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Historian drawn into political showdown in Wisconsin

posted Mar 28, 2011, 6:42 AM by peter moran   [ updated Mar 28, 2011, 8:02 AM ]
William Cronon, the Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison, has found himself embroiled in the clash between Republican and Democratic politicians in Wisconsin.  Conlon penned a couple pieces for his blog and the NYTimes, which offered historical context for the recent events in Wisconsin, and criticized Republican Governor Scott Walker's efforts to restrict the collective bargaining rights of public workers.  With these efforts, Conlon claims that Republicans in Wisconsin are repudiating the progressive traditions of the state and their party.  Two days after Conlon's blog post, the Republican Party formally requested all emails from his university account on matters related to the post under Wisconson's Open Records Law.  The Chronicle and the NYTimes have covered the unfolding events that raise interesting academic freedom and legal issues.  Furthermore, the American Historical Association has released a statement deploring the records request, claiming that it is part of an effort to silence the distinguished professor.