That Was The Week That Was


• The Armenian genocide turned 100. (Lots more links below on this topic…)

• Whatever it means to be a prophet, Michael Eric Dyson was pretty sure that Cornel West isn’t one.

• There are worse ways to spend a Saturday than listening to enthusiastic undergraduates talk about history. (By the way, later this week I’ll share my brief comments from the panel that closed that symposium.)

• This week’s King Of All Media update: a webisode about history in popular culture, and a podcast conversation with my friend Christian Collins Winn.

…There and Everywhere

Armenians being deported in April 1915
Armenians being deported by Ottoman soldiers in April 1915 – Wikimedia

• I wasn’t the only person marking the Armenian centenary. Among others:

– Little-remembered now, a 1933 Austrian novel “worked a miracle for Armenians around the world, taking what might have been a footnote in the history of World War I—the deportation and mass murder of the Ottoman Empire’s Armenian minority—and writing an epic that anticipated the ominous events unfolding in Germany as Adolf Hitler and the Nazis came to power.”

– Why is Turkey so desperate to deny this genocide? Perhaps fear of reparations

– As expected, Pres. Obama marked the centenary of a genocide without using that word, leading Steven Cromack to observe that “As in 1915, the American government still struggles to balance moral leadership with political pragmatism.”

– Pope Francis did use that word, but did he err in placing what happened to the Armenians in the context of recent anti-Christian violence in the Middle East?

• Yesterday, meanwhile, was the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli, which did much to define both Australian and Turkish national identity. It’s the subject of a somewhat controversial new film by Russell Crowe.

• And it’s been forty years since North Vietnamese forces entered Saigon. The people of that country still wrestle with the legacy of a war that killed millions — and with the Communist revolution in Vietnam that collectivized farms and brutally suppressed dissenters.

19th c. drawing of the Reign of Terror
19th century drawing of the “Last Cart” before the end of the Reign of Terror – Wikimedia

• How did the French Revolution turn into the Reign of Terror? New scholarship focuses less on the ideas being debated than on how those years felt — for the French and their enemies alike.

• Why is the environmental movement seemingly weaker now than in decades past? A lack of Presbyterians, of course.

• Like Amy Julia Becker, I’m an evangelical who is grateful for mainline Protestantism.

• I’d love to see schools like my employer do more to build bridges between these two camps… It might find an ally in Christian Century book review editor Richard Kaufmann, musing about abortion and racism.

• In the wake of splits over sexuality in the Mennonite Church USA, an evangelical Anabaptist group is beginning to organize.

• Two perspectives on how sexuality was discussed at this year’s Q Ideas conference: Jonathan Merritt, who thought the lively but respectful give-and-take “may be a model for other Christian organizations who are seeking to engage same-sex debates,” and Rod Dreher, less sanguine.

• I wish Christian scholars would dedicate more thought to the interconnectedness of college and church, but in the context as he presents it, I do agree with John Hawthorne: “The Christian University is not like a church.” (Or a business.)

• The American Historical Association is trying to provide some guidance for how to evaluate digital scholarship

• How some of Bethel’s in-state competitors are trying to cope with the last year (?) of the demographic trough for the Minnesota high school population.

edX and Arizona State logos

• Arizona State and edX are offering a low-cost, online freshman year (the “Global Freshman Academy”), but it’s unclear it’s all that good for anybody — even the underserved students it ostensibly helps.

• In fact, it may be that smaller private colleges provide better access and education to lower-income students.

• Non-news of the week: U.S. News and other leading college rankings systems tell you almost nothing about the quality of a college.

• Down with learning objectives! Down with student course evaluations! (Can you tell it’s almost the end of the academic year?)

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