Nicholas Grant: Apartheid South Africa and the 1957 Little Rock Crisis

Today we welcome a guest blog post from Nicholas Grant, author of Winning Our Freedoms Together: African Americans and Apartheid, 1945–1960, on the South African government’s reaction to the 1957 crisis over the integration of Little Rock Central High School. Winning Our Freedoms Together examines how African Americans engaged with, supported, and were inspired by the… Continue Reading Nicholas Grant: Apartheid South Africa and the 1957 Little Rock Crisis

Karen R. Roybal: Do You Swear to Tell Nothing but the Truth?

Today we welcome a guest blog post from Karen R. Roybal, author of Archives of Dispossession:  Recovering the Testimonios of Mexican American Herederas, 1848–1960, on the importance of archival research. One method of American territory expansion in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands was the denial of property rights to Mexican landowners, which led to dispossession. Many historical accounts… Continue Reading Karen R. Roybal: Do You Swear to Tell Nothing but the Truth?

Andrew C. McKevitt: Globalization’s Heroes in the Age of Trumpism

Today we welcome a guest blog post from Andrew C. McKevitt, author of Consuming Japan: Popular Culture and the Globalizing of 1980s, on the popularity and impact of anime and manga in America today. Consuming Japan explores the intense and ultimately fleeting moment in 1980s America when the future looked Japanese. Would Japan’s remarkable post–World War II economic… Continue Reading Andrew C. McKevitt: Globalization’s Heroes in the Age of Trumpism

Eve E. Buckley: Science and the Challenges of Social Transformation

Today we welcome a guest blog post from Eve E. Buckley, author of Technocrats and the Politics of Drought and Development in Twentieth-Century Brazil, on drought and regional development in Brazil. Eve E. Buckley’s study of twentieth-century Brazil examines the nation’s hard social realities through the history of science, focusing on the use of technology and… Continue Reading Eve E. Buckley: Science and the Challenges of Social Transformation

Andrew C. McKevitt: UAW’s Defeat at Nissan and the Path Forward

On August 4, 2017, workers at Nissan’s assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi, voted to reject representation by the United Auto Workers union. The loss stung, to be sure, but the once-powerful UAW has become accustomed to failure in its efforts to organize auto production facilities operated by foreign companies. Twice previously, in 1989 and 2001, workers rejected the union at Nissan’s plant in Smyrna, Tennessee,—the company’s first North American plant, and only the second Japanese-owned plant in the United States. Continue Reading Andrew C. McKevitt: UAW’s Defeat at Nissan and the Path Forward

Mr. Seashell’s Legacy Lives On

There are few people in North Carolina who know seashells as well as Hugh Porter. Born in Ohio, he came to North Carolina in the mid 1950s and quickly earned the nickname “Mr. Seashell” for his extensive knowledge and passion for mollusks. This summer, North Carolina Sea Grant and the University of North Carolina Press are honoring Porter’s contributions to the state and celebrating the 20th year of his book, Seashells of North Carolina.
Continue Reading Mr. Seashell’s Legacy Lives On

Sarah S. Elkind: Energy Corporations in Schools: Then and Now

Today, fossil fuel companies have engaged in a similar propaganda war—funding questionable research, donating questionable curriculum to hard-pressed schools, and touting their contributions to the public welfare in advertising campaigns—for similar self-interested reasons. Recent reports out of Oklahoma exposed the oil and gas industry’s science curriculum and the incentives like fully-funded field trips and free supplies and lab equipment. This echoes a similar story about coal-funded classroom materials published and later withdrawn by Scholastic, Inc., in 2009. Continue Reading Sarah S. Elkind: Energy Corporations in Schools: Then and Now

Ira Dworkin: In the Name of Lumumba

The world Malcolm X and Patrice Lumumba were building for all of their children continues among poets, musicians, and activists who embody the struggles and scars, and look to places like Jackson where activists imagine and demand justice, understanding what is at stake in Banner’s call–on behalf of Lumumba–to “please remember my name.” Continue Reading Ira Dworkin: In the Name of Lumumba

