JHU Press Blog

"The Past is Never Dead. It's Not Even Past" - A Discussion of the Difference Between Historical Fact and History with Joseph Stoltz III

by eea | Friday, December 15, 2017 - 12:00 PM

The current statuary controversy across the United States highlights that many Americans do not appreciate the difference between historical facts and history. Historical facts are discrete definable pieces of evidence. History is the contextual narrative of the past that puts those facts into context. I wrote A Bloodless Victory to examine this phenomenon. On 8 January1815, an American army under the command of Andrew Jackson repulsed a British force of several thousand men after roughly thirty minutes of intense fighting. Those are the facts. However, just a brief examination of the 50 th , 100 th , and 150 th anniversaries of the battle shows the diversity and contradictory nature of the predominate historical narratives publicized at each anniversary.

The 50 th anniversary of the battle occurred in 1865 as Union troops besieged Petersburg, Virginia and began their invasion of South Carolina; closing the noose on the Confederate States of America. In New Orleans, Union troops paraded past a statue of Andrew Jackson in celebration of their liberation of that city a few years before in 1862. They saw their efforts as the living embodiment of Jackson’s decree: “Our federal union. It must be preserved!”...Read More

Education in the Digital Age: A Look at the Progression of Technology in Education with Norm Friesen

by eea | Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00 PM

I went to school at the dawn of the microcomputer. These were expensive, immobile boxes that only responded to coded commands. Today I hold a smartphone in my hand that is over 10,000 times more powerful and infinitely more flexible. This incredible technological revolution, however, is all but invisible when I now go back to schools as a Prof. in Educational Technology. Yes: There are teachers using interactive whiteboards, and students sneaking peeks at their phones or using a tablet. But I still see teachers covering material via lectures and students using textbooks—just as they do in my own university. I can’t help but ask: “Why has education changed so little when media and technology have changed so much?”

I wasn’t satisfied by the standard explanations: That we’re at the cusp of an educational revolution (we always are) or that educators are “laggards” (they work very hard). Instead, I looked at how questions of change and stability are understood by people without a stake in the game, who focus more on a well-documented past than on an uncertain future. I looked to historians, and in their accounts I found incredible stories about teaching and textbooks stretching back centuries that...Read More

Enrollment Realities Illustrate the Need for Relevant Research on Small Privates with John M. Braxton

by eea | Monday, December 11, 2017 - 2:44 PM

A title of a June 29, 2017 article in Business Insider declares “College Enrollment has plummeted, and private universities are scrambling.” This article points to activities at Ohio Wesleyan University such as creating majors in high-demand fields, increased student recruitment activities abroad and in the United States, and the addition of two sports and marching band as responses to declines in student enrollments. Jon Marcus, the author of this article states “All of these changes are a response to a crisis few outside higher education even know exists: a sharp decline in the number of customers bound for small private, nonprofit colleges (p.2).”

The enrollment pressures facing private colleges and universities create a great deal of uncertainty within this important sector of U.S. higher education. Uncertainty demands that scholarship guide the actions of leaders of independent colleges. Consequently, an urgent need for collaboration between scholars of higher education and practitioners in private colleges and universities springs forth. How are independent colleges adapting to these uncertainties and what additional research would help them not only survive, but also thrive? The Challenges of Independent Colleges: Moving Research into Practice edited by Christopher C. Morphew and I...Read More

The Dynamics of Imperialism and Foreign Relations: A Study of Persia's involvement in Foreign Wars with John Hyland

by eea | Friday, December 8, 2017 - 12:00 PM

The Satrap and I: Writing Persian Interventions

My fascination with Achaemenid Persia’s interventions in Greek conflicts began in a college seminar on the crisis of the Greek city state, when I first read Book VIII of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War . To my surprise, the character who intrigued me most was not a Greek but a Persian, the satrap Tissaphernes, who offered aid to Sparta’s fleet against Athens in 412-411 BCE but failed to deliver on his promises. While admitting lack of certainty on his motives, Thucydides guesses that Tissaphernes feared the winner of the Greek struggle would threaten the Persians; therefore, the historian alleges, he crafted a secret policy to sabotage his allies, balancing Sparta and Athens against one another and prolonging their destructive stalemate. Tissaphernes’ apparent employment of defensive Realpolitik seized my attention – I wrote a twenty-page paper but couldn’t stop thinking about the topic, and returned to it at greater length in my senior honors thesis. I found that numerous studies presented Tissaphernes as either a brilliant diplomat or cunning villain, but failed to place him in an adequate Persian imperial context; this forced me to begin grappling with...Read More

Writing through Heart Disease with Carolyn Thomas

by eea | Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - 12:00 PM

A Woman's Guide to Living with Heart Disease : my blog-turned-book!

By Carolyn Thomas

Part Two: Writing the Blog-Turned-Book

After two copies of my book contract were duly signed and returned to JHUP, I bought myself a new laptop to replace my ancient MacBook Pro in anticipation of starting this important project. I’d loved that old computer dearly despite its one perverse flaw: the “o” no longer worked on the keyboard. You would not believe how many words contain the letter “o”.

I knew that I’d need a visual outline of my 10-chapter draft Table of Contents to easily refer to for the year ahead. A big foam core poster fit the bill, propped up on my dining room table, covered with Post-its destined to be endlessly rearranged. It made for a unique decor accent.

