tv Historians Public Policy CSPAN February 3, 2018 9:25pm-9:46pm EST
of a new bookhor and has reported for the huffington post. this is in washington, d c. it is about 20 minutes. jane dailey teaches history and at the law school of university of chicago. she is an academic and public historian, and active in the media. let's talk about the intersection of that. where do you get the most attention or reaction to your work? >> they are very different. theess up until now, academy. since i've been writing for huffington post, i have gotten more reaction from the people who read those. summer and the academy but many are not. a historians
perspective bring to today's policy debates? >> one thing is knowledge. as a store in policymakers they can say, we don't have two reinvent the wheel. we've done this. we've done supply side before, for example. dismantling the regulatory state, we have done things before. different also bring perspectives, meaning sometimes contradictory perspectives. so historians are not always going to agree. we not always going to say the same thing which i think is probably helpful to policy makers so maybe the perception or rap about historians and larger society might be they tend to be more progressive or left of center. >> is that true or in your work of it tends to be true, how you
incorporate other points of view? jane: i guess it depends on if you mean progressive and left of center are the same thing. americans i know, especially political historians, feel quite deeply about our democratic institutions and founding documents and the ideals we think are part of an inclusive and participatory democracy so sometimes i think our commitment to those things comes across as progressiveally then and necessarily is. >> what has that digital age done for your profession? jane: locked. i think -- a lot. one thing is, it allows us to reach more broader of an audience. things like the having post
online, blogs, podcasts. it is very democratizing. i think more people will be interested in what academicians have to say. usually they cannot find them. it is a great opportunity for us to meet them through that that we could've simply through the editorial pages of the new york times. huffington post can reach a lot of people. then you think about, how do you talk to a really broad audience as opposed to college students or other audiences, other academic resources. the online presence makes that possible for many people. anyou are telling me about experience, an article you wrote about a confederate general. can you to that story? jane: sure. what happened in charlottesville oft summer brought a lot
historians into the public square because these were things we knew about. we knew about the monuments, the history of them. we wanted to talk about it. that was an interesting moment, a burst of historians out there. i wrote about a virginia general, a successful confederate general who after the war founded an african-american majority third-party in virginia that was in elections.sful he ended up in the u.s. senate. this is a story not many people know. so i got a lot of reaction in terms of sheer numbers. at the huffington post at something like 800,000 people had clicked on the link, if not necessarily read the whole thing. >> and you had a comparison on
the academic subject. jane: i got my first dissertation on that and did not quite reach that audience the first time around. >> what does a moment like charlottesville do for people interested overall and history. does it ring more people to the dining room table talking about it and examining how they feel about history? jane: i think there are moments in which that is more likely to happen. charlottesville was one of those moments. a perfect storm. people talking about it. none of this is new to historians, but i think for others in america to sort of wake up, let's talk about confederate monitor -- monuments, especially those outside the south, there are so many of them. for those who did not know the history, even southerners who did not know the history.
one fact is that these monuments were not erected right after the war, they were erected or years later, 50 years later and that fact came through against to that question, how do we talk about these things that are not what we thought they were. they mean different things to different people. to me that gets to the question of where historians can step in and say, here's how we interpret facts that are new or different or that conflict with opinions we thought we held, historians we thought we knew. i am also interested in what has happened on the research side with the digitization of so many archives, what as i've done for the collection? jane: it has been extremely confusing and complicated for people like me.
catalog?the card we just got used using the card catalog and now we have all these electronic systems. i rely very heavily on our bibliography at the university , nancy spiegel who understands how this works and how the search in this new world works, archives that have been digitized, powerful search engines, newspapers online now. in part, it is wonderful, it aso makes you nervous as historian. now, do i have to check every signal newspaper or can i do it the way always did it which was checking a few. it is complicating and interesting. >> you have any examples of where your opinions have been modified based on access to new digital records? jane: specific opinions i think, so me, the digitization of
many of the african-american newspapers, which is a source i rely on. were often fragmented, they would not necessarily have so many additions, issues of them. you have to go from library to library. this has made it much easier to a whole month of a newspaper. i think i have checked much more nowdly about perceptions that is so much easier. let's just see if this newspapers talking about the same thing as this paper was talking about. can i really make a claim that they were both interested in this subject in the 1930's or was this one but that one not? that is crosschecking and is certainly something easier to do now. >> was it the role of the ,ational federal archives records administration in
preserving the nation's history particularly for people in your profession? >> unbelievably important. we could not write american history. theyone uses the archives preserve an astonishing amount of information. the library of congress is also absolutely vital for historians. the thing i most recently used i think are the papers of the supreme court justices which are sometimes scattered in their home state and some collected in the library of congress and that can be a helpful seat on have to run all over the country. the library of congress will have something for you. susan: not when her to talk about the new project you are involved in. historyolume two of a capsule. can you tell me what this is?
