Welcome to the 46th History Carnival. It’s a big one to make up for the Christmas break, so I hope you don’t have anything important to do this week. While hosting a blog carnival isn’t quite as impressive as breaking through the Hindenburg Line, I’m still pleased to be contributing to the illustrious history of the number 46. (And talking of numbers, here’s a last minute addition: The Probabilist on why we count the way we do and how things could be different. It’s old but good.)
There’s plenty of scope for debate about when history started, but I’m going to start as early as I can. At Babel’s Dawn, Edmund Blair Bolles sums up how far he’s got in looking for the origins of human speech. Where would history be without language?
Leaders Of Men:
You might have seen on the grown up news that some former presidents have died. One of them isn’t going to be mentioned here, as I’m sure everyone’s sick of bloggers lamenting his death. And as for Gerald Ford (see what I did there), he’s similarly ubiquitous, but a couple of submissions came up with new angles that I couldn’t resist. At American Presidents Blog, elementaryhistoryteacher reveals how Ford dealt with a crisis over a tree in Korea which almost led to World War III. Also on the theme of North Korea nearly starting World War III, Owen at Frog In A Well explodes a myth of 5,000 years of Korean history. Meanwhile, Dan Harris at China Law Blog asks who is China’s equivalent of Gerald Ford? I won’t ask who the Chinese Richard Nixon is. David Kaiser at History Unfolding gets new insights into Nixon’s diplomacy from recently released records.
How many of you knew that Woodrow Wilson was president of the American Historical Association? Well, history is full of presidents isn’t it, so I guess it makes sense. Jennie at American Presidents Blog digs up the details of Andrew Jackson’s marriage. Harold Holzer is interviewed by Superhero Historians, talking about Lincoln and his rival Senator Douglas. While we’re on the subject of presidents, Joe at Cup O’Joe gives us a history of the electoral college and attempts to reform it.
I hope everyone spent 7th January celebrating Millard Fillmore’s 207th birthday. David Parker at Another History Blog uses all the latest technology to track down the earliest use of a famous Fillmore quote, but can’t find any proof that the great man himself actually said it. Dennis at Campus Mawrtius finds similarly little evidence of Alexander the Great’s most well-known outburst of hubris. Depending on your point of view, hubris is either an essential characteristic of human nature, or a very successful meme which quickly spread through the Mediterranean and the rest of the world (yes, of course those are the only two possible explanations!). Reb HaQoton shows us what happened when the rulers of ancient Israel got ideas above their station.
Stop The War Now:
At Walking the Berkshires, Tim writes about his grandmother, who along with many other women devoted herself to discovering the cause and cure of war (SPOILER WARNING: she didn’t find it). At Progressive Historians midtowng gives us a brief history of western intervention in Somalia. It goes without saying that Black Hawk Down didn’t tell the whole story, but if anything the reality is even more blood-soaked. Gary Smailes has just started a new blog at Victoria’s Cross? which aims to ask whether medal awards were influenced by politics. At Great War Fiction George Simmers discovers some counter-intuitive politics at work in the First World War, when dropping propaganda leaflets over Germany was thought to be worse than dropping bombs! And Jarod at Jarod’s Forge reminds us how to make gunpowder, just in case you get caught in a time matrix. It could happen.
The Spartans knew all about war, but their culture usually gets a lot of bad press. Natalie Bennett at Philobiblon finds that Spartan women could be better off than those in cultured Athens. Carla Nayland reports on a radio programme about female deities, noticing that prehistoric art represents far more women than men. Meanwhile Tony Keen at Memorabilia Antonina takes a long look at a Neapolitan sculpture of Aphrodite… from behind. You can either be outraged at the objectification of women by the male gaze, or you can just enjoy it in your own special way. This might be a good time to mention China’s most famous historian, Sima Qian, who was castrated on the orders of the emperor. His life and work are remembered at Jottings From The Granite Studio, while BaiGuai at Kung Fu Artistry examines the origins of Karate.
Now you’ve probably read or heard about James Rutz’s batshit crazy rant about how too much soy can turn a straight man into a gay man and a woman. At the same time. The obvious lack of any genuine science just draws attention to his confusion and anxiety about gender and sexuality. Bloggers have had a field day with this, and from a historical point of view, the best of the lot is Karl Steel at In The Middle, who ties it in with warrior monks and masculinity in the middle ages.
There’s more blurring of gender roles at Civil War Women where Maggie MacLean tells us about Confederate cavalrywoman Amy Clarke. Roy at Early Modern Whale gives us a more metaphorical kind of girl power with a poem in which a man imagines himself to be conquered and ruled by his lovers. Patriarchy is further undermined by Michael Gilleland at Laudator Temporis Acti with some observations on the difficulty of proving paternity before DNA testing came along. But sisters weren’t always doing it for themselves. At Reading, Raving, and Ranting, Susan Higginbotham reminds us about oppression with the tale of the daughters of a former royal favourite who were forced to become nuns when Edward II was deposed.
