Here’s the letter I sent to an FCC commissioner who went to my alma mater and is opposed to net neutrality: Dear Mr. O’Rielly, I am a member of the University of Rochester’s Class of 2014. Since then, I’ve earned an M.A. from the U of R and am working on my Ph.D. I am […]Read more "How to Defend Net Neutrality: An Example Letter"
Today’s revelation of the “Paradise Papers” comes from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. So far as we know, this group did not perform the hack that obtained these financial documents, but simply interpreted the data. For this work, the ICIJ is to be commended. They document the tax-evasion schemes of plutocrats, celebrities, and politicians […]Read more "Explore the Paradise Papers"
Hi Tangents followers! I recently attended the Mormon Church’s Hill Cumorah pageant outside Rochester, N.Y. This all-volunteer, 75-minute theatrical performance stages the Book of Mormon as a (mostly) family-friendly drama. The show embodies the LDS religion’s messages of supernatural self-fulfillment and a mythic history for the United States. Read more in Emory University’s Sacred Matters magazine! […]Read more "Dan at the Hill Cumorah Pageant"
Originally posted on Plagal Cadence:
Why do you so desperately try to show Me These chains you place on yourself? Do you still not know They are a choice Not My hand against you? Mortal, do you not see grace? Do you still not understand The power of My voice The words of My decree–…
Dear Tangents readers, Our editor and correspondent Dan Gorman is now conducting podcast interviews for The Religious Studies Project. This U.K.-based initiative interviews scholars and educators about current events, public policy, and the latest research about religion. The tone is scholarly but casual — anyone interested in religion can listen! Check out Dan’s interviewer page here: http://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/persons/daniel-gorman-jr/ […]Read more "Check out our correspondent at The Religious Studies Project!"
The warring monarchies of early modern Europe are not my specialty, compared to my European-historian peers, so I read Pierre Goubert’s Louis XIV and Twenty Million Frenchmen (1966; English version 1970) at a mild disadvantage. Still, I found that I rarely needed to peruse Wikipedia for extra context, as Goubert writes with a non-specialist audience […]Read more "The History of History 13: Where’d All These Frenchmen Come From?"
It was cold but clear out — good weather for a march in January. My girlfriend had made some signs invoking radical political figures past: Shirley Chisholm, the Industrial Workers of the World (perhaps Elizabeth Gurley Flynn is instructive here). We had planned to park in her old neighborhood in south Boulder, in order to […]Read more "Being History: Reflections on the Women’s March in Denver"
This is the fourth year-end wrap-up I’ve written about music. My past discussions of particular songs or albums have tended to be lengthy, so this year I’ll try to assess items with brevity. While 2016 may not have seen as many inventive recordings as in 2015, the year had a proliferation of well-honed albums and […]Read more "Mountains of the Moon, Earth to Heaven: The Best Music of 2016"
What is the story behind 2016? Inevitably what this question is really asking — at least, in large part — is, ”So, what’d you think about the election?” I want to keep this bit as abbreviated as possible, so here are some month-over-month tweets in which I talk about politics (but also gyros). Interestingly enough […]Read more "Goodbye to All That: Banishing 2016"
The organic matter residing within the umpteen dimensions of space and time that constitute the grave of our Second President, John Adams, is emitting laughter. Instead of a dystopian hellscape after the election, we are living in a political outcome that has taken “President Adams ‘great fear’” of factionalism to farcical levels. The 2016 presidential […]Read more "President Adams is Laughing."
