Posted in History and Political Science, Rotunda, Virginiana
Thanks to the ongoing “Early Access” transcription program at Documents Compass, we are adding over 16,000 new documents from the Papers of Thomas Jefferson:
9951 documents from the original series, from July 1804 to 3 March 1809 (his last day as president)
6188 documents from the Retirement Series, covering January 1819 to the date of his death, 4 July 1826
Rotunda’s Early Access documents are made freely available to the public. Customers who have purchased one or more of our Founding Era publications will note that EA documents are integrated into the results of any searches they do across the collection.
Posted in Environmental Studies, Main
fig. 3 It’s been way too long since we have run a piece by Mr. and Mrs. Dog author Donald McCaig. Many of you have read his series of posts about a little sheepdog named Fly (including t his one…and this one). In this latest piece, human understanding runs up against dog understanding. Guess who’s smarter.
At the first Sturgis National Finals SDT trial hosts had decorated the field in a patriotic motif. The fetch, drive, and crossdrive panels were vivid red, white, and blue. Which created a problem for the sheep. Put yourself in their wool: here they’d been living quiet sheepy lives on some butte somewhere, been snatched up, loaded into large aluminum trailers (from which no sheep had ever returned), and plopped down in unfamiliar pens (“Where are we, Martha!!!”), until they and three others were taken by a mounted cowboy and a couple dogs and spotted for an unknown dog to suddenly appear and take AWAY!
“I don’t know, dear. AWAY!”
Sheep are not particularly patriotic and balked at the vivid panels: “Whoa! What are those things. Martha!!!?”
“It’s what’s BEHIND them, we must worry about, dear!”
And they did. The Sturgis sheep were extremely “panel shy.” With range sheep that isn’t unusual.
Last Friday, I visited my friend Margot Woods, a skilled traditional trainer in Laurel, Maryland. My appearance was particularly welcome because last weekend Margot’s student’s dog had been attacked by a Border Collie in the obedience ring and Fly is one of the malefactor breed.
Boris, the attacked yellow lab, nearly had his UDX (an advanced obedience title) and his Master Hunter title and was competing next weekend in Florida where, doubtless, there would be lots and lots of Border Collies who probably wouldn’t attack him but might well throw him off his stride. Interestingly, Boris didn’t react to Fly at all when they met: “Ho, hum. Another dog.” But when, at Margot’s instructions, I sped Fly past Boris whilst he was doing obedience exercises (selecting the correct scent article), he avoided the Border Collie (and those articles).
When Boris was focused on his work, the sudden appearance of a nearby Border Collie disturbed him. Margot said he wasn’t reacting to Fly, he was reacting to a mental “profile.” Some routine desensitization work and Boris stopped reacting, and I wish him good luck in Florida.
Saturday morning was bitter, and I joined my fellow sheepdogger/eskimos at Patrick Shannahan’s sheepdog clinic. Fly isn’t competitive. Despite training changes and advice from better trainers, Fly was running only slightly better this year than last: C-minus competing against A and A-plus teams. Although I hated giving up on Fly, being a farm dog and companion are honorable occupations, and though Fly would hate it when I loaded the car and left for a trial without her, pressuring a mature dog to do what it simply cannot—whatever her flashes of occasional brilliance—is cruel.
Most potential Mozarts never get past “Chopsticks.” If I hadn’t learned how to reclaim a ruined dog, Fly had taught me a thing or two and she was much happier, mannerly, and worldly than she’d been, which is no small thing.
I didn’t have any more strategies.
If you find a clinician who’s “on your wave length,” what he says about your dog or another’s suggests fresh strategies. I’d attended one of Patrick’s clinics 10 or 15 years ago and audited this year’s spring clinic to good effect.
Inbye (shed/pen/around the post) isn’t our problem. Though we’re not as quiet or precise as we need to be, that would come if outwork and drive were acceptable and the sheep arrived calmly at my feet. Outrun: okay, and if she’s tight she’ll usually take a redirect. Lift: fine—unless she hits them too hard, in which case her fetch is toast. Eight-year-old dog reasoning: “Why should I run hard to turn them through a set of panels when they’ll end up more-or-less at Donald’s feet and I can make adjustments there?” I understand her reasoning but can’t afford to lose 18 points on the fetch nor teach the sheep that, push-come-to-shove, Fly won’t hold their pressure.
