Posts Tagged 'Phillip Naylor'

The Cubs and a New Episteme

By Phillip Naylor

A new baseball season is starting, but like so many other fans (including departmental colleagues Kristen Foster and Dave McDaniel), the Cubs’ 2016 season remains an inimitable existential experience. Actually, it seemed more like a temporal displacement still leaving me in disbelief over its monumental achievements—103 regular-season wins (celebrated by ubiquitous “W” flags even here in Milwaukee), the National League Pennant (dreamt of since childhood), and the World Series Championship (beyond reverie). Perhaps I had entered an alternate universe? Or should I invoke Michel Foucault and an idea of a disrupted, discontinuous episteme, i.e., the displacement (and replacement) of configured relations and knowledge? Was my condition postmodern as well as existential, if not metaphysical? Ontology (being) and epistemology (knowing) were also at play during the 2016 season.

Oh sure, I perceived a couple of years ago while attending a late season Brewers-Cubs game of the potential of young players like Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Jorje Soler (now a Kansas City Royal). The Cubs won that one. Ironically, when Kristen, Dave, Kitty, and I went to a game last September, the Brewers pummeled the Cubs 12-5! I tried to repress the thought that this signaled a cosmological corrective. Nevertheless, future National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kris Bryant did not play (to Kristen’s particular disappointment) as Manager Joe Maddon rested him—apparently preparing for the postseason—and to my astonishment, the Cubs’ victories subsequently mounted.

An extraordinary discourse developed along with a shifting episteme—Cub fans now talked positively and anticipated winning rather than losing. Oh sure, there was a vestigial fatalism, perhaps a dreadful Ted Savage-like out-at-the-plate moment (against the Cardinals in 1967). Nevertheless, I discovered that the season sparked long dormant synapses activating currents of memory and history, e.g., my impression of Wrigley Field when the Macks took me to my first game (I had never seen a venue so verdant); a Memorial Day double header when my friend Kenny and I explored Wrigley’s empty upper grandstand during the second game; my sunburn while sitting in the sizzling right field bleachers with my father and brother; and introducing my children to Wrigley’s ambience with its faint organ music allowing reflection regarding the game’s subtleties between innings (unlike Miller Park’s electronically generated cacophony producing sensory overload).

Then there were memories of the Cubs themselves. Foremost was Ernie Banks. Yes, Ernie, that slender slugger from the Negro League’s Kansas City Monarchs whose baseball prowess and power earned him the respect, if not adoration of fans. Indeed, he was indirErnie Banksectly, like African American players of his generation, a Civil Rights figure by his very presence on the field. Banks’s positive attitude (“Let’s play three”) and dignity profoundly impressed. His love of the game transcended the ineluctable team losing streaks. I was proud that he was the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1958 and 1959.

As a boy, I poured over my Cub yearbook, which introduced me to (Joe) Tinker-to- (Johnny) Evers-to (Frank) Chance, “Three Finger(ed)” Mordecai Brown, and Gabby Hartnett (and his twilight home run against the Pirates in 1938). Yes! There had been great Cubs like Lewis “Hack” Wilson who in 1930 hit 56 home runs and drove in 191 runs (the latter statistic remains a record). I learned about Phil Cavaretta and the 1945 pennant winners. The Cubs had been winners, but the World Series Championship (last won in 1908) remained elusive.

The 2016 season reminded me how my friends and I avidly collected baseball cards. I cherished my Cubs collection—now long gone. Each card was an archive with biographical and statistical data. I learned about geography too, i.e., the location of minor league teams. (Trading cards provided early experiences of the role of utility in assessing a player’s value!) Memory recalled a great blunder—the Cubs’ trading of outfielder Lou Brock (a Hall of Famer) to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Ernie Broglio in 1964. Brock immediately helped lead the Cardinals to a World Championship while, sadly, Broglio’s arm became sore.

And the Cubs chronically lost. I would check team standings in the home-delivered Chicago Tribune to see how close the Cubs were to escaping the cellar. If they lost, how bad was it? An 8-6 loss was palatable; at least “we” came close. Yet I kept on being a fan. While at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle (UIC today), I watched for the “W” or “L” flag fluttering from the scoreboard as my northbound Englewood/Howard A or Jackson/Howard B (now Red Line) or Evanston Express train approached the Addison stop. Oh sure, I had my moments when Cubs teams frustrated if not alienated me. Yet no matter what I said, denounced, and even renounced, I still could not let go.

