F o c u s o n N e t w o r k s
by Matthew Gilmore [email@example.com],
Co-Editor, Web Editor
Just added to the H-DC website -- a page containing the summer 2001
of swamps in Washington, D.C. -- validity or invalidity of the
ramifications or implications (political and social) of use of the term
of the term "swamp".
Begun on the H-Urban list, H-DC took on the discussion, offering up a
variety of perspectives. Each message is included, however cited
been truncated from the postings. A link is provided to the original
and context for each message.
Also included on this page are:
* Links to an earlier thread on H-SHEAR about the term "mall"
* Joel A. Tarr's paper on city development and the natural
* Some examples of how the term swamps is used even today to describe
condition and situation of Washington;
* A link to Sierra Club's definition of wetlands.
by Beth Salerno [BSalerno@Anselm.Edu], H-SHEAR
H-SHEAR was founded in 1995 by H-Net’s Vice President of Networks,
to provide a forum for the discussion of American history between the
Revolution and the 1850s. In 1997, The Society for the History of the
American Republic (SHEAR) adopted the list as its official electronic
and the two organizations have been linked ever since. Although SHEAR's
voice -- the Journal of the Early Republic -- provides an outlet
scholarly research on the period, Knupfer and others recognized the need
dynamic, ongoing dialogue regarding the powerful events of this period.
brings together established scholars, graduate students, independent
as well as non-academic individuals with a strong interest in the
the gap between scholarly research and public dissemination, enabling
to counter ill-informed opinions, and engaging people in historical
are all-important aspects of the list.
H-SHEAR's first book review editor, Bruce Baird, saw the potential of
book reviews quite early. Baird helped to define this emerging field by
longer reviews than were possible in paper journals, encouraging author
and framing questions for list discussion. Baird held reviewers to such
standard that even skeptical scholars began to eagerly await the next
These came quite frequently; H-SHEAR published 51 book reviews in 1999.
legacy lives on with Jonathan Sassi and, more recently, Stacey
have joined H-SHEAR as book review editors. Sassi and Robertson
book reviews last year, and have produced 16 more thus far this year.
response and reviewer commentary have become standards of H-SHEAR's book
process, and the list continues to innovate, publishing simultaneous
by scholars in different fields.
The list also organized one of the first interactive reviews of a
journal, with commissioned essays and discussions by reviewers and
a special issue of the Journal of the Early Republic on
the Early Republic.
This summer H-SHEAR sponsored the first teaching session at the SHEAR
meeting. Exploring approaches to teaching the early republic has always
an important part of H-SHEAR's mission, and teaching editor Jamie
continues to try and steer list discussion toward topics in the
discussions on the list have included the pros and cons of new
to organize new courses, the locations of new primary sources, and
hot topics in the field that emerge in classroom lectures.
H-SHEAR is currently edited by Peter Knupfer and Beth Salerno, both of
teach and research America’s early republic. H-SHEAR’s website is
by Hal Morris, who has included on the site significant primary
use by teachers and scholars. The list has approximately 800 members,
recent discussion topics ranging from the controversy over a new book in
field to debate over the meaning of Thomas Jefferson's personal life.
has clearly succeeded in bringing together scholars and readers, and has
a respected forum for book reviews, source concerns, and debates on the
View sample H-SHEAR Book Reviews:
Gelles on Casper, _Constructing American Lives_ (Mar. 2000).
Mattern on Leibiger, _Founding Friendship_ (Oct. 2000).
Hizer on LOC's Thomas Jefferson papers online site (1999).
by Brenda Randolph [firstname.lastname@example.org], H-AfrTeach
H-AfrTeach, a cyber-sister of H-Africa, is devoted to improving
about Africa. In addition to Africanists, H-AfrTeach strives to reach
of educators outside of the Africanist community -- teachers who teach,
be teaching about Africa, but who have limited expertise in the subject.
attention is given to primary and secondary school teachers.
The H-AfrTeach discussion list and H-AfrTeach review database are the
major components of our service. The discussion list provides educators
a forum to ask questions related to the teaching of Africa and to share
and best practices with other educators. The H-AfrTeach review database
in-depth, scholarly reviews of children's and young people's Africana.
One of the greatest problems facing educators is the scarcity of good
on Africa at the pre-collegiate level. For this reason, the editors at
have focused much of our attention on the development of a review
The database is designed to help educators identify accurate, balanced
on Africa and to become aware of the myths, stereotypes, biases and
frequently encounters in materials. Our intent is to provide serious
of the content as well as the aesthetic and grade level appeal of
and young people's literature. Our international review staff includes
professors, librarians, and teachers, most of whom have lived in Africa
have graduate degrees in African Studies. H-AfrTeach reviews also appear
Africa Access Review, an extensive online review database of children's
Collectively, H-AfrTeach and Africa Access Review provide the most
analysis of children's and young people's Africana on the worldwide
A host of people benefit from H-AfrTeach reviews. Publishers use our
to identify problems in published materials and to locate scholars who
them with future projects. Educators have an authoritative source to
to evaluate classroom materials. Librarians are using our reviews to
collections on Africa. College students in schools of education have
to reliable information about Africa before they enter the classroom.
of the general public have a resource they can use to build personal
Non-Africanist educators are not the only beneficiaries of H-AfrTeach
Africanists benefit as well, most specifically those who review
the African Studies Association's Children's Africana Book Awards. Each
the awards' committee selects the best books on Africa published in the
in two categories: young Children and Older Readers. The awards'
heavily on H-AfrTeach reviews, using them to help identify the best
Africa and to evaluate nominated titles. Committee members compare
about nominated titles with those provided by H-AfrTeach reviewers, and
ask reviewers to illuminate or clarify issues. This collaborative
debate and ensures the soundness of the awards' selection process.
