Triumph and Trouble: India at 70

by bjs | Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Today marks the seventieth anniversary of India’s independence. The Journal of Democracy included a series of papers on this milestone in its July issue. We are re-printing the editor’s introduction to this cluster of papers, which can be found online at Project MUSE .

For seven decades now, India has been a fountain of challenges to democratic theories. When it became independent on 15 August 1947, India was one of the world’s poorest places in per capita terms. It was also one of the most linguistically diverse and culturally complex, with caste, ethnic, regional, and religious identities cumulating and cross-cutting in volatile ways. Social scientists thought democracy’s prospects dim in such a poor, divided country. Yet India has defied the odds.

It has held sixteen national elections amid conditions of free and open political competition, broken by just one short authoritarian spell in the 1970s. Ballotings across the vast subcontinent with its more than half a billion voters remain consistently well and fairly run—a stunning achievement that makes India a standout in the developing world. Yet too often, violence, fraud, and corruption mar public life, and a shocking...Read More

Edelman Fossil Park: Dreaming of Dinosaurs Creates Pathways for 21st Century Scientists

by krm | Friday, August 11, 2017 - 6:52 AM

By James E. Samels and Arlene L. Lieberman

At Edelman Fossil Park, the past comes alive for people of all ages. Children, campers, families and students all get to dig alongside paleontologists in a site rich with fossils from the Cretaceous period – the heyday of the dinosaurs. Fossils capture the imagination of a broad audience transcending the boundaries of age, educational background, economic circumstances, and geography.

Rowan University, a New Jersey public institution, forged a new vision for educating our children when it purchased the endangered fossil site at a Mantua, New Jersey quarry and added a new School of Earth and Environment.

The Nation needs a significant workforce in the geosciences and environmental sciences to address pressing societal issues… Hands-on engagement in paleontology forges an alluring gateway to these and other STEM careers. Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, Director of the Rowan University Fossil Quarry and Founding Dean of the Rowan School of the Earth & Environment.

Rowan University alumni, Jean and Ric Edelman made a vital contribution to science when they stepped in to expand and preserve the site. In acknowledging their $25 million gift,...Read More

To Be Online

by bjs | Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Earlier this year, Shakespeare Quarterly took an important step and launched a brand-new website to showcase content from the journal as well as innovative Shakesperean scholarship outside the traditional print product.

Journal editor Gail Kern Paster , also Director Emerita of the Folger Shakespeare Library, answered a few questions about the launch of the site, which coincided with a special issue focused on new media and Shakespeare.

Douglas Lanier , professor of English at the University of New Hampshire, served a guest editor for the issue, titled #Bard. He joined us for a podcast about the issue and the direction of Shakesperean scholarship and new media.

How exciting is the launch of the new digital space? GKP: All of us at SQ are really excited to be launching this new digital space. We recognize that there are many ways to reach out to our audience and to grow it. We want our readers to have a bird’s eye view of our current and upcoming content and access to one full-text essay from the current issue. And we also want our readers to have access another...Read More

Q&A WITH JESSICA L. ADLER, Burdens of War: Creating the United States Veterans Health System

by krm | Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Q: Why did you decide to write Burdens of War ?

I was a health reporter for a small daily newspaper in Paterson, New Jersey in the early 2000s, writing about issues ranging from the rollout of Medicare Part D and the financial woes of small inner city hospitals to how patients and their families coped with chronic and acute illnesses. During conversations with caregivers, providers, representatives of advocacy organizations, and others, I found myself wondering how certain programs and services came to be, and why some were so idiosyncratic. Around the same time, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were ramping up, and there was discussion and debate about how returning service members were being treated. In that larger context, I was drawn to explore the history of the army health system. My initial research focused on the origins of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which, of course, has always played a highly visible role in providing care for military personnel, including in the first decade of the twenty-first century. As I perused the hospital’s early annual reports at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., I came across information about the World War I era and...Read More

Could the famed B&O Railroad be saved? In 1858, one man thought it could.

by krm | Friday, July 21, 2017 - 6:00 AM

A few blocks away from Baltimore’s lively Inner Harbor stands one of railroading’s most iconic buildings: the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Roundhouse, known as the “Birthplace of American Railroading” and now the home of the B&O Railroad Museum . Built in 1884, this historic building celebrates not only the country’s first railroad, but also the man who commissioned it: John W. Garrett, seventh president of the B&O from 1858-1884.

A full biography of Garrett was long overdue. After writing a biography of his daughter, Mary Elizabeth Garrett: Society and Philanthropy in the Gilded Age , I thought it was time to turn my attention to Garrett. Father and daughter had a very powerful, complex relationship; they greatly influenced and admired each other. But writing about the two proved very different. Mary came of age after the Civil War and, like many women of her generation and background, kept countless diaries and journals and left a copious paper trail of her innermost thoughts. Her father, also a product of his times — the male-oriented, show-no-weakness persona of Gilded Age industrialists — left few personal reflections. He was all business and what we know of...Read More