Lindsey A. Freeman: The Uncanny Bohemia in Black Mountain

When the Black Mountain School began last summer, many folks were skeptical of this new school growing up in the ghostly space of the old. The site had what Michel de Certeau calls “an uncanniness of the already there,” a feeling of the past that is so familiar in a space that it overpowers the present, making unknown places feel known. Ragan and Void have since changed the name of their experiment in education to School of the Alternative. Even with the name switch, the inspiration of the original BMC shines through. A pedagogical sensibility clearly exists between the old avant-garde school and the new one. This can be seen in classes such as: Lose Your Mind and Come to Your Senses, which promises instruction in Fluxus methodologies, mindfulness, and chance operations; Giant Loom Weaving, which is just what it sounds like and takes place outdoors; and Tablows Vivant, which, according to the course description, is “a series of posed scenes to communicate a story or idea. In between each scene is a mini dance party. At night, with dramatic lighting! With some bodies involved.” Continue Reading Lindsey A. Freeman: The Uncanny Bohemia in Black Mountain

Brian L. Tochterman: Birth of a Vigilante

As I argue in The Dying City this was a fantasy universe with critical consequences for the real world. Normalizing the vigilante was one key contingency of Spillane’s bestselling writing. Hammer was by no means the first, he’s preceded in time and succeeded in fame by Batman among others, but he did demonstrate that the vigilante no longer had to hide behind a mask or escape into a cave. He could operate in public, carry a private detective’s shield and a licensed gun and kill suspected criminals because “I like to shoot those dirty bastards.” In my book I connect Hammer with his filmic counterparts in 1970s New York, in particular Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) of Death Wish, and their unfortunate 1980s analogues like Bernard Goetz, the so-called subway vigilante, or the teenage terrorists of Howard Beach, Queens. Continue Reading Brian L. Tochterman: Birth of a Vigilante

The History of Juneteenth: 5 Facts You Need to Know

Juneteenth is a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, given by President Abraham Lincoln, that declared freedom for all slaves in states still in rebellion. Continue Reading The History of Juneteenth: 5 Facts You Need to Know

Bridgette A. Lacy: Father’s Day Memories

As we approach Father’s Day, I am transported to his backyard garden. Some of my favorite moments with my Papa were made in that sacred space where vegetables, fruits, and flowers grew. Continue Reading Bridgette A. Lacy: Father’s Day Memories

Alisha Gaines: White Guilt and Allyship on WGN’s Underground

Although Underground might be flawed history—often as anachronistic as its notable musical soundtrack—it provides helpful models for resistance. Executive producer John Legend makes it plain: “What these stories are intended to do—and what I think all storytelling is intended to do in some ways—is to hopefully develop some empathy among us so that we see each other, understand each other’s backgrounds, understand each other’s stories, and also understand the inhumanity that fellow human beings were able to inflict on each other in this country that’s supposed to be the land of the free.” Continue Reading Alisha Gaines: White Guilt and Allyship on WGN’s Underground

Nicole Eustace: American Democracy and the Imperial Presidency

At a moment when divisions among Americans about the desired direction of the country are as stark as they have ever been, the essays in Warring for America: Cultural Contests in the Era of 1812 have much to teach us about the interplay of populism and dictatorialism in American history. Continue Reading Nicole Eustace: American Democracy and the Imperial Presidency

Nancy Tomes: Remarks from the Bancroft Awards Dinner

Thinking about those issues was like entering a funhouse with distorted mirrors: people used the same words—patient, consumer, choice, value—and meant very different things by them. In search of the origins of this strange concept of the “patient as consumer,” I kept going back further and further, looking for where it came from. The roots turned out to be a lot earlier than I expected: the 1920s and 1930s, not the 1970s. Continue Reading Nancy Tomes: Remarks from the Bancroft Awards Dinner

Gregg A. Brazinsky: Is China’s New World Order Really New?