The worst was the 1969 season. After a phenomenal start, “Cub Power” dissipated. The Mets’ eventually overtook the Cubs and capped their “miraculous” success vs. the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. Decades after that season, a new Western Civilization Varsity Theater Program teaching assistant (TA) entered my Coughlin Hall office and introduced himself. He wore a Mets hat. I immediately informed him that he was not to wear that hat again in my presence. Of course, I told him that I was kidding (Yeah, kinda!) and he ended up being one of my finest TAs that I had the pleasure to work while “in the Varsity.” Of course, there were other disappointments such as the 1984 National League Championship Series loss to the San Diego Padres after the Cubs won the first two games in Wrigley but lost the next three on the West Coast. Despite the heroics of Mark Grace in the 1989 National League Championship Series, the Cubs were outhit by Will Clark and the San Francisco Giants. In 2003, with five outs needed to win the National League Pennant and return to the World Series, a fly ball drifted foul toward the stands in left field tracked by the Cubs’s Moises Alou…‘nuff said! Despite that loss and other heartbreaks, 1969 remained the most odious season.

There was also tragedy concerning the Cubs that had nothing to do with the game on the field. In 1962, Ken Hubbs was Rookie of the Year. (Hall of Famer Billy Williams won the award in 1961.) Hubbs was a brilliant, seemingly flawless second baseman and set major league records for his errorless fielding. He was the first rookie to win a Gold Glove award. The future looked very promising, but Hubbs perished in a plane crash in February 1964. (See: airplane) I was also moved by the death of Jack Quinlan in March 1965. Jack was the Cubs’ superb radio announcer who died in an automobile accident in Arizona. Quinlan’s broadcast partner was Lou Boudreau, the former brilliant player-manager who led the Cleveland Indians to their last World Series Championship, 68 years ago. As reiterated often during the 2016 World Series, Cleveland’s been waiting a long time too.

Favorite Cubs paraded through my consciousness during 2016. There was Walt “Moose” Moryn who habitually and heroically (and repeatedly) collided with right field foul line brick wall chasing line drives and fly balls. With no padding, man, that had to hurt! His most famous catch was in left field where he grabbed a sinking line drive to preserve Don Cardwell’s no hitter in May 1960. He could slug, too, and was an all-star. Dick Drott and Moe Drabowsky had fire-balling right arms. I remembered Gene Baker, Don Hoak, Hobie Landrith, Bob Rush, and Cal Neeman among so many others on losing teams. I must add here that these are names that my esteemed colleague, Professor Emeritus Tom Jablonsky, knows well. (I miss you, man!)

I never subscribed, however, to the cachet image of the Cubs as “lovable losers.” The Cubs were simply the Cubs; a baseball team that usually lost games. When I taught at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts, I readily identified with the Red Sox. Marquette history doctoral graduate Pete deRosa (who is a professor at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts and a baseball scholar) and I used to compare the Red Sox and the Cubs while watching games in Fenway Park. Red Sox memorable losses were, however, much more dramatic, if not Sophoclean, i.e., Johnny Pesky’s hesitant relay in the 1946 World Series or Bill Buckner’s error in the sixth game of the 1986 World Series (against the Mets!). I highly recommend Stephen Jay Gould’s article on history and memory: “Jim Bowie’s Letter & Bill Buckner’s Legs,” Natural History, 109, no. 4 (May 2000): 26-40. (My undergraduate seminar students read it this semester.) I must add, Pesky was a great Red Sox (“Mr. Red Sox”) and humanitarian. Buckner played well with the Cubs before being traded to the Red Sox. (Overlooked, he had a distinguished career with over 2,700 hits.). Gould argues that Buckner has been unfairly portrayed and blamed regarding the Red Sox loss in the sixth game and the World Series. See also: Of course, after 86 years, the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and then in 2007.

I particularly appreciate how the Cubs’ success in 2016 evoked fans’ memories and histories—for some, even at deeper ontological and epistemological levels bringing them to tears when the Cubs secured their World Series win. Will the Cubs repeat in 2017 as they did in 1907 and 1908? I can entertain such thoughts now. I feel quite existentially comfortable with this new episteme and thankful for it.

Phil Naylor is professor of history and author of France and Algeria: A History of Decolonization and Transformation and North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present, among other books. He teaches courses on the Middle East, North Africa, and Rock and Roll. 


Fr. Francis Paul Prucha, SJ: A Reminiscence

Phil Naylor has been a professor of history at MU for many years. But in the 1970s he was a graduate student here. During that time he came to know the late Fr. Paul Prucha very well. In honor of Father Prucha’s death last week, Phil offers this recollection.

