Historical Commemorations of the Vietnam War

The Vietnam War simply will not fade away.

This week, an op-ed in the New York Times compared the US military action against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria to the US escalation of involvement in the Vietnam War in the mid-1960s. A number of letters to the editor have questioned whether or not this comparison between the Syrian Civil War and the Vietnam War is appropriate.

Vietnam has been used as a metaphor to describe almost every major war waged since the American withdrawal from that conflict. Analyses of the Iraq War and Afghan War often evoke the specter of the Vietnam War.


The looming 50th anniversary of the American intervention in the Vietnam War in 1965 is now triggering new controversies over whether or not (and how) to commemorate the war. The United States Department of Defense (DOD) is currently organizing its own commemorations of US involvement in the Vietnam War, which are already generating considerable controversy.

The New York Times indicates: “Now the Pentagon — run by a Vietnam veteran, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel — is planning a 50th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War. The effort, which is expected to cost taxpayers nearly $15 million by the end of this fiscal year, is intended to honor veterans and, its website says, ‘provide the American public with historically accurate materials’ suitable for use in schools.”

The DOD has already launched a website ahead of the commemorations. “But the extensive website, which has been up for months, largely describes a war of valor and honor that would be unrecognizable to many of the Americans who fought in and against it,” according to The New York Times.

Many veterans, active military personnel, anti-war activists, politicians, and teachers are critical of the website and the planned commemorations.

Historians are also weighing in on the DOD’s presentation of the Vietnam War. The New York Times reports that “Leading Vietnam historians complain that it focuses on dozens of medal-winning soldiers while giving scant mention to mistakes by generals and the years of violent protests and anguished debate at home.”

The New York Times reports on the DOD commemoration plans. See The New York Times website for this week’s op-ed on the Syria-Vietnam comparison and letters to the editor.

Posted in Civilians and Refugees in War, Historiography and Social Theory, Museums and Historical Memory, War, Culture, and Society | Leave a comment

Empire and Early Modernity

Empire and Early Modernity
at the Early Modern Workshop
University of Chicago
Monday October 13
Albert Pick Hall #319 at 5 pm
Kaveh Hemmat and Oliver Cussen will lead a discussion on “Empire and Early Modernity.” Instead of our usual format where a paper is circulated and discussed at the workshop, we are devoting this session to a discussion of a theme that cuts across the territorial divides that make up the early modern world.
Professor Cornell Fleischer, a founding member of the workshop, will say a few words about the workshop’s history, after which Oliver and Kaveh will get us started. We are circulating Sanjay Subrahmanyam’s article “Connected Histories” (see attachment) as a starting point for our discussion.
The idea for this workshop came as a result of conversations that workshop participants and coordinators had at the end of last year about the identity of our workshop. While our discussion will center around the concept of empire in the early modern world, we are also answering the question of why the Early Modern Workshop exists and why its scope is not limited to a specific region or period. We do not expect to answer all of these questions, but the idea is to start conversations that are interdisciplinary and that cross territorial divides.
Please find attached Subrahmanyam’s article, Oliver and Kaveh’s introduction to the workshop, and our fall schedule which you can also find online at http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/earlymodern
Early Modern Workshop co-coordinators: Basil Salem and Colin Rydell
Graduate students at Northern Illinois University who are interested in empires and imperialism may want to attend this workshop at the University of Chicago.
Posted in and Society, Atlantic World, Culture, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, Empires and Imperialism, European History, European Wars of Religion, History of Violence, Political Culture, State Development Theory, War, Warfare in the Early Modern World | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CLIR Fellowships

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is now accepting applications for the 2015 Mellon Fellowships for Dissertation Research in Original Sources.

The program will be offering about fifteen competitively awarded fellowships for the 2015-2016 academic year. Each provides a stipend of $2,000 per month for 9–12 months. Fellows will receive an additional $1,000 upon participating in a symposium on research in original sources and submitting an acceptable report to CLIR on the research experience. Thus the maximum award will be $25,000.

