Goldstein’s ‘On Middle Ground’ Named Finalist for National Jewish Book Award

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Congratulations to Eric Goldstein for his recent book On Middle Ground: A History of the Jews of Baltimore (Johns Hopkins Press, 2018), which was named a finalist for the American Jewish Studies Book Award of the Jewish Book Council. On Middle Ground was co-authored with Deborah R. Weiner. Goldstein is the Judith London Evans Director of the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies and Associate Professor of History and Jewish studies.

Mary L. Dudziak Summarizes 2018 – “The Year of Cruelty” – for ‘Politico Magazine’

Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law Mary L. Dudziak was one of 16 historians who authored a first and brief draft of 2018 history for a piece in Politico Magazine.  Dudziak is Associated Faculty in the History Department. Read her appraisal of last year along with those of other leading historians at Politico Magazine: “What Will History Books Say About 2018? 16 top historians predict the future.”

“2018 will be remembered as the year of cruelty. The United States separated thousands of migrant children from their families and created prison camps for them. The country aided Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen resulting in a humanitarian catastrophe seen in images of starving children. Trump refused to sanction or even criticize Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump told Californians devastated from the loss of homes and loved ones to fire that the tragedy was, in essence, their own fault. He said the same to victims of mass shootings. The list goes on and on—there is too much cruelty for one paragraph. Congress, and the American people, aided the president’s cruelty by failing to do whatever it would take to stop him.”

Joseph Crespino in ‘The Washington Post’: “How will Broadway change Atticus Finch?”

Jimmy Carter Professor of History and Department Chair Joseph Crespino recently authored a piece in The Washington Post on the Broadway adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Crespino, who published Atticus Finch: the Biography with Basic Books in 2018, discusses the current production in the context of the 1962 adaptation of Lee’s novel as an award-winning film. The play is written by Aaron Sorkin and stars Jeff Daniels, and it has set box office records since opening in mid-December. Read an excerpt of Crespino’s piece below and the whole article here: “The ever-shifting hero of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’: How will Broadway change Atticus Finch?

“…Sorkin has the difficult task of pleasing throngs of Lee devotees while also making the story relevant to contemporary audiences. Can Sorkin avoid writing another white savior narrative? Can he acknowledge the agency of Calpurnia and Tom Robinson, the African American characters in the story? If he muddies the character of Atticus too much, will he run afoul of Lee’s estate, inviting further legal action? And how does he present the racism that was pervasive in the 1930s South to a new generation of Americans accustomed to trigger warnings and safe spaces?

Given the challenges, Sorkin and crew would do well to recall the definition of courage that Atticus gave to his son Jem: ‘It’s when you know you are licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.’”

Crespino’s ‘Atticus Finch: The Biography’ among ‘Atlanta Magazine’s’ 2018 Standouts

Atticus Finch

Atlanta Magazine has included Dr. Joseph Crespino’s Atticus Finch: The Biography among their list of standout books with Georgia ties from 2018. Crespino, who is Jimmy Carter Professor of History and Chair of the History Department, published the biography of the Harper Lee character earlier this year with Basic Books. Listen to and read an excerpt from Atticus Finch at Basic Books, and explore the other nine Georgia-linked titles from the Atlanta Magazine list here: “10 standout books with Georgia ties that you might have missed in 2018.”

 

Patrick N. Allitt Sees Election Recounts as “Sign of a Healthy Democracy”

Cahoon Family Professor of American History Patrick N. Allitt recently published a piece in Spectator USA. Writing in the wake of the 2018 midterm elections in the U.S., Allitt describes the numerous recounts throughout the nation as the sign of a healthy democracy. Read an excerpt below along with the full article, “Election recounts are a sign of a healthy democracy: Americans are more eager than ever to get results right.”

“Thousands of men and women are working to make sure the count is accurate. They know that, all over the world, democracies fail when the losers refused to accept the verdict of the electorate, or when the winner abolishes the system that brought him to power. From their earliest schooldays they’ve had drummed into them the idea that fair elections are sacrosanct, their nation’s bedrock.”

Tehila Sasson on “A Truly Global Britain” in ‘Journal of British Studies’

Assistant Professor of History Tehila Sasson published an article entitled “A Truly Global Britain?” in the October 2018 edition of Journal of British Studies. The piece is part of a roundtable of historians who examine the emerging subfield of Britain and the World. In addition to her article, Sasson co-authored the introduction with James Vernon. Read Sasson’s contributions along with the full collection here: “Britain and the World: A New Field?”

Jason Morgan Ward in ‘The Washington Post’: “A Mississippi senator joked about ‘public hanging.’ Here’s why that’s unacceptable.”

Acting Professor of History Jason Morgan Ward recently published an article in The Washington Post’s “Made by History” section. Ward discusses Mississippi’s long and tragic history of lynchings in the context of recent comments from Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. Read an excerpt of Ward’s piece below along with the full article here: “A Mississippi senator joked about ‘public hanging.’ Here’s why that’s unacceptable.”

Any mention of a “public hanging” taps a deep well of racial memory in Mississippi, and for good reason. The state led the nation in lynchings, with more than 650 killings between the Civil War and the civil rights era documented in the Equal Justice Initiative’s recent report, “Lynching in America.” While public execution by hanging persisted in Southern communities into the 20th century, spectacle lynchings outpaced and eventually replaced these “official” killings as the South’s preferred form of “public hanging.” While many lynchings occurred under cover of darkness or at the hands of small gangs of vigilantes, white Mississippians gathered by the hundreds, and occasionally thousands, to witness racial killings.