Don’t call me “an” historian

I object to using the determiner an instead of a in front of the word historian. It seems pretentious and unnatural. I believe almost nobody says “an historian,” yet I read it all the time. I’ll grant that some English dialects do talk of ’istory and ’istorians. But in most dialects, as well as in […]

Fifteen books

This is one of those Facebook memes: a list of 15 books that matter to me, written down in the order I thought of them, without reflection or editing. I scribbled it down last year, felt satisfied, and forgot to post it. So here it is for whatever it may be worth. Continue reading “Fifteen books”

Creek War symposium live online

From the Auburn University press people: The College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University invites the public to dialogue with scholars from around the nation during a two-day symposium on the Creek War and the War of 1812 [dead link] on May 22-23, 2009 at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art in Auburn. […]

Symposium on the Creek War

I’m doing a talk at Auburn University’s symposium “The Creek War and War of 1812 in the South,” May 22-23 in Auburn and at the Horseshoe Bend battlefield park. The website is at Some widely read historians will be taking part, including Gregory Dowd (A Spirited Resistance), John Grenier (The First Way of War), […]

John Hope Franklin (1915-2009)

One of the greatest American historians, John Hope Franklin, died on March 24 at the age of 94. History News Network has collected tributes here. Besides his pioneering historical writing, mainly on the American South, Franklin is remembered for contributing his knowledge to the petitioner’s successful arguments in Brown v. Board of Education, the historic […]

The myth of Obama’s “apostasy”

Historical myths and simplifications about a monolithic “Islamic world” are a besetting problem in the U.S. media, and I think professional historians should be concerned — especially when a member of the profession is responsible for sowing confusion in the first place, as in this case. The story, in brief, is that the world’s Muslims […]