Having engaged in some long-form commenting below, here’s a little short-form blogging on three topics of interest to this blog and its readers:
1) David Lowenthal, author of the terrific The Past is a Foreign Country, thinks we are become more presentist, which is not a good thing. I’m not sure if the “we” Lowenthal has in mind is Americans or people in the twenty-first century (it’s certainly not historians). I’m also honestly not sure whether or not I agree with Lowenthal’s diagnosis of rising presentism (though I’d agree that presentism is generally not a good thing). What d’ya think?
2) Based on a forthcoming U.S. Department of Education study, the Chronicle of Higher Education declares tenure dead. HNN asks readers to comment on what should be done now that it is. Predictably (given HNN comment threads) the first response consists of someone dancing on tenure’s grave. Is tenure dead or merely dying? Either way, what is to be done? And, finally, why does HNN have such godawful comment threads?
3) Following a lot of recent lobbying from various quarters, Ulysses S. Grant is slowly climbing the presidential ratings charts. Currently he’s ascended from bottom tier to middle of the pack. Where does he belong? And which, if any, of the changing views of Grant is most presentist? [h/t to Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money, who expresses justified disgust at the fact that sixty years ago historians thought that Grant was a worse president than Andrew Johnson.]