Drexel University Assistant Professor of History and 2014 Emory Ph.D. Debjani Bhattacharyya recently authored a piece for the American Historical Association’s newsmagazine, Perspectives. Bhattacharyya, a specialist on Modern South Asian History, discusses exploitative publishing practices and the culture of academic publishing broadly. Read the excerpt below along with the full piece, “When a Journal is a Scam: How Some Publications Prey on Scholarship as Public Good.”
Apart from warning our students and colleagues about predatory journals, there is a larger question we as a profession need to answer. How do we create conditions where we can prioritize the twin imperatives behind publishing our work: to be heard and to listen? These things take time. It takes time to write out early ideas, have them read by a fresh pair of eyes, be exposed to new literature, rethink the argument, and then revise and rewrite. In an ideal world, each article would be an invitation to a dialogue about a question and ultimately an attempt to create a public good. And yet, all of this must happen within a very truncated time frame given the “publish or perish” atmosphere. How do we as a profession acknowledge the realities of this mandate, while still guaranteeing the quality of peer-reviewed scholarship?
Acting Professor of History Jason Morgan Ward recently contributed to a Yahoo News article about Georgia’s upcoming gubernatorial election. The contest between Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams has drawn national attention. Abrams would be the first black woman elected to the governor’s office in the United States. Morgan offers historical context for this historic election, writing: “Georgia history matters, and Georgia has a unique political history that has historically inflated the politics of localism and the definition of what is Georgia and what is Georgian.”
Read the full article by Jon Ward here: “Georgia’s fraught history with ‘outsiders’ shapes a tight governor’s race.”
Assistant Professor of History Tehila Sasson recently contributed to a roundtable for the journal Past & Present on the expanding field of research about the history of humanitarianism. Sasson, a specialist in Britain in the World, is currently completing her first monograph, provisionally titled We Are the World: Humanitarian Ethics, Global Markets and the End of Empire. Read an excerpt from her contribution to the roundtable below along with the full discussion here: “History and Humanitarianism: A Conversation.”
“I came as a sceptic to this field. In the political landscape where I grew up in Israel, human rights and humanitarianism have often been used as empty rhetoric to justify forms of intervention and governance rather than to offer any real political alternative to minorities and refugees. My first encounter with the works of Hannah Arendt, Didier Fassin and Jacques Rancière during my undergraduate studies in 2003 was formative to the way I came to perceive the field politically as well as intellectually. Human rights and humanitarianism, I learned from them, offered a thin political framework, indeed too thin, that was stripped of any robust notion of obligation, responsibility and rights. A class I took with Wendy Brown and Saba Mahmood later in graduate school taught me that not only rights discourse but also moral technologies carry with them an entire array of contradictions connected to empire, religion and the economy.”
History Department Chair and Jimmy Carter Professor of History Joseph Crespino discussed his most recent book, Atticus Finch: The Biography (Basic Books, 2018), with Brandon Tensley of Pacific Standard. In “How Reconsidering Atticus Finch Makes us Reconsider America,” Crespino talks about the enduring relevance of this fictional character in American society and politics. Read an excerpt below along with the full article here.
“Lee wrote her two novels in the midst of the massive resistance era. These were the days of Southern politics when you saw the rise of a right-wing, militant segregationist movement, when you had politicians who only a few years earlier had been dismissed as cranks, as nobodies, as jokes being elected to office—look at Ross Barnett in Mississippi or Lester Maddox in Georgia. That’s the period Lee was writing in. And she was trying to make sense of the fact that what she admired as the principled conservatism of her father was being overrun by—but also, crucially, was not standing up to—right-wing reactionaries across many states in the South.”
Dr. Jeffrey Lesser, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History and Director of the Halle Institute for Global Research and Learning, discussed the increasing influence of evangelicals in Brazilian society and politics for Bloomberg. The article was released three days before the first round of Brazil’s 2018 elections. The October 7 elections included the near-victory of Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right candidate with substantial evangelical support. Read the full piece, written by R.T. Watson, David Biller, and Samy Adghirni, here: “From Jails to Congress, Brazil’s Evangelicals Could Swing Election.”
A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education featured Cahoon Family Professor of American History Patrick Allitt. The piece, “The Best and Worst Part of Being a Professor: Students” (by Audrey Williams June), surveys how professors view teaching responsibilities and interactions with students. Allitt is quoted as saying that “Teaching is really the best part of my job” – a sentiment that seems representative of broad satisfaction among professors with the teaching element of the job. Allitt is the author of I’m the Teacher, You’re the Student: A Semester in the University Classroom (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004).
Read the full article here and see the brief excerpt below.
When students fall short of his expectations, Allitt says, his teaching experience gives him the perspective he needs to deal with it. Two things haven’t changed, he says, since he started teaching as a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley. There will always be students who won’t do the reading. To deal with that, Allitt calls on every student in class during discussions. And most students don’t write as well as he would like. (He blames schools that rely on multiple-choice exams much more than did the schools in his native England, where he wrote in school every day.)