jane: this is "building the american republic," a textbook written by scholars and published by the university of chicago press. they decided to publish an online entirely free of charge so this is a scholarly narrative history of the united states for anyone can read nothing. you can also buy it as an inexpensive paperback and a hard copy, too. that was an idea to see how many people we could reach using these new techniques and also having no cost. in the way that so many other online resources are free but they are not necessarily refereed or have any kind of quality control. susan: i downloaded about 30 seconds and all of the options
were there to buy the book or simply read it online or device.ed onto my i'm curious as to whether or not this kind of trend is going to book industry. making it available for free, how does the publisher make money for all the scholarship that goes into it? don't.hey i hope the president is trying to break even with people buying paper books. it is a new model, completely untrue -- i completely brand-new model. we know textbooks are incredibly expensive, we know students cannot afford them. there's research done on what happens to students who don't buy the textbook. they don't perform as well in class. so we thought, what happens if we make a scholarly textbook, there are online textbooks for
profit, the companies will tailor the textbook to you which i interpret as, don't like evolution? of leave it out? but everything is here. free of charge. we hope everyone will take advantage. read some of it, read all of it, it's up to. susan: what is the market? jane: all of the above, we want everyone to read it. i had community college students in mind, that is the largest group of college students in america and they also tend to be a little bit older. a lot of them are veterans, a lot of them have kids, jobs. so as i wrote the narrative i was trying to write an engaging one. i did not have young prince him i had, had a slightly older reader. high schoolmean students cannot read up at that was a reader i had a my mind when i was writing.
susan: can you give the web address. c-span has a lot of people interested in self-education. how do they find this? know.heck if i susan: we will find it and put it on the screen. [laughter] susan: you take this book up how far? 2016 up until the elections. susan: how do you have a historic perspective on something a year and half old? jane: it is hard. i think that is the reason why far textbooks to go that forward. i found that scholarly work i could draw on, the university, iraqeed work, is about the war. then i relied on primary sources
and also on really great nonfiction journalism. for example, someone like george packer who i think is a first-rate researcher and writer. i relied more on them that other things but i do think it is dicey, the closer you get to the present. i have opinions then, so i have to be more careful plan normally about .eing independent making sure it is not about what i think but about what i can find in sources and what other people have. make they did you decision to make it so contemporary? jane: i think in part of teaching, students always want to get to where they are. disappointed if you teach a modern u.s. history course and you and did say with
ronald reagan. that is 15 years before they were born. they want to get to something that remembers say you have to balance their desire to finally get into their lived experience weh the limited resources have, the limited scholarly resources we have for that era. susan: who are your students generally? are they going to go on the history profession or they rounding out scholarship? jane: there are people who want to learn to think critically. if you become historians, a lot of them go to law school, a lot of them work for the government because people who like the american past often end up working for the state department or other branches of government. say any, they -- we history professor will say -- you can do anything with a history degree.
reading it, balancing arguments, i think that is true. susan: how did you get into the study of history? ite: i think i always found interesting. we would literally sit around the kitchen table talking about politics mostly but also about john kennedy, nixon, the vietnam war. nixon's a kid during presidency and now is interesting because everyone was arguing a great deal about what to do about that. i think my first roll political memory is watching president nixon get on the helicopter as he left the white house and being a kid and not really understanding what that was about. so i think actually i kind of liked this way back. susan: if you could tell the audience about young people, we
might not say they are not really interested in the study of history, they do not care, would you disabuse us of that notion, do you see a change in that? jane: i would disabuse that nation -- notion. i don't think this generation is any less or more interest. in fact at this moment i think they're more interested. i think they are looking for some guidance in how to think about history. for its -- example, a millennials said to me -- the difference between what we're doing and wikipedia is that wikipedia is really quite reliable but it is crowd-source so it is a compilation of facts rather than a narrative that has an interpretation of those facts. that, i think, is what they're looking for. they don't find that in online
sources. they would like the story parts of they can decide how they think about it based on someone else's narrative. to get to know the people. one thing we try to do in building the american republic is to have characters and plots and voices and narrative attention. those things that get people to read the big biographies. there's a great books, and part for those reasons. susan: this is "building the american republic, volume two," another professor at the university of chapel hill did part, a magnificent work of history. its cover is blue. you can get them blue volume with the picture of the uncompleted capital on the
cover. susan: thank you for spending time with american history tv. tweet asking about an issue that still resounds today, this question is about how many gisle were fathered by u.s. in vietnam. how are they treated 45 years .fter u.s. departure announcer: you could be featured during our next program. announcer: sunday night on q&a, and author talks about his book ine man from the train," which investigates one of the deadliest serial killers and history. many a time it happened within 100 yards from the railroad track and one of the
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