This Day in History: The Gettysburg Address

Seven score and nine years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln ascended the dais at the dedication of the National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the sleepy town that had hosted the bloodiest battle in American history just over four months before. Word for word, I can’t imagine a discourse more powerful than the two-minute speech Lincoln … More This Day in History: The Gettysburg Address

Rejecting Epistemic Closure: Conservatives for Progressives to Read

In the wake of the 47% fiasco, I very much hope that Republican readers took seriously Michael Gerson’s critique of the “libertarian nonsense” too commonly escaping the lips of GOP politicians these days, and David Brooks‘ conclusion that Romney “has lost any sense of the social compact” and joined other Republicans in shifting “from the … More Rejecting Epistemic Closure: Conservatives for Progressives to Read

Who Owns History?

I’m a PhD-holding history professor myself who will likely never write any book with sales approaching even quadruple figures, but I cringe when fellow guild-members like Louisiana State University professors Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg write things like the following, in Salon this past Sunday: Frankly, we in the history business wish we could take out … More Who Owns History?

Uncle Jim

Not many Americans share my last name — a few dozen, if that — and yet it sometimes feels like I can’t go anywhere without bumping into someone for whom the name Gehrz rings a bell. That’s partly because it’s a distinctive name: people can’t spell Gehrz (no, it’s not Gerhz, Gehrtz, or Gertz) or … More Uncle Jim

The Kony Kerfuffle

In yesterday’s links post, I mentioned the “Kony 2012” film recently released by the group Invisible Children, and the strong criticisms it received. I linked to a couple of particularly thoughtful posts by one of my former students, a development worker now living in Uganda, where Kony first came to infamy. Brief overview: Joseph Kony … More The Kony Kerfuffle