The Arc of Presidential Libraries

Paul Musgrave, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, has published an op-ed on problems with the Presidential library system in the US, and how the current (outgoing) President could exploit it to his usual ends. The essay is a fine complement to Jill Lepore's New Yorker piece on the transition politics … Continue reading The Arc of Presidential Libraries

That They Can Gain in Judgments

The writer and historian Jill Lepore has penned a great piece in the 23 November 2020 issue of the New Yorker (posted online 16 November). Her focus, in "Will Trump Burn the Evidence?", is the politics of historical records and archives. It's a great, topical essay that captures some of the anxiety about how the … Continue reading That They Can Gain in Judgments

A Mixture Containing More Snares Than Rewards

In 1994, the legal scholar John Phillip Reid published a somewhat cynical article on forensic history in the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review.  It contains some real zingers on the intersection between law and history, how practitioners of each perpetrate mutually abusive disciplinary transgressions, and the meaning (and substance) of forensic history. Here are … Continue reading A Mixture Containing More Snares Than Rewards

Of which the essence thereafter remains unexamined

I've been digging into the use of Pearl Harbor analogies in America's response to the 9-11 attacks - and, because of a curious twist in the political landscape in 2001, I've been looking a little more closely at a well known study of the Pearl Harbor attack, Roberta Wohlstetter's Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision (Stanford … Continue reading Of which the essence thereafter remains unexamined

Left in folders next to the trivial and the mundane

Trawl industry news or employment classifieds (pick your preferred sector) using keywords like "research" and "information", and you might find yourself thinking that the sum total of reality is digital, too big for mere human minds to process, and that making sense of it is best left to machines and software. It's a world in … Continue reading Left in folders next to the trivial and the mundane