Monthly Archives: January 2014

Hello, Digital Symposium!

My, my.

Last week I highlighted an op-ed by a former student, this week I get to introduce an entire website!

A group of current and former Northwestern students have set up “The Digital Symposium.” The editor, Jacob Wolf, describes the endeavor this way:

We are a group of individuals with an interest in the liberal arts who are committed to seeking a depth of understanding in all that we do and think.  We have launched this blog to begin a conversation about ideas, for like Richard Weaver, we emphatically assert that “ideas have consequences.”  This blog is a means for us to sharpen our thinking through the art of writing, to engage in conversation/dialectic to “rightfully divide the truth,” and to spark anew (or rekindle) in our readers a passion for the good, the true, and the beautiful.

And, as if that’s not enough, let me also quote Wolf’s conclusion:

As we christen The Digital Symposium (and lives devoted to intellectual excellence and virtue), may it be said of us as was once recounted of Basil the Great, that the galleons of our lives be “laden with all the learning attainable by the nature of man.”

Not only does Wolf has a nice introductory piece, there is also an essay on The Great Gatsby and the American Dream presently up. I have no doubt more meaty stuff is still to follow.

It’s great to see students carry on an interest in the liberal arts and join the conversation. Again, historical training offers tremendous ways for thinking about the big questions–the questions that urgently need to be addressed in the present world.

So again, check out The Digital Symposium!

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Realistic Patriotism, Public Service, and a Former Student

I recently learned that a former student of mine at the University of Northwestern recently published an op-ed in his hometown newspaper.

Aaron Reep is currently undergoing Marine Officer Training, but he managed to publish the piece in his Springfield, Ohio paper. The piece is based on a talk he gave before he left for training.

I think the piece is worth reading for several reasons.

First, it gets points for mentioning one of his former professors.

More significantly, I appreciate the piece for the realistic patriotism it expresses. It recognizes problems (currently as well as in the past) with the country. It doesn’t simply regurgitate slogans or rely on mythology masquerading as history. Instead, it possesses an eyes-wide-open approach to conditions. The author’s response, though, is to contribute his bit of public service for national defense as a way of improving the nation and conserving its strengths for the future. I suspect this more realistic outlook will better be able to withstand future challenges.

I would suggest this is a model of public-spirited, reflective citizenship that history–and dare I say history at the University of Northwestern?–can help nurture.

Read the whole thing here.

Thanks, Aaron!

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Religion, National Identity, and Voluntary Societies in the Mid-Atlantic

Looking at my last post, I see the blog has been pretty quiet since early last month. That’s something to change in the New Year–although I hesitate to call it a “resolution.”

I can start off the year with some content, though.  I have a new post up at Religion in American History. This time, I’m writing a review of a book from 2007, called Many Identities, One Nation: The Revolution and Its Legacy in the Mid-Atlantic. I just recently came across the book, and I enjoyed it.

Anyway, click on over to read the review!

Many Identities, One Nation

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