Monday, January 10, 2011

Texas History Department Launches "Not Even Past"

[Via H-Law, we have the following announcement of the University of Texas History Department virtual bridge to a public interested in things historical. Not Even Past is well worth checking out. The production values are quite good, and it is, in effect, a challenge to any academic inclined simply to kvetch about popular history. I also suspect it's a way to build a constituency for academic history that might prove helpful when state legislators turn to budget cutting. Check out especially, among the "virtual courses," H.W. Brand's "The Essence of Leadership: Ben Franklin, Andrew Jackson, FDR." It is a series of three virtual chats, each based on one of Brand's books.]

The History Department at UT Austin is launching an informative, interactive history web site today, January 10. Not Even Past provides current historical writing to a popular audience. For history buffs who want reading recommendations and short, interesting, digestible stories every day, the website offers a meaningful, dynamic, and ongoing conversation about History in the form of text, audio, and video histories on subjects that span the globe. The site is designed for anyone who is interested in history, from an avid reader of history to a history film aficionado.

The content and "picks" are written by the department's 60-person faculty with additional input from the graduate students. Notevenpast.org is rich with book and film recommendations, video interviews, podcasts, online commentary, and even virtual classes (free) every semester. You can learn from exceptional faculty and dialog with other history aficionados and Texas Exes, enrolled globally.

The History Department's new site is one-of-a-kind -- no other university or institution offers a similar resource. Not Even Past will be identified with the individuals in the History Department at UT, giving readers a personalized experience of great history writing as well as promoting the strengths of the department and the University of Texas. Not Even Past also differs from other History department sites in its stylish visual design and its cutting-edge user-friendly functionality.

Joan Neuberger, Editor
George Christian, Assistant Editor, Features Editor

At launch today the website has six major features

MAIN FEATURE:
This section will focus on a recent book by a UT faculty member. The January edition showcases Jacqueline Jones' "Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War" and includes a short video interview with the author; a text discussion of the book; a live chat with the author; an on-going book club discussion; suggestions for related reading; a podcast of an excerpt from the book.

READ AND WATCH:
Learn what the department's exceptional historians and their graduate students are reading, and which books and history films they recommend. Scan written and video reviews of books by category: Featured Reads, United States, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Transnational. With one click, add your comments, or instantly order books/films that you want. The home page will link to book recommendations chosen by our faculty and graduate students and one featured video book discussion; the January edition will have a video of George Forgie discussing books on the Civil War. The home page will link to discussions of current and classic historical films. In January, Frank Guridy will discuss two films about Cuba and Madeline Hsu writes about Wayne Wang's Chan is Missing.

DISCOVER:
Discover fascinating, little-known, or rarely-viewed images and texts ... from collections at UT Austin and around the world. Learn what each of these jewels teaches us about history. In January, Erika Bsumek writes about a Navajo rug in our Fine Arts library collection; Martha Newman writes about work and religion in 12-century France. David Crew will contribute a piece of wedding photographs taken in Jewish ghettos under Nazi rule.

LISTEN:
Beef up your podcast library with special global interviews and excerpts from campus history conferences and classes. Enjoy daily history FACT CHECKS and myth busting. Learn more Texas history. Access NEP for stories from Texas' past: oral histories, photo essays, and great books. This section will feature oral histories and interviews and will link to all our podcasts. The January edition will include oral histories from recent India and Pakistan and an article on LBJ's Vietnam policy, with an audio of his phone conversations.

TEXAS:
Texas history of all kinds. January will include an excerpt from Emilio Zamora's new book on Mexican-Americans in Texas during WWII, and a photo essay by Bob Abzug on Jewish cemeteries and synagogues in Texas.

In addition to extensive comment and history chat areas throughout NEP, take any of the three virtual courses offered each semester (no tests!). Learn from outstanding award-winning faculty and share your thoughts and questions with other history buffs and Texas Exes ... enrolled globally. Register on the site to be eligible for free autographed books by UT Austin History faculty. A scrolling ticker across the home page will post daily twitter feed updates and a feature we call "The Fact Checker" which will offer links to short articles correcting historical myths and common historical misconceptions.

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