Friday, September 30, 2011

What is This Cross?

I’ll wager that not many of you know why this cross, which happens to be located in Ohio, is so interesting. A clue: it comes from a chapel in the town from which departed a certain explorer who is important in American history.  Another clue: four hundred years after that departure (actually, 401 years), a World Exhibition was held in America to celebrate the explorer.  The first student to tell me who the explorer is and the name of the town wins a cool history or political science t-shirt. Please send your answers to me at  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why Study History?

Here is John Locke's answer: History "is the great mistress of prudence and civil knowledge and ought to be the proper study of a gentleman or man of business in the world." He adds that civil law "and history are studies which a gentleman should not barely touch at, but constantly dwell upon and never have done with."  Someone who constantly studies civil law and history (and understands Latin and can write a "good hand"), can be "turned loose into the world with great assurance that he will find employment and esteem everywhere." (Some Thoughts Concerning Education, #182 and 186). Ok, you say, that might have worked in 1690, but it isn't true today.  Well, check out this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (9/21/2011; sorry subscription required) on how historical illiteracy hurts our politics and our businesses.

Students, why don't you send me ( your favorite reasons for studying history or your favorite quotes on that.  I'll post them here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Internship at the Ohio DHS

Dantan Wernecke (History and Political Science, 2012) had a very interesting internship this summer at the Administrative Office of the Director of the Ohio Department of Homeland Security (a mouthful, I know; but hey, this involves two government agencies). This is an Ohio State agency that facilitates federal DHS programs in Ohio (See Here). Dantan read "Hazard Analysis Reports" and did research on threats to anything important to our way of life - a wide range of things, including roads, bridges, commercial facilities, OSU football games, even cell phone networks, powerlines, and computers. He says that his education in history and political science was great preparation for this work.

Why Study Classics - or History and Political Science?

The Department of History and Political Science is proposing a Classics Major at AU.  It would involve taking our current Classical Civilization Minor, a sequence of three Latin classes at AU (these are also being proposed), and then finishing the major with a semester of study abroad at the American University in Rome, where you would study more Latin and take advantage of the wonderful resources found in Rome! How cool would that be?  We'll keep you posted on the progress of this proposal.

Need more reasons to study Classics?  Check out what the Princeton Review says:  

Who designed the water faucet? How did a Caesarean section get its name? Was Homer really blind? Why should you beware of Greeks bearing gifts? The answers to these and many other questions are yours for the knowing if you major in Classics - the study of the languages, literatures, and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. A Classics major offers the opportunity to explore the beliefs and achievements of antiquity, and to learn just how profoundly they still affect contemporary civilization.