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Observations  // Browsing posts in Observations

Why (Older Folks) Study History?

Why (Older Folks) Study History?

As part of a project aimed at discussing what (if anything) studying history does for wellbeing, I thought it would be relevant to ask a group of people actively engaged in a learning in retirement program (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, linked to George Mason University) what they thought. I have some experience asking, and thinking […]

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A Little Global Review?

A Little Global Review?

One of the advantages of no longer being Provost, but retaining interest in some of the issues that attracted me before, is that there is an opportunity for additional thinking and reflection. This can be slightly embarrassing, when one realizes that some of the thoughts should have been thought before, when there was more chance […]

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The Nuclear Analogy

The Nuclear Analogy

I have been intrigued, recently, by how often the media (particularly, the print media, who still enjoy the time to think) are turning to history to find some guidelines amid current uncertainties. It’s great to be reminded of how essential the discipline is, and I hope anti-humanists will take note. Thus we are told about […]

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The Challenge of Terror

The Challenge of Terror

In the aftermath of recent attacks, including those in Beirut, in Paris, and apparently against a Russian airliner, and with deep respect to those who have suffered in result, a few thoughts. It is really important to remember several things about terrorism, recently and historically. Terrorists are not able to use conventional military strength OR […]

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History and Social Science

History and Social Science

It strikes me – though this is as much a question to my disciplinary colleagues as a statement – that it might be timely to remind ourselves and others of the social science components of historical research and analysis. The point is not to ignore the clear links between history and the humanities, but to […]

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PR

PR

I’m surprised that University public relations efforts haven’t received wider assessment, though as always of course I may have missed something. I know that many faculty roll their eyes a bit when big PR campaigns are presented, but that doesn’t necessarily lead to broader discussion. So I thought aspects of the topic might usefully be […]

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Public Grief: History and Emotion

Public Grief: History and Emotion

A month or so before my service as provost ended we had a “shooter” exercise for our safety folks and upper administration. The idea of course is that some realistic scenarios would help us all deal with the real thing should it ever occur, and while I always disliked the simulation I can’t argue that […]

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22 Jun Posted by in Observations | 12 comments

Mason Goals

Mason Goals

This is the last blog I’ll write as Provost. I hope to continue blogging more occasionally, on various topics that reflect an appropriate distance from central administration. My thanks to those who’ve followed my blogs over these several years (both of you? Are there more?). I’ve appreciated the interest and reaction. I am actually turning […]

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08 Jun Posted by in Observations | Comments

Politics

Politics

One of the interesting aspects of serving in higher administration, in a public university, involves the obvious need to seem, and be, fairly even-handed politically. I may not have done this as well as I should, having fairly pronounced and obvious liberal views (if not worse), but at least I don’t seem to have gotten […]

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BOV

BOV

Unless something goes radically awry, I’ve now experienced my last meeting of Mason’s Board of Visitors. Not surprisingly, preparing for, encountering and recovering from BOV meetings is a key aspect of upper administration work. I won’t deny that there is usually some tension involved. Even when issues are fairly simple – and that’s been largely […]

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