The purposes of this fellowship program are to:

- help junior scholars in the humanities and related social-science fields gain skill and creativity in developing knowledge from original sources;

- encourage more extensive and innovative uses of original sources in libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and related repositories in the U.S. and abroad;

- enable dissertation writers to do research wherever relevant sources may be, rather than just where financial support is available; and

- provide insight from the viewpoint of doctoral candidates into how scholarly resources can be developed for access most helpfully in the future.

Applicants do not have to be U.S. citizens, but must be enrolled in a doctoral program in a graduate school in the United States.
For further information on eligibility, requirements, and deadlines, please visit CLIR’s website at http://www.clir.org/fellowships/mellon/mellon.html.

Posted in Archival Research, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, Graduate Work in History, Grants and Fellowships, Museums and Historical Memory, Renaissance Art and History | Leave a comment

Spanish Paleography Workshop

Application deadline: October 15

Weekend Workshop in Spanish Paleography
Workshop dates: February 27-28, 2015
Instructor: Carla Rahn Phillips, emerita, University of Minnesota
Apply online here: http://www.newberry.org/2015SpanishPaleographyWorkshopThis workshop will provide participants with an introduction to reading and transcribing documents written in Spain and Spanish America from the late fifteenth to the early eighteenth centuries. Although the course sessions will be taught primarily in English, all of the documents will be in Spanish.Download a printable PDF flyer to post and distribute.

Eligibility: The institute will enroll 15 participants by competitive application. First consideration will be given to advanced PhD students and junior faculty at U.S. colleges and universities, but applications are also accepted from advanced PhD students and junior faculty at Canadian institutions, from professional staff of U.S. and Canadian libraries and museums, and from qualified independent scholars.

Prerequisite: This workshop is taught in English, but participants will be reading early forms of Spanish; advanced language skills are required.

Costs: There is no registration fee for those accepted to the workshop, but participants will be responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses (see note below about the possibility of travel funding for applicants from Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies consortium institutions).

This program is funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Faculty members and students from Center for Renaissance Studies consortium schools (http://www.newberry.org/center-renaissance-studies-consortium-members) may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend this program (http://www.newberry.org/newberry-renaissance-consortium-grants). Each member university sets its own policies and deadlines; contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.

Posted in Archival Research, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, Graduate Work in History, Lectures and Seminars, Reformation History, Renaissance Art and History | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Graduate Renaissance Conference at the Newberry

2015 Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Conference

Conference dates: January 22 to 24, 2015

Call for Papers - deadline: October 15
We invite abstracts for 20-minute papers from master’s or PhD students from any discipline on any medieval, Renaissance, or early modern topic in Europe, the Americas, or the Mediterranean world. We encourage submissions from disciplines as varied as the literature of any language, history, classics, anthropology, art history, music, comparative literature, theater arts, philosophy, political science, religious studies, transatlantic studies, disability studies, and manuscript studies. Because of the conference’s multidisciplinary nature, all papers must be in English.

Download a PDF flyer to print and distribute: http://www.newberry.org/sites/default/files/calendar-attachments/2015CFP_0.pdf

Eligibility: Proposals are accepted only from students at member institutions of the Center for Renaissance Studies consortium. Students who presented a paper at the 2014 conference are given lower priority, though they are still eligible to submit a proposal.

Submit an abstract online: http://www.newberry.org/01222015-2015-multidisciplinary-graduate-student-conference.

Students from Center for Renaissance Studies consortium schools (http://www.newberry.org/center-renaissance-studies-consortium-members) may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend this program (http://www.newberry.org/newberry-renaissance-consortium-grants). Each member university sets its own policies and deadlines; contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.

