If the answer is yes, than listen carefully. My department is currently looking to fill a couple of positions and we are getting swamped with applications. Compared to years past we are seeing a sharp increase in the number of applications from people who have recently earned a Ph.D in history. I assume the increase has something to do with a contracting job market in the academy as well as the state of the economy.
While I’ve strongly encouraged young Ph.Ds to consider a teaching career in private schools I think it is important to understand your competition as well as the expectations of most search committees. First and foremost, do not send the same resume that you would send to a college or university search committee to a private school. It should be obvious, but we are looking for very different things. You need to emphasize your teaching experience beyond any publishing you may have done or grant writing. In fact, if your publications are extensive you may want to consider widdling it down a bit. Your resume needs to reflect a history and continued interest in teaching and interaction with students rather than any scholarly accomplishments. That’s not to say that your publications are not relevant; in fact, most history departments in the private school sector are looking specifically for candidates who have a mastery of the content rather than a long list of workshops on the latest pedagogical fads. Don’t just mention in passign that you were a teaching assistant or grader for a specific class; briefly describe your responsibilities and the extent to which you worked directly with students. You may also want to limit the number of academic presentations and professional memberships in your application. There is nothing worse than having to read through a long list of esoteric paper titles. It only works to make you look like an asshole. Again, message is everything. Applications that fail to take these recommendations seriously send the message that the candidate is going to leave at the first opportunity. In short, you will not be given serious consideration.
Other recommendations: Most private schools are looking for coaches. Indicate those sports that you could coach and those that you feel comfortable assisting. To the extent possible do some background reseach on the school that you are applying to. Check out the history curriculum as well as the electives offered. Indicate in your application those subjects that you can teach and consider suggesting electives that will compliment those already being offered. Finally, check out the clubs that are offered and indicate which ones you would like to be involved with. The more student oriented your application looks the better chance you will get that phone call.
It looks like the Davis-Limber statue may wind up in a place where very few people will get to see it. The statue was origininally offered to the American Civil War Museum at Tredegar before the SCV pulled out of the deal. They are now looking to see if the state of Mississippi is interested in it; this is likely to go down in a ball of flames. A few people associated with Beauvoir have expresed interest in the statue. This would be an ideal place for the statue since it served as Jefferson Davis’s residence after the war and is currently managed by the Mississipi Division, SCV. It’s a beautiful place and by all appearances the SCV has done an excellent job of restoring the property following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Still, if the deal goes through it is hard not to consider the entire project to be a failure. After all, the goal was to counter or balance the Lincoln-Tad statue on the grounds at Tredegar, which many in the SCV find offensive. Don’t ask me why. A sitting Lincoln with his arm around Tad doesn’t seem to me to be very shocking. Finally, if the deal does go through the SCV would have offered the statue to themselves. I wonder if they will accept it.
I’ve always struggled to understand what I’ve assumed to be a radical transformation that took place within the Republican Party between Reconstruction and the Gilded Age. As the story goes various pressures within the Republican Party caused them to abandon their Reconstruction agenda along with black civil rights, which allowed white ”Redeemers” to reestablish white supremacy. The emphasis on abandonment implies fundamental change with a moral twist; it doesn’t help that much of what I know about the Gilded Age and industrial revolution comes from the textbooks that I use in my AP classes. Most textbooks divide chapters between Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, which works to reinforce a sharp distinction between the Republican Party of Reconstruction and beyond.
I had one of those rare insights last week when it finally dawned on me that it is my preoccupation and interest in race and emancipation that has clouded my ability to more fully understand the history of the Republican Party beginning in 1855 and through the rest of the nineteenth century. We tend to forget that the Republican Party was organized primarily around an economic agenda following the demise of the Whig Party and in the wake of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Party initially took shape around the Great Lakes, which pushed hard for internal improvements and a federal government that would encourage and protect the development of industry. Most Republicans had little interest in racial issues and insisted on preventing slavery from moving into the western territories so as to encourage white Americans to settle and free labor to thrive. I recently finished reading Marc Egnal’s fine study of the economic origins of the Civil War. He spends a great deal of time on the formation and evolution of the Republican Party’s platform through the war and into the early 1880s. The book has helped me to place the focus back on the core pieces of the Party’s economic philosophy and the way in which their position on slavery reinforced it.
