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Peter Kochanek has these suggestions on Sunday, November 10, 2002 for our Cincinnati Real History conference, next Labor Day weekend.



A couple of suggestions

FIRST, I have been an admirer of your work for quite a long time. Since finding your web-site, I visit it religiously (no pun intended).

I also have two suggestions that could "enliven" your presentation of Real History to the general public.

  • First, maybe Focal Point Publications can create an award that could be given at your annual conference. This prize can be given to some "un-lucky" historian who embodies all the qualities of a respectable court historian (the citation could read -- "Going above and beyond the usual endeavors to 'create' history acceptable to the establishment). I would even suggest that his prize be named The Professor Martin Broszat Creative History Award, and I would nominate Deborah L. and the Richard Skunk E. as potential co-recipients of the first one awarded.
  • Second, and on a more serious note, I think that historians who want to write Real History can benefit greatly from what is in academia fashionably called "inter-departmental cooperation". I have made this observation based on an experience I had in Graduate School (University of Chicago) some years ago. In my last quarter before graduation, I signed up for a course just by chance, entitled the Economics of Slavery. This course was taught by Professor Robert Fogel from the Economics Department (who subsequently was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1993, I think).

To make a long story short, Professor Fogel is nothing short of a real live "revisionist" historian (and I think he knows it). He along with a gentleman named Stanley Angerman from the University of Rochester did to the history of Slavery what you are attempting to do to the history of National Socialist Germany.

And they did it very cleverly. I remember Prof. Fogel telling our class that after WW II, an "Auschwitz view of Slavery" became all the rage. I suspect that the young Professor Fogel shared this view. (Professor Fogel is Jewish and his wife is Afro-American, so it became obvious to all of us students that Prof. Fogel went through a little emotional discomfort changing his view about the slavery experience.)

However, after examining existing historical documentation and doing the econometric calculations pertaining to aspects of the slaves life such as diets, average life spans, etc., he and Angerman were forced to change there views. Not only did they change their view, but they wrote a book about it. "Time on the Cross" was published in 1966 I think.

For the sake of brevity I will stop here, but I strongly suggest that if you have some spare time, you pick up and read Robert Fogel's magnum opus about Slavery entitled "Without Consent of Contract". It will give you great reading pleasure if for no other reason than that, it is not often that one runs across an intellectually honest academic these days.

Peter Kochanek

PS, Speaking of South Kensington, I lived in the London from 1994 to 2000,in a flat in Onslow Gardens. The best Indian restaurant that I ever came across is the Noor Jahan in Bina Gardens, just off Old Brompton Road.

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