RICHARD S. KIRKENDALL (’50)Excerpt from The Organization of American Historians and the Writing and Teaching of American History by Richard S. Kirkendall, ed., (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011)
From March 29 to April 1, 2007, thousands of historians gathered in Minneapolis to attend the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians (OAH). Not merely another meeting, this one marked the group’s centennial. This rich collection of essays emerges from that occasion. In addition to looking at what the OAH is and how it has developed, the essays trace the writing of American history over the past century.
The organization was born out of a discussion among directors of Midwestern historical societies, who named the group the Mississippi Valley Historical Association (MVHA) and decided that the promotion of historical research should be its top priority. During the early years, Frederick Jackson Turner’s idea of the importance of the American West loomed large in the MVHA, and members discussed, among other things, whether history could be scientific, could be used for social betterment, and should be popularized.
After midcentury, the group changed in a number of ways. Membership grew rapidly for a time, and in 1965, leaders and members changed the name to Organization of American Historians. Soon, African American and women historians challenged the domination of the OAH by white men, and beginning in the 1970s, the OAH became increasingly concerned about the status and role of history in American life, the teaching of history in the schools and colleges, and jobs for historians. By the 1990s, the OAH had developed a staff headed by a full-time executive officer and had been drawn into the “culture wars” that included debate in the public arena over how history was being and should be written and taught.
The history of the OAH, this book shows us, is a complex and dynamic story that demonstrates a century-long movement toward democracy. The increasing diversity in membership, leadership, and the agenda supports this interpretation, underscoring the recognition of historical participants in the American story who once were largely ignored.
Have the recently recognized participants in American history displaced the people and fields that dominated the earlier life of the MVHA-OAH? Contributors to the book deny there has been that much change. They point out that political and diplomatic history and the elites of politics and foreign relations still populate the pages of the JAH [The Journal of American History] and specialists in those fields continue to be prominent in the OAH. Economic history, by contrast, has become weak in this location, a somewhat puzzling development to students of American history who know that the decisions and behaviors of the corporate elite affect the lives of all Americans as well as millions of people elsewhere.
One hundred years and counting, the OAH continues to serve both the historical profession and society’s need to understand American history. In its next century, the OAH will respond to ongoing changes in historical scholarship and teaching, and its members will adapt creatively to the forces that impact their writing about the past. Even now, new fields are emerging, including the history of capitalism, which seems likely to enlarge attention to the importance of corporate elites. The new fields are broadening and deepening U.S. history and will become parts of the OAH’s future, and as new fields take shape, this group, with its wide responsibilities, will encourage and promote mergers among them and with long-established ways of looking at American history.
MATTHEW RINDGE (faculty)Excerpt from Jesus’ Parable of the Rich Fool: Luke 12:13-34 Among Ancient Conversations on Death and Possessions by Matthew Rindge (Atlanta: Brill Academic Publishers, 2011)
In light of death’s inevitability and uncertain timing, Luke proposes alms as the optimal way to use possessions meaningfully. Alms are meaningful precisely in the context of death as an inevitable event whose timing is uncertain and potentially imminent. Alms are the primary antidote and alternative to greed and anxiety, vices that are manifest in social isolation and a selfish storage of goods for future use. Because giving alms provides one with an “unfailing treasure in heaven,” it is meaningful not only for the poor to whom it is given but also for the one who gives it. Giving alms is the primary way of “being rich toward God” and is, in light of death’s inevitability, uncertain timing, and potential imminence, the most meaningful option for the use of one’s goods.
Proposing alms as the most fitting use of one’s goods, given these uncontrollable facets of death, exemplifies Luke’s participation in the (predominantly sapiential) conversation on death and possessions. No less important are the multiple ways in which Luke reconfigures aspects of this conversation by adapting sapiential motifs for his own existential, ethical, and theological interests. In doing so, Luke demonstrates both his indebtedness to sapiential discourse and the range of his own literary and theological creativity.
