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culture wars



  • Today It’s Critical Race Theory. 200 Years Ago It Was Abolitionist Literature

    In 1829, South Carolina and Georgia responded to a series of fires they assumed were set by enslaved people by banning both the abolitionist literature they blamed for inciting rebellion and the teaching of literacy to slaves. Today's battles over curriculum are likewise about ideas deemed threatening to social hierarchies.



  • Partisans Often Try to Claim July 4 as their Own. It Usually Backfires

    by Kevin M. Kruse

    Intense partisans seeking to use July 4 celebrations as a way to denounce their opponents as unpatriotic have seldom succeeded, though despite some notorious episodes of Independence Day chaos they will probably keep trying. 



  • The Battle for 1776

    How will the re-emergence of history as a culture war battle front impact the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence? Annette Gordon-Reed, Jane Kamensky, Michael Hattem, Kevin Gover, Philip Mead, Robert Parkinson and Alan Taylor are among the historians commenting.



  • Why We Should Cancel The Phrase ‘Cancel Culture’

    by Max Boot

    There are legitimate and important arguments about how much society should tolerate offensive or controversial speech, and how much the markets or public opinion should sanction individuals for what they say. The current "cancel culture" outrage on the right has nothing to do with these arguments. 



  • Why Can't Britain Handle the Truth about Winston Churchill?

    by Priyamvada Gopal

    "Churchill was an admired wartime leader who recognised the threat of Hitler in time and played a pivotal role in the allied victory. It should be possible to recognise this without glossing over his less benign side."



  • What Attacks on Science Get Wrong

    by Andrew Jewett

    Reductive diagnoses of a "war on science" ignore the specific political and cultural stakes of controversies around vaccination, climate, or creationism. 


  • The Latest Resurgence of Ethnic Studies

    by Elwood Watson

    The history of ethnic studies as an academic movement is a cycle of rise and retrenchment; protest movements often push for more representative curricula, while forces of tradition and austerity seek to uphold a canon or push majors linked directly to the job market. Today's protest movements are pushing an ethnic studies renaissance despite the dire financial straits of many colleges and students.



  • Women’s Rights and the Decline of the Culture Wars

    by Jonathan Zimmerman

    Last Sunday, at the United Nations, world leaders marked the 20th anniversary of the landmark Beijing accord on women’s rights. They celebrated women’s progress—especially in education, health, and labor—and underscored ongoing gender inequalities.



  • Dallek and Leuchtenburg cited in McClatchy article on culture shift

    ...“On cultural issues, the direction the country is moving is more progressive,” said Will Marshall, president of the centrist Progressive Policy Institute. “But that’s less clear on economic issues.”The trend to more liberal cultural views is part of a “compassionate impulse” Americans have long held, said author and historian Robert Dallek....“There is a move in the direction of cultural pluralism,” said William Leuchtenburg, historian at the University of North Carolina, with people more accepting of different cultures, different lifestyles and different attitudes .That’s not to say that change comes smoothly. The willingness to change “goes in cycles,” Dallek said, as people stop to absorb a wave of change. Thus, the social upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s gave way to the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment for women, the rise of the Moral Majority and evangelical Christians in politics, and the tide of culturally conservative blue-collar Democrats abandoning their party and helping elect President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s....