When my dissertation director, Dr. David Gardinier, and I planned my semester schedule as a first-year doctoral student, he told me that I should take Father Prucha’s seminar in the American West. As a doctoral punk, I responded that “it’s not in my field” and that I was already taking the mandatory Philosophy of History course also taught by Father Prucha. (Wasn’t one course with rigorous Father Prucha enough?!) My director’s response was terse but included an inscrutable smile: “It would be good for you.” Dr. Gardinier was absolutely correct. Philosophy of History became one of my favorite courses. In particular, I also learned a lot in the American West seminar about editing documents as I studied Ute Indian treaties of the 1860s and the roles played particularly by Chief Ouray and Kit Carson. Indeed, I began to compare French colonial policies in Algeria with US-American Indian relations. These courses led to enduring friendships with my peers and especially my professor.

Fr. Francis Paul Prucha, SJ, 1921-2015.

Fr. Francis Paul Prucha, SJ, 1921-2015.

I also began to learn more about Father Prucha’s interests, especially in art. (Father also had keen interests in architecture and design and was quite impressed by the History Department’s new offices in Sensenbrenner Hall.) He loved abstraction and especially Stuart Davis’s composition of forms and color. We have some of Father Prucha’s Stuart Davis paper cut copies in Sensenbrenner Hall (third floor). (When he prepared to move from the Jesuit Residence to Saint Camillus, he was going to throw them away. I asked if I could have them. He agreed.) When I traveled I would bring him brochures from art museums, a favorite being the Phillips Collection, which he visited often when researching in Washington, D.C.

My wife Kitty and I particularly enjoyed Father Prucha’s two-year tenure as Gasson Professor at Boston College in the 1980s, when I taught at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts. We listened to his public lectures and enjoyed dinners with Father and his friends. I nominated Father Prucha for an honorary degree from Merrimack College; one of the co-recipients was Michael Dukakis.

Several weeks ago, Athan Theoharis and I visited Father. We found him in good spirits and, yes, his wit was sharp too. I’ve learned from Rose Petranech, an ex-MU administrator and great friend of Father’s, that he continued to exercise his wit with the Saint Camillus staff until he “fell asleep,” to use the expression of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Father Prucha’s exceptional discourse and practice in class impressed and inspired. (His classes were carefully crafted; every word meant something.) Beyond academics, I also picture a nonagenarian meticulously and patiently creating complex

Two of Fr. Prucha's polyhedrons, now displayed in the history department.

Two of Fr. Prucha’s polyhedrons, now displayed in the history department.

polyhedrons to decorate his apartment and his community and to give as gifts. As other students of his can attest, it was such a privilege to have Father Prucha as a professor and friend—an inimitable experience.

The History Department and University Archives organized a celebration on 19 May 2011, held at the Francis Paul Prucha, S.J. Reading Room in the Raynor Library to celebrate several of Father Prucha’s milestones: his 90th birthday; the 70th anniversary of his graduation from River Falls State Teachers College; the 60th anniversary of his entering the Jesuit Order; and the 50th anniversary as a member of the Department of History.

These were my remarks at that time:

Thank you for joining University Archives and the Department of History in our celebration of Father Francis Paul Prucha of the Society of Jesus, Pulitzer Prize nominee, author of twenty-plus books, teaching award winner, holder of numerous honorary degrees, honored as one of Wisconsin’s great literary figures by the Milwaukee Public Library. He is Marquette University’s greatest historian.

To those of us who were privileged to be his students, he set unattainable standards of scholarly and teaching excellence. Nevertheless, what made Father such a great professor is that he inspired us and, of course, still does, often in subtle and not too subtle ways, to reach those standards. He expected us and expects us to try. Quoting Henri-Irenée Marrou, a philosopher of history highly admired by Father Prucha, we learned that “history is a struggle of the mind, an adventure.”

Many graduate students had, however, a pathological fear of Father Prucha. I never did. Indeed, I discovered a man who was willing to critique, yet encourage, my photography and who enjoyed discussing art. Indeed, I would discover him in the galleries of the Milwaukee Art Museum on Sunday mornings. Of course, I also observed his exercise of his wit. We are not talking about a dry wit, but one which is Saharan in its aridity. There was also another side to Father Prucha that I witnessed. We coincidentally visited a mutual friend who was hospitalized. When the patient mentioned how much he liked Father Prucha’s sweater, Father took it off and gave it to him.