After reading Kenneth Pomeranz’s Great Divergence and Immanuel Wallerstein’s World-Systems Analysis, we staggered into class this week with the literary equivalent of battle scars. We had read two dense tomes in a week and lived to tell the tale. Most people launched into conversation by stressing the density of Pomeranz, with his many footnotes and nuanced case […]Read more "The History of History 12: How the West Won (For a While…)"
Originally posted on Erstwhile: A History Blog:
On July 10th, 2015, members of a South Carolina Highway Patrol honor guard reeled down the Confederate flag from a pole in front of the statehouse. Ten thousand onlookers roared excitedly as the flag descended, some cheering “USA! USA! USA!” – a traditionally patriotic shout that took on new meaning when…
These past few days have been really difficult for a lot of people, including myself. It’s taken me a lot of time and energy to get through my initial emotional reaction of shock and horror to a place where I can think rationally about what I’m feeling and where to go from here. There’s a […]Read more "Where do we go from here? Reflections on a divided America"
Introduction Before I get into any detail, I wish to state that I’ve been a registered Republican since I turned 18, about 10 years ago. On Election Day 2016, I cast my vote… for former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate who did not know or remember the significance of Aleppo. Governor Johnson […]Read more "Factional Discontent & Electoral Confusion"
In the wake of Election Day I, like many or even most Americans, have struggled to make sense of the country, of others, of myself. I have struggled to understand what has happened and why, and what may or may not happen in the future. Perhaps what I have struggled with most is the absolutely […]Read more "Election Day, 2016: A Clinical Social Work Perspective"
This is long, but worth reading to the bottom if you need some hope right now. When I saw Pennsylvania go to Trump last night, that’s when I knew it was over and I actually spontaneously vomited from the anxiety of all of this. It caught me off guard and grossed me out, but it […]Read more "And Yet We Rise"
Our readings this week disrupted the chronological approach to great books that we have used so far. Last week, we read Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904–05). This week, we read Immanuel Wallerstein’s World-Systems Analysis (2004) and Kenneth Pomeranz’s The Great Divergence (2000). These two books reflect a century’s worth of […]Read more "The History of History 11: The Great Divergence"
This week, we began class by returning to Albert Soboul’s essay “Classes and Class Struggles During the French Revolution.” Using Marx’s framework of historical transitions, Soboul writes about the French transition from feudalism to capitalism. At the start of the revolution (1789–92), guilds were banned and land was divided up, allowing for smaller landowners. In […]Read more "The History of History 10: More Words about Weber and Protestants"
Note: My professor reminded me that Max Weber’s writing, while reminiscent of modernization theory, was published before that theory was a thing. Still, here’s my raw take on reading “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism”: Before I read the Penguin Classics edition of Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism […]Read more "The History of History 9: Max Weber and the Protestants!"
My papers for the first three weeks of this course fell into a clear pattern. The first weekly entry probed the readings, while the second weekly entry tied them to public history or current affairs. Last week, in the wake of Herder and Hegel, I really had nothing else to add regarding their ideas, so […]Read more "The History of History 8: Marx & Engels, A Closer Look"
Ah Karl, you little rascal, you. Your philosophy inspired heated debates in the nineteenth century, turned the world upside down in the twentieth century, and lies somewhat dormant in the twenty-first century, as the word communism is associated with totalitarian regimes. Moreover, your name frequently overshadows your collaborator, Friedrich Engels. What of poor Engels, who […]Read more "The History of History 7: Marx & Engels"
I used to dread reading philosophy and to some extent I dread it still. Not just German philosophers like Johann Herder and Georg Hegel, mind you. All philosophers. As I plowed through Herder and Hegel for this class, I observed that, while these authors have written dense sentences, they are not impossible to comprehend. Of […]Read more "The History of History 6: The Classics in Our Schools?"
Originally posted on Mask of the Flower Prince:
Same song, different verse… yet another round of labor disputes is rippling through the world of classical music. Earlier this month the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra went on strike, and today the venerable Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra went on strike too. [Edit: Scant hours after this posted, the…
This week’s readings bring our tour of historical writing into the nineteenth century, which saw industrialization and the professionalization of history in universities. Germany, in its configurations as part of the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the German Empire, was at the forefront of these innovations. The late-nineteenth-century German university system, with […]Read more "The History of History 5: The German Invasion"
Reading Edward Gibbon in conversation with The Mahabharata, the Bible, ancient Chinese historians, and Gregory of Tours is an exercise in stomaching apocalyptic visions. Each of these works describes the collapse of civilizations, if not the whole world. Gibbon shows how political chaos and strategic blunders brought down Rome, and hints that the Europe of […]Read more "The History of History 4: The Ambition of Philosophers"