Category: Guest Bloggers

Erica Eisdorfer: Reader, Writer, Bookseller, Defender of Your Freedom to Read

As we kick off Banned Books Week, we welcome a guest post today from someone committed to the freedom to read. Erica Eisdorfer is more than just a booklover, she’s a novelist and a bookseller, too, and she’s had first-hand experience on the censorship front.–ellen Banned Books Week 2010 is the 29th annual celebration of our freedom to read. The… Continue Reading Erica Eisdorfer: Reader, Writer, Bookseller, Defender of Your Freedom to Read

Paulo Freire, Lula, and the Next Step for Brazil

We welcome a guest post today from Andrew J. Kirkendall, author of Paulo Freire and the Cold War Politics of Literacy. In his political biography of Freire (1921-97), a native of Brazil’s impoverished northeast who developed adult literacy training techniques that remain influential today, Kirkendall gives new perspectives on the history of the Cold War, the meanings of radicalism, and… Continue Reading Paulo Freire, Lula, and the Next Step for Brazil

A Middle East Policy in Deep Denial

Denial is a well known defense mechanism that keeps unpleasant realities at bay. U.S. policymakers seem well practiced in this common coping device. Heaven knows they have good reason, no matter which direction of the Middle East they turn. Afghanistan seems right now to occasion the deepest denials because the realities are the grimmest. Two reports by the London-based International… Continue Reading A Middle East Policy in Deep Denial

Rosh Hashana evolves over generations in North Carolina

With the start of Rosh Hashana at sundown this evening, we welcome a guest post from Leonard Rogoff, author of Down Home: Jewish Life in North Carolina. Published in association with the Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina, Down Home is part of a larger documentary project of the same name that includes a film (view the trailer) and a… Continue Reading Rosh Hashana evolves over generations in North Carolina

Islamophobia and Our Love of Shopping

We welcome a guest post today from Susan Nance, author of How the Arabian Nights Inspired the American Dream, 1790-1835. Americans have always shown a fascination with the people, customs, and legends of the “East,” such as the stories of the Arabian Nights, the performances of Arab belly dancers and acrobats, the feats of turban-wearing vaudeville magicians, etc. In her… Continue Reading Islamophobia and Our Love of Shopping

The Story of Service, Part 4: Black Wall Street

On July 26, a mural named SERVICE was dedicated at UNC’s School of Government in the Knapp-Sanders Building. The mural depicts a gathering of African-American leaders at the counter of a diner, painted by Colin Quashie as a creative interpretation of the historical 1960 Greensboro, North Carolina sit-in. We will be featuring each of the eight panels in a series,… Continue Reading The Story of Service, Part 4: Black Wall Street

General McChrystal, General Petraeus, and General Confusion

Barack Obama’s Afghanistan commanders are something else. First, they promoted a highly debatable counter-insurgency strategy. Then, despite the numerous and cogent contemporary critiques, they got the president to buy into their particular brand of wishful thinking, and they got from him the additional troops supposedly needed for success. They have since failed to deliver. There are no convincing signs of… Continue Reading General McChrystal, General Petraeus, and General Confusion

Faith, Fact, and Religious Relics

We welcome a guest post today from Bernadette McNary-Zak, coeditor of Resurrecting the Brother of Jesus: The James Ossuary Controversy and the Quest for Religious Relics, a collection of essays exploring the circumstances of an archaeological hoax in which a box of skeletal remains was passed off as belonging to James, the brother of Jesus. In this post, she discusses… Continue Reading Faith, Fact, and Religious Relics

Vietnam War Lessons: Never Too Late to Learn

Developments over the last month or so have put the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan under a dark cloud. The McChrystal affair and the WikiLeaks revelations are symptomatic of deeper troubles: the rapid bankruptcy of counterinsurgency, a surge in U.S. casualties, the persistently problematic role of Pakistan, the continued immobility of the Karzai regime, the sluggish progress in training Afghan forces,… Continue Reading Vietnam War Lessons: Never Too Late to Learn

“We Are Standing on Beautiful History”

Today we welcome a guest post from Tiya Miles, author of The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story. Last weekend she attended a gathering to celebrate the historic plantation home and held a signing event for her new book. Over the course of her day, past and present were juxtaposed in an experience that truly gave life to… Continue Reading “We Are Standing on Beautiful History”

Obama’s HIV/AIDS Strategy: Real Change or Pocket Change?

