Category The History Discipline

How many “reads” does a typical academic article get?

I frequently hear that academic scholarship is less important than writing for the public because only two reviewers and the author ever read the typical academic article. Certain articles in pay-to-play journals probably are subject to that criticism. And articles in very niche journals might also be poorly read. But if you are writing for […]

Should an academic agree to write an article for an encyclopedia?

When evaluating a CV, an encyclopedia article should count as negative one publication. (This doesn’t apply of course for something like the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). My reasons: (1) No one reads encyclopedias anymore. (2) The editors of encyclopedias are usually washed up Associate Professors who don’t publish peer-reviewed materials any more, or who never […]

What is “Dad History”? Giving a Label to a Popular Genre of History Writing

About  a week ago, there was an active post on the r/History subreddit about “Dad History.” Some of the responses suggest that the original post had just coined the term “Dad History”, and this may very well be the case, because I find little use of the term elsewhere online. Dad History is mostly “Blokes, […]

Book Review: Marcus Collins and Peter N. Stearns, Why Study History? (London Publishing Partnership)

University history class enrollments are down nationwide and fewer students are majoring in history. Now is the time for a book to come along to save history departments, or at least to provide good arguments for students to major in history so that history departments can flourish again. This book, directed at undergraduate students who […]

Book Review: David Kaiser, A Life in History (Mount Greylock Books, 2019)

David Kaiser,  A Life in History (Mount Greylock Books, 2019) This autobiography is organized around a central question that preoccupies the author’s life: “Why could I not get tenure in a history department at an elite university?”  The answer, Kaiser suggests, is two-fold. First, generational conflict between the Silent Generation and his own Boomer Generation […]

Book Review: William Caferro, Teaching History (Wiley-Blackwell, 2020)

This book might be categorized as a memoir or more precisely a set of reflections about teaching history. It is only secondarily a guide or how-to book about teaching history. Caferro has been teaching history at the university-level for 35 years. He graduated from Yale, began his career as an adjunct teacher, taught for a […]

A Self-Lynching Slave or a lesson in textual criticism?

A peer-reviewer suggests I consult a certain digital history website. The website no longer exists. God damn digital humanities. Anyway, looking further at the guy who supposedly built a great website in 2018, I find this text from 1767 and an attempt at explaining it: Is he serious? Is this actually his interpretation (below) of […]

Book review: Robert Tracy McKenzie, A Little Book for New Historians: Why and How to Study History (InterVarsity Press, 2019).

Book Review: Robert Tracy McKenzie, A Little Book for new Historians: Why and How to Study History (InterVarsity Press, 2019) This is a well-written but fairly standard history methods book with an interesting Christian and conservative perspective.  Like dozens of authors before him, McKenzie begins with a definition of history that draws a distinction between […]

Is there a Conservative Philosophy of History?

Conservative historians have long battled the left over the proper interpretation of the facts of history, but in arguments about the philosophy of history, conservatives have ceded the field almost entirely. At first glance, it appears that conservative historians have no philosophy of history, or that they even reject theoretical and philosophical discussions about the […]

Book Review: Marshall T. Poe, How to Read a History Book: The Hidden History of History (Zero Books, 2018)

There have been a rash of history books recently with incorrect titles. Sam Weinburg’s Why Study History when its Already on Your Phone has very little to do with justifying learning of history in the age of the smart phone, and Alex Rosenburg’s  How History Gets it Wrong: The Neuroscience of Our Addictions to Stories […]