Tag: American

The Mafia, The Godfather, and the Hollywood romance

Reading time: 8 minutes
The Godfather. Perhaps one of the greatest films and franchises of all time; March 24, 2022, will mark the 50th anniversary of the film’s theatrical release, which is a number that in ways seems both large and small. Large from the perspective that it has already been five decades since it shook the cinematic world, yet small in that a film of such importance and influence was released in the backyard of our modern history: 1972.

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REEL OR UNREAL HISTORY

Reading time: 5 minutes
Long before “fake news” wedged itself into American vernacular, “fake” or “engineered” news on film had a powerful influence on democracy and world regimes. A few years ago, one of my history students observed that a film reel of Teddy Roosevelt from the 1915 Panama–California Exposition was shockingly authentic. After viewing the reel, my student reflected on how useful it was to see the world “exactly” as it was lived in history. This response gave me pause. Had I done enough to introduce the reel and complicate it as a primary source? My student accepted the moving images on the screen as pure historical truth. This reflection helped me realize I was missing an opportunity to use newsreels as a teaching tool to engage critical analysis and media literacy in my history classroom.

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B.C. FRANKLIN AND THE TULSA MASSACRE

Reading time: 5 minutes
On May 31, 1921, Buck Colbert Franklin peered up at the Tulsa, Oklahoma, sky and saw planes dropping turpentine bombs onto the roofs of nearby homes and businesses. On the street around him, he watched Black women, men, and children being felled by the guns of their white neighbors. Under the guise of extracting retribution for a Black teenager’s supposed assault on a white woman a day before, white Tulsans strategically destroyed the physical manifestations of their Black neighbors’ success.

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Why January 6 Was Not Like a Banana Republic

Reading time: 5 minutes
After the January 6 insurrection, many observers, including former US presidents, current legislators, pundits, journalists, and editorial writers invoked the mob violence and bloody mayhem as the usual political culture of so-called “banana republics.” Although it is an easy comparison to make, Latin Americanists found this galling, because the term refers to a specific economic and political trope created by and in service to US interests. Using the phrase banana republic to describe any attempted coup or insurrection draws on a century of stereotypes about Latin America created by the US to serve US interests. As a description of the events of January 6, the comparison lacked both subtlety and accuracy.

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Humans domesticated horses – new tech could help archaeologists figure out where and when

Reading time: 8 minutes
In the increasingly urbanized world, few people still ride horses for reasons beyond sport or leisure. However, on horseback, people, goods and ideas moved across vast distances, shaping the power structures and social systems of the premechanized era. From the trade routes of the Silk Road or the great Mongol Empire to the equestrian nations of the American Great Plains, horses were the engines of the ancient world.

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A SNAPSHOT OF THE PUBLIC’S VIEWS ON HISTORY

Reading time: 7 minutes
The teaching of history has become a political football in recent years, resulting in efforts by those on both ends of the political spectrum to regulate what appears in classrooms across the country. Lost in this legislation, grandstanding, and punditry is how the American public understands the past, a measurement that was last taken systematically by historians Roy Rosenzweig and David Thelen in their 1998 landmark study, The Presence of the Past.

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US prep schools held student exchanges with elite Nazi academies

Reading time: 7 minutes
In the summer of 1935, the Nazi government hijacked a student exchange program between leading American and German schools.
The International Schoolboy Fellowship, as it was known, was first set up by Walter Huston Lillard, the headmaster of Tabor Academy in Massachusetts, in 1927 to foster better relations between all nations through schoolboy exchange. Participating countries included the U.S., Germany, France and Great Britain.

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That time private US media companies stepped in to silence the falsehoods and incitements of a major public figure … in 1938

Reading time: 6 minutes
In speeches filled with hatred and falsehoods, a public figure attacks his enemies and calls for marches on Washington. Then, after one particularly virulent address, private media companies close down his channels of communication, prompting consternation from his supporters and calls for a code of conduct to filter out violent rhetoric.

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The Chatterley Trial 60 years on: a court case that secured free expression in 1960s Britain

Reading time: 6 minutes
The paperback copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover pictured above is of great cultural significance. Leafing through the pages one discovers hidden gems: pencil markings, underlinings, marginal annotations. Accompanying the book are sheets of headed stationery from the Old Bailey, containing handwritten notes relating to the novel along with a clumsily hand-stitched fabric bag – apparently made not to protect the book but rather the person carrying it by obscuring its title.

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Domino Theory and U.S. Foreign Policy

Reading time: 4 minutes
When looking at the cold war and the way the United States went about its foreign policy, you can’t escape the influence of the so-called domino theory. This belief, a common one in American’s halls of power, stated that if one country fell to communism, the surrounding ones would, too. Was there any truth in this theory, though, or was it more scare mongering?

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