Posts Tagged ‘The Observer’

History’s bright young things?

30 June 2009

By Lisa-Marie Griffith

History's bright young thingsI have always known there was a certain smugness radiating from The Observer but this fact was driven home at the weekend by a an article called  ‘They’re too cool for school: meet the new history girls and boys’ that claimed six Oxford and Cambridge graduates were finally making history cool (included in the piece are 6 pictures of these ‘young historians’ looking ‘trendy’). Their literary agent said of them: “They have brilliant new ideas, excellent writing and they’re exceptionally clever”- Well of course she would say that- she is trying to sell their books! Ok- I know what you are thinking: Yes- I grumbled that we were actually just jealous of Simon Schama and that we should be grateful because he is selling our industry for us BUT there was something especially irritating about the lot that greeted me when I opened The Observer at the weekend. So, with mixed feelings and reluctant to feel like a hypocrite, I asked around to see what others thought. Read More

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.