AND: We usually (yep, usually) retire before the crossdrive panel where Fly heads them and brings them to my feet. Dogs that fail to put sheep through or past the drive panels have shortened their course—it’s a form of cheating. Some judges will DQ you on the spot. Others simply deduct enough points to take you out. Half the drive points?
I thought our problem was Fly’s lack of confidence/the farther she was from me, the weaker our connection. At the clinic, at the top, Patrick spotted a problem. My whistles were too harsh. I was whistling/shouting at Fly. AHA! That’s why Fly responds so much better to voice. Might be—just might be—that quieter commands will hold her on the fetch???? The best sheepdog commands aspire to whisper. The quieter you can be with your dog and sheep, the better things go.
At a good clinic, listening to what the clinician says about another’s dog can provide insights into your own, and Patrick’s discussion of another’s problems enlightened me.
Okay, you’re a timid gyp who really, really wants to please Donald. Things might have gone badly on the fetch, but they calm down around the post and on the drive. QUIET AND NICE. He’s talking now, not whistling. But Fly knows perfectly well that at the panel, the sheep aren’t going to want to go through that narrow passage, they’ll try to slip around one side or another and Donald will start whistling/calling: “Away! Come bye! Come bye!! Lie Down!”
So many commands, so many commands, oh dear, oh dear, oh my!
So when Fly approaches the panel, she shuts down and only hears her genetics and fetches the sheep back to Donald’s feet. Like those Sturgis sheep, Fly is (has learned to be) panel shy. I’m imagining more intimidating panels. Solid? Closer together? Close enough so I can insist and high praise when Fly puts them through? Might desensitize her? Might do?
Some months ago, in a different discussion, when somebody suggested that mama dogs do correct their pups, a kindly soul objected (forgive my paraphrase): I’m not a Mama dog, I’m a human. She wouldn’t correct her dog—she’d train her dog with rewards she’d want if she were a human/dog.
Border Collies are genetically committed to partner us, and unless our mistakes are egregious, they let us get away with them. Probably the person who won’t do ”doglike” corrections owns a dog that is mostly mannerly at home and on leash. Maybe the dog has learned to do some tricks. Suits her, suits me.
But when you ask a dog to push its limits, to do work which—however satisfying—is everything that dog can do and perhaps a bit more, you must—no excuses now—quit your human understanding for the dog’s understanding. You’ve got to learn that some thoroughly trained obedience dogs may not react to non-threatening Border Collies (despite a recent attack) but be upset by that same dog when they’re working. Dogs do profile. And that a timid Border Collie who desperately wants to please can learn that PRESSURE always happens at panels, and if she quits and fetches the sheep back, Donald might not like it, but the PRESSURE goes away.
Many years ago I asked Bill Crowe, a barber and horseman, why he trained and trialed sheepdogs. “The sheer intellectual achievement of it,” Bill said.
Donald McCaig’s Mr. and Mrs. Dog: Our Travels, Trails, Adventures, and Epiphanies is available now.
Posted in Environmental Studies, Main, Uncategorized
Before you say no thanks, just know that this exotic approach to Thanksgiving is being proposed by Jeffrey Greene, who has already introduced us to the elusive pied de cheval oyster and foraging in the Carpathians. The man knows his food. Like those earlier pieces, this one grew out of research for his next book, on wild edibles.
While Henry James observed famously in a letter that “it’s a complex fate, being an American,” and James Baldwin struggled to define what being American even means, I rarely ponder quandaries of national identity, even living here in France. However, it’s a complex fate for anyone to explain the codified American phenomenon called Thanksgiving. My mother, in her eighties, assiduously observes American Thanksgiving, though she lives in a remote canal village in Burgundy and is obliged to make a special order for a whole turkey, usually available in France only at Christmas. I confess that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, yet this year I find myself tinkering with the near sacred menu, an act verging on sedition.