What The Housewives Don’t Tell You:
Tory Historian at Conservative History Journal reports on a Renaissance art exhibition on the theme of domesticity, noting that in this period women played an important role in running businesses as well as households. Gillian Polack at Food History finds some very old ideas in Mrs Eaton’s thoughts on tea. Wenchypoo tells us all about how to preserve food the traditional way.
Serendipities looks at photos of everyday life in Germany during the Weimar Republic. The coal shortage which hit Los Angeles in 1907 is remembered by Larry at 1947project. And Christy Johnson at Guided By History gets all retro-futurist with a look at the drive-thru bank.
Which Side Are You On?
There are two kinds of people: those who reduce everything to simple binary oppositions, and people like me who realise life’s more complicated than that. Doh! But really identities, loyalties, and truth can be complex, ambiguous and contested. With Martin Luther King day approaching, dcat gives us a timely reminder that it wasn’t so long ago that Republicans could be liberal and Democrats could be racist. The Richmond Democrat calls for more commemoration of the men and women of Virginia who stayed loyal to the Union during the Civil War. Jonathan at The Head Heeb reminds us that swearing on the Koran is a long tradition on both sides of the Atlantic, and J. L. Bell at Boston 1775 asks how far we can recover the lives of the slaves of the American revolutionaries, who in practice were not as equal as their owners.
We all know that Japanese Americans were interned because of Pearl Harbor, don’t we? Like a true historian I have to point out that it wasn’t as simple as that. The Bizarre Jokester at Amazingly Bizarre sheds some light on an obscure but crucial link in the chain of events: a Japanese pilot’s single-handed invasion of the tiny island of Niihau. On the other side of the world Russia’s German population was suffering at the hands of Stalin. Otto Pohl at Otto’s Random Thoughts tells us how they were deported to Siberia, then deported again to a worse bit of Siberia. At Dictatorship of the Air, Scott Palmer finds YouTube footage of the gigantic ANT-20 aeroplane, quite literally a Stalinist propaganda machine. It should be a big leap of the imagination from Stalinist propaganda to the classic Frank Capra/Jimmy Stewart film It’s A Wonderful Life, but apparently not for the FBI. According to Wise Bread, they investigated the film and its supposedly subversive message, looking for evidence of communist infiltration of Hollywood.
The Nazis probably had the most powerful and dangerous propaganda of all. How It Really Was looks at British attempts to re-educate German prisoners of war. Oh no, I mentioned the Nazis. Alun at Archaeoastronomy reminds us why we need Godwin’s Law.
Maps And Legends:
Between them, Hitler and Stalin brought about some drastic changes in national borders. Strange Maps rediscovers Carpatho-Ukraine, which became Europe’s shortest lived state in between being ruled by Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and the USSR. English Russia finds more legacies of the Cold War, using Google Earth to look at military bases in the former Soviet Union. Brett at Airminded examines a map from the 1920s which imagines airline routes of the future. There was more cartographic fun for Natalie Bennett at My London Your London when she went to an exhibition of London maps at the British Library. And Alun Salt at Revise and Dissent comments on the possible discovery of Ithaca.
To Have And Have Not:
In the 13th century, a dispute over ownership of manors led to William Marshall being cursed by a bishop, says Elizabeth Chadwick at Living The History. Back in Russia (before it was the USSR), Douglas Galbi at Purple Motes examines some early 20th century attempts to change property rights.
For present day historians, one of the most contentious property rights is copyright. Wallace McLean at CopyrightWatch.ca celebrates Public Domain Day 2007 by listing all some of the authors whose copyright has just expired. While documenting the military career of William Craighill, Brian at Behind Antietam on the Web highlights a case of copyfraud: a publisher falsely claiming to own public domain works. Copyright is a Mickey Mouse law in more ways than one, since it usually seems to be the Disney corporation pushing for extensions. At Red County California, cehwiedel finds Mickey heading the Disney team in an all star polo match, and Didier Ghez at Disney History reveals a Serbian version of the All American mouse.
This Is Not My Crime:
No History Carnival would be complete without some murders. Claire at Topical Portrait Prints obliges with a 17th century media frenzy about the murder of Thomas Thynne, and Miland Brown at World History Blog gives us John Patteson, Bishop of Melanesia, who was murdered by natives. Jeremy Bangs at Sail 1620 reviews the film Desperate Crossing, and almost inevitably ends up having to defend the Pilgrims from false accusations of graverobbing. But at least they weren’t accused of cannibalism this time.
The next History Carnival will be held on 1st February by nonpartisan at Progressive Historians. Submit any good posts on history published in the next two weeks using the submission form, or e-mail them to: nonpartisan aaat progressivehistorians dotttt com.