Luke’s parables address the intersection of two specific motifs, death and possessions, each of which plays a significant role in the meaning that people construct for their lives. The interplay of these two motifs is not only a theme in Luke but also an important element of the narrative’s rhetoric. By illustrating options for the use of possessions within the context of death’s potential imminence and a postmortem judgment, Luke’s parables engender reflection on the relative meaningfulness (or lack thereof) of disparate uses of possessions. This interest in meaningful living is not unlike Martha Nussbaum’s understanding of the goal of Hellenistic philosophy as “human flourishing,” or eudaimonia.
Luke’s parables share this interest, displayed in sapiential texts and Hellenistic philosophy, in meaningful living and illustrate it through the vehicle of narrative. His parables construct imaginative worlds in which the use of possessions is evaluated in light of life’s fragility, death’s inevitability, and a postmortem judgment. As narratives, Luke’s parables illustrate sapiential concerns for meaning and provide the opportunity for literary characters and readers/hearers of Luke-Acts to evaluate their own use of possessions in light of the world constructed in the parable.
In Luke’s parable of the Rich Fool, this existential search for meaning is inseparable from ethical and theological concerns. The selfish storage of goods is deemed meaningless because it fails to include others, and this failure is considered poverty toward God. The use of alms is meaningful, by contrast, precisely because it enhances the lives of the giver and the recipient(s), and this act constitutes riches toward God.
The world imagined in Luke’s parables is one in which possessions are used meaningfully when they serve relational ends. The descriptions of the communities in Acts 2:42–47 and 4:32–35 function literarily as a realization (idealized or not) of this imagined world. Luke imagines this world for his literary characters and readers/hearers, and he invites them to live into it by going about the difficult work of constructing this world for themselves and their communities. Luke’s parables propose that the actualization of this imagined world is an act whose meaning is not only maintained in the face of the uncertain and uncontrollable aspects of death, but even enhanced in this specific context.
DAN KOLBET (’01)Excerpt from Off the Grid by Dan Kolbet (CreateSpace and Amazon)
Gina still lived in their parents’ house on the bluff overlooking the town of Mill Creek. She always said it was the best house in the valley because from the front porch you could see the sun rise first thing in the morning and hold on to it all day until it set at night. Her love of the outdoors meant she wasn’t quite as affected by the blackout as others.
Luke rounded the last winding turn up to the house and pulled up the gravel driveway. He removed his helmet and set the kickstand, but didn’t budge from the bike.
It was like looking at a picture. The blue house paint was a little faded, but other than that, the place hadn’t changed. His memories of leaving so suddenly all those years ago flooded back to him like a dam bursting and he could feel his heart beating faster and faster in his chest. He didn’t want to think about what happened that night in the backyard. What he did to save Gina and then leaving her. He reached back for his helmet to leave. It was all too much. He didn’t want to remember.
“Hey you!” yelled a young, but sharp voice coming from behind the woodshed beside the house. “We don’t need what you’re selling. Go away, we don’t have anything you want anyway. Scram.”
The girl, thin as a rail, began coughing, a deep, heavy cough. She had long straight blonde hair and a freckled face. If he hadn’t known better, he would have said the little girl was his sister 25 years ago. No, it couldn’t be . . . could it?
Luke was unsure of what to do.
“Now leave your uncle alone, Tilly. He’s not selling anything,” Gina said, taking off a pair of gardening gloves and rubbing her palm on the young girl’s back to soothe her coughing fit. “You’re not selling anything are you brother?”
Luke had yet to move from the bike, but that didn’t stop Gina from walking up to him and wrapping her arms around his neck.
“I’m so glad you came. I wasn’t sure if you got the letters. I tried to call you in Seattle but the number was disconnected.”
“You have a phone?”
“That’s the first question you ask me?” staring at him with wide eyes, then glancing at Tilly. “No. No phone. Not here. Borrowed one in Sacramento though.”
“Is that where you got the kid too?”