It’s an unavoidable cliché but nonetheless true: our French friends are always keen on celebrating a food-oriented fête, even when the occasion is based on the remote survival story of a band of opportunists and struggling religious separatists in the savage rigors of the New World where the devil’s agents lurked behind every rock and tree. The holiday serves as my mother’s excuse to cook a meal so copious that our friends fully experience an American habit of eating one’s way to writhing misery as if it were a mission. My mother’s version of this feast involves not only super-sizing but also putting a plethora of irresistible foods on the table.
My role, besides sous chef and busboy, is to elucidate to our polite friends the origins of America’s great feast, a story that has grown ever more jumbled and historically nuanced with the implications of the Mayflower Compact and the fate of native people. The experience of the pilgrims overcoming their period of starvation and disease has evolved into a holiday requiring an annual sacrifice of some forty million turkeys.
The “first Thanksgiving” was always presented as a kind of romanticized reduction gravy: Indians saved a wayward band of sick and starving English settlers by teaching them to bury two herring for each mound of soil into which they plant corn, squash, and beans. Following a rich harvest, the Indians and pilgrims celebrated, feasting and praying together for five days.
But as a kid growing up gathering food along the New England seashore, I always wondered what the 100-plus combined religious “saints” and entrepreneurs could have eaten to stave off starvation and fortify themselves against disease during their brutal winter. Just three months after arriving in November 1620, only half remained alive. Why didn’t the pilgrims just help themselves to limpets, snails, cattails, fern roots, clams, and mussels? Why didn’t they just eat seaweed?
My curiosity evolved into an impulsive desire to go to Plymouth for Thanksgiving. The Plimoth Plantation living museum, created by the passionate historian Henry Hornblower II in 1947 as two English style-shacks, offered decades later “America’s Thanksgiving Dinner,” which in a kind of delusion I imagined included dining with the Wampanoag. I called the Plimoth Plantation to reserve a place for one of three sittings on Thanksgiving Day.
“I’m sorry, sir, ‘America’s Thanksgiving Dinner’ is sold out. We still have tickets for the Thanksgiving Day Buffet and the Courtyard Buffet.”
I panicked, “Nothing for ‘America’s Thanksgiving Dinner’?” I live in France, and I’m researching wild edibles. I’d like to talk to the Wampanoag.”
“Excuse me, you want to talk to the Wampanoag?”
“I mean at ‘America’s Thanksgiving Dinner.” A worrisome silence followed on the line, but then, “Sir? We found one remaining place for the 6 p.m. sitting. Is this acceptable?” A ticket to “America’s Thanksgiving Dinner” included a two-day entry to the Wampanoag Village, the Plantation, and the Mayflower facsimile.
Just a few weeks before my flight, the Northeast suffered through Sandy, a gargantuan hurricane, followed by a fierce nor’easter, clearing the air for stunning New England autumnal weather, and right after pulling up to the Pilgrim Sands, my hotel on the bay with a view of Eel Pond and the Plantation, I walked the shoreline looking at the sea lettuce, bladder wrack, dulse, kelp, and thongweed. The storms, besides tossing sea rocks into parking lots and roads, had torn free many fresh-looking seaweeds. I simply picked different pieces and became absorbed in the novelty of eating seaweed amid the rocks at the very spot where leaders Bradford, Standish, and Brewster once stood and the pilgrims finally settled.
Did they imagine that sea lettuce could be used in soups and salads? It provides a complete protein as well as fiber, minerals, and vitamins. It even has calories, though granted you have to eat nearly a hundred grams of it to get the equivalent of a slice of bread with a tad of butter and jam. Seaweed even contains vitamin E thought to invigorate sperm, though this perhaps is not a high-priority asset to a famished pilgrim.
Seaweed is often considered a diet food. Even the French put seaweed, or algue, into bread and call it “ligne” for slimming their lines. But seaweed does offer nutrition. The nutritional values are far higher than garden lettuce, cabbage, carrots, or the world’s healthiest food, broccoli. My enthusiasm increased with purple ribbons of dulse, which has twice the protein value of sea lettuce. Though rubbery like all seaweed, it has a pleasant flavor: iodine, salt, slightly sweet, slightly fishy.
Soon after, I saw vast colonies of common periwinkles, the same snails sold by every fishmonger in Paris. Also, almost every rock I turned over unveiled some twenty scurrying green crabs. Euell Gibbons would be the first to remind us that the common periwinkle and the green crab didn’t arrive in America until the 1800s, no help to the pilgrims with periwinkle chowder or broiled soft-shell green crabs.
