That Was The Week That Was


• Announcing a couple of events coming up at Bethel University: a faculty workshop on Pietism and Christian colleges that I’ll be directing, and a much larger initiative led by my seminary colleague Chris Armstrong, on “work with purpose.”

• And another announcement: of a class on the history of the Evangelical Covenant Church (and the influence of Pietism on it) at Salem Covenant Church.

• The president of the American Historical Association wants historians to value their roles as teachers.

• The “Best Books of 2012” lists keep on coming…

…There and Everywhere

Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks (1913-2005), with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the background – U.S. Information Agency

• I once heard a senior colleague (not a historian) repeat the myth that Rosa Parks was a simple seamstress who stumbled into civil rights history… Apparently, that’s not an isolated misconception.

• A little while back, I noted the attention that Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is drawing from historians, both critical and approving… Two of the contributors to a roundtable discussion of the film at The Atlantic are Kate Masur (the Northwestern Univ. historian who wrote a widely-read op-ed criticizing the movie’s paucity of African-American characters) and Tony Horwitz, the journalist whose Confederates in the Attic is one of my favorite books about the Civil War and its continuing impact on American culture.

• Catherine Woodiwiss identified still another virtue of the new Lincoln movie: “…its surprisingly mature meditation on wisdom, freedom, and the necessity of employing the former when granted the latter,” and what that means for leadership in a “state of exception.”

Jay Case followed up on his post about our anti-slavery attitudes being an undeserved grace (discussed here late last month) by recommending a leading book on the rise and fall of slavery in North America.

• Francis Collins: world-class scientist, Christian apologist, blogger.

Nicholas Kristof in Christianity Today: “On a lot of humanitarian issues, people on the secular and evangelical sides have strongly held beliefs that create deep, political polarization. Each side propels itself toward areas that are hardest to find agreement on because they’re the areas that are defined as most important. Instead, we should be focusing on areas where there is common ground.”

Sculpted head of John the Baptist
Wooden sculpture of the head of John the Baptist, by South American artist Santiago Martinez Delgado – Wikimedia

• A couple of nice reflections on Advent from The Christian Century: editor Debra Bendis on learning to appreciate the “sweetness of something that’s coming to us, and to all who call out for it” as her elderly parents enter nursing home care; and Presbyterian pastor Emory Gillespie on the “acquired taste” of John the Baptist.

• A new survey of historians finds most are satisfied with their careers, yet frustrated by their institutional leaders, disappointed in the preparedness of their students, and worried about the chances of getting tenure-track jobs.

• What it can look like to promote the digital humanities at a liberal arts college.

• And such institutions partnering to spread costs and share resources: a higher education trend?

• This weekend’s suggested reading from our department blog included two interactive maps (one showing the spread of the printing press in late medieval Europe, the other mapping how the Luftwaffe bombed England in 1940-1941), two explosions that didn’t happen (one in Russia, the other literally out of this world), and theatre and language in World War I.

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