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Blog Profile / The Edge of the American West

Filed Under:History / US History
Posts on Regator:706
Posts / Week:2.9
Archived Since:April 9, 2010

Blog Post Archive


Yes, I know MOOC should be spelled differently, but I like this version. Go read Tenured Radical’s comment on the recent revelation from San Jose State’s use of MOOCs, in which 83% of students finished the course and 56-76% of them failed it. Show More Summary

Annual Number of Americans Drafted, 1917-1973

From here. Interesting in chart form: Emphasizes for me just how much World War II was an outlier in terms of national effort in the 20th century.

Today in Bad Math: The Military and Sexual Assault Division

Lindsay Rodman, a Marine officer (and, we are told, a Harvard and Duke graduate), attempts to unskew the numbers on sexual assaults in the military in the Wall Street Journal. “The Pentagon’s Bad Math on Sexual Assault” starts of byShow More Summary

Am I Not To Have Any More Fun In Bed?

Victoria and Albert The New York Times has discovered that sex happens in college and that women may be participating: Until recently, those who studied the rise of hookup culture had generally assumed that it was driven by men, and that women were reluctant participants, more interested in romance than in casual sexual encounters. Show More Summary

The Crisis in the Humanities, cont.

There’s been a lot of discussion on the “crisis in the humanities” in the last month, not least Ben Schmidt’s guest post here. I thought I’d collect some links for further reading (yes, that’s right, it’s Thursday link-bait!): The Gender Lens at Inside Higher Ed The Atlantic (poaching Ben’s graphs, I note). Show More Summary


Our long national educational decline is over never existed in the first place! As Kevin Drum points out (with charts!), student scores on reading and math have been going up (or, for 17 year olds, remaining steady) for the last 40 years:...Show More Summary

Still Not Yet Two O’Clock

George Will is making his usual hash of American history, this time in the service of honoring the Battle of Gettysburg. He wants to argue that Gettysburg is the most important battle in American history, a fair enough point, but the way he eliminates other candidates sometimes borders on the farcical. Show More Summary

The Joy Of Start Points

David Brooks clearly hadn’t read Ben Schmidt’s excellent analysis of the humanities crisis before writing today’s op-ed piece. Brooks argues that the humanities are going downhill because their practitioners have lost all passion for...Show More Summary

If Only

As far as I can tell, the thesis of this article is that if only Barack Obama had visited all 50 states, partisan polarization would disappear: So Mr. Obama has not given North Dakota his time. It is one of six states he has not visited as president, along with South Dakota, Arkansas, Idaho, South Carolina and Utah. Show More Summary

The National Surveillance State, Going Strong Since 1917

(Guest post! Lon Strauss (full bio at the end) wrote his dissertation on an earlier version of the American surveillance state. He’s here to give us some historical context to the NSA revelations.) There has been a recent uptick in the news over concern about the United States becoming a surveillance state. Show More Summary

“If That Does Not Suit You, Then Get Out.”

This blog likes Lt. General David Morrison, Australia’s Chief of Army. Here he speaks on sexism in the army: “No one has ever explained to me how the exploitation or degradation of others enhances capability or honors the traditions of the Australian Army.”

A Crisis in the Humanities?

(Guest post! Ben Schmidt is the visiting graduate fellow at the Cultural Observatory at Harvard, and a graduate student in history at Princeton University. His research is in intellectual and cultural history and the use of computational techniques for historical research. Show More Summary

“A Mere Thing Of Wax:” A Random Note On Marbury v. Madison

Chief Justice Marshall One of the delights of reading Marbury v. Madison is the logical bind that John Marshall puts Thomas Jefferson. Marshall will give Jefferson what he wants in the case, but only if Jefferson concedes that the Supreme Court can decide the constitutionality of laws, something Jefferson resolutely did not want to do. Show More Summary

A Quite Recent Obsession: On Constitutional Descriptors

Americans describe things as “constitutional,” and “unconstitutional.” They talk about the “Bill of Rights” and the “Second Amendment.” These descriptors seem like they should be timeless or, at least, in consistent use since the beginning of the USA. Show More Summary

Annals of Self-Aggrandizement, Part MCMIII

Lewis Lapham, of Lapham’s Quarterly, was kind enough to interview me about the Boxer Rebellion for his podcast: “Kill the Foreigners!” was the motto of China’s red-sashed Boxers, as they were dismissively known in the west. Members of...Show More Summary

Sheldon Whitehouse Stands Up For History

Well, okay, so he schools Chuck Grassley on the meaning of “pack the court:” Go to the one minute mark. (Yes, I know it wasn’t FDR’s best moment, but I’m still using the category “FDR owns everyone” because, well, he does.)

Reenacting Reconciliation

[Guest post! Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai of Angelo State University is kind enough to write for Edge on reconciliation and memory in modern day Texas.] Living in San Angelo, Texas, I often feel like I am living precisely at the edge of the American West. Show More Summary

Volume, Confusion, and Rage: On Commuting

Knocker-up in action Commuting has been part of the human experience since the Industrial Revolution. Ever since the workplace and the home got firmly disentangled, people have been waking up and resignedly making their way to their place of employment. Show More Summary

He Would Certainly Have Killed Me (Sherlock Holmes and Sookie Stackhouse Edition)

Charlaine Harris is the author of a massively successful series of novels with a southern heroine, Sookie Stackhouse. There have been 13 books, and a (ahem, so NSFW) HBO series. But now Harris is looking to be done with Stackhouse and the current novel is intended to be the last one: But after more than a decade, Ms. Show More Summary

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