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1. Brian Ross <email@example.com> 2. Joe Cleere <firstname.lastname@example.org> 3. Nicholas Clarke <email@example.com> 4. Westermeyer GS11 Paul W <firstname.lastname@example.org> 5. "Megargee, Geoffrey" <GMegargee@ushmm.org> -----Message from: Brian Ross <email@example.com>----- > H-War Editor David Silbey wrote: From: Mike Yared > <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Thursday, February 18, 2010 > 6:00:28 AM Subject: Citing David Irving > > I got this from a law librarian:"I am trying to ascertain the > current attitude in academic institutions, (mainly > universities), to history students citing from the works of > the notorious UK "historian" David Irving. I understand, for > example, that a number of universities in Australia > specifically penalize students who cite from his works, > whilst others frown upon it but do not impose penalties. I > should like, eventually, to obtain as clear a picture as > possible of the current situation, in as many countries as > possible. Most if not all of you will be aware that, in his > spectacularly unsuccessful libel action in the UK a few years > ago against Professor Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books, the > trial judge found David Irving to be an anti-semite and > deliberate falsifier/distorter of history. > (See:http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/i/irving-david/judgment-00-00.html). > Yet his books are still readily available for purchase in > stores and online and most academic libraries have them. All > and any help with my enquiry will be very gratefully > received.Thanks," Can one ask the source for your claims that Australian universities penalise citing David Irving? There are many Australian academics who read, if not actively post on H-War so perhaps they can provide a more recent view on the realities of this than anybody else can. My experience with Australian academia ends basically 10 years ago. Up until that point, Irving was considered not quite "pukka" but he definitely was not banned, nor was citing his works penalised. Indeed, I attended in 1986 a lecture he gave at one Adelaide University, where he had been invited to speak (of course, this was before his increased notoriety). Admittedly it was obvious he had over-imbibed at the lunch before hand and his lecture which was meant to be on the 1956 Hungarian Uprising became a thinly veiled book selling spiel for his then recently published book on Churchill (as well it must be noted a bit of an anti-Semitic rant as well). Most Australian university libraries carry his works as any search through the various online library catalogs will show. Irving has always struck me as somewhat bizarre in his political biases but thats just a personal opinion. cheers Brian Ross Independent Scholar of life. Brian Ross <email@example.com> -----Message from: Joe Cleere <firstname.lastname@example.org>----- Irving also attacked Hans Speidel, who was Rommel's chief of staff of Army Group B during the Battle of Normandy, in his book Trail of the Fox. He described Speidel as a traitor who deliberately botched the German response to the Normandy invasion on 6 June 1944 while Rommel was away in Germany. He also alleges that Speidel was part of a plot to withhold reinforcements to Normandy, and that he implicated Rommel in the plot against Hitler in order to save his own life. None of these allegations are true. Joe Cleere RBD Library Auburn University Joe Cleere <email@example.com> -----Message from: Nicholas Clarke <firstname.lastname@example.org>----- With regard to this interesting and important discussion, list members might be interested in the case of Joel Hayward at New Zealand's University of Canterbury. The link below is Dr. Hayward's discussion of the affair: http://www.joelhayward.com/myoverviewoftheaffair.htm Nic Clarke Nicholas Clarke <email@example.com> -----Message from: Westermeyer GS11 Paul W <firstname.lastname@example.org>----- I agree with those who see a student's use of Irving as a teachable moment concerning bias and judging sources. A blanket policy of simply marking down students who use his work seems to be a failure to teach responsibly. On the other hand, Irving is an easy target as an apologist for the near universally condemned Nazis. Yet many others within the history profession baldly believe that their job is shaping the historical narrative to suit their political agenda. I recall at Ohio State, as a grad student, receiving an email from a fellow grad student through the History Department grad student listserv asking if we were all 'guilty of teaching Left but not acting Left." This individual was astonished when several of his fellow grad students (primarily military history specialists like myself), replied that as historians it was not professionally ethical to 'teach Left' in the first place. A lively debate ensued, and while I do not know the students ultimate fate, I would be shocked to discover he was not out there 'teaching Left' as a professor at a small Liberal Arts college. Paul Westermeyer Historian, History Division Marine Corps University Paul.Westermeyer@usmc.mil http://www.history.usmc.mil Westermeyer GS11 Paul W <email@example.com> -----Message from: "Megargee, Geoffrey" <GMegargee@ushmm.org>----- Mark Stout writes, " We might also suggest--and here I am speculating--that his earlier writing is generally more reliable than his later. Other such statements might be possible. With this dimensionality, we would then allow our fellow historians to do what historians do: make judgments about sources. I know some people on this thread, such as Geoff Megargee, disagree with me. How would they assess the health and prevailing professional standards in our field given the lengthy list of prominent people in our field (or in fields close to ours) who have cited Irving?" I would begin by saying that I don't disagree with Dr. Stout. Our fellow historians are certainly free to use Irving if they so wish; I would not deny them that right, even if I had the power. I'll point out that the original question concerned students, presumably undergrads, who have not been trained in source analysis to the extent that professional historians have. Even in that case, though, I said that I would not ban the works, but point out their flaws and tell the students to find other sources. I believe that the case against Irving is clear. His works are simply not reliable, and the flaws in them are so deep-seated and well masked that only detailed research can ferret them out. This is why I recommend that anyone with any doubts consult the study that Richard Evans did, and why I maintain that citing Irving's works is simply a waste of time, at best. Dr. Stout is right on target when he asks about the many historians who have cited Irving over the years. At least one of them, John Keegan, testified for him in the Lipstadt case, albeit unwillingly (you can read part of his account of the experience, and his views of Irving, at http://www.focal.org/online/DTel/120400e.html). Irving is a fine writer, and, as Keegan puts it, "his books positively clank and groan under the weight of apparatus." I believe that most of us, when confronted with so many citations and elegantly written text, tend to believe that the author has done her or his homework and is in fact worth reading. Who among us has re-done an author's primary research in order to test its validity, even in order to write a book review? Only that level of research -- which the Lipstadt trial facilitated -- reveals the depth of Irving's problems as a historian. Thus the Irving case reveals a weakness in our profession. It may be an unavoidable weakness, but it is there. You can indeed fool most of us, at least for a while, if you're clever about it. Geoff Megargee "Megargee, Geoffrey" <GMegargee@ushmm.org> ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----