We welcome a guest post today from Jennifer Brier, author of Infectious Ideas: U.S. Political Responses to the AIDS Crisis. When the Obama administration announced a new HIV/AIDS strategy, we asked Brier to unpack the news and help give historical perspective to the new plan.–ellen Reading President Obama’s new HIV/AIDS strategy, released on July 13, 2010, was alternately exciting and… Continue Reading Obama’s HIV/AIDS Strategy: Real Change or Pocket Change?

The McChrystal Affair: Pity the Poor Historian

There is good reason to pity the poor historian, who has been tested especially severely during the recent McChrystal-Obama imbroglio as the eruption of historical parallels and lessons have ranged from the wrong-headed to the off-kilter. Continue Reading The McChrystal Affair: Pity the Poor Historian

The Obama National Security Strategy: “Mush” Ado about Nothing?

In the world of U.S. foreign policy, the release of a new National Security Strategy is a big deal. This congressionally mandated exercise offers an opportunity for the executive to grapple with basic issues, and it may even herald the birth of a “doctrine” (as it did for George W. Bush in 2002). The Obama administration rolled out its NSS… Continue Reading The Obama National Security Strategy: “Mush” Ado about Nothing?

What is Decoration Day?

Alan Jabbour, who authored Decoration Day in the Mountains: Traditions of Cemetery Decoration in the Southern Appalachians with his wife Karen Singer Jabbour, provides some insight to a grassroots ritual that led to the creation of a federal holiday. –alyssa Many rural community cemeteries in western North Carolina hold “decorations.” A decoration is a religious service in the cemetery when… Continue Reading What is Decoration Day?

Behind the Scenes: Archiving the Photographs of Billy Barnes

We welcome a guest post today from Patrick Cullom, an archivist at Wilson Library on the UNC campus, who has a special connection to the new book by Robert Korstad and James Leloudis, To Right These Wrongs: The North Carolina Fund and the Battle to End Poverty and Inequality in 1960s America.–ellen Last month I had the pleasure of attending… Continue Reading Behind the Scenes: Archiving the Photographs of Billy Barnes

Lena Horne and the Irony of Cultural Politics

We welcome a guest post today from Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff, author of Black Culture and the New Deal: The Quest for Civil Rights in the Roosevelt Era. In her book, Sklaroff argues that New Deal cultural programs supporting notable black intellectuals, celebrities, and artists (including Lena Horne, Joe Louis, Duke Ellington, and Richard Wright) represent a key moment in the… Continue Reading Lena Horne and the Irony of Cultural Politics

Victory in Vietnam: The Myth That Won’t Die But Can’t Stand Up

The U.K. edition of A Vietnam War Reader: A Documentary History from American and Vietnamese Perspectives hits bookstores across the pond today — just as Britons head to the polls to elect a new Prime Minister. In a previous guest post, editor Michael H. Hunt addressed one of the more striking similarities between the Vietnam War and the current conflict… Continue Reading Victory in Vietnam: The Myth That Won’t Die But Can’t Stand Up

The Republicans’ “Southern Strategy” Unmasked?

When we got wind of Michael Steele’s recent comments about the Republican Party continuing a “Southern Strategy” for the past 40 years, we turned to an expert on southern politics for insight into Steele’s allusion to the Nixon-era strategy of racial exclusion. Michael Perman is author of Pursuit of Unity: A Political History of the American South, which traces the… Continue Reading The Republicans’ “Southern Strategy” Unmasked?

The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Fate and Behavior

We welcome a guest post today from Stan Ulanski, author of The Gulf Stream: Tiny Plankton, Giant Bluefin, and the Amazing Story of the Powerful River in the Atlantic. After the deadly explosion on an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana last week, thousands of gallons of oil started pouring into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. We… Continue Reading The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Fate and Behavior