Like many of my blog articles, each chapter of this book on living with heart disease was to start with a theme introduced by a brief personal narrative of my own heart attack experience. Each narrative was to be followed by a broader discussion of closely related themes,...Read More

A Night at the Museum Show

by bjs | Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - 9:00 AM

Earlier this year, Theatre Journal released a special issue on " Theatre and the Museum/Cultures of Display, " sparked by journal co-editor Jennifer Parker-Starbuck's personal fascination with the history of collection and display.

"This special issue, then, was initially sparked by a cross-section of my interests; indeed, my essay about taxidermy and performance (generously referenced here in Joshua Williams’s essay ) began when I became fixated on an exhibit of taxidermied dog heads circling around the head of a wolf in the Horniman Museum in South East London," she writes in her introduction to the issue.

Parker-Starbuck joined us in a Q&A to talk about the resulting five essays and how the topic makes a natural connection to the theatre performance.

How fun was it to work on an issue that developed from the intersection of your personal interests?

This Special Issue came about because not only was I brought up going to museums (from my mother’s love of art, to living outside of Washington, D.C. when I was young, where the free entry Smithsonian Museums provided hours of amusement) but also because my own research on...Read More

"You Gotta Know the Territory": Solutions to the Education Market with Robert Zemsky

by eea | Monday, December 4, 2017 - 12:00 PM

In 1958 I spent a rather extraordinary week in New York City—a California teenager on the loose with two high school buddies. What proved particularly remarkable was how we spent our afternoons. Each day we stood in the back of a different Broadway theater—and we saw the best the city had to offer: Ketti Frings’ Look Homeward Angel; Judy Holiday in The Bells are Ringing, and what I remember best, Robert Preston in Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man-- a now, too often forgotten musical masterpiece . Fifty-nine years later I am in attendance at another performance of the musical, this time in an upscale community theater in Narberth Pennsylvania. What had brought me to the theater was my grandson Noah who had the part of Winthrop, the role that introduced Ron Howard to American movie audiences. But it wasn’t only Noah that captured my imagination that night. Once again I was transfixed by the opening number’s clickety-clack of a speeding railroad car filled with traveling salesmen reminding each other of the rules of the road.

You can talk, you can bicker.

You can talk, you can bicker.

You can talk, talk, talk,...Read More

When a Nosebleed is More than a Nosebleed: Understanding HHT with Sara Palmer

by eea | Sunday, December 3, 2017 - 12:00 PM

Few people are familiar with HHT, an uncommon blood vessel disorder affecting about 1 in 5000 people around the world. So today I’ll introduce you to HHT—what it is and when to get tested for it.

What is HHT? HHT stands for Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia—a mouthful of medical terminology! Here’s what it means:

H ereditary (genetic; inherited)

H emorrhagic (causes bleeding)

T elangiectasia (abnormal blood vessel)

In other words, HHT is inherited; it causes bleeding; and the bleeding comes from abnormal blood vessels. HHT is caused by a mutation in one of several genes related to blood vessel development. If you have HHT, each of your children has a 50% chance of inheriting the disease. Only some blood vessels in people with HHT are abnormal or malformed. In these malformations, there is a direct connection between an artery and a vein, while normal capillaries (the smallest blood vessels) are missing. These malformations commonly occur in nose, gastrointestinal tract (gut), or on the skin (where they are called telangiectasias) and in the lungs, brain, or liver (where they are called arteriovenous malformations (AVMs )). The location, size...Read More

Modernist Literature and Communist Ideology: A Look into Red Modernism with Mark Steven

by eea | Friday, December 1, 2017 - 12:00 PM

I first started writing Red Modernism for the same reason I write most things: to work through a problem whose answer, tantalizing as it might be, just doesn’t come easily. The problem, in this case, evolved from a contradiction between my enthusiasm for certain types of modernist literature and my commitment to a certain kind of politics. To put things starkly, I’m a communist that spends way too much time reading poetry written by a fascist – namely Ezra Pound, who is the first of Red Modernism’s three major case studies, followed by William Carlos Williams and Louis Zukofsky.

My intuition, going into this book, was that even if a poet might be from the enemy camp, maybe their poetry would have other things to say about the matter. It has been argued elsewhere that there is an essential link between poetry and communism, because poets deal in language and because language is common property. I’m not entirely sure that’s the case – it’s all a bit too abstract for my liking – but there remain numerous good reasons to think the two as related, and with specifically modernist poetry there is also a relatively unique historical...Read More

Letting Go of Results: The Education of William James and My Own Medical Crisis

by krm | Friday, December 1, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Life is a soul school, and some classes are harder than others.

For decades after his death in 1910, William James served as the genial uncle figure of American philosophy. He was famous as a popularizer, even though his tendencies to offer insights connecting disparate parts of life and contrasting outlooks reinforced his reputation for lack of rigor. Recently, research on the relations of dual contrasts between religion and science, mind and body, and philosophical thinking and lived experience has increased appreciation for James’s ways of thinking. My book, Young William James Thinking , tells the story of James’s evolution toward his mediating postures, and writing the book brought home to me the significance of connecting theory and life.

In December 2003, I was working on chapter 2, “Between Scientific and Sectarian Medicine.” However, in previous weeks, blurry vision in my left eye was making reading increasingly difficult. My eye doctor conducted some tests, including an MRI, “just to rule some things out.” A few days later, the doctor called to say that the MRI results explained my blurry vision: I had a brain tumor growing on my pituitary gland...Read More