I know that many of you have similar stories to tell. But because of Father Prucha, I danced with Ute Indians in Colorado, paid special attention to Stuart Davis’s abstract art, and wrote books that I hoped he would admire. Typically, he photocopied a page of my recent book surveying North African history and marked it up informing me that I had over-quoted. I loved it. It was perfect. It had to be, because it was and is Prucha.

Dear Author: Editing an Academic Journal

By Jim Marten and Phil Naylor

Between us we’ve published a couple of dozen books (monographs, edited collections, historical dictionaries), a few score chapters and articles, and well over a hundred book reviews. This has required us to talk, email, and (this dates us) exchange actual paper letters with editors, assistant editors, copy editors, and editorial assistants. (Side note: it seems important that “letter” is only a noun, but “email” is both a noun and a verb. Hmmm.) We both go back far enough that our first books and articles were typed several times, and returned to us on somewhat greasy galleys and page proofs before seeing print. Today, however, it is not unusual for articles and even books to be sent back and forth between authors and editors without ever being printed out.

In other words, when it comes to academic publishing, we’ve pretty much seen it all.

But about two years ago, after a combined sixty years of dealing with publishers and editors, we’re now on the other side of the (virtual) desk. In 2013 we each took on a new job: Jim became editor of the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, which is published by John Hopkins University Press three timejhcy covers a year on behalf of the Society of the History of Children and Youth. Jim also acts as book review editor. At the same time, Phil became co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of North African Studies (JNAS), which is published five times a year by Taylor & Francis (T&F) for the American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS). In addition, he serves as publications officer on the AIMS executive committee, which, among other things, monitors AIMS research centers in Tunis and Oran.

We’re responsible for soliciting articles, arranging outside reviewers, copyediting, and assembling the issues. One challenge we share is mastering the website ScholarOne, the online mechanism for submitting manuscripts, communicating with outside reviewers and authors, collecting forms, and doing all the paperwork associated with running a journal. Submissions are accepted by automated emails and we simply fill out pre-written templates accepting or rejecting (or sometFNAShing in between) manuscripts, with reviewers’ comments automatically inserted into the email. It’s kind of like magic, although the structure of the site isn’t instinctive and eventually you have to get the final version of articles in WORD put them together old school (although, in fact, JHUP asks Jim to submit the completed issues via a share point site (through the dramatic sounding FTPsurfer!), and two sets of page proofs are sent back to me on the same site.

There are still parts of ScholarOne that remain a mystery; Jim hasn’t quite figured out how to delete articles that have already been published. JNAS was actually just adopting ScholarOne when Phil signed on. Although the transition has been challenging for his editors, authors, and reviewers, now with two year under his belt, Phil feels much more comfortable using the system.


The Managing Editor’s Dashboard for the JHCY’s ScholarOne account.

But there are also more substantive challenges and responsibilities. For Jim, whose research is rooted in the Civil War era in particular and the histories of children and youth in the United States in general, the main challenge is that the journal receives submissions from scholars all over the world and about children living in ancient Rome, colonial India, and modern Europe, Latin America, and Asia. For Phil, the fact that JNAS is an interdisciplinary journal is a strength as well as a problem. Occasionally articles are quite esoteric (e.g., microeconomic sector studies of a Maghribi country). Although Phil took economics courses in grad school, he readily confesses that he lacks expertise to evaluate an article filled with econometric equations and theories! Compounding the situation, there are relatively few others who can review these topics as they relate to North Africa. Social science subjects often dominate the submissions.

Both journals are published exclusively in English, but draw readers and authors from around the world, which presents its own set of editorial problems. We frequently end up publishing pieces by scholars writing in their second or third (or even fourth in Phil’s case!) language. This sometimes to leads to rejections, as the English isn’t polished enough to appear in a professional journal; equally often, we simply have to take more time working with authors to get their research into publishable form.

The same can occasionally be said for scholars writing in their first language! For instance, we sometimes have to work overtime to help authors from the social sciences impart a greater historical sensibility into the articles and to get them to produce citations in the correct format. At times the authors are graduate students or brand new faculty members trying to get their first publications. They require a different kind of encouragement (especially if we reject their submissions, when the “revise and resubmit” option can become a powerful way to indicate that changes are necessary while at the same time providing a bit of a push to improve their work).

This latter responsibility is the best part of being a journal editor for Jim. The membership of the Society for the History of Children and Youth skews quite young, and he’s spent much of his time as a founder and long-time officer of the SHCY working with graduate students and newly minted PhDs, and it’s his role as a mentor that Jim finds most rewarding in his role as editor of the JHCY.

