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In which I have neglected a resource too long.

21 Oct

Wow, so, even longer gap that time. Sorry, guys; like I say, things have gotten a little crazier on the job-hunt front, which is mostly great for me but does mean less time to devote to the blog; tragedy! Hopefully soon I will manage to work out some kind of a schedule that will let me balance both, we’ll see.

So awhile back I was considering linking to this article over on the History News Network, So Is Health Care For All Really Un-American, and maybe discussing it a bit, but actually it said everything pretty well (spoiler alert: no, it’s not un-American at all), plus I realized that I had not talked about how great the HNN is yet!

Q: JULIA, HOW GREAT IS THE HNN?
A: PRETTY GREAT!

I followed it when I remembered, but then I added Google’s “History” bundle to my feed reader and it included HNN and I remembered how fantastic it was. The website is incredibly well-organized, with enough categories and departments to ease navigation without having so many as to make it overwhelming and frustrating in other ways instead. They also have hot topics, taking an historical viewpoint on major news topics and current events (currently: Obama’s Nobel, Afghanistan, health care reform, Obama and race, and “Meltdown 2009”) and reminding us that yes, history does have an impact on us now.

Plus if you will look at the top, it’s done by George Mason University, towards whom I am slightly biased on account of having gone there.

In which I acknowledge how hard it is to distinguish these things.

21 Aug

As a Respected Historical Authority, I often get people asking me when it is appropriate to compare people to Hitler. “Jules,” people will say, “surely it must be appropriate to tell a gay Jewish Congressman that his party, in advocating health care reform, is in fact pushing Nazism on this country!”

The confusion is understandable; to all but the most expert of historians’ eyes, a bunch of Constitutionally-elected officials seeking input from the nation’s people in an attempt at pure Athenian-style democracy looks a lot like the suspension of civil liberties and discourse by a party aggressive to any “impure” person, to say nothing of how easy it is to confuse, say, proposed health care reforms with the systematic slaughter of millions of people!

So, as the fruit of years of intensive study, I humbly submit to the public this chart. I can only hope that I have effectively done justice to the many subtleties involved in making the distinction between people who deserve the term “Nazi” and people who don’t.

For multifunctionality, print out two copies. On the second, use white-out to cover “person” and replace it with “thing”, then cover “Hitler” and replace it with “Nazism” and/or “the Holocaust”. I would advise you to change the pronouns accordingly, but let’s face it, if you think Barack Obama is just like Hitler, I have my doubts about whether you know what a pronoun is, seeing as you think Barack Obama is just like fucking Hitler, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU.

You’re welcome.

Link: Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy

20 Aug

AMAZING TOOL REPORT, which I found by googling something I figured wouldn’t return any useful results, and then I found EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED. Oh, Internet, I love you so much. Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy 1718-1820, an incredible database. From the introduction:

In 1984, a professor at Rutgers University stumbled upon a trove of historic data in a courthouse in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Over the next 15 years, Dr. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, a noted New Orleans writer and historian, painstakingly uncovered the background of 100,000 slaves who were brought to Louisiana in the 18th and 19th centuries making fortunes for their owners.

Poring through documents from all over Louisiana, as well as archives in France, Spain and Texas, Dr. Hall designed and created a database into which she recorded and calculated the information she obtained from these documents about African slave names, genders, ages, occupations, illnesses, family relationships, ethnicity, places of origin, prices paid by slave owners, and slaves’ testimony and emancipations. In March 2000, the Louisiana State University Press published published Dr. Hall’s databases on a CD-ROM.

Internet. Historians. Why so amazing. This is a stunningly useful tool, not only for the depth and breadth of information (French and Spanish slave records, the site explains, were generally much more detailed than English) but also because it’s completely intuitive to use.