“That’s the question I expected.”
“She’s not Elliot Costgrove’s-”
“God no. That half-wit never even got close. Tilly’s mine and original to Mill Creek. Long story.”
“Good thing I plan to stay all weekend,” he said.
“All weekend? I’m sure we’ll have you scared off by sundown, no question.”
CHRISTINA MCCALE (’92, M.O.L. ’95) & RICHARD MOODY (M.O.L. ’93)Excerpt from Start Your Internet Business: 36 Things You Need to Know Now! by Christina McCale and Richard Moody, ed. (Navarre, FL: McMoody Crawford, 2011)
In the Spring of 2011, Dr. Richard Moody and I started our own initial exploration of the explosively growing and evolving market of online business. This wasn’t a world that was foreign to either of us. Dr. Moody had spent almost a decade at Apple in corporate marketing, strategy and planning in the education market. I had a background from AT&T corporate in helping small and mid-sized businesses learn how to use emerging Internet technologies to improve their businesses. We both considered ourselves pretty web-savvy people. We had been responsible for massive web presences, technology-based communications, and knowing that we had to keep up with the changing options and role of technology in order to be successful.
We had also each pursued our own doctoral programs while working in a corporate environment. We understood the continuum between the development of theory and how that theory eventually plays itself out in the market place.
We each had been pioneers in our own rights in doing many things that webpreneurs and infopreneurs now do today.
Why we did this research
Our curiosity was piqued not purely from a scientific perspective though. Our respective roles in education — Dick’s in the non-profit association world of groups who advocate for the investment in our public education system, and my role as a university professor — added to our interest in the online arena. What are we doing as a society, as an educational system, to best prepare our students to participate in what Daniel Pink called “The Free Agent Nation” of entrepreneurs, webpreneurs, infopreneurs, writers, authors, affiliates and consultants.
And to be honest, our curiosity was also piqued from a not-so-altruistic perspective. We both had been battered about in the economic tsunami of the 2000s. Bedraggled and a little water logged, we both were looking to construct a new life – but a life that held true to who WE were – intellectuals, academics, writers, researchers, and business professionals who were already steeped in processes and systems understanding.
How we began our research
There is a whole body of qualitative research processes that allow for the researchers to be participants in the study as well. We began our research by starting simply: getting on mailing lists, reading offers, listening to webinars, visiting websites, going to community forums like The Warrior Forum. We were the researcher-equivalent of the kids who sat in the back of the classroom in high school. We were quiet. We sat. We listened. We assessed and learned. We compared notes. We bought products that were valuable and we bought products that were utter and complete junk.
We started noticing and tracking trends: how certain webpreneurs were consistent in who they were, what they believed and how they treated their fans or followers consistently from one email to the next webinar to the post-sale experience. We started noting who seemed to be “self appointed gurus” versus those who even other webpreneurs respected. We tracked who seemed to play it straight, who seemed to hold integrity above making a fast buck, who really did know what they were talking about, and who had lived the test of longevity.
During this time, we, too, were asking ourselves many of the questions, experiencing many of the situations, and grappling with many of the concerns outlined in the chapters of this book. We finally had to ask ourselves: “we’re a pretty intelligent pair of people with an above average background of business experiences and understanding of technology. If we are struggling to assess who to listen to in this maze of information … then what’s the average consumer’s experience like?
In context: The broader market
The urban legend, which has actually been unscientifically supported from time to time by various sources, is that less than 3% of all people who start a business online ever make a single dollar. Their business never gets out of the red. They never recoup their investment. Those are pretty dismal realities: not only did these would-be webpreneurs not make their lives better, but for many, they actually made it worse through the additional expenses, home-life tensions and personal struggles they weathered in the process.
