Archive for May, 2009

One more reason for studying history

31 May 2009

By Juliana Adelman

8515Online_sex_resizedI came across a very small paragraph on page 13 of the Observer today which should be carefully considered by leaving cert takers.  According to Cherwell, the University of Oxford’s student magazine, history students are the most sexually active of all.  And lest this concern parents whose children are currently studying history with how they might be frittering away their time it turns out that good grades are also correlated with high sexual activity.  This leads to all sorts of interesting questions, not least of which is the real possibility that history students (and high achievers) are more likely to exaggerate their sexual activity than other types of students.   To what use will future historians put this ‘scientific’ data?  The sex survey is now routine, particularly on college campuses.  Nevermind the Kinsey report, a future researcher will have a plethora of data on sexual activities and attitudes.  One typical aspect of sex surveys is an interest in finding new ways of categorising people.  That’s why Cherwell’s report even caught my eye, instead of comparing by the usual categories of age and gender, they used their subject of study.  This, of course, produced more interesting headlines.  The Observer: ‘Why it can pay to have a firm grasp of history.’  Will this have a positive impact on uptake in history courses?  I wouldn’t be too surprised.

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The Googlopoly and You

30 May 2009

By Juliana Adelman

google booksEven if you are not a user of Google Book Search, you cannot afford to ignore its existence.  If you are a published author Google may already have scanned your book(s) and may be allowing people to search their full text via the web.  And of course surrounding it with ads based on the content.  If your book isn’t up yet, just wait a while.  They are scanning thousands of volumes every single day.  In some ways Google Book Search could be, and already is, a great boon to historical research.  For books that are scanned you can search them in ways not previously possible, finding needle after needle in the printed haystack.  But authors and publishers are concerned about the impact on the publishing industry and on copyright, librarians are waiting for the bad news on the price of yet another subscription search engine and historians have been critical of the errors already being propagated.  Read More

Where’s…?

27 May 2009

By Kevin O’Sullivan

FT Weekend Magazine Cover 16 May 2009A few weeks ago (16 May) the Financial Times ran a cover story on its Weekend Magazine entitled ‘What made these people leaders? And can it be taught?’ and accompanied it with a montage of one hundred figures obviously considered by the paper to be examples of such. Michael Collins is there, along with Charles de Gaulle, Adolf Hitler, Malcolm X, Franco, Boris Yeltsin and Germaine Greer, but, interestingly, no Eamon de Valera (or Bertie, of course). There was a competition to name all one hundred (the prize, in true FT style, is a bottle of champagne), though the winner got only 90 of them correct. Click on the image for a larger version and see how many you can name. We’ll post the results in a couple of weeks after you’ve stewed over it for a while.

‘As if you were eating a stone’

27 May 2009

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Wojciech Tochman, Like Eating a Stone: Surviving the Past in Bosnia (London: Portobello Books, 2009. Pp 175. £7.99 paperback).

Wojciech Tochman, Like Eating A Stone

B – That means the clothes have a matching set of bones, a skull and teeth. There is an entire Body. BP – There is no complete set, but there are some bones. Body Parts. – Clothing only, maybe some objects (Artefacts). No bones.’

I once asked students in a European history class if they could tell me what had happened in Srebrenica in the 1990s. Blank faces, until one student interrupted to tell me that I was probably thinking of the Second World War. I nearly fell from my chair. With Kosovo celebrating the first anniversary of its declaration of independence (and all its attendant difficulties) this year, Montenegro establishing itself as a state, Croatia continuing its path towards EU membership, and Slovenia cementing its role at the heart of Europe, had today’s generation of students already forgotten what had happened just over a decade earlier, when the Balkans dominated news headlines and images of Muslim men, little more than skin and bone, stared out from behind the fences of Omarska concentration camp into Western living rooms?

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The sinking of the Irish tourist industry?

18 May 2009

By Lisa-Marie Griffith

As a tour guide I find it highly entertaining that the decline in the economy has encouraged so many people to discuss the importance of our tourism industry. Orna Mulcahy highlighted in the Irish Times how, throughout our boom period, we have taken tourists for granted. We can no longer afford to take or leave tourists and we must return to the Ireland of a thousand welcomes. ‘Tourist’ has become a dirty word. It conjures up images of 1950s Ireland when we the locals were forced to sing for their supper and people who would do anything for a dollar. This is not an accurate representation of the tourist industry in Ireland and we can use tourism in Ireland as proof that Ireland is a creative and resourceful nation. Read More

We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo

11 May 2009

By Juliana Adelman

dead zoo After more than 150 years in the same home the Dublin Natural History Museum is on the move. Due to the deterioration of their building on Merrion Square and the postponed project to rehabilitate it, the Dead Zoo has moved part of its collections to the Decorative Arts and History department in Collins Barracks (Museum stop on the Red Line Luas). I visited it yesterday and although it is a very nice exhibit and an excellent way of keeping the museum’s collections available to the public, I despair at the thought that the museum may never be reopened in its original building. Read More

Pue’s first post

10 May 2009

pue

Pue’s Occurrences was an eighteenth-century newspaper ‘containing the most authentick and freshest translations from all parts, carefully collected and impartially translated’. Our Irish history blog aims to provide a bit of freshness and debate, as well as viewing Irish history (and history in Ireland) as impartially as possible. Every week we (and our guest contributors) will present carefully collected opinions on a wide variety of subjects, with the aim of promoting debate, questions and comments from our readers.

Check out our (utterly biased) monthly recommendations to see what’s currently worth reading, attending, watching and listening to in the world of history.   Our series of interviews with those who work in the history industry – in the museums, universities, publishers, libraries and archives – will give an insight into those who make it tick.  Our own correspondents will describe the trials and travails of researching and writing in the PhD diaries and a monthly poll will offer some light relief.   See our events listing for a guide to what’s on, and our requests page where you can post or respond to readers’ searches for information on a wide variety of subjects.

But these articles are only a starting point. The success of our endeavours depends on our ability to promote and provoke debate and to draw you the reader to participate in that discussion. We rely on your inputs, so if you have any comments or suggestions to make on any aspect of Pue’s Occurrences, or if you wish to add to our events or requests pages, feel free to contact us at puesoccurrences@gmail.com.

Juliana Adelman, Lisa-Marie Griffith, Kevin O’Sullivan (editors)