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interviews



  • A Conversation With: Historian Ramachandra Guha

    Ramachandra Guha is one of India’s foremost public intellectuals and historians. “Gandhi Before India,” his first volume of a two-part biography of Mohandas K. Gandhi, was published in India earlier this month.

  • James Dawes: Why Do People Commit Atrocities? (INTERVIEW)

    by Robin Lindley

    A Japanese soldier poses with the head of a Chinese prisoner.The human capacity to injure other people is very great precisely because our capacity to imagine other people is very small.--Elizabeth Scarry, For Love of Country?Most Americans know little of Japanese war crimes perpetrated in China during the Second World War. In the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), Japanese troops tortured, raped and murdered Chinese men, women and children, as Japanese scientists conducted horrific medical procedures on living human subjects at facilities such as the notorious Unit 731, a covert research center for biological and chemical experimentation in northeast China.



  • Jon Wiener interviews Dan Savage for The Nation

    Jon Wiener teaches US history at UC Irvine.Dan Savage started the “It Gets Better” project in 2010, with a short video online addressed to gay, lesbian, bi and transgender young people facing harassment, letting them know that, yes, it gets better.  Today more than 50,000 people have posted videos at ItGetsBetter.org, which have been viewed more than 50 million times.  He’s also a best-selling author whose new book is American Savage.  He lives in Seattle with his husband, Terry, and their 15-year-old son, D.J. Jon Wiener: How did you feel when you first heard the news that the Supreme Court had overruled DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act that had defined marriage as limited to two people of the opposite sex?  I’m morbid, so my first thought was ‘I can die now.’Dan Savage: You didn’t think “now we can live happily ever after”?


  • Jennifer Polk: "Recent PhDs Need to Have Their Confidence Boosted"

    by David Austin Walsh

    The academc job market remains in the doldrums. Recent PhDs continue to outstrip new positions, and the adjunctification of higher ed. in general -- and historians in particular -- continues unabated. It's not surprising, then, that a growing contingent of recent PhDs are standing athwart academic history yelling 'stop!'



  • Toronto Globe & Mail interviews Tom Sugrue on Detroit

    Once the dynamic heart of automotive America, the city of Detroit took the humbling step of filing for bankruptcy on Thursday – the largest U.S. municipality ever to do so. On Friday, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder defended his decision to authorize the bankruptcy filing....The Globe’s Joanna Slater spoke with Thomas Sugrue, a historian at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit, an award-winning social history of the once-proud city, about its long decline....What are the most important factors that contributed to Detroit’s current mess?



  • Anthony Grafton writes 3,500 words a morning

    From an interview with The Daily Beast's Noah Charney....Describe your morning routine.Absolutely. When I want to write, at home, I get up about 5, make coffee, slowly begin to be conscious. I’ll do a fair amount of other work, check email and Facebook and news sites, then I’ll bring my wife coffee and read the newspaper. It’s a long day’s reaching consciousness. By 8 I like to be at the computer and I like to write until about noon.Do you like to map out your books ahead of time, or just let it flow?I write my first draft on the computer. I used to write everything out by hand, but just don’t have the time, patience, or legible handwriting to make that possible anymore. I like to write quickly, so in ideal conditions I’ll have done a lot of research, made a lot of notes, before I sit down. But I don’t do an outline. By the time I could do an outline, I’ll already know what I need to say, so I’ll just sit and write.What do you need to have produced/completed in order to feel that you’ve had a productive writing day?