That means, in an economy where:
- more than 25 million Americans are unemployed or under-employed (Huffington Post),
- there is net 0 job creation as recent as recent as August of 2011 (MSNBC),
- 8.8% of all student loans default (Chronicle of Higher Education), and t
- the poverty rate has hit its highest rates (15.1% or 46.2 million Americans) since 1981 (MSNBC)
there are people who are desperate to find opportunity to create a better life for themselves and their families.
As Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post stated:
“With the toll that the job crisis is taking on the lives of millions of people in this country — from college graduates who can’t get jobs to middle class families being thrown out of their homes — this is a Category 5 disaster. In extreme cases, financial desperation has even been a reported cause in suicides.” (8/30/11)
For our service men and women, the unemployment rate lingers even higher – 19% among junior enlisted troops according to US Dept of Defense research. It seems cruel that after risking life and limb for their country, our troops are returning to an economy that has no way of helping them, and little hope of returning the favor of their sacrifice with new economic opportunity.
Further, there is an entire generation of college-age students who are either foregoing university all together, or downsizing their higher education aspirations from private college experience to state schools; from state schools to community colleges. Traumatized by the economy, this generation will be watch-worthy: knowing that their parents, who also have lost jobs and assets in this economy, have no way to help them, many of these would-be college students are now asking themselves is the risk of mounting tens of thousands of dollars of debt really worth the risk of still not being able to find a job after graduation?
So multiple target audiences: the under- and unemployed, returning military, and an entire youth market of would-have-been college students could all be struggling with the exact same questions we were asking ourselves: but doing it under the duress of financial hardship and loss.
In our research, one name consistently showed up among all the Internet marketers we observed as being extraordinarily reputable, ethical, knowledgeable and successful: Willie Crawford. After gathering more research about Willie, his business practices, products and reputation, we made one proposal – one pitch – to Willie with a proposition: we think people need help. We think that help extends beyond the typical Internet Marketer’s reach. Would you want to work with a pair of newbies?
He said yes. Much to our delight, joy, and amazement.
Willie became, for all intents and purposes the “screener.” As a webpreneur who had been around since 1995, he’s seen, met, mentored or done business with the vast majority of successful, reputable webpreneurs. There are a lot of amazing webpreneurs who, due to other commitments, timing, business or family demands, simply chose not to be in this particular installment of this book series. We anxiously look forward to gathering their thoughts and including them in the future installments of The McMoodyCrawford Series: Start Your Internet Business.
At the same time, Willie has become our own personal guru to whom we owe much more than just mere gratitude. He taught us so much more than just the nature of the Internet marketing industry and culture.
Our author experts
Each author expert was given the topic, “if you knew then what you know now – what three things would you do differently in starting your business?” Most had problems limiting themselves to just three things. To ensure the book’s results would be “agenda-free” we ensured that no coaching, encouragement, questioning or orchestration by Dr. Moody or me took place. We wanted them, without prompting, to disclose what they felt were the most important things they wished they’d known.
KATHY FLORES BELL (M.O.L ’11)Excerpt from A Chicken’s Guide to Talking Turkey with with Your Kids about Sex by Kathy Flores Bell (Zondervan, 2004)
It marked the beginning of yet another childrearing era in the Leman household when my daughter asked me, “Dad, can I have a party?”
“What kind of party?” I asked.
“Oh,” she said nonchalantly, “a Christmas party.”
“Sounds good to me,” I said. “Who are you going to invite?”
“Allison, Kristen, Katey Jo, Lindsey, Corey, Crystal, Amy . . .”
I knew all these names, so I only half listened, but suddenly I caught on to a very pregnant pause. Hannah looked at me uncertainly, then added a little more quickly, “and maybe Chris, Michael, Kyle, Ben, Mark, and Josh.”
I stopped what I was doing and looked at Hannah, seeing for the first time that curious twilight I had witnessed in my older daughters—a girl’s slow but steady passage into womanhood. Though Hannah was fourteen years old, I couldn’t help thinking, Holy crow, I don’t know whether I want that or not. Boys and girls at the same party, huh? So we’re at that stage, are we?
