Thursday, February 10, 2005

Historians in Trouble: Why Some Get Nailed

Filthy liars. Great new book that's just out. We'll have a few copies shortly. In the meantime, read this review!
"Historians have been in the news a lot recently, and the news has not been good—accusations of plagiarism, investigations of research fraud, and punishments for classroom misconduct have made headlines and in some cases even ended up in court. Media spectacles around scholarly scandals have become, as Ron Robin writes, “a veritable cottage industry”; investigations of misconduct that in the past were confined to the profession, to academic senate committees and academic journals, now are reported on page one and on TV news. What’s new, he argues, is not the uncovering of wrongdoing, but rather the visibility of the charges, and their dissemination as media events—“performances, staged and choreographed for mass-mediated consumption.”

But not all cases of wrongdoing by historians follow this scenario. While some charges of misconduct end up on page one and bring careers to an end, other equally serious charges stay out of the media spotlight and bring little or no public sanction or punishment. Why do some cases become media events while others remain within the confines of scholarly settings?"

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