Potentially, One Belt One Road can also raise Beijing’s international profile at the expense of Washington’s. Especially with the Trump administration intent on putting “America First,” the PRC has an opportunity to promote itself as a champion of free trade and assert its global leadership. The PRC is challenging the United States more subtly than during the 1950s and 1960s but it nonetheless aims to create a new balance of economic power in which China and other non-Western countries will play a more important role. Continue Reading Gregg A. Brazinsky: Is China’s New World Order Really New?

Jennifer Van Horn: The Deceptive Caboodle

I remember with fondness, as do many of us who came of age in the 1990s, my neon pink and purple “caboodle.” For those of you unfamiliar with the form, it is a molded plastic container with a latched top that raises up to reveal a multitude of trays, containers, and mysteriously shaped indentations all intended to house cosmetics, hair products, and personal accessories. For my teenage self the caboodle was the ultimate symbol of femininity and the mysterious physical manipulations of skin and hair that being an adult woman required. My caboodle is long since gone, but I suspect its lingering memory shaped my interest in eighteenth-century cosmetics and the dressing furniture that housed them. Continue Reading Jennifer Van Horn: The Deceptive Caboodle

Alisha Gaines: Ninety Minutes a Slave

First, we are instructed on how to be good slaves: “Never look a white person in the face,” and always say “yes sir and yes ma’am.” As the program promised, we encountered diverse attitudes regarding our fugitivity: slave traders who bought us only after we correctly answered questions about our assumed skills and imagined slave identities (I passed the test when, as a self-described cook, I knew the first step in frying a chicken meant wringing its neck); white women who wanted us off their land because they would have to pay a $500 fine for each of us; another, obviously doomed fugitive slave; a raving white man spuriously blaming us for his wife’s death and his unemployment; Quakers who offered dry cornbread and respite; and a free black family. Before returning to the museum, an oracle appeared to read each participant’s fate. Some would drown, others would settle in Indiana as either dentists or blacksmiths. Me? I would be apprehended by slave catchers, returned to Kentucky, and branded as a runaway. Continue Reading Alisha Gaines: Ninety Minutes a Slave

Nora E. Jaffary: Midwifery in Mexico

Midwives were the dominant obstetrical and gynecological practitioners in Mexico in pre-Hispanic and colonial Mexico. Their medical knowledge was vast. Early post-conquest writers observed that Mexican midwives possessed hundreds of medical remedies to provide contraception, encourage fertility, counteract the side effects of pregnancy, assist in complicated deliveries, and treat postpartum complaints. They could soothe labor pains, initiate stalled labor, facilitate the placenta’s expulsion, encourage lactation, and soothe that most vexatious of post-partum symptoms: hemorrhoids. Continue Reading Nora E. Jaffary: Midwifery in Mexico

Sharon McConnell-Sidorick: How Flappers Helped Radicalize the Labor Movement and the New Deal

Union activists advanced a far-reaching, class-based vision that saw labor as a means to advance the rights of all working people. It was a vision of a new, socialist world and young members made it their own, combining Jazz Age rebelliousness with the left-wing traditions of the union. Women unionists used the brashness and irreverence that were hallmarks of the “flapper” in a surprisingly left-wing labor culture, merging constructions of “worker” with those of “modern woman.” They became “street-fighting women” supporting labor as a cause for human rights. They picketed and went to jail in droves for refusing to “move to the other side of the street” when ordered to by police, or participating in “lie-downs” to block driveways in front of mills, or calling strikebreakers “scabs” and threatening to beat them up. Women became such stalwarts on the picket lines that when they demanded a greater role in the union leadership, many of their male co-workers rushed to support them, insisting that “the women did do the fighting and you better give them their rights soon.” Continue Reading Sharon McConnell-Sidorick: How Flappers Helped Radicalize the Labor Movement and the New Deal