Brett Holman over at Air Minded has put together a fascinating analysis of the military historioblogosphere.  He analyzes relevant blogging statistics for 2006-07, including the number of new blogs, subject areas, gender, nationality, and popularity.  In this last category I was surprised and pleased to learn that according to the Technorati Rankings Civil War Memory is the second most popular blog in the field right behind Mark Grimsley’s Blog Them Out of the Stone Age.  Here is how Holman explains the category:

State2007technorati_2 "The top five most popular blogs in the military historioblogosphere, by Technorati rank. Here, lower numbers (shorter bars) are better, meaning higher popularity. I didn’t think to check this last year, so unfortunately there are no comparative data. It’s still interesting, though. As expected, War Historian (AKA Blog Them Out of the Stone Age) is the most popular blog in the military historioblogosphere; it just breaks into the top 50,000 of all blogs. Civil War Memory comes in a very creditable second; also no surprise. Most remarkable is Investigations of a Dog, which as I have remarked previously has very quickly become entrenched as a must-read blog — and hosting the Military History Carnival is only going to increase its popularity and Technorati ranking! Then follows, a long way back and close together, *modest cough* Airminded and Military History."

I’ve been reading Mark’s blog for a few years now and have always had a great deal of respect for his scholarship and the range of his postings.  If this site has anything close to the affect that Mark’s blog has had on the way we think about our past than I would have done my job.

Road to Disunion Released

Freehling Volume two of William Freehling’s Road to Disunion (Secessionists Triumphant) is now available.  Freehling is one of the most respected and talented historians of the past few decades and his writing combines an analytical flair with a readable narrative and a commitment to highlighting contingency and the many personalities that dominate the historical landscape of the time.  Freehling is one of the few historians that I like to think makes you smarter; in other words his arguments are incredibly sophisticated, but he manages to pack it in through vivid stories.  Don’t worry if you haven’t read the first volume since Freehling sums up his arguments in the first few chapters.  Professor Freehling has been living here in Charlottesville for about five years and is currently a senior fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.  I’ve heard him lecture numerous times and convinced him to visit my Civil War class to discuss one of his articles a few years back.  Whenever I see him he asks when he will be asked to make a return appearance. 

I look forward to getting my book signed this week during the Virginia Festival of the Book.  Congratulations Bill!

Sons of Confederate Veterans Object To Art

Ir116_museum_200x500Well, not just any art.  The Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science in Tallahassee, Florida is currently displaying John Sims’s "The Proper Way to Hang a Confederate Flag." The piece in question is part of an exhibit that caused a great deal of controversy up at Gettysburg College back in 2004.  Col. Robert Hurst of the SCV noted:

I and the other members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans camps in this area find the current display at the Brogan Museum of the ‘art’ of John Sims to be both tasteless and offensive.

Yes, sometimes art is "tasteless and offensive."  My suggestion for those of you who find yourselves in agreement with Col. Hurst is that you not pay the entrance fee at the art gallery.  These are the same people who apparently find nothing wrong with the way in which the Confederate flag is used to sell bikinis, necklaces, and bed sheets

Apparently at 11:00am the museum will respond to the SCV’s request.  I assume it will be a hearty, "NO".

Blogging the Civil Rights Movement

The English and History departments at my school decided to set up an interdisciplinary seminar on the Civil Rights Movement for interested juniors.  This is a two-week seminar that started meeting this week on M, T, Th from 7-8:30pm.  There are five teachers and 17 students involved.  We meet in a room where we can all fit around a table and converse with ease.  Here is the seminar description:

An interdisciplinary History and English course, this seminar will address the fundamental question of how Americans bring about change. While we will look closely at the Civil Rights Movement as a case study in effecting change, we will be doing so in the context of larger questions. What are the most effective ways to bring about change? What has to happen in order to make people want to change? What if not everyone wants to change? How do we resolve conflicts about our most fundamental values? What are the areas today in which you yourself would like to see change? What ideas do you have for making that change: the political system? the courts? education? protest?

Students had to read Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon and Harvard Sitkof’s The Struggle for Black Equality before the seminar started.  The conversations have been simply wonderful and the students seem to be thoroughly enjoying the experience.  Last night we spent most of the time discussing King’s "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" and tonight we will discuss James Baldwin’s essay "Nobody Knows My Name." 

Of course I set up a blog for the seminar.  You can read the posts, but cannot comment.  You will find a link on the left side bar under "Personal."  The students are still getting use to the blogging format, but you can at least get a sense of the kinds of issues that we are discussing.  I am seriously thinking about using blogs in my classes next year.