Sunday, November 27, 2011
Historical Context from UConn
7:27 am est
University of Connecticut historians this month wrote Hartford Courant articles relating current events to history.
Bruce M. Stave (whose
books include a history of UConn among other works such as The Discontented Society, edited with LeRoy Ashby) put the recent occupiers in historical context.
Bruce Stave, with specialties in urban and oral
history, concluded: “The Occupiers' practice of micro-democracy and shared decision-making is not dissimilar to ‘participatory
democracy’ favored by the New Left during the 1960s, and to anarchism long before that. The lack of structured leadership
and hierarchy in favor of loose organization without a specific program does not have many precedents, but may prove an advantage.
It offers a safety valve to ward off failure. If you don't have a program, there is little risk in not having it implemented.
Success for Occupiers is existing as a movement and raising society's consciousness about the inequality that divides
America today as rarely before. Success, too, is in the global reach of the movement that spread across the Western world
in opposition to imbalanced and inequitable economies. Whether concrete solutions to the nation's and the world's ills
will result from, or be shaped by, the Occupy movement remains to be seen. Whether turmoil will continue for a prolonged period
is uncertain. Our society, however, has been discontented before, and the center has held. I fear, unfortunately, that in
this age of greatly diminished political compromise and unbridled greed, we may be in a new ballgame in which there are few
The prior week, Richard
D. Brown invoked the Puritans to argue that if the alleged crimes involving
Penn State occurred, punishment through the legal system is necessary but insufficient. He suggested that
in addition, “If Penn State is to put this scandal behind it and restore its good name, it might begin by following
the Puritan model and thrusting out the offenders. Evidently the trustees have started that process by firing [football coach]
Paterno and accepting [university president] Spanier's resignation.”
Together, Richard D. Brown and Irene Q. Brown (my parents) wrote
a book, The Hanging of Ephraim Wheeler, about an early-19th-century
case in which a Massachusetts man was executed after being convicted of rape (and incest).
My father’s current work explores equality and equal rights in the
early American republic. A podcast related to a recent journal article connected history – and possible historical
errors – to subsequent policy-making. In 2010, in a volunteer advisory capacity, he participated
in a non-partisan search process to identify a new Historian of the U.S.
House of Representatives.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Education Week in New Haven
9:01 am est