John Lind, Minnesota’s only Populist governor

This is a follow-up to a previous article called, "Digital Humanities: Newspaper Mentions of Four MN Governors" and this short note on John Lind serves two purposes. The first is practical, the other political. (And yes, all history is political). First, there are few easily-accessible resources discussing Lind's politics. [...] Second, as Orwell said, "The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history." Having served on a Texas textbook review panel, I've seen firsthand historical revisionism. I've seen Tea Party rhetoric creep into how we write about the past: The framing that government has always been an unnecessary evil, taxes an infringement upon liberty. Yet, when it comes to workers and women's rights, public education, the social safety net -- all the things that allow people to live with dignity -- these were not gifts of the free market or God but rather the product of struggle. These came from grassroots organizing. These came from rising up against power. It came from the notion that a government of the people could be proactive and a force for good. Minnesota is full of such stories, and it's about time we've heard them.

The Digital Humanities and Word Clouds

Ever since I joined the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law, I've had a growing interest in big data analysis. With so much information being digitized -- whether it's criminal records, government documents, or historical archives -- researchers can engage with old resources in new ways and ask questions on scales previously unimaginable. Though I'm not too vocal about it here (yet), right now I'm working to apply what I've learned at the Initiative to the Library of Congress' "Chronicling America" archives. This crossing of fields, for those who are curious, is called the "Digital Humanities." (If you'd like to know more, I suggest checking out the historian Dan Cohen's blog. Fred Gibbs also has a helpful introduction to historical data analysis here). I won't reveal any of my graphics here (I'm saving them for a future post), but here's an example of the Digital Humanities that everyone's familiar with: Word clouds. Technically, these were possible before the digitization of famous works, but it's the kind of work that required slave labor teaching assistants. The following I put together in a few minutes using Project Gutenberg and Wordle.

“I have never been there, but I have read Babbitt — and the villages are all Main Streetish, aren’t they?”

Studying America in England While going through the University of Minnesota's online archives, I came across an article called "Studying America in England" from The Minnesota Alumni Weekly (December 12, 1931). Written by a fresh alumna named Mildred Boie (class of '27), in it she talks of her trip to Cambridge to study English literature. Specifically, she … Continue reading “I have never been there, but I have read Babbitt — and the villages are all Main Streetish, aren’t they?”

UMN Student Senate Opposes Marriage Amendment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Joshua Preston, Chairman of the Student Senate Email: Prest202@morris.umn.edu Contact: Kate Brickman, Press Secretary, Minnesotans United for All Families Phone: 815-343-9299 Email: Kate@mnunited.org UNVERSITY OF MINNESOTA STUDENT SENATE OFFICIALLY OPPOSES MARRIAGE AMENDMENT On March 1, 2012, the University Student Senate, which represents all 67,000 students of the University of Minnesota across … Continue reading UMN Student Senate Opposes Marriage Amendment

UMN Student Senate to reject proposed marriage amendment

Hey everyone, My name is Joshua Preston and I am the Chairman of the University of Minnesota Student Senate, which represents all 67,000 students of the University system. One thing that we will be doing this Thursday, March 1, is voting on a resolution saying that we believe the marriage amendment to be antithetical to … Continue reading UMN Student Senate to reject proposed marriage amendment

The Six Most-Interesting Excerpts from Vladimir Putin’s Autobiography

Even though my reading list is long and includes several titles that will, when I don’t get to them over break, slide onto the list of “Books I Should Ready but Somehow Never Find the Time for”, I decided to kick off my Winter 2010/11 with a more obscure title. Now, for as much of … Continue reading The Six Most-Interesting Excerpts from Vladimir Putin’s Autobiography