A female historian wrote a book. Two male historians went on NPR to talk about it. They never mentioned her name. It’s Sarah Milov.Historians in the News
tags: gender, books, NPR, sexism, Women historians
Sarah Milov was sitting at her kitchen table, nursing her baby, when she saw the tweet.
“It took substantial government support to create Americans’ dependency on tobacco,” wrote Nathan Daniel Beau Connolly, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University. “@edward_l_ayres and I talk with @jeremyhobson about the regulation of tobacco on this week’s @hereandnow.” Connolly ended the tweet with a “shout out” to Milov, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia whose forthcoming book, “The Cigarette: A Political History,” provided virtually all the material for the segment, which aired on Thursday.
Unfortunately, “Here & Now” — a radio show co-produced by NPR and WBUR in Boston, which is syndicated to approximately 5 million listeners — did not grant Milov the same courtesy. The three men on the segment, two historians and an NPRhost, never mentioned Milov’s name or the name of her book.
“Every single word they said was from my book,” said Milov in an interview with The Lily. While the historians did not quote directly from “The Cigarette,” she said, every cited fact was taken from its pages. “Then I got to the end of a nearly 10-minute segment and did not hear myself credited at all.”
Connolly and the other historian on the segment, Edward Ayers, are hosts of “BackStory,” a historical radio show sponsored by Virginia Humanities, and are frequently asked to appear on “Here & Now.” “BackStory” researchers helped prep Connolly and Ayers for the segment, providing them with talking points from Milov’s book, said Diana Lynn Williams, digital editor and strategist for “BackStory.”
“We regret the omission,” “BackStory” wrote in a tweet on Friday. “We want to be sure that BackStory always gives credit when it’s due.” In an interview, Williams added that BackStory takes full responsibility for what happened. “Somewhere along the way we dropped the ball,” she said.
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