“Applied History is the explicit attempt to illuminate current challenges and choices by analyzing historical precedents and analogues” — Applied History Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
Also known as public history, Applied History is used by mainstream historians that “begin with an event or era and attempt to provide an account of what happened and why. Applied historians begin with a current choice or predicament and analyze the historical record to provide perspective, stimulate imagination, find clues about what is likely to happen, suggest possible interventions, and assess probable consequences.” Applied history incorporates historical events in a hands-on environment encouraging historical analysis, investigation, museum studies, archival work, historic/heritage preservation, documentaries and firsthand experience” – Wikipedia
The Applied History Conference at Stanford University just got an in-depth cultural lesson in just what that may mean.
The conference was attacked as being “too white and too male.” A female history professor at Howard University tweeted screenshots of several of the speakers at the conference and wrote: “ALL-MALE HISTORY CONFERENCE. This goes for the GUINNESS BOOK of the century! A team of 30 white male historians will discuss Applied History at Stanford. What a shame.”
Other female professor critics agreed until conference director, Niall Ferguso apologized, saying they discussed the diversity issue ahead of time and had invited several women who were unable to attend. He added that they “must redouble our efforts to represent diverse viewpoints in future conferences.” So, 30 men, regardless of race, can’t have diverse viewpoints?
Yet, in the current cultural climate, Ferguson had to perform the prescribed Mea Culpa, presumably to save his job.
Are we really so bored and self-absorbed, that we now must find white privilege villainy, even at an Applied History conference? Diversity is not a virtue, it’s just a naturally occurring reality of life on earth. But progressives have done a masterful job of turning diversity into their highest virtue.
There’s been much discussion about academic diversity, mainly about the lack of conservatives in universities, but it could just as easily be about gender, or ethnic and cultural backgrounds, or economic diversity. But why should we care about diversity at all?
Unfortunately, much of the argument about diversity (pro and con) seems to treat diversity as a political game. People who are considered “diverse” are hired for their status, then pushed into the sidelines until they are needed–when diversity is treated as a checkbox it becomes useless. Rather than gathering more perspectives and ideas, you reinforce the view that diversity is worthless.
In order for diversity to succeed we have to connect to a wider range of people and perspectives. We need to be challenged by ideas very different from our own, and we need to listen. While increasing the diversity can allow these kinds of connections to flourish, we should focus on ways to build wider connections and provide opportunities for people with a wide range of backgrounds to flourish. The more we do that, the better we will all be.
But it doesn’t usually work out that way. Now that progressives have achieved a subline majority, they’re working overtime to make diversity a demand placed on every American without regard for individual beliefs. This diversity policing by citizen cops on social media is not only boring, it poses a threat to a free society.
Google’s unhinged response to the Damore memo is the end result of progressive extremism. When you promote diversity as the end-all, the be-all of all of your virtues, and then you fire somebody for actually being diverse, it is time to question where you really stand. Have you violated your own ultimate truth set?