doing?” – and take an opportunity to address what the guidelines say, what is being done, and what should be done. Continue reading

Celebrating 30 Yrs of Albany’s Public History Program


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PH30 Registration PktThe University at Albany’s Public History Program will be hosting “History Lives!”, a conference celebrating 30 years of the University at Albany’s Public History Program on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at the New York State Museum from 9:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.

This one day conference / celebration will commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Public History Program with networking and a wide variety of session presentations by the program’s outstanding alumni. Continue reading

Public History Lessons from Dutchess County


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dutchess county 1829If there is one county where local history should loom large on the political landscape that should be Dutchess County. It was less than a century ago when it had arguably the most famous local historian in America, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That historical legacy contributed to the disappointment over the fact that Dutchess County did not have a county historian when I began writing at New York History.

In a series of posts surveying the various New York State history community constituencies I devoted one post to the County Historians. I noted that some counties were not complying with the state regulations. Dutchess County was one violator, but I anticipated that would be rectified following the County Executive election for since both major-party candidates endorsed filling the position. There is a story to be told in how that happened that sheds light on the position of county historians throughout the state as well as with implications for the Path through History project. Continue reading

Bringing Neglected New York History to Light


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Erie - Champlain Canal Junction (Courtesy American Canals)New York’s long, rich, and vibrant state and local history has long been a source of pride and inspiration. As items on this website repeatedly confirm, there are many programs that provide creative interpretation and presentation of key events and developments.

But over the years, the New York historical community, particularly in publishing books, has sometimes tended to concentrate on certain topics and neglect or minimize others.
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Supreme Court: The Age of Holmes and Brandeis


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The influence of two men—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and Louis Dembitz Brandeis— will be examined in this seminar on American constitutional development from 1902 to 1939. Although the phrase “Holmes and Brandeis dissenting” led many people to believe that they shared a common jurisprudential philosophy, the differences between them are as important as the areas in which they agreed. Continue reading