Thursday, December 16, 2004

Random Notes

On Wednesday I helped my wife sell the scarves and mittens that she knitted. Things went well: She sold almost everything. We were so happy that we bought a few books (Snow by Orhan Pamuk and Stitch 'n Bitch Nation), after which we ate sushi at my wife's favorite restaurant. Unfortunately, people called the next day to ask her to knit more stuff. Back to the yarn store ...

I am happy to say that I got a grant to do some research this summer. One month in Strasbourg: the dollar doesn't go that far anymore.

My mom sent me a DVD of Greg the Bunny. I am going to sing "The Snowball Song" for the next week.

A few days ago I made a quick note about the discovery of a Spanish fort in the Appalachians. It inspired two great responses. Zid compares the wonder of this discovery with the banal excavations of older sites within European cities themselves:
En Europe, ce genre de découverte aurait fait, dans le meilleur des cas, un entrefilet dans le journal local -en Italie, par exemple, on n'en aurait même pas parlé... Ici, pour les USA, c'est le National Geographic. La perception de l'importance du passé est bien différente selon les "cultures" dont l'"histoire" est plus ou moins ancienne. Ici aussi, aucun jugement de valeur ne doit être posé, rien que l'admiration devant la re-naissance (et non l'exhumation!) des hommes d'avant.
I should add to his comments that growing up in Los Angeles, the discovery of the remains of pre-historical animals became equally quotidien. Insouciance of the past is not merely European.

Geitner has a must read article about the excavations along the American east coast and the history of the Spanish presence in "Greater Florida" (Juan Pardo Expedition). (He and I have thought a lot about what the Spanish influence has meant to contemporary America.) His own articles have been part of the larger process of uncovering the North Carolina's Spanish history. Among the many other things he writes, he offers this critique:
The National Geographic article suffers from a shortcoming, however. It is the same omission that characterized otherwise well-written newspaper articles by the Charlotte Observer (here) and Raleigh News & Observer (here): In explaining the overall context of the Pardo expedition, the writers neglected to mention the missionary work done by the Spanish soldiers at Joara and, more importantly, by a lay missionary who stayed a year and a half at Guatari, a major Indian settlement on the Yadkin River near present-day Salisbury, N.C.
Bridget offers a look at the Shank-Biagioli debate, a controversy concerning Mario Biagioli's Galileo, Courtier. It looks like a question of good research techniques versus fashionable theories.

More essential reading: Nuno's biography of Uriah Levy , the Sephardim who bought Monticello in order to preserve it (version in Googl-English). Nuno also describes the anti-semitism that Levy experienced in the military.

Sharon encourages us to do this:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.
And when he said that Big Cherry was the size of a boulder and I couldn't use her unless he could do switchies, I almost said, "Sure, do your switchies! I'll beat you anyway!"
From Burro Genius by Victor Villasenor.

I also encourage everyone to make Sharon look for links on your favorite Early Modern subjects. I think that she is getting off lightly ...


At 1:02 PM, Blogger Sharon said...

What do you mean, getting off lightly? I still have the 17th-century troublemakers, East India Company and possibly Lollards to do!

(Besides, I think it's a great way of getting other people to think up ideas for me... *slightly evil laugh*)

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