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Egyptology at the turn of the century [podcast]

On November 1, 1922 Egyptologist Howard Carter and his team of excavators began digging in a previously undisturbed plot of land in the Valley of the Kings. For decades, archaeologists had searched for the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun with no success, and that November was to be Carter’s final attempt to locate the lost treasures. What Carter ultimately discovered—the iconic sarcophagus, the mummy that inspired whispers of a curse, and the thousands of precious artifacts—would shape Egyptian politics, the field of archaeology, and how museums honor the past for years to come.

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The Absolutely Indispensable Man

When Ralph Bunche met Princess Margaret

As the Under-Secretary General of the UN, Ralph Bunche was one of the leaders in the fight to end empire in the second half of the Twentieth Century, In 1965, he had the opportunity to speak to Princess Margaret about the role of the British Empire in the world.

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Cold War: A Very Short Introduction

Nine new books to understand the Cold War [reading list]

This October marks the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tense political and military standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. To mark the anniversary, we’re sharing some of our latest history titles on the Cold War for you to explore, share, and enjoy. We have also granted free access to selected chapters, for a limited time, for you to dip into.

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State lotteries in modern America

The intertwined history of state lotteries and convenience stores

This past summer, millions of Americans were transfixed by the prospect of becoming billionaires. After weeks with no winner, the jackpot for the multi-state lottery game Mega Millions rose to $1.3 billion before being won by an as-yet-unnamed gambler who purchased the winning ticket at a Speedway gas station in Des Plaines, Illinois. Or, more specifically, at the convenience store portion of the gas station, where customers can purchase gas, food, drinks, cigarettes, and, of course, lottery tickets.

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Walking Among Pharoahs

Howard Carter and Tutankhamun: a different view

On 4 November 1922, Englishman Howard Carter acted on a “hunch” and discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, setting the world at large on fire, archaeologically speaking. “King Tut’s tomb” and the (much older) Pyramids of Giza;:have any other monuments come to symbolize ancient Egyptian civilization—and archaeology—better?

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Stars and Shadows: The Politics of Interracial Friendship from Jefferson to Obama

The politics of interracial friendship

There have been instances of interracial friendship even in the worst of times. Explore some of these noteworthy friendships, which have served as windows into the state of race relations in the United States.

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Happy Dreams of Liberty

An enslaved Alabama family and the question of generational wealth in the US

Wealthy Alabama cotton planter Samuel Townsend invited the attorney to his home in 1853, swearing him to secrecy. His elder brother Edmund had recently died, and the extensive litigation over Edmund’s estate had made it clear to Samuel that he needed an airtight will if he wanted to guarantee that his chosen heirs would inherit […]

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A Florence Price mystery solved (part two)

To my knowledge, Price’s Boston address remained inconclusive until I visited Special Collections at the University of Arkansas Mullins Library this past January to find new leads for the Price biography I am co-authoring with Samantha Ege, the Lord Crewe Junior Research Fellow in Music at Lincoln College, Oxford. The recovery of this information fills a void in a life story for which “the necessary evidence to write a detailed biography,” as preeminent Price scholar Rae Linda Brown once put it, “is surprisingly scant.”

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Oxford University Press logo

A Florence Price mystery solved (part one)

To my knowledge, Price’s Boston address remained inconclusive until I visited Special Collections at the University of Arkansas Mullins Library this past January to find new leads for the Price biography I am co-authoring with Samantha Ege, the Lord Crewe Junior Research Fellow in Music at Lincoln College, Oxford. The recovery of this information fills a void in a life story for which “the necessary evidence to write a detailed biography,” as preeminent Price scholar Rae Linda Brown once put it, “is surprisingly scant.”

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The Silken Thread

Rough Walkers: the true story of Roosevelt’s Rough Riders

The recent controversy over a statue of Theodore Roosevelt reveals a larger story: one about the Rough Riders, the first United States Volunteer Cavalry. Although their victory at the Battle for the San Juan Heights is well-known, the Riders’ real enemy was not the Spanish they fought but the deadly yellow fever and malaria carried by mosquitoes.

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The neuroscience of consciousness by the Oxford Comment podcast

Women’s economic empowerment, past and future [podcast]

In the western world, discussions about the gender pay gap have dominated discussions for the last few decades, but the issues around the economic status of women, and women’s roles in the workforce are far more nuanced, incorporating issues of race, class, consumerism, and ongoing shifts in the legal status of women in subtle and often invisible ways.

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Manhattan Phoenix: The Great Fire of 1835 and the Emergence of Modern New York by Daniel S. Levy

New York City: the grid

There had been attempts to lay out streets in New York going back to its founding. It was a process that would go on for the next few centuries, and would only accelerate in the decades before and after the Great Fire of 1835.

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The Silken Thread

History repeats—yellow fever and COVID-19

See if this sounds familiar: misinformation, disinformation, and incomplete information are applied to an epidemic, its causes, and treatments. I am not referring to COVID-19 but to 1878 and the yellow fever epidemic that decimated a wide swath of the southern reach of the Mississippi River.

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