Commonplace
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Man at computer

July 1, 2001

WORCESTER, MASS.--The on-line history journal Common-place devotes its entire July issue to a deep and multi-faceted look at the tangled roots of race and slavery in the United States. "There is little doubt," historian Shane White writes in this special number, "that 'race' is the American issue, the one that saturates the nation's past and continues to bedevil its present." Common-place was founded and is edited by two scholars, Jane Kamensky, associate professor of history at Brandeis University, and author of Governing the Tongue: The Politics of Speech in Early New England, and Jill Lepore, associate professor of history at Boston University and author of the Bancroft Prize-winning The Name of War: King Philip's War and American Identity. This issue is available, free of charge, starting on July 1, 2001, at www.common-place.org.

Two distinguished historical organizations--the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) of Worcester, Massachusetts, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History (GLI), based in New York City--recently formed a partnership to sponsor and support the publication of Common-place. The editorial board of this Internet magazine of pre-twentieth century American history includes such notable historians as David W. Blight, Gary Nash, and Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

Special Issue on American Slavery

From philosopher Aaron Garrett's assessment of the recent ups and downs of Thomas Jefferson's reputation, to art historian Cheryl Finley's meditation on Black Americans' journeys "back" to Africa as cultural heritage tourists, this issue of Common-place asks readers to consider the present in the past--and vice versa.

For this special issue, the editors invited people who make portraying and analyzing American slavery their lives' work--from interpreters to historians and novelists--to probe the special challenges of their subject: the difficulties of seeing slavery, hearing slavery, filming slavery, and writing about slavery. The issue also introduces a new genre of reviews, "Re-readings," where some of today's leading scholars consider the ways that the great works of past decades still speak to them: Kathleen Brown reconsiders Edmund Morgan's classic, American Slavery, American Freedom, and Walter Johnson looks at Eugene Genovese's controversial Roll, Jordan, Roll. Regular Common-place columns in this issue track American slavery through the archives, on archaeological digs, into the classroom, and more. B>

About Common-place

The web magazine aims to provide "a common place for exploring and exchanging ideas about early American history and culture," said Lepore. "A bit friendlier than a scholarly journal, a bit more scholarly than a popular magazine, Common-place speaks--and listens--to scholars, museum curators, teachers, hobbyists, and just about anyone interested in American history before 1900." Common-place readers can join in the discussion of any of the journal's features by visiting the "Republic of Letters," a message board on the website.

The first issue of Common-place was published on the Internet last fall. The slavery number is the fourth quarterly number and the first thematic issue. AAS, GLI, and a number of other educational and historical organizations helped underwrite Common-place's early issues.

The slavery issue will be on-line through October and then available among the journal's archived issues on the website. Individuals may "subscribe" to the journal in order to be notified of the publication of each issue and occasional between-issue "extras."

About the American Antiquarian Society

AAS is a learned society and independent research library, specializing in all aspects of American history and culture through 1876. Founded in 1812 by the patriot printer and publisher Isaiah Thomas, AAS is the third oldest historical organization in the United States and the first to take the whole nation as its scope. The AAS library is the preeminent repository of pre-twentieth-century American printed materials and related manuscript and graphic arts materials in the world. The Society also sponsors an array of programs to encourage the use of its collections and to foster a greater understanding of American history. The main office for Common-place is at AAS, 185 Salisbury St., Worcester, MA 01609-1634; telephone (508) 755-5221.

About the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

GLI promotes the study of the American past by organizing seminars and enrichment programs for teachers; supporting and producing publications and national traveling exhibitions; creating innovative history high schools, history programs, and Saturday academies; establishing research centers at universities and cultural institutions; granting and administering a major fellowship program for work in leading archives; and seeking to build national and international networks of people and institutions involved in American history.

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