An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States

Meaningfully Discomforting: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne. An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. Audiobook. Tantor Media, 2014. Last summer, Supreme Court-watchers, indigenous rights activists, and other interested parties were shocked to learn that the United States Supreme Court re-ordered an oral hearing session in the pending landmark Carpenter v. Murphy (now Sharp v. Murphy) case. The implications of […]... Read More

American Horror Story: AMC’s The Terror: Infamy

Last spring, Heather and I enjoyed AMC’s somewhat nontraditional historical horror/thriller The Terror (reviewed here on Concerning History). Its story of a British expedition trapped north of the Arctic Circle, struggling to survive the elements even while stalked by a malevolent spirit, was gripping and, well, weird. We were excited to hear that it had been renewed for a second season, though of course this new batch of episodes would need to cover a different story. On board for an anthology series of different period piece horror stories, Heather and I eagerly tuned in.... Read More

Behind the Scenes: D’Weston Haywood’s Let Us Make Men

When Heather gave me a couple books that lay outside my normal historical comfort zone this past Christmas, I figured I would ease myself into reading them, lest I lose my motivation and let them fall by the wayside. The first, Aberration of Mind (reviewed here on Concerning History), was familiar in period, if not in subject; this second book, however, was familiar in neither. My fascination with history usually peaks around 1914, and it could certainly use much more non-European focus, I must admit. I was thus both excited and somewhat hesitant to begin reading an academic monograph on the role of the black press in the civil rights movements of the 20th century. Luckily, however, the outcome of reading D’Weston Haywood’s Let Us Make Men was precisely what you want to happen in this situation: strangely compelling and profoundly illuminating.... Read More
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Too Grand a Scope: Diane Sommerville’s Aberration of Mind

Whenever I get too entrenched in my own historical preferences, I know I can count on Heather to get me out with something new and totally different than I’ve ever read before. Christmas 2018 brought me not one but three new books from Heather, all of which will find their way onto Concerning History (hopefully before Christmas 2019!). The first covers an era that I am thoroughly familiar with, but focuses on an utterly alien subject. Diane Sommerville’s Aberration of Mind: Suicide and Suffering in the Civil War-Era South studies the occurrence, rationale, and cultural interpretation of self-destruction during and after the Civil War in the Confederacy, and I was intrigued by what insights such a study might offer into the minds of Victorian soldiers, civilians, and slaves. While Sommerville certainly expanded my knowledge of the South in the period she covers, ultimately her ambitions prove too grand for a single volume.... Read More

Too Little, Too Late: TNT’s I Am the Night

In a nice change of pace from the history we usually follow, we decided to take a gander at the much-publicized TNT miniseries I am the Night, directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Chris Pyne (their first project together since Wonder Woman). We were cautiously excited; the promotion for the show promised a noir mystery set against the backdrop of 60s Los Angeles and somehow connected to one of the most famous unsolved murders in American history. We dove in, but instead of an intriguing thriller, we were treated to a long, dull slog.... Read More
20190401_112633 20190401_130110 56459536_571746799994514_8202485669537251328_n 20190401_145129 Plantation Day

Interpreting the Big Easy: Wrestling with the Past at Oak Alley and Whitney Plantations

While visiting New Orleans on our spring break last week, Bryan and I made a day trip west of the city to see two of Louisiana’s most famous plantations: Oak Alley in Vacherie and Whitney in Wallace. Although the two sites are only a 15-minute drive from one another, the plantations are nonetheless worlds apart when it comes to how they grapple with our nation’s most painful and contentious history: that of slavery.... Read More
The Arrival of African slaves in 1619

Away with 1619: Reinterpreting the Origins of American Slavery

Last October, the state of Virginia kicked off its commemoration of the 400th anniversary of several key events in its early history. The festivities began with the anniversary of the founding of the House of Burgess–the first known legislative body in what would become the United States–and will continue into this year with the anniversary […]... Read More

Echoes in the Ivory Tower: The Second World Youth Congress and the Conflicts of Academia and Society

As the 2018-2019 academic year kicks off, I can’t help but think back to my May research trip to Vassar College. All last year, I had a tenuous relationship at best with my thesis work on the World Youth Congress Movement (1936-1939), confident of the project’s potential but confounded by how to assert the significance […]... Read More
1188px-1968-05_Évènements_de_mai_à_Bordeaux_-_Rue_Paul-Bert_2 US_64th_regiment_celebrate_the_Armistice Maertz

Making History, Marking History: The Great Anniversaries of 2018

To mark the first anniversary of Concerning History, we’re taking a look at some of the major historical moments being commemorated this year and providing some recommendations for further reading. There are plenty of other events out there worth marking, however, so if you have one you think we should have included, we invite you to scroll down to the comments and share it with us.... Read More
Godless Jeff Daniels

Not God’s Country: Netflix’s Godless and the New American Western

Has there ever been a subject that captured America’s imagination like the Wild West? What American triumph more glorious than the Winning of the West? What more iconic (and retroactively troubling) childhood memory than playing cowboys and indians? What films more seminal to the American film tradition than those staring John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Roy […]... Read More