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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

That someone else: finding a new oral history ancestor

Dan Kerr acknowledges in his article, “Allan Nevins Is Not My Grandfather,” that most historians of oral history tend to dismiss the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) as a mere “prehistory” of the field, because the vast majority of FWP interviews were recorded with pen and paper rather than with machine.

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A dangerous mission: loyalty and treason during the American Revolution

The American Revolution was at once a national, a continental, and an imperial phenomenon. It produced a new American republic, rearranged power relations and territorial claims across North America, and altered Europeans’ global empires. It inspired stirring statements about universal rights and liberties even as it exposed disturbing divisions rooted in distinctions of class, ethnicity, race, and gender.

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Conquering distance: America in the Pacific War

Following a wave of Japanese attacks, the American, British, Canadian, and Dutch forces entered the Pacific War on 8 December 1941. As American forces moved across the Pacific they encountered a determined and desperate enemy and a harsh inhospitable environment. By early 1944, armed with new fast carriers, the Americans stepped up the pace of operations and launched the campaigns that would bring them to the doorstep of the Japanese homeland. But every step closer to Japan was a step farther from the United States.

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Journal of Social History cover

Curing (silent) movies of deafness?

Conventional wisdom holds that many of the favorite silent movie actors who failed to survive the transition to sound films—or talkies—in the late-1920s/early-1930s were done in by voices in some way unsuited to the new medium. Talkies are thought to have ruined the career of John Gilbert, for instance, because his “squeaky” voice did not match his on-screen persona as a leading male sex symbol. Audiences reportedly laughed the first time they heard Gilbert’s voice on screen.

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The perils of political polarization

Political polarization in the United States seems to intensify by the day. In June 2016, surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that majorities in both parties held highly unfavorable opinions of their opponents. Many Democrats and Republicans even admitted to fearing the rival party’s political agenda. Such strong feelings have scarcely dissipated—and likely escalated—since those surveys were completed.

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Why can mailboxes only be used for U.S. mail?

Because it is against Federal law to put anything in a mailbox, “on which no postage has been paid,”. If a person is caught doing so, they could be fined up to $5,000 and an organization could be fined up to $10,000. This is called the “Mailbox Restriction Law”, which does not exist in most countries.

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Should we still care about the War of 1812?

This summer marks 205 years since the United States declared war on the British Empire, a brief, but critical, conflict that became known as the War of 1812. This is a good opportunity to pause and take stock of its historical significance and relevance today.

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The United States in World War I podcast series

2017 marks the centennial of the United States joining World War I. To commemorate this historic occasion, Oxford University Press put together a podcast series discussing various aspects of America’s involvement in the war.

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Pride 2017: a reading list

Happy Pride Month from the OUP Philosophy team! To celebrate the LGBT Pride 2017 happening in cities across the world, including the New York City and London Prides this summer, OUP Philosophy is shining a spotlight on books that explore issues in LGBTQ rights and culture.

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The Nixon tapes and Donald Trump

Since President Trump’s inauguration, and even before, there have been countless comparisons between the 37th and 45th presidents of the United States. Some of the comparisons make sense, while others do not. For this reason, when I was called upon to ask a question at the 16 May, 2017 CNN town hall debate between Governor John Kasich and Senator Bernie Sanders, and I chose to ask a question about Richard Nixon and Donald Trump.

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The history of American burlesque [timeline]

Burlesque is an exotic dance style that draws on theatrical and often comedic performance elements. First introduced by a visiting British dance troupe in the 1860s, burlesque took off in America even as its popularity dwindled in England.

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Loving and before

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court Case that ruled prohibitions on interracial marriages unconstitutional. The decision and the brave couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, who challenged the Virginia statute denying their union because he was deemed a white man and she, a black woman, deserve celebration. The couple had grown up […]

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Net neutrality and the new information crossroads

Despite the rapidly expanding collections of information, the nation’s information is at risk. As more of it comes in digitized form and less in printed or verbalized formats, it can be corralled and viewed more easily by groups or institutions concerned with only their interests.

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Law and order fundamentalism and the US-Mexico border

Today, the United States is experiencing a surge of law and order fundamentalism in the US-Mexico borderland. As it pertains to the international divide, law and order fundamentalism as a political ideology has a long genealogy that stretches back to the late nineteenth century. It is grounded in anti-Mexicanism as well as the abiding conviction that the border is inherently dangerous and “needs” to be policed.

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Building on the legacy of Andrew Jackson

This March, President Trump paid a visit to the Hermitage, the Tennessee home of his favorite predecessor, Andrew Jackson. Trump was uncharacteristically modest. He stood at the grave of Old Hickory, saluting for the cameras. Then he sent this beyond-the-grave message: “We thank you for your service. We honor your memory. We build on your legacy and we thank God for the USA!” What legacy does Trump want to build on?

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