I have closed my old blog, Clio and Me, and I will be slowly migrating select material to this blog. I will keep the original dates of the migrated posts, point out where I first published them, and update any outgoing links as necessary. I will also add the category Clio and Me, but I will probably not carry over old comments, unless something strikes me as still relevant.

I hope the slow migration does not cause havoc with subscriptions.

Update, November 24, 2014: I am doing the same kind of housekeeping (or curating) for my old blog about writing and learning English, Language for You. But I am not bringing much of that over here, because most of those posts were only short grammar and language tips for my ESOL and history students.

“Not a Military Historian”

At a recent lecture on the Great War, Roger Chickering said, “I’m not a military historian.”1 The phrase stuck in my mind because he said it two more times during the course of the lecture and discussion. I’m sure he was trying to avoid letting the discussion get sidetracked by narrower debates about military operations, which was fair enough in the context of his talk about a series of common structural elements in Germany’s, France’s, and Great Britain’s wars. Nonetheless, his words bothered me.

Of course, there was nothing surprising about the statement. And Chickering really can’t be called a “military historian” in narrow sense of the term. Nor can I, his former student. But if stating that one is “not a military historian” makes sense in terms of the prejudices of too many academic historians, it also cedes the ground of professional competence to those historians who only focus on the battlefield.

As legitimate as narrower operational and tactical studies of warfare are, their authors cannot be allowed to enjoy a monopoly on the interpretation of the more military-technical aspects of warfare, which are usually the purview of officers and the historians who focus on their decisions and actions. The broad expertise and perspective of the historian who studies war’s manifestations away from the violence is also needed for the battlefield and everywhere else that people were killing or being killed for ostensibly political aims.

  1. Roger Chickering, “Imperial Germany’s Peculiar War, 1914–1918,” Georgetown University, October 23, 2014. 


Although this blog would seem to indicate otherwise, I am still alive. Here’s what I’ve been up to besides my usual not-blogging:

Archive Seminar

Someone else will be doing the GHI’s archive seminar next year. Part of me wishes I was still doing it, because I enjoy working with the students, and I was looking forward to rethinking part of the program. At the same time, I need all the time I can get at the GHI for editing at the moment.


I’m finishing up the editing for a translated monograph by Annelie Ramsbrock called The Science of Beauty: Culture and Cosmetics in Modern Germany, 1750-1930. It has been a challenge in terms of making the translation more accurate and readable, while at the same time working to keep my inner control freak in check.


I have been revisiting my Groener project, but most of my reading is on gender and war in the middle decades of the nineteenth century in Europe as part of a handbook project. I’m enjoying this work, and I’m managing to do it because I’m not teaching this semester—probably not next semester either.

Archival Summer Seminar 2014

Call for Applications

Archival Summer Seminar in Germany, June 23 – July 4, 2014

The Archival Summer Seminar, organized by the German Historical Institute, is a two-week program for advanced graduate students in German history and related fields. The seminar trains participants to read old German handwriting; it acquaints them with how German archives select and store documents; it familiarizes them with how to use German archives and libraries; and it provides a forum for students to network and discuss research methods.

Qualified applicants must be enrolled in a Ph.D. program at a North American institution of higher education. They can come from any of a broad range of fields concerned with historical studies, including not only history, but also art history, literature, and musicology. It is open to advanced graduate students whose projects require that they consult source material in German archives and research libraries as well as handwritten materials in old German script. Preference will be given to those who have already chosen a dissertation topic and will reach ABD status shortly before or after the Archival Summer Seminar takes place. Prospective candidates must have excellent German reading and listening comprehension because all parts of the program will be conducted in German. The organizers will evaluate applicants’ German proficiency by telephone interview before participants are selected.

To apply, please email or mail the following materials to Mark Stoneman so that they arrive by January 31, 2014:

• cover letter;
• curriculum vitae;
• project exposé of no more than 3,000 words;
• graduate school transcript;
• if your transcript does not show ABD status (you have finished your courses and comprehensive exams), please also submit a letter (or email) from your department stating when you are expected to reach ABD status and begin your archival research;
• at least one letter of recommendation emailed or mailed directly by the recommender.

Participants will assemble in Germany the afternoon before the program begins and go their own ways the morning after it ends. The seminar includes July 4 because we have to work around several German holidays when German research facilities will be closed.

If you have any questions, contact Mark Stoneman by email.


Address: Mark Stoneman, German Historical Institute, 1607 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington DC 20009