My aha moment occured when I realized that in the same year that federal troops were ordered back to their barracks in Florida, South Carolina, and Louisiana as part of the Compromise of 1877, they were ordered by Repubican President Rutherford B. Hayes into the North. This was in response to what one politican called “the overwhelming labor question” which could be seen in the country’s first national walkout–the Great Railroad Strike. In the aftermath of 1877, the federal government constructed armories in major cities to ensure that troops would be on hand in the event of further labor difficulties. In 1892 the governor of Idaho declared martial law and sent militia units and federal troops into the mining region of Coeur d’Alene to break a strike, and in 1894 federal troops were sent to Chicago to help suppress the Pullman Strike led by the American Railway Union, whose 150,000 members included both skilled and unskilled railroad laborers. Rather than see the abandonment of the South as a betrayal of Republican values it now seems more accurate to suggest that their movement of federal troops north reflected a continued commitment to the protection of the new engines of economic expansion: Carnegie Steel, Standard Oil, and the railroads. By 1880 foreign workers and unions constituted more of a threat to the future of capitalism than unreconstructed white Southerners. In short, the Republican Party was carrying out the policies that had defined it from the beginning.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans is still trying to find a home for their statue of Jefferson Davis and Jim Limber. The statue, which cost $100,000, was originally planned for the grounds at Tredegar in Richmond next to the statue of Lincoln and his son Tad. The American Civil War Museum accepted the statue, but made no promises as to whether it would be displayed and how. Apparently, the SCV doesn’t know the first thing about how museums operate. Now they are offering the statue to the state of Mississippi. Good luck boys, but in this political climate my guess is that you don’t have a chance. My offer still stands to use it in my classroom as an interpretive piece to help my students better understand the continued influence of the Lost Cause. What do you say? We will take very good care of it.
Between the statue, their big ass Confederate flags flying over Southern highways, and their endorsement of a NASCAR driver, the SCV has demonstrated their commitment to wasting money and their inability to take Southern heritage seriously.
Today I received a comment on a recent post concerning North and South Magazine [website is still down] from Donald E. Collins, who is a professor of history emeritus at East Carolina University and the author of the book, The Death and Resurrection of Jefferson Davis (Rowan and Littlefield, 2005). Here is the comment:
I hate to resort to public comments on the internet, but as an author in the current (Dec. 2008) issue of North and South, I have reached a point of frustration. I personally consider North and South to be the best popular Civil War magazine on the market. Regardless of the quality of my article on the controversy within the Confederacy on the first National Flag, I believe the selection of articles in the December issue is excellent, and am pleased to have my article included. I have found my conversations with Keith, and Terry before him, to be very pleasant. Yet my frustration with North and South comes from several things. My article on the controversy in the Confederacy over the first national flag was accepted approximately two years ago by Terry Johnson, and was scheduled in the following issue. But when Keith took over, his emphasis shifted to the military and my article sat on a tw0-year back-burner until I lost patience. But my current frustration comes from six weeks of failure to contact Keith or anyone else at the magazine, and of the failure of Keith to either pay for my writing or to send me even one free copy. I had to pay full price at the newsstand for my own article. Is there any way to have the magazine provide author copies, if not the pay? Even with this, I am a fan of the magazine and hope for its success.
I’ve made clear my position on the quality of the magazine over the past year, but I appreciate and share Professor Collins’s sincere wish that publication of the magazine continues. It would be interesting to know if other authors are experiencing the same problems. What I don’t understand is how does Keith Poulter expect to maintain a quality magazine if he does not honor his contracts?