Phil’s favorite part of editing a journal is making contact with scholars who share his interest in promoting North African studies. This has resulted in new friendships while reinforcing others. Furthermore, by reviewing articles and the occasional books, Phil has kept not only up to date, but also poised at the cutting edge of North African scholarship. Having conscientious and collegial co-editors upon whom Phil can rely upon regarding articles and reviews is especially beneficial and reassuring. He considers being an editor of JNAS a highlight of his professional career.

Phil Naylor teaches courses on the Middle East, North Africa, Byzantium, and Rock and Roll.  His most recent book is the revised edition of North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present.  Jim Marten is chair of the department and the outgoing president of the Society for the  History of Children and Youth; his most recent book is America’s Corporal: James Tanner in War and Peace.


“Engaging Islam and Muslims: Interdisciplinary Perspectives” Conference

Phillip Naylor, our professor of North African and Middle Eastern history, provides a recap of an interdisciplinary conference recently held at Marquette.

I collaborated with Professors Irfan Omar (Theology), Richard Taylor (Philosophy), and Louise Cainkar (Social and Cultural Sciences) and organized a conference on 19-20 March titled “Engaging Islam and Muslims: Interdisciplinary Perspectives.” It was funded by a Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences “Multidisciplinary Development Grant.” The conference showcased Marquette students and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) faculty. The grant allowed us to invite the participation of Dr. Aminah Beverly McCloud, Director of the Islamic World Studies Program and Professor of Islamic Studies at DePaul University, and Dr. John P. Entelis, the Chair of the Political Science Department and Director of the Middle East Studies Program at Fordham University. Entelis is also the president of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS). Marquette is an institutional member of AIMS and the Middle East Studies Association (MESA).

Continue reading ‘“Engaging Islam and Muslims: Interdisciplinary Perspectives” Conference’

Phillip Naylor on recent events in North Africa

Phillip Naylor’s MENA Rihla (Travelogue) Reflection

When I stepped on the tarmac at the Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca a year ago, I hoped to see a mysterious man with a fedora, wearing a trench coat packing a .45, and “Bogarting” a cigarette. (It was late at night, but it wasn’t foggy.) Then I looked for a beautiful woman with a tear streaking her cheek remembering the words: “Here’s looking at you, kid.” Ah, mais non! Personne! A few days later, after visiting Rabat and time-warping in fabulous Fez, I was in Cairo walking along Tahrir Square. Riot police were deployed throughout the area. The Revolution had begun the day before (25 January 2011). In my whirlwind tour of Cairo and Giza, Abdou, my taxi driver, made sure that I had time to visit the National Museum. Who knew that this world famous institution would soon be closed as violence in neighboring Tahrir Square escalated? (Egyptians would stand arm in arm to protect their museum and patrimony.) By that time, I was in Tel Aviv with its seemingly omnipresent throbbing, incessant dance music echoing in my head; but I liked the city’s verve and groove. Jerusalem was another story—sacred but sad—dramatic yet divisive—although hearing activist Yeduda Stolov talk about “encountering” efforts to bridge communities made me feel better as did a providential meeting with Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III. Of course, having Terry Miller with me, the Director of the Office of International Education, expedited the entire enterprise, especially as a guide in Jerusalem’s Old City. Thanks, Terry!

It’s been quite a year for MENA—Middle East and North Africa. Now what? The “Arab Spring” has not only reverberated regionally but globally. As mentioned at the Middle East Studies Association meeting in December, the “Occupy Wall Street” movement can be linked to Tunisian protests that erupted in December 2010, incited by Mohamed Bouazizi’s tragic self-immolation. Since then there have been extraordinary events, e.g., the overthrow of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, and Muammar Qadhafi in Libya. To many observers, the subsequent growth of Islamism is worrisome as illustrated by the electoral success of Ennahda in Tunisia in October, the Justice and Development Party (PJD) in Morocco in November, and the Freedom and Justice Party (Muslim Brotherhood) in Egypt in November, December, and January. Nevertheless, Islamism as a movement needs clarification.

In his analysis “Understanding Islamism” (International Crisis Group Middle East/North Africa, no. 37, 2 March 2005), Hugh Roberts (now at Tufts University) equated Islamism with “‘Islamic activism,’ the active assertion and promotion of beliefs, prescriptions, laws, or policies that are held to be Islamic in character.” In other words, Islamism cannot be narrowly circumscribed but can be widely interpreted, especially in its North African context. Continue reading ‘Phillip Naylor on recent events in North Africa’

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