The University of Oklahoma Historical Journal
MetadataShow full item record
Preface to the Third Issue of the OU Historical Journal by Raphael Folsom, Assistant Professor of HistoryThe third annual issue of the OU Historical Journal showcases many of the history department’s finest qualities. Our undergraduate editors, who were selected from a large and competitive pool of nominees, have brought wit, work, and fair-mindedness to the task of selecting these papers. The papers we selected show how many hours our faculty has spent guiding students through the best historiography, and drilling them with the technical aspects of scholarly work. Our students have worked with impressive focus to master the discipline of historical study. As these papers display, OU history majors reproduce in their own work the spirit of intellectual rigor and aesthetic play that animates the finest scholarship.In each of these papers, we find deep research, sophisticated analysis, and distinguished literary style.* All break new ground. Whether they find new things to say about familiar figures like Benjamin Franklin, or new data on events surrounding the Kent State killings, each article has a freshness, a novelty, and a sparkle of youthful insight that made the professors who oversaw them proud.Here is a sample. Arthur Dixon—who, I assure you, is an undergraduate—writes the following on an anonymous chronicle of twelfth century Sicily: I cannot make any definitive suggestions for the chronicle’s authorship on [the basis of internal evidence] alone, but the argument for normalizing discourse erodes the cases for the two candidates cited by Graham A. Loud: Robert of San Giovanni and Eugenius of Palermo, “son of the Emir John.” The former was a Latin notary who followed Stephen of Perche. His cultural loyalties match up well, but his personal loyalties suggest that he was not caught up in the move toward normalization. The latter was a Greek palace official and intellectual who would hardly have advocated the reconstruction of Sicily on mainland European foundations. Unfortunately, reading the History of the Tyrants as a testament to the normalization of medieval Sicily only offers vague parameters of ethnicity and ideology for the chronicle’s elusive author. This study can clarify who Falcandus was not, but it cannot pinpoint who he was.In sentence after skillfully balanced sentence, the author displays fine judgment, a fascination with historical detail, and a mature understanding of what we can and cannot know. Like all the papers we publish here, this passage bears eloquent testimony to what makes our discipline great.