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Warfare as the creator and destroyer of nations

There are at least four ways in which warfare in its changing forms has been formative in the rise and transformation of national collectivities. First, warfare has been central for much nation-state formation. Most nation-states that came into existence before the mid-20th century were created by war or had their boundaries defined by wars or internal violence.

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Michael Gillette on Lady Bird Johnson and oral history

This episode of the OHR on OUPblog, I take the opportunity to interview Michael Gillette, author of Lady Bird Johnson: An Oral History. In this podcast, Gillette discusses the book, the research behind and process of interviewing “Mrs. Johnson,” and his current role as executive director of Humanities Texas. Our host, Oxford University Press, published Lady Bird Johnson at the end of last year.

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Ronald Reagan Day

By Gil Troy
When running for president in 2008, Barack Obama infuriated both Bill and Hillary Clinton by saying he dreamed of being a transformational leader like Ronald Reagan – and unlike Bill Clinton. Insulted by this challenge to their legacy, the Clintons accused their opponent of endorsing Reagan’s policies, when Obama was assessing impact not ideology.

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In memoriam: Ariel Sharon

By Gil Troy
Ariel Sharon, Israel’s former prime minister who died recently at 85, after being in a vegetative state for eight years, helped save Israel at least twice. The first time, during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, won him worldwide acclaim. The second time, against Yasir Arafat’s terror war three decades later, earned him broad denunciations. That shift reflects the change in tactics in the decades-long war against Israel’s existence, and the resulting plunge in Israel’s popularity.

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10 November 1975: Daniel Patrick Moynihan addresses the UN on Zionism

Before Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003) was elected as a Democratic Senator from New York in 1976, a seat he held 24 years, he served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. While Moynihan was the ambassador, the UN passed Resolution 3379, which declared “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” In the new book Moynihan’s Moment: America’s Fight Against Zionism as Racism, historian Gil Troy chronicles Moynihan’s fiery response to that resolution, a speech that was delivered 37 years ago today.

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The Nine Lives of Ronald Reagan

By Gil Troy

As we mark the centennial (Feb. 6th, 2011) of Ronald Reagan’s birth, the tug of war over his legacy continues. Reagan’s popular image – and popularity — have fluctuated as wildly as the stock market. One way to make sense of this is to think of Ronald Reagan as having nine public lives.

Central to the Reagan legend is this conservative Republican president’s origins as a Hollywood Democrat. Ronald Reagan was a New Deal Democrat who by the 1950s felt that the Democratic Party had lost its way. He always insisted: “Maybe my party changed. I didn’t.” And yes, Reagan was an actor.

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Perceptions of Medieval Manuscripts

Fragmentology: bits of books and the medieval manuscript

So many fragments of manuscripts exist that a new term—Fragmentology—has recently been applied to the study of these parts and parcels. Librarians, archivists and academics are paying more attention to what can be learned about textual culture from a folio cut, say, from a twelfth-century manuscript and later used by a binder to line the oak boards of a fifteenth-century book.

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Extraordinary times: revisiting the familiar through the novels of Marilynne Robinson

Last week, after more than a year of living in pandemic lock-down, my husband, my son, and I drove from our home outside Boston to the outer tip of Cape Cod, where we parked in a near empty lot and walked down a steep hill through the dunes to the ocean. “It’s still here,” I said aloud, trying to breathe in the sweeping expanse of the curved shore, the June light illuminating the water, the sound of waves and the sweep of terns. Like the trip we took as a young family to watch the sunset at Race Point Beach just days after 9/11, this encounter with the sublime felt like a blessing, a visceral recollection of the way that beauty opens us up to something larger than ourselves.

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Reconstructing the Dreamland

100 years after the Tulsa Race Massacre

On 1 June 1921, mobs comprised of ordinary white Oklahomans destroyed Greenwood, a black neighborhood in Tulsa sometimes referred to as “Little Africa.” The rioters proceeded to subject their African American neighbors to injury, murder, looting, pillaging, and arson. At least a hundred residents of Greenwood were killed while thirty-five city blocks were torched, destroying churches, businesses, and all sorts of other dwellings. The riot rendered more than a thousand families homeless.

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The Spanish Civil War: a nostalgia of hope

This summer will mark the 85th anniversary of the start of the Spanish Civil War, a brutal struggle that began with a military uprising against the democratic Second Republic and ended, three years later, in victory for the rebels under General Francisco Franco. The enduring fascination of that conflict, its ability to grip the global imagination, belies its geographical scale and is testament to the power of art.

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Athens After Empire

Capturing your “rude” conqueror

Roman civilization is one of the foundation stones of our own western culture, and we are often exposed in newspaper and magazine articles, books, and even TV documentaries to the glories of Roman art, architecture, literature (the chances are you’ve read Virgil’s Aeneid), rhetoric (we’ve all heard of Cicero), even philosophy. Yet in the late first century BC the Roman poet Horace wrote: “Captive Greece captured her rude conqueror and introduced her arts to the crude Latin lands” (Epistle 2.1.156). Did he really mean that Rome owed its cultural and intellectual heritage to the Greeks?

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Envisioning a post-crisis world

Early in World War II, in August 1941, before the United States had entered the war and Britain stood alone against Adolph Hitler, President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill steamed in secret aboard their respective battleships and met off the coast of Newfoundland on HMS Prince of Wales. Their aim: Shape the Post […]

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The city will survive coronavirus

In a recent essay, New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman asked “Can City Life Survive Coronavirus?” It seems an apt question in this extraordinary time of mandated retreat from public life.  City streets and spaces normally teeming with people are nearly deserted now, evoking scenes from a Terry Gilliam film.  In an effort to slow the […]

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Innovative dynamism allows all to flourish

The poor who lack jobs often suffer from substance abuse, violence, and unstable families. As the suffering persists for many of these outsiders to our system, scholars and politicians on both the left and right ask how to reform or overturn our current economic system so that all can flourish. The Great Fact of economic […]

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