Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Theatre and race in Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs

Many playwrights have explored race relations, particularly in America. The growth of the Civil Rights Movement gave rise to a range of plays protesting racism and exploring the African-American experience. Lorraine Hansberry made history as the first black woman to have a play on Broadway: A Raisin in the Sun, also the first play on Broadway to be directed by a black director.

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President William Henry Harrison’s fatal “pneumonia”

William Henry Harrison was 68 years old when he became the ninth president of the United States and the oldest US president until Ronald Reagan was elected nearly a century and a half later. He was sworn into office on 4 March 1841. Exactly one month later, he was dead.

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Reflections on religion and the Civil Rights Movement

Americans, black and white, love to commemorate the civil rights struggle. School programs, public events, popular culture, and historic markers all recount the heroic battle black Americans waged for their full humanity. Yet, racial inequality continues to plague the United States, and most popular civil rights history mythologizes it in ways that hinder the full realization of the movement’s goals.

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choosing our religion

3 things you might not know about Nones

Religious Nones are a name for people who answer “none” when asked with what religious group they most identify or to which they belong. Nones are a growing segment of the U.S. religious landscape but there are some misconceptions about how they practice what might count as “spirituality” or “religion.” Here are three challenges to typical misconceptions about Nones.

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9780199777563 - American Maelstrom: The 1968 Election and the Politics of Division by Michael Cohen

LBJ drops out of 1968 presidential race

By late March 1968, President Lyndon Johnson’s presidency lay in tatters. Anger over the war in Vietnam and Johnson’s growing credibility gap had created a full-scale insurgency at home, within the Democratic Party. Things soon went from bad to worse.

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Launching into oral history

I was introduced to oral history while completing my Master’s in Library Science at the University of North Texas. I needed to fulfill my practicum requirement, and I took a chance on an advertisement to intern at NASA-Johnson Space Center. (I grew up wanting to be an astronaut, but in high school I met AP Calculus and that dream was indefinitely deferred.)

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Interviews with historians: An OAH video series

At the 2015 Organization of American Historians conference in St. Louis, we interviewed OUP authors and journal editors to understand their views on the history discipline. Gathering at the OUP booth, scholars – working in fields ranging from women’s history to racial history, cultural history to immigration history – discussed topics both professional and personal.

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Hamilton the musical: America then told by America now

It was only after I finished writing The Founding Fathers: A Very Short Introduction that I got to see the off-Broadway version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton: An American Musical” at New York City’s Public Theater. I was lucky enough to see the Broadway version (revised and expanded) last month.

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Sleepy Hollow’s Apocalypse

“The answers are in Washington’s Bible!” Katrina shouts as Moloch stirs the dark, swirling clouds that will seal her once again in Purgatory. Her husband, Ichabod Crane, stands watching, unable to help as his wife is swallowed up in a world that he can only reach in dreams and visions. Ichabod has been resurrected from the dead in the twenty-first century and faces Death himself in the form of the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

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Local opera houses through the ages

Nineteenth and twentieth Century opera houses are finding new lives today. Opera houses were once the center of art, culture, and entertainment for rural American towns–when there was much less competition for our collective attention.

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Washington D.C. civil rights slideshow

Brown v. Board of Education is one of the most identifiable civil rights cases in our nation’s history. While most scholarship begins with this case, Just Another Southern Town by Joan Quigley recounts the battle for civil rights beginning with the case of District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co. In this slideshow, Joan Quigley weaves together the success of this case with other landmark civil rights moments in Washington, DC, creating a timeline of the struggle for racial justice in our nation’s capital.

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Our lost faith in the American murder trial

We live in an age when Americans are both captivated and disturbed by murder trials. The Netflix smash hit Making a Murderer went viral in late December as it chronicled the seemingly wrongful convictions of a Wisconsin man and his teenage nephew for the gruesome killing of a young photographer. The success of this documentary was hardly surprising in the wake of 2014’s Serial, the most popular podcast in history and winner of a Peabody Award.

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9780199777563 - American Maelstrom: The 1968 Election and the Politics of Division by Michael Cohen

Eugene McCarthy and the 1968 US presidential election

Eugene McCarthy made first stop in New Hampshire on January 25, 1968, only six weeks before the state’s March 12 primary. When he did arrive, his presence sparked little excitement. He cancelled dawn appearances at factory gates to meet voters because, as he told staffers, he wasn’t really a “morning person.” A photographer hired to take pictures of the candidate quit after five days because the only people in the shots were out-of-state volunteers.

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99 years after the Jones Act: Austerity without representation

Ninety-nine years ago this week, Puerto Ricans became citizens of the United States. What does this anniversary signify? That depends a lot on who you ask (and be careful who you ask, since most Americans have no idea how or why Puerto Ricans became US citizens, or if they’re even citizens at all).

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W.E.B. Du Bois and the literature of upheaval

There is a moment in the George Miller film Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985) that has stuck with me over the two decades since I first saw it. A bedraggled Max (Mel Gibson) is escorted through the crumbling desert outpost of Bartertown.

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