1 February 2006 - Wednesday

History Carnival XXIV

He found matter of study to fill a hundred years, and his education spread over chaos. Indeed, it seemed to him as though, this year, education went mad. -- The Education of Henry Adams

The Official Souvenir Guidebook of the
World's Cliovian Exposition of 2006

The Arts Palace, Columbian Exposition of 1893

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Twenty-Fourth History Carnival! History bloggers (historians, students, and amateurs) have come here from all corners of the world to display their work. This self-guided tour will help you find the best our exposition has to offer.

To enter the exposition complex, please head toward the statue of Clio Trampling the Masses, which rises triumphalistically above the main gates. This intriguing sculpture sets the perfect mood for the many exhibits to follow. Once you pass through the gates, please keep to the right of the Reflecting Pool in order to enter the Narrative and Historiography Building.

The Narrative and Historiography Building

This fabulous structure, based on the architect's visualization of the Royal Library of Alexandria, is the largest in the exposition. It houses numerous exhibitions about the ways we depict the past.

David J. Knight, musing on his display of two Iron Age bog bodies, wonders why archaeologists like to blame "ritual" so much as a cause of death.

Presenting a forthcoming encyclopedia article, Jeffrey J. Cohen argues that postcolonial theory is useful to medievalists.

A look at the US Constitution has led Jason Kuznicki to contrast "Whiggish" and "cynical" tendencies in history-writing.

Observing that the longtime Japanese occupation is a complex subject in Taiwan, Kerim Friedman ponders the connections between ethnography and history.

Many visitors have felt an urge to comment on the exhibit of Tim Burke, who is pointing out that supposedly different fields of specialization tend to bleed into each other.

Scribbles is reviewing Carolyn Steedman's Dust: The Archive and Cultural History, a book about the writing of you-know-what.

Reflecting on the movie Shoah and the play Stallerhof, Rob asks what these works tell us about the way we speak of atrocity.

David Tiley is taking John Howard to task for promoting "a weasel vision, selective, anglocentric, and triumphalist" for Australian schools.

Natalie Bennett is illustrating the usefulness of blogs and other online resources to historians. Likewise, William J. Turkel is using a series of posts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) to demonstrate the value of having the Dictionary of Canadian Biography online.

Orac has discovered a surprising analogy between Holocaust denial and medicinal quackery.

Bringing her exhibit all the way from rural Iowa, Ma Hoyt toasts the History Carnival by telling modern history the way she experienced it. She ends with a criticism of historiography's isolation from the lives of ordinary people.

After you exit the Narrative and Historiography Building, a slight turn to your left will bring you to the next exposition area.

The International Affairs Building

This futuristic domed structure, its walls made entirely of steel and glass, contains exhibits that transcend national borders.

Jonathan Dresner is using his exhibit to discuss the significance -- or lack thereof -- of a purported Chinese world map from 1418.

At an especially beautiful pavilion, PK is displaying engravings that show how people around the world might have looked to Western eyes in 1723.

Ellen Moody is reflecting on the travel narratives of Robert Louis Stevenson and Anthony Trollope.

Commenting on China's lack of religious freedom, Dave and Stefan argue that one reason for the situation may be found in China's last experience with Christian missionaries.

After watching Foyle's War, Sharon Howard put together an exhibit with an amusing excerpt from a booklet called Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942.

Nouri Lumendifi reviews Robert Malley's The Call from Algeria, reflecting on the impact that Third Worldist ideology has had on the development of states in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Daniel Larison is expressing skepticism of the "Anglosphere," the idea that English-speaking nations share a common historical narrative and set of values. On the other hand, James C. Bennett is promoting the idea.

Manan Ahmed presents a history of Baluchistan and its independence movements. A followup may be found here.

Once again, Chris Bray has come to the exposition all the way from Kuwait, where he is serving in the US Army. He offers a historian's perspective on the American effort in Iraq. Part 1 was featured in the last History Carnival. Part 2 is here and part 3 is here.

By this time, you may be ready for some refreshment and recreation. Please proceed to the open area directly ahead of you.

The Midway Plaisance

Many visitors agree that the Midway Plaisance is the most inviting of all areas in the exposition. The sights, sounds, and smells of this quarter transport the visitor away from mundane experience.

As you enter the Midway, notice the gleaming Tour d'Ivoire Climbing Wall. This attraction is fun not only for young people who like a challenge, but also for their elders, who can amuse themselves by pelting the advancing climbers with very large books.

In the field nearby, the colorful Captive Trial Balloon rises jauntily into the air, stops at a safe height, and sinks slowly back to earth.

In a related exhibit, Brett Holman contemplates a 1909 author's dream: a dirigible in every hangar.

At Peter Stothard's Italian restaurant, guests may dine as Juvenal says the ancient Romans did. The host sups on "finest wine of the Republican aristocracy," "lobster whose very tail looks down haughtily at the tables below," and truffles. His guests will be served "muck you wouldn't even use to cleanse a wound," "sewer fish," and "dodgy mushrooms."

The next restaurant over belongs to Tony, who serves up succulent roast pig with crackling. Tony lures visitors inside with relevant quotations from Charles Lamb and Confucius.

Nearby, Diamond Geezer is offering guided tours through the carnival's mockup of bustling Electric Avenue, a market street in London.

And at his betel nut kiosk, Alan Baumler is telling visitors about the origins of betel-chewing in various parts of Asia.

Guests sorry to leave the Midway will be pleased to note that the next stop in the tour is comparably exotic. Please turn to your left in order to enter the Palace of the Ancients.

