Walking in Alabama: Enclosure and In-Betweenness

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This spring, I gave a paper at the British Women Writer’s Conference in Auburn, Alabama. Alabama has been in the news a lot lately, but I was there to think about women and legal rights in the nineteenth century, not the twenty-first. My paper was on walking in Anne Brontë’s 1848 novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. That sounds strange: to write about walking in a novel. Walking is just something people tend to do,…

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Misinformed: How a 1918 Narrative Shapes Our Discussion of Slavery and Race Today

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Historical knowledge does not exist independently of the historian’s interpretation. The fallacious obsession with the study of history as a series of empirical facts is entrenched in the primary and secondary education system of the United States. Students are taught a distorted history built on triumphalism and the biases of archaic historians. Slavery, in particular, is a victim of such narrow pedagogy, as Antebellum America’s central event is taught fragmented, sanitized, and without context (Shuster…

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Fascist Control of Theatre in the 1930s & 40s

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Control of public space is essential for the existence of an oppressive regime or dictatorship. Political ideas such as fascism cannot thrive unless they are the dominating subject of conversation in public. Fascism and other forms of dictatorship survive by smothering any other political ideas out of the public mind. A very effective way to do that is to control and manipulate public space through the cultural tool that is theatre. The political idea of…

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Librarians on Horseback & The New Deal: A Fascinating History

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It’s one of the staples of a high school history education, and one of the most widely known pieces of reform in America’s history—Franklin Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ plan. Roosevelt’s vision included a host of public works projects, public reforms, and regulations in an attempt to stabilize the United States economy as a response to the Great Depression. The creation of basic programs—roads, Social Security, Wall Street reform, aid for farmers—are all familiar to the most…

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