On Thanksgiving Day at low tide, I walked the length of a three-mile spit called Long Beach, one of the most beautiful sand barrier stretches I know. It provides shelter for the port of Plymouth and now enjoys environmental laws protecting dune grasses and coastal nesting. On the outer shore of Long Beach, the storms had unearthed, or unsanded, enormous sea clams. Just one or two could make a filling soup or the muscle could be sliced for Thanksgiving sashimi.
Seagulls, true master foragers, pecked apart razor clams and small crabs, leaving clean shell fragments at the waterline. After the storms on the inner shore, at least two inches of sand and mud shifted, revealing tens of thousands of shells in their vertical position—razor clams, soft shells, and quahogs, all shellfish that had died naturally. Everywhere clams sent up mini jets d’eau, little squirts of water, hardly keeping their location a secret. In a half hour, I could have collected enough to make a cioppino, a seafood stew.
So why did the pilgrims starve? Winter foraging parties managed only to pilfer Indian stores and steal a deer from wolves. They killed three seals, shot some birds, and caught a codfish. In truth, it’s a miracle that anyone survived the Mayflower adventure after its late summer sailing, a cracked main beam, and storms forcing them to take refuge in calmer bay waters. They scouted out a viable site with a defensible hill and rivers and ponds. They found an ideal site, Patuxet, where European disease had already killed off the local Wampanoag group. The Mayflower was forced to anchor more than a mile from the shallow shore while the few healthy pilgrims treated the sick, cleaned them, and rowed to land to gather food and build a village center.
IMG_4692 In March, the local sachem, Massasoit, sent Samoset to make a peace pact with the pilgrims and form a union against the more powerful Narragansett tribe. Samoset boldly walked into the English encampment, making the first contact with the startled group and continuing to surprise the group by speaking their language and establishing a treaty. The next day, he brought Tisquantum, better known as Squanto, the Wampanoag whose kidnapping took him to Spain as a slave and then later to England. His adventures led to his return to Patuxet, now Plymouth, his childhood home. The story goes that he walked into the icy Eel River and grabbed eels balled up in the mud and tossed them ashore. He and Samoset lived with the pilgrims teaching them planting, fishing, foraging, and preserving. Squanto was considered a “special instrument of God” by some and an outright traitor by others. He died on November 30, 1622, one year after the “First Thanksgiving,” from an “Indian fever” or possibly poisoning. United American Indians of New England certainly might consider Squanto a traitor as they were preparing solemn speeches for what they view as their National Day of Mourning at the original Plantation site.
At “America’s Thanksgiving Dinner,” I was seated with a strip miner and his family from Montana and we swapped stories about wild edibles on our two separate continents. The Wampanoag were nowhere to be found. I took a moment to approach the program host dressed up as a pilgrim, “Why didn’t the pilgrims eat seaweed if they were starving?”
This pilgrim was courteous, veteran of thousands of dingbat questions. He responded as if we were in the 17th century, “I shan’t survive on seaweed, my good feller.” I suppose he could have added, “It’s diet food, after all.” Still, certainly the coastal tribes had plenty of uses for seaweed: baking oysters, fertilizer, and food, both dried and cooked.
I came back to France inspired by my Plimoth Plantation experience. First, I announced that I would plant a Wampanoag garden in the spring if I could find herring that were not smoked or pickled, and, second, I would invent a new dish for Thanksgiving using seaweed. I gave eels serious consideration, as some experts have concluded that eels, with their fatty nutritious flesh, should be the main Thanksgiving dish since with the help of Squanto they became a major staple. So naturally I wondered what the eel equivalent of 40 million turkeys would be? But I also remembered making Thanksgiving in the throes of student poverty—the closest a middle-class kid comes to “starving time.” With the only cash I had, I bought a turkey, stuffed it with a spinach and oyster dressing, and, poorly equipped, roasted it in a Wok. I invited two similarly impoverished friends, and the success of my Thanksgiving offering astonished them nearly as much as it did me. So why not try a seaweed dressing? I made a dressing with wakame, dulse, kelp, wild mushrooms, tofu, oysters, ginger, garlic, and spices and tried stuffing a chicken first. The dish would be served with an Asian sauce.