Suddenly I felt whisked back to when I was twelve years old and the swirling sensations of one puberty-laden night on the school dance floor. I was in seventh grade, and I remember dancing ever so closely to Wendy Winfield at the Broomstick Bounce. I distinctly recall what she looked like that night, the red crewneck sweater she wore, even the song we danced to (“In the Still of the Night”)—and that was nearly half a century ago!
I can’t believe this, I remember thinking as Wendy and I danced, I’m holding on to a girl. Two years earlier I had hated girls; I either wanted to play practical jokes on them or avoid them altogether. Yet there I was dancing with one, and liking it!
What is happening to me? I wondered.
Remember those days? Can you bring to mind the first inkling that you “liked” someone? When was the first time you asked a friend to find out whether someone liked you as much as you liked him? When did you first receive a note passed between desks or at your locker between classes and felt your heart pounding so hard that you were sure the school band could march to its rhythm?
Take a trip down memory lane; it will be helpful as you face your child’s passage through the precious season of life we call puberty. At the start of that season, nothing seems as gross as kissing a member of the opposite sex; at the end, nothing sounds so sweet. We want to help you become your child’s most trusted guide as he or she passes through puberty.
KELLY JONES (’90)Excerpt from The Woman Who Heard Color by Kelly Jones (New York: Berkley Books, 2011)
Sculpted eagles clutching swastikas perched atop tall pylons along Prinzregentenstrasse. Hundreds of poles displaying bright Nazi flags, as shrill as the color of blood, lined the route from the railroad station to the center of Munich. A parade of more than seven thousand—soldiers in military uniform, performers in colorful costumes, garishly decorated animals, and motorcars—wound through the streets, moving with a great sense of celebration to the temple of German art.
Hanna was given a place of honor on a large dais, along with dignitaries and several other women, mostly widows of men whom the Führer had admired. Men dressed as Renaissance artists and Nordic gods marched triumphantly, intermingled with Viking ships and scale models of Hitler’s architectural wonders, in this bizarre pageant to celebrate the artistic achievements of Germany. If Hanna had been one of the volk lining the street to view this spectacle, rather than an honored guest, she might have laughed. But as she looked down toward the cheering crowd she could do nothing but tremble with fear.
The highlight of the Day of German Art was the opening of the Haus der Deutschen Kunst with the Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellung, the Great German Art Exhibition.
From those still bold enough to make light of Hitler’s grand accomplishments, Hanna had heard the building described as the Palazzo Kitschi, as well as the Munich Air Terminal. She had even heard a group of young people on the street referring to it as the Bratwürstelgalerie because the pillars that ran along the front of the building looked like sausages hanging from a butcher’s shop. It was a monstrous, ugly building, constructed of sandstone and wasted, sacrificial marble, designed by one of Hitler’s favorite architects, Paul Ludwig Troost, who had since passed on. His widow, Gertrude, was one of those being honored that day.
The Führer stood before his new temple, microphones set in place, as the parade concluded. Hanna, as a guest, was assigned a position so close she could see the twitch in his cheek as he prepared to address the crowd. He looked over the mass, his eyes moving slowly, though they appeared glazed—he was not seeing individuals, merely a throng of entranced followers.
He began his speech, praising the art of Germany.
“The artist does not create for the artist, but for the people,” he declared, beaming with pride. He went on speaking of the valuable enrichment of Germany’s cultural life. And then, abruptly his tone and even his face shifted, and words like purification and extermination flew frantically and fervently toward the adoring crowd. “With the opening of this exhibition has come the end of artistic lunacy and with it the artistic pollution of our people,” he shouted. From where Hanna stood she could see the spittle spraying from his mouth.
As Hitler had told her just weeks earlier, in conjunction with the grand opening of the Haus der Deutschen Kunst, another exhibition would take place. The following day the exhibition of Entartete Kunst, Degenerate Art, would open, and Hanna knew that today Hitler was just warming up the crowd for what was to follow.