All of us are connected in some way to youth. We invite you to explore
reviews, to join our discussion list and participate in our efforts to
perspectives on Africa.
View sample book reviews from H-AfrTeach:
Sylviane Anna Diouf. Kings and Queens of West Africa.
Margy Burns Knight and Mark Melnicove. Africa Is Not A Country.
M. E. Chamberlain. The Scramble for Africa
by Wendy Plotkin [email@example.com], H-Urban
H-Urban, launched on February 23, 1993, was H-Net's
first on-line forum. As the inaugural venture of the fledgling
(then known as "History On-Line"), H-Urban introduced many of
elements that today define H-Net networks: an editorial board consisting
top scholars in the field, use of scholar-editors from around the world
content, the distribution of announcements and calls for papers, the
and archiving of threads for retrieval at a later date, and the use of
to collect information on subscribers. Since its inception, H-Urban's
comprised of leading authorities in urban studies and history from
world, has advised and supported the list. H-Urban's editorial staff,
present -- including Alan Mayne, Martha Bianco, Mark Peel, Keith
Flanagan, Mickey Lauria, Kevan Frazier, Ulf Zimmermann, Elizabeth Kent,
myself -- has been drawn from universities in the U.S., Australia, and
Africa. The list's 2200 subscribers come from almost 50 nations,
the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Germany, Italy, France, the
Spain, Brazil, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, and many others.
H-Urban has always had a vision that the Internet
should be more than chat. From its discussions to its newest Web-based
the emphasis has been on ensuring that it offered material of enduring
substance. Its discussions are noted for an insistence that those
citations of works on their topics -- one of the most common praises
is the broad knowledge that they attain of the work in the field. On
for readings on a certain topic, the editors have often urged those
to include brief descriptions of the works that they recommend rather
titles. Those asking for suggestions for readings are asked to provide
of their own projects, as well as to offer the major works they have
identified on their topics. In some cases, subscribers have been more
after asking for readings on the "literary representations of
(1), Daryl Watson of the University of Adelaide offered an excellent
scholarly sources on the topic.
The editors have also taken a leading role in providing
material for the list, including obituaries on key figures in urban
such as Jean Gottmann (2), overviews of the work of leading scholars
that of Zane Miller (3), and extensive bibliographies such as that on
accidents (4) in American cities by Clay McShane. After the recent
of September 11, H-Urban encouraged both personal reactions to the
of one of the world's leading symbols of urbanism (5), as well as
of the effects upon cities and skyscrapers (6)
H-Urban has expanded beyond its discussions, and
to a great extent, is now associated with these Web-based features (the
Website received over 2300 "hits" in the week ending October
In 1995, Clay McShane created a major book review operation (http://www.h-net.msu.edu/reviews/revlist.cgi?list=H-Urban)
which, with the support of Roger Biles (the U.S. Review Editor since
Contributing Editors from various subject and geographical areas, has
over 850 reviews to date, of which approximately 350 were commissioned
(others were cross-posted from other H-Net lists). Bibliographic essays
topics such as "American Cities, Suburbs and the Dual
"The City and the Natural Environment," and "Berlin and
Modernity" have complemented the individual reviews (7).
In 2000, H-Urban's Teaching
was launched by Charlotte Agustin and Wendy Plotkin, building on the
efforts of William Wright. The first initiative of the Center, the
today has over 100 syllabi in courses ranging from "The Culture of
to "Third World Urbanization" (http://www.hnet.msu.edu/~urban/teach/syllabi/kohl2000syl2.htm).
In the same year, H-Urban's Web Links (http://www.h-net.msu.edu/~urban/weblinks)
page was introduced, consisting of annotated links to urban history and
websites around the world. Clay McShane created and continues to
concept and content of the site. All of these Web initiatives have
from the outstanding Web designs of Charlotte Agustin, who will receive
from a new set of Assistant Editors who will begin work in late
Although these are the most visible features, H-Urban
has had much key "behind-the-scenes" assistance from junior
such as Michael Czaplicki, Tim Draper, Heather Barrow, Ben Schrader,
and Elizabeth Earle. In their roles as subscription and assistant book
editors, they have added immeasurably to H-Urban.
H-Urban continues to expand its horizons, with
plans for a Scholar's Directory, an interactive Bibliography project,
Working Papers Series. It will seek support for these efforts from
as part of our affiliation with other professional organizations such as
Urban History Association (http://www.unl.edu/uha/assoc.html)
and the Society for American
and Regional Planning History
(1) See Daryl Watson's "literary representations
of space" bibliography at
(2) See obituary on Jean Gottmann, at
(3) See tribute to Zane Miller, at http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=
(4) See Clay McShane bibliography on automobile
(5) See all postings with the Subject Line "Historical
Perspectives on US Urban Terrorism" or "Historical
Perspectives on US Urban Terror," but in particular:
Description of the World
collisions by a stonemason from the top of the Pan Am building at http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=
Comments by Max Page, cultural historian, on popular
culture depictions of the destruction of New
First Hand Account of Deborah Gardner, New York
City Landmark Preservation Commission, at http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=
(6) See in particular:
Myriam Daru's account of European perspective on
urban destruction in light of WWII experience, at http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=
"The End of Tall Buildings" [a controversial
essay authored by James Howard Kunstler and Nikos A. Salingaros in the
of the September 11 events], at
Sharon Irish's comment on "The End of Tall
Buildings" [one of many comments on the essay], at http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=
(7) See "American
Cities, Suburbs and the Dual
"The City and the Natural Environment"
and Urban Modernity" at
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