Fifty years ago this week, the Concorde took flight. The supersonic jet, capable of flying at twice the speed of sound, traveled between New York and Paris in less than four hours, cutting the average flight time in half (and then some). Of course, the Concorde’s high airspeed and flying altitude was exceeded only by … Continue reading “A Tool Devised to Outwit Time”
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the tensions inherent in an American history survey course–probably in any survey course, for that matter. Before last year, I redesigned my course along thematic (as opposed to chronological) lines, and all in all, I believe it works well. There are some things that I’m not entirely satisfied with, as … Continue reading Nietzsche and the History Survey
A selection of thought-provoking reads from the month that was… Jamelle Bouie, “Blackface is the Tip of the Iceberg” (New York Times, February 4) Put simply, there is a plausible (in theory, at least) nonracist reading of King’s preoccupation with the preservation of “Western civilization” or the president’s belief that some countries, like Haiti, are … Continue reading Recommended Reads: February 2019
In some of my recent posts, I have written about how we have come to believe a simplistic narrative of the civil rights movement—one which celebrates its successes but places it squarely in the past, disconnecting “the movement” from current protest movements in favor of racial equality. This view can be explained in part, I … Continue reading Massive Resistance and Trump
In my very first post on this blog, I wrote about the origins of the name. I see the past as a sort of palimpsest—something that still shines through in places, but which has been “written over” time and time again by subsequent generations. But I also noted a personal reason for the name: As … Continue reading Life as a Palimpsest
Note: This was originally posted on a different blog back in 2007, but it still seems relevant, particularly in light of some of my recent posts about the civil rights movement. I have edited it lightly in its current form. In a recent article from The Nation, Gary Younge asks, “Whatever happened to James Blake?” … Continue reading White History Month?
Not long ago, I was reading book reviews in the most recent issue of the Journal of American History, when I came across this review (by Laura Hirshbein) of Daniel Horowitz’s Happier? The History of a Cultural Movement that Aspired to Transform America: Horowitz points out that researchers and promotors [sic] of popular psychology range … Continue reading The Neoliberalization of Everything?
A couple of weeks ago, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I wrote about Jeanne Theoharis’s important book A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History, in which she reminds historians—and the broader public—not to neglect the movement in the North. In one particularly powerful example, Theoharis notes the … Continue reading The Biggest Civil Rights Protest You Probably Never Heard of
My morning routine typically involves walking the dog and then sitting down with a cup of coffee to read and/or write for an hour between 6:00-7:00 before getting ready for work. Yesterday morning, I started reading James Cobb‘s The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity, which has … Continue reading Mississippi and the Nation
A selection of thought-provoking reads from the month that was… Nathan Heller, “The Philosopher Redefining Equality” (The New Yorker, January 7) At fifty-nine, [Elizabeth] Anderson is the chair of the University of Michigan’s department of philosophy and a champion of the view that equality and freedom are mutually dependent, enmeshed in changing conditions through time. … Continue reading Recommended Reads: January 2019