Between midterm grading and Judo today, I attended an exceptional lecture delivered by Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
To me, it was a great demonstration of the vital importance and characteristic professional practices of history as an academic discipline, which I see as a necessary foundation for such upstart and tragically insecure disciplines as international relations and political science.
Compared in particular with a theatrical, well-received, yet historically and technically dubious talk from Ken Adelman on October 18th, Blanton’s talk seemed grounded in reputable sources and careful thinking rather than ideologically-driven enthusiasm which is little affected by either.
It’s not often that I get to nerd out on details of personal relationships between the old Trudeau and Nixon and Reagan; the close calls of the US-Soviet nuclear confrontation; issues of data preservation in a digital age; espionage; journalistic ethics; and the Vela incident.
And then I went to Judo where, despite sore ribs on the right side near my spine, I felt at least a little bit fit and competent for the first time in the course so far.