Posted in Conferences, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European Union, Graduate Work in History, Reformation History, Renaissance Art and History | Leave a comment

Early Modern Women’s History Conference

Call for Proposals

Attending to Early Modern Women: It’s About Time
June 18-20, 2015     Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Deadline November 15

 Taking as its inspiration the fact that 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the first Attending to Early Modern Women conference, the ninth conference, “It’s About Time,” will focus on time and its passing, allowing us to archive our achievements, reflect on the humanities in the world today, and shape future directions in scholarship and teaching. It will address such questions as: Can we trace gendered and embodied temporalities? How did time structure early modern lives, and the textual and material commemorations of those lives? In what ways do categories of difference condition understandings of time? How do contemporary and early modern conceptions of time inform our work as scholars and teachers?  

Proposals for workshops that consider these questions in relationship to the following topics are welcome:

Taxonomies of Time

Categories of time; turning points; teleology; Pre- and post-; periodicity and periodization; time as defined by science and other cultures of learning; the idea of “the modern” and the “early modern”

Memory and remembrances; life-writing, biography, and autobiography; monuments; portraits; legacies; genealogies; origin stories; rituals; narratives; reception across time

Women’s and men’s experiences of time; embodied frameworks of time; timelessness; instruments of time; tempo; speed-ups and slow-downs; metaphors of time; queering time; futurity; appearances and disappearances; changing velocities of history


Changes and continuities in teaching; time as a pedagogical tool; presentism among students and the public; time and technology

 The conference will be held at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, within easy walking distance of the lakeshore, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Milwaukee Public Museum, and the Amtrak station. Conference attendees will stay in the near-by and newly renovated Doubletree Hotel. 

Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in a special pre-conference seminar on Wednesday June 17 at the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library in Chicago.

A detailed description of the conference and the call for proposals is now available at: 

The conference website has a list of people seeking co-organizers for workshops. Check there if you are looking for a possible workshop. If you are seeking a co-organizer, send a message with your idea and contact info to the conference e-mail address and it will be posted there.

Proposals for workshops that address the conference themes may now be submitted, to atw-15@uwm.edu. Deadline: November 15, 2014.

Please forward this call to colleagues and students who you think might be interested.

Merry Wiesner-Hanks

ATW-2015 Organizing Committee Chair



Posted in Conferences, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, Gender and Warfare, Women and Gender History | Leave a comment

Declining State Spending on Education Impacts Tuition

“Here is a surprising fact: Public colleges are collecting about the same revenue per student today as they were 25 years ago,” according to a report in the New York Times.

“In 1988, educational revenue per full-time equivalent student at public colleges was $11,300; in 2013, it was $11,500. (These amounts are adjusted for inflation and are expressed in 2013 dollars.) That’s just a 1.8 percent increase.”


The article’s author, economist Susan Dynarski, asks: “How can this be? If tuition has doubled, shouldn’t public colleges be getting double the revenue?”

Of course, most public university professors and administrators already know the answer: declining state funding.

Susan Dynarski explains: “Public colleges depend on two sources of revenue for educating undergraduates: tuition from students and appropriations from their state legislatures. Top research institutions, like the University of Michigan and University of Virginia, also get revenue from endowments, research grants and teaching hospitals. But most students attend public schools where tuition and state funds pay for almost everything.”

For most students at state universities, then, there is a strong inverse correlation between the amount of state funding and the tuition rates.

Dynarski indicates that “In 1988, state legislatures gave their public colleges an average of $8,600 a student. Students contributed an additional $2,700 in tuition, which gets us to a total of $11,300. By 2013, states were kicking in just $6,100, while students were contributing $5,400; this gets us to a total of $11,500.”

Declining state contributions to public universities have thus caused a corresponding rise in tuition rates.

The math is simple: “As far as students are concerned, public tuition has doubled. As far as public colleges are concerned, funding is flat.”

Dynarski concludes that: “At public colleges, then, the explanation for rising tuition prices isn’t spiraling costs. The costs are the same, but the burden of paying those costs has shifted from state taxpayers to students.”

So, if you are concerned about rising tuition costs at state universities, contact your state legislator and ask him/her to reverse course and increase state funding of public universities. Public education in the United States is seriously endangered by underfunding.

The New York Times reports on declining state spending on education online.

Posted in Education Policy, Humanities Education | Leave a comment