Tiffany A. Sippial: Cuba’s New Economic Policies: Event Horizon or Business as Usual?

In my opinion, the most interesting topic for discussion is not that Cubans are finally embracing private enterprise, but rather that the new legislation will surely change the existing face of private enterprise on the island. Talk to Cubans about the new business, property, and internet reform measures and you are less likely to hear them marveling at the wonders of capitalism than to hear them debate the variety of state-imposed taxes that often leave them with only a few CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos that carry a 1:1 exchange rate with the U.S. dollar) at the end of each month.

Jonathan Scott Holloway: Sincere Fictions, Real Horrors, and the Tourism Trade

Goree Island is not the only site of slave trade remembrance on the African coast. Further south, in Ghana, there are two prominent warehouses, most often referred to as the slave castles at Cape Coast and Elmina, that are part of a thriving tourism trade catering mainly to black American travelers, many of whom are on roots journeys to “return home.” Just as Post reporter Fisher is right for asking critical questions related to Obama’s photo op at Goree Island, we can profit from asking challenging questions about a tourist trade that offers an uncomplicated reconciliation and welcome home at the same time that it traffics in horror.

Innovating with MOOCs

According to Goldstein, the most exciting part is the “opportunity is to reach a much broader audience.” Because his class with Thorp is on innovation, teaching it as a MOOC provides a unique opportunity to marry form and content. “We’re interested in the interactive aspect because innovation and entrepreneurship aren’t passive—they’re active,” he says. “Entrepreneurship is about impact and taking innovative ideas to fruition. The key notion of MOOCs is creating a global reach with an entrepreneurial mindset that allows opportunities in those spaces between innovation and execution that is key to social change.”

Jonathan Scott Holloway: Where Does a Historian Find the Truth?

I still rely on and value deeply these brick-and-mortar archives, but my research in Jim Crow Wisdom has taught me to value the archive of the imagination as well. Like any archive, the imagination is a place that is fundamentally about assemblage: a mixture of our best efforts to remember the past accurately, the eroding effects of time, and a desire for narrative clarity and poignancy. Relying on the imagination for its archival properties is central to this book and helps us develop a richer sense of memory and of history.

Taylor Mathis: Tailgating: The Social Events of the Fall

If you have never been to a tailgate in the South, you may not realize what goes into it. The event is much more than people standing in a parking lot before a football game. These events are a chance to reunite with old college friends, have a family reunion, and share great food and drink with those that you love. The common thread is that everyone there has a connection to that campus and wants to be with the ones they love to support their team.

David T. Gleeson: Irish Confederates and the Meaning of American Nationalism

As an immigrant, something I’m familiar with myself, one’s sense of identity is heightened by the immigration experience. In your new country, even when your language is the same as the natives, you suddenly you have an “accent,” your religion and culture are different, and you must adapt to new social and political realities. Immigrants then give us valuable insights, not only into their own changing identity, but also that of the host country. Irish immigrants in the South had to become Americans and Confederates. They had to negotiate the cultural traits they brought from Ireland with the demands of loyalty to their new home. And, it was this Irish cultural baggage which played the key role in binding them to the United States and the Confederacy

Tracy K’Meyer: The Ongoing Struggle for Civil Rights in Schools

The modern civil rights movement fought for racial equality and to create an interracial “beloved community.” People in the movement did not make a distinction between action in the schools, the voting booth, or the streets toward those goals. Education was another arena for fighting racism and securing equal resources and opportunity. Seeing school desegregation as an integral part of the civil rights movement reminds us that an equal education is a basic human right that has been fought for but not yet achieved, and that overcoming racism in the classroom as in the community remains a moral imperative. For many local people, like Suzy Post, in Louisville and Jefferson County, the civil rights movement continues because the struggle to protect desegregation and through it achieve educational equity and better human understanding has not yet been won.

Twelve Years a Slave: The Narrative Behind the Film

The film tells the story of Solomon Northrup (Ejiofor), a free man and fiddle-player from New York who was drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery in Louisiana. It explores Northrup’s efforts to retain his dignity in the face of inhumanity as he longs for the family he was taken from and hopes for freedom throughout time in the employ of three different masters, ranging from a kindly preacher (Benedict Cumberbatch) to a cruel plantation owner (Fassbender). Remarkably, and horrifically, the story is a true one.

David T. Gleeson: Immigrants and American Wars: The Irish Confederate Experience

Rather than becoming southern “under fire,” they became southern by misremembering, reimagining, and reinterpreting the real experience of being under fire.

Jonathan Scott Holloway: Whose Dream? Whose History?

Even though the museum recognizes Smith’s protest, if only barely, her protest tells us something valuable about the production of history and the sanctification of certain experiences over others. Here, a single person with a particular set of memories and a determination to remember a figure of such importance as King in a specific way finds herself facing an institution with a public commitment to remembrance that has become her own horror.

Taylor Mathis: Tailgating and Team Spirit

When it comes to showing your spirit, there is no wrong way to go.

Tiffany A. Sippial: The 26th of July Movement: Remembering Failure, Celebrating Victory

Not only were the rebels young (“just like us” my students find themselves saying), but they actually failed. Government snipers shot many of the young rebels on sight, and those who survived were charged with treason and imprisoned on the Isle of Pines. In a surprising plot twist, however, the audacious Cuban rebels recast their military failure as a propaganda victory by claiming the date of the attack as the name of their movement—the 26th of July Movement (M-26-7).

Video: Bland Simpson on NC Bookwatch

In Two Captains from Carolina, Bland Simpson twines together the lives of two accomplished nineteenth-century mariners from North Carolina–one African American, one Irish American. Though Moses Grandy (ca. 1791- ca. 1850) and John Newland Maffitt Jr. (1819-1886) never met, their stories bring to vivid life the saga of race and maritime culture in the antebellum and Civil War-era South. With his lyrical prose and inimitable voice, Bland Simpson offers readers a grand tale of the striving human spirit and the great divide that nearly sundered the nation.

In this interview on NC Bookwatch, Simpson speaks with host D.G. Martin about Two Captains from Carolina and the fascinating lives led by Grandy, former slave turned Boston abolitionist, and Maffit, a midshipman in the U.S. Navy at age thirteen turned legendary blockade runner. Simpson also explains his reasons for contrasting these two men with each other in this “nonfiction novel.”

Why This Publisher Isn’t Disappointed by the Apple eBook Verdict

Additionally, the eBook business appears to be stabilizing. After several years of triple digit growth and prognostications that eBooks would take over up to 80% of the book market, we just saw a report from the Association of American Publishers that for March of this year (the last month for which we have full accounting), eBook sales compromised 25.5% of the overall trade market, up a mere 1.5% over the previous year. It now appears pretty clear that the old codex is going to be a more durable format than the compact disc, or the VHS cassette, or even the newspaper. As the New Yorker’s James Surowiecki pointed out in a recent column, “the truth is that the book is an exceptionally good piece of technology—easy to read, portable, durable, and inexpensive.” As long as physical books make up the considerable majority of the market, bookstores will survive and some will even flourish, giving publishers the type of robust marketplace they need to keep their businesses healthy.