Last Semester, when I asked this question to students: “Where do your rights come from?“, none of these twenty first-century learners answered quite in the way the people of the eighteenth century would have. Here’s a podcast that explains why. Be sure to (more…)

My research led me to the British Museum in London to explore their holdings of satirical prints ala the mid-eighteenth century. Among the thousands of excellently stored and catalogued prints lay one particular visual depiction that has become central to my dissertation: “Bung Triumphant,” print number 3361 (image 4 of 4 shown at bottom). Chock full of symbolism, none more so than (more…)

2,400 words plus into the body of one my dissertation chapters, it dawned on me that I was not in a place where I wanted be. The words were halting, the research I had conducted less giving, and, well, if one could use an honest phrase, when I read my work “bull s*#t” came to mind. Arrrggh.

“Writing is a thinker’s game,” said (more…)

An article in the online Las Vegas newspaper The Guardian features a new video clip that attempts to show the spread of human culture over the past 2,500 years. Maximilian Schich, an art historian at the University of Texas, crafted a visually mesmerizing five and a half minute sequence of births and deaths of some 150,000 famous people over two millennia. The video, entitled “Charting Culture,” is purported to represent the spread of all of human culture.

But the video is problematic along two fronts. (more…)

The University of Bristol announced today that it partnered up with the London-based Wellcome Library on a digitization project covering nineteenth-century medical books and pamphlets. Bristol is now one of nine UK universities that opened up its own archives, special collections, and library holdings to assist in building what’s being dubbed as the “UK Medical Heritage Library.” When complete (sometime in 2020), over 50-million pages of (more…)

Climate change as a new phenomenon needs rethinking, particularly along the lines of culture. Cultural history can help us understand ourselves and come to terms with those who refuse to accept the enormous mountains of peer-reviewed, scholastic and scientific work concerning our earth’s current warming trend. Embedded within those who refute science is a rabid search for alternatives to data and hardcore evidence. I must warn, however, that this search is a sensibility born not entirely upon ideological grounds. Indeed, there are (more…)

Take about a handful of 1% rich men, white if you have them; mash them into a puree of gerrymandered districts with very little conscience toward citizenry and constituents; season this with copious, unlimited “Greens”; toss this mixture to the scattered, bought and sold media labeled “Scrutiny”; gently stir so as not to cause excitement amongst the knavish electorate – careful – one drop can become gruesomely fermented; wait through a 24 hour election cycle and pull your masterpiece from the oven; if not entirely corrupted, repeat by adding more “greens”…

Ah, satire – the lubricant to point away at what may ail a said society. And though I penned the craftiness of what’s above, I cannot take full credit. There’s a bit of history here (isn’t there always). You see, I borrowed, and heavily from the eighteenth century where gripes of electioneering corruption abounded. I have marveled, of late, at the cliché riddled maxim that history, on occasion, repeats itself. And with recent court decisions from the United States Supreme Court, I simply cannot help myself in drawing parallels. Forgive me. (more…)

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