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cultural history


  • The Art of Swimming (Excerpt)

    by Bill Hayes

    Unline many recognizable modern sports, for most of human history swimming was treated as a utilitarian activity (and occasionally as a pleasure), unsuited for competition or spectatorship.



  • Hobbies are How Work Infiltrates Leisure

    "The anxieties of capitalism are not confined to the workplace. They have a long history of leaking into our free time," explains leisure historian Steven M. Gelber.



  • The DC Punk Scene Relied on the Local Latinx Community

    by Mike Amezcua

    "A big piece is missing from the stories told about punk and hardcore in the 1980s: Primarily, that marginalized spaces and communities in urban America gave a stage to the predominantly white subculture."



  • Braveheart: President Donald J. Trump

    by Kristin Kobes Du Mez

    Following the threads of religion and nationalism that form the unlikely comparison between Trump and Mel Gibson's (heavily mythologized) Scottish movie hero. 



  • Grief Is Evidence of Love

    by Kellie Carter Jackson

    The resurgence of the pandemic is an opportunity to reflect on the late theorist and public intellectual bell hooks, who "gave me... the language to understand grieving and healing as radical, communal acts."



  • The Vigilante World of Comic Books

    A major theme of Jeremy Dauber's new history of comics is the tension between democratic values and the desire to eradicate evil through overwhelming force. 



  • Lizabeth Cohen: Why Americans Buy So Much Stuff

    As holiday shopping overlaps with historic supply chain disruptions, NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talks with Lizabeth Cohen on the economy's reliance on spending and the culture of consumerism in the U.S.



  • Utopia’s Settler Colonialism Problem

    by Jessica Namakkal

    The commune movements of the 1960s counterculture were organized around a number of pernicious assumptions about indigenous people and the prerogatives of whites to settle and reorganize land. 



  • For Research, Portland State Prof Read 60 Years of Marvel Comics

    Douglas Wolk argues in "All the Marvels" that the more than 27,000 comics he read are the "longest, continuous, self-contained work of fiction ever created," but doesn't necessarily advise any comics fans to try to repeat his research process. 



  • Manhood, Madness, and Moonshine

    by Dillon Carroll

    Today's concern for "deaths of despair" among white Americans isn't unprecedented; a wave of alcoholism and temperance advocacy after the Civil War highlighted the relationship between social unsettlement, substance abuse and social reformism.



  • Extinct

    by Barbara Penner and Adrian Forty

    "The history of objects becomes far richer when we also consider the underside of progress: the conflicts, obsolescence, accidents, destruction, and failures that have been such an integral part of modernization and its modes of operation."



  • The Real Foucault

    by Michael C. Behrent

    "Why does Foucault now feel like our contemporary, almost forty years after his death? Why are leftists turning against him? And why are some conservatives adopting him?"