Remind me again why KC Johnson is no longer at Williams.

The Duke Case.–

If bloggers were eligible for Pulitzer Prizes for journalism (they aren’t unless their blogs are hosted on newspaper sites), I would nominate Brooklyn Professor KC Johnson, who blogs at Cliopatria and Durham-in-Wonderland, for his coverage of the Duke case. No self-respecting journalist would think of writing anything long and evaluative on the Duke case without first checking the “blog of record,” Durham-in-Wonderland.

Those of us who have been following Johnson’s staggeringly insightful analyses of developments in the case can’t wait for his book on the hoax, which I heard will be co-authored with the brilliant Stuart Taylor.

Oh, yeah. Now I remember. But note this detail from KC.

I admit that I was naive about the state of the academy when I left Williams; I now recognize that the dismissal of American political and diplomatic history contained in the reappointment report reflected a broad national trend to exclude from History Departments pedagogical approaches (incorrectly) perceived as “traditional” or as focusing on “dead white men.” To give a typical example: The 21 scholars of U.S. history at UCLA include no historians of foreign relations, no legal historians, and no military historians. The history department’s two professors who describe their interests as political history confine their research to questions of class and gender. This fall, UCLA advertised for a tenure-track position in modern American history. The department made no pretense of seeking curricular balance, and instead asked for more of the same: a specialist in cultural, environmental, or labor history. I understand that at Williams, the History Department replaced me not with another historian of US political institutions or foreign relations but with a specialist on the American West.

That would be future Dean of the College Karen Merrill, I think.

We can all agree that it is good thing that Williams has room for professors like Merrill. But why is there no room for someone like KC Johnson? And, to the extent that a mistake was made a decade ago, why doesn’t the department reach out to KC and make an offer?

Ha! The History Department at Williams College will never make an offer to KC Johnson (or someone like him).

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