The Palace of the Ancients

This lovely building is inspired by the palace of Knossos, and it includes among its attractions a topiary labyrinth in the garden, an adventure especially popular among younger visitors. Their parents are certain to enjoy the informative pavilions inside.

The exhibit of Tony Keen explains the purpose of two alternatives to the BC/AD dating system: BP and BCE/CE. Keen is defending these alternatives against charges of political correctness -- coming from, ironically, a politician.

Glauk˘pis is discussing ancient Egyptian art. The centerpiece of her presentation is a portrait of two men in an embrace. She urges visitors not to rule out the possibility that they were a same-sex couple -- although she also says that applying our concept of homosexuality would be anachronism.

The Royal Society of British Exploration is offering visitors a chance to purchase Roman coins unearthed at Wroxeter. The exhibition space of the "RSBE" has been closed pending an inquiry into David Meadows' allegations of black-market eBay trade in antiquities.

At his booth, Philip Harland is describing the notable lack of scaled maps among the Greeks and Romans. It is a mistake, he says, to believe the classical world imagined geographical space the way we do.

Visitors interested in Roman history may also wish to stop at Jerry Monaco's display. He quotes a letter sent from Ausonius of Bordeaux to the emperor Gratian in the year 379. Monaco believes the letter shows that the memory of the earlier Republic played an important part in Rome's imperial self-awareness.

As you leave the palace, you will find yourself facing a much different exhibition space.

The Garden of the Americas

This splendid glass conservatory is home to displays that depict scenes from the New World. To enter the building, you must use a footbridge to cross the stream that encircles it. The bridge on the near side of the building is named the Siberian Crossing; on the other side of the building, the corresponding bridge is the Explorers' Passage. Once across the bridge and inside the building, you may proceed to the colonial section.

Reviewing The War that Made America, a documentary on the French and Indian War, Nathanael D. Robinson remarks on the concept of "middle ground" (a native group's state of autonomy between two empires). Colin G. Calloway is using his exhibit to review the same documentary. He likes what he saw.

Moving on to the middle of the nineteenth century, you may want to stop at Caleb McDaniel's exhibit. It discusses whether the work of the Garrisonian abolitionists was actually "political." Kevin M. Levin agrees with McDaniel that emancipation should broaden our definitions of "political acts."

Further into the building, Callimachus' exhibit on desegregation argues that the work of the Civil Rights movement, which was very effective at tearing down the institutions of discrimination, will not be finished until America stops dwelling on its racial divisions.

Discussing McCarthyism, David Bernstein relates several things he didn't know about American communism. Eric Muller, however, takes exception to Bernstein's remark that a lot of McCarthyism consisted of private actions rather than government intervention.

The Hall of Arts and Culture

The final building in your tour contains some of the most beautiful exhibits. The Hall of Arts and Culture is modeled on the magnificent Paris Opera. At any given time, at least two concerts are being performed in the building, and exhibit topics range from movies to law.

Alun explores the possibility that gods and ghosts played different roles in shaping the moral and political order of the ancient Mediterranean.

Suffering from grad-student angst, HeoCwaeth is lecturing visitors on the difference between Old English and old English.

Chris Laning is exhibiting a large collection of rosaries, showing the many different ways they could be worn with medieval attire. Please visit parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Alterior tells the story of Dante's devotion to Beatrice.

At the pavilion erected in honor of Mozart's 250th birthday, David Post is denigrating Mozart's reputation as a "boy genius." The composer's worthwhile work, Post says, began at 20.

At an exhibit on English legal history, Jonathan Edelstein reports an early use of sign language in a 1774 courtroom.

For visitors interested in cinema history, a stop at Bibi's pavilion may be worthwhile. Bibi is explaining how to find old films (classics and B-grade) online.

Finally, bringing the cultural exhibitions up to the present day, Esther MacCallum-Stewart is telling visitors that she finds it strange that popular culture is stigmatized in the academy.

As you leave the Hall of Arts and Culture, you will find yourself standing near the main gates of the exposition complex. This marks the end of your long journey through the Twenty-Fourth History Carnival. The host wishes to express his hope that you found your tour both diverting and informative.

Thus endeth the most brilliant and joyous educational entertainment of any age -- and the glory and magnificence of the "White City" has passed away. -- History of the World's Fair, Being a Complete and Authentic Description of the Columbian Exposition from Its Inception (1893)

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Colophon

The host of this History Carnival would like to thank everyone who submitted nominations. The carnival's scope is much greater for your many contributions.

I cannot resist noting some late-breaking news. According to Kristine Steenbergh, today marks the end of lenient sentencing for duelists in the Netherlands. If you find yourself on Dutch soil, I must caution you not to accept any challenges from now on.

An edition of our sister carnival, Carnivalesque, will come out on 4 February at Pilgrim/Heretic. Send nominations of outstanding posts (related to pre-modern history) to valdemoro[at]sbcglobal[dot]net. You may also use the submission form here.

The next edition of the History Carnival will be hosted on 15 February at Philobiblon. Please send entry nominations to Natalie Bennett: natalieben[at]journ[dot]freeserve[dot]co[dot]uk. You may find the submission form here more convenient for a single nomination.

The History Carnival needs volunteers to serve as future hosts! We especially welcome those who have not served in this capacity before. (It's a lot of work but a lot of fun, too.) You can find information about the hosting requirements here. If you are interested, please contact Sharon Howard: sharon[at]earlymodernweb[dot]org[dot]uk.

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Image credit: The Official Directory of the World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1893)

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