My mother, my wife Mary, and I were so delighted with the results that I was further inspired with leftovers. I decided to use them to make sushi rolls that included some “Panko” fried oysters. I also experimented with Turkey just to see if the flavors were synergistic. Ultimately my Thanksgiving dinner would include up to four different seaweeds. My suggestion of using fresh seaweed and other types of seafood like limpets left Mary’s and my Mother’s brows furrowed. To them, fresh seaweed and limpets sounded more like last chance foods.
Jeffrey Greene is the author of The Golden-Bristled Boar. He is currently at work on a book on wild edibles.
Posted in History and Political Science, Literary and Cultural Studies, Press News
Deborah McDowell, director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute, talked to our local NBC affiliate about her new book, The Punitive Turn: New Approaches to Race and Incarceration, which she coedited with Claudrena Harold and Juan Battle. Drawing its content from a conference hosted at the University of Virginia in 2009, the essays in the book not only address prison growth and its consequences, but also present statistics that force us to wonder who benefits when so many people are behind bars. You may watch the full report here.
Posted in History and Political Science, Main, Rotunda, Uncategorized
upweek-logo-2013 As part of this year’s University Press Week, we are proud to join 36 other university presses in a blog tour that will touch on some of the most pressing issues in our industry. Blogging along with us today are Harvard University Press, Stanford University Press, the University of Texas Press, Duke University Press, Temple University Press, and the University of Minnesota Press. A schedule for the entire week is here. Today’s theme is the future of scholarly publishing, so we turned to Holly Shulman, who served as editor of The Dolley Madison Digital Edition, the first publication under our electronic imprint, and coeditor of Rotunda’s latest title, People of the Founding Era.
While visiting Houston last weekend, I heard for the first time about the East Texas town of Jefferson. By the time Texas became a state, in 1845, Jefferson was its sixth largest city. It was an important transportation hub in the days when streamships and inland waterways were more important than railroads. Boats going up the Mississippi River crossed into Texas on the Red River, and Jefferson thrived. Today it is just a small town, a relic of the past that lives off of its tourist industry. Legend has it that the railroad companies wanted to route their tracks through Jefferson, and the city leaders said no: they had the river traffic; they did not need this new form of transportation. And so the city of Jefferson shriveled.
This story may not be historically accurate, but it is compelling. It reflects a consistent dynamic in America wherein old ways are challenged and, finally, defeated by new ways—usually driven by a new technology.
The fate of Jefferson may be predictive of changes occurring in the world of books and publishing. Almost overnight, what were once considered far-off possibilities in the industry are now fully arrived necessities. Every press must create e-books, an endeavor that has little to do with its traditional expertise. Publishers must adapt to and work with Amazon as they watch bookstores collapse under the weight of online competition. Each press must consider making the transition to an XML workflow.
As a historian working with primary-source materials, I ask myself how this revolution will affect the world of documentary editions—the magisterial collections of the papers of our founding fathers, of Webster, Clay, and Calhoun, of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Eleanor Roosevelt, still published in print on smooth creamy paper, heavy with text. Will such projects survive the next ten years? Or does the community of editors have to adjust in order to avoid going the way of Jefferson. I am inclined to think that yes, even here the new will push out the old.
And what about the university press—will it be able to accommodate the new, especially in the arena of documentary editions? Perhaps only with difficulty. But I don’t think in this case that shortsightedness is to blame. It is not that the publishing world’s city fathers believe that what they have—the water traffic—will support their prosperity well into the future. I suspect it is because university presses, which have always published print editions, find the new way of doing things hard and expensive. Creating a really good digital edition—one that either repurposes an older print version, or produces a new born-digital one—is daunting. A press has to acquire a server. It must hire a staff of knowledgeable experts. These new professionals must be conversant in XML and in TEI, in computer languages and databases. These are not the skills of past generations of publishing staffs.
0902_feature_dolley_Shulman I feel thankful to have found the only electronic imprint among American university presses: Rotunda, the digital wing of the University of Virginia Press. My project, The Dolley Madison Digital Edition (DMDE), will turn ten soon, and as the event draws closer I have been thinking about what Rotunda has meant to me and to the DMDE. Rotunda took me under their wing and together we designed a whole new kind of edition that neither looked nor felt like a book.
As a historian and editor, I feel as if I have not only explored Dolley Madison’s world, but been able to share it with readers in a way I never could have done in print. Rotunda’s latest publication, People of the Founding Era: A Prosopographical Approach, on which I was fortunate enough to collaborate, is the imprint’s most sophisticated project yet. This database, containing many thousands of biographical profiles, reveals the relationships and trends of a distant era in a way that no print publication could have.
We who are published by Rotunda ought to be grateful. We have a publisher who can take on the technical challenges that presses are increasingly faced with and one that has generated a business plan that makes online publishing of primary-source material financially sustainable. Recognizing one must advance is one thing; to avoid the fate of Jefferson, Texas, one must also be prepared to advance. And while we must take that leap to ensure our survival, we will find it enriches our work in ways we had never imagined.
Holly Shulman, Research Professor at the University of Virginia, is the editor of The Dolley Madison Digital Edition and coeditor of the forthcoming People of the Founding Era, both published by Rotunda.
Posted in History and Political Science, Main
p5plus1 This week Iran sat down with representatives from the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany—as part of the P5+1 meeting—to discuss plans to scale back its nuclear program. It is hoped that the talks result not only in a plan acceptable to all parties but a new openness in communication between Iran and the world. So far the signs have been positive. R. K. Ramazani, one of the world’s leading scholars on modern Iran and author of Independence without Freedom: Iran’s Foreign Policy, already contributed some thoughts on new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, and now he looks more closely at Iran’s relations with the United States…
In all of my study of Iran over the past sixty years, whether before or after the Revolution of 1979, I have pleaded for a better understanding of the country and its people. The title of my latest work—Independence without Freedom: Iran’s Foreign Policy—reveals my sense, however, that what’s important now is the Iranians’ struggle for freedom.
I believe that the problem of American-Iranian relations derives mostly from American inattention to history. About half a century ago, I called attention to the fact that in Iranian culture the “past is ever present,” as well as urged that that reality was, and still is, vital to a better understanding of Iran’s foreign-policy behavior. In contrast, in our American culture the past is never present. For example, we tend to dismiss a viewpoint opposed to our own by saying, “That is history!”
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright well encapsulated the importance of understanding the history and culture of other nations. In an address in 2000 to U.S. diplomats and other officials, she said “cultural factors are utterly inseparable from foreign policy,” and that “the more we know and understand about cultures of those with whom we interact, the more successful our policy will be.”
I would argue that Iranian foreign policy is currently being driven by identity, independence, power, authoritarianism, factionalism, environment and democracy. At the same time, Iran’s foreign policy makers use a variety of tools, including subversion, soft power, hard power, and procrastination.
In approaching the nuclear issues, we must look at the context of Iran’s diplomatic culture, which reveals that ever since the Iranian Revolution, the opposition of the West in general and the United States in particular to Iran’s nuclear development has created in the psyche of the Iranian people the need to defend their nation’s “inalienable right” (haq-e Musallam) to enrich nuclear power for such uses as electricity. This need has deep roots in the ancient Iranian loyalty to national identity, the goal of political independence, and the quest for regional primacy, not dominance.
I believe that for the P5+one—the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, and Germany—the goal of halting Iran’s nuclear enrichment is unrealistic. Iran will be prepared to accept limits on its enrichment level, perhaps even to the extent of forgoing breakout capacity. It will ultimately depend, of course, on what Iran will get in return.
The essays contained in my new book were written long before the end of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration and during the highest tension between the United States and Iran. But just when the skies looked dark, something new and unexpected happened. Hassan Rouhani’s surprise landslide victory in Iran astounded Iranians, Americans, and much of the world. He promised to seek the “road to moderation,” as well as better relations with the United States and to pursue “freedom” for the Iranian people. Where the road to moderation will take the United States and Iran is difficult to foresee, but the Iranian people’s quest for freedom is sure to persist.
R. K. Ramazani is the Edward R. Stettinius Professor Emeritus of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia. His Independence without Freedom: Iran’s foreign Policy will be available in November.