Weekend Reading

This week: Vatican II and the country of Uganda turn 50; rapping about/against Puritans; the politics of plankton; celebrating Jane Austen; and fightin’ words from our neighbors to the North.

• The Christian rap song that laments the popularity of the Puritans.

• Like a few other things, fire prevention in American history traces back to Benjamin Franklin.

• The Jane Austen Society of North America held its annual meeting, and the New York Times was there.

• There’s a debate in Canada over how its government is commemorating the War of 1812. Here’s the government-produced TV ad (“Two hundred years ago, the United States invaded our territory!”, it begins) that’s prompting criticism:

• The effects of the American Civil War on colleges and universities.

• Guess what products used to have radium added to them!

• Friday marked the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. Our own Chris Gehrz assembled a variety of reflections and reactions from across the Catholic spectrum.

• The day before, two Catholic politicians faced off in the vice-presidential debate. (First time that’s ever happened.) Historians H.W. Brands, John McNeill, Emily Rosenberg, and Gregory Schneider offered some historical context on VP debates.

• If you think this campaign has been nasty, check out what happened to writer Upton Sinclair when he ran for governor of California during the Great Depression!

• How history and geology explain a narrow band of Obama-supporting counties running straight through the former Confederacy. (H/T JeaNell George Krupnick ’05! – send Dr. Gehrz your suggestions if you think a link would fit well in Weekend Reading)

• Another Bethel alum provides some perspective on another 50th anniversary: that of Ugandan independence.

• For a different take on decolonization… A 1959 memo by British foreign secretary Selwyn Loyd was recently published: it provides unique insight into the decline of empire and what Europeans expected to result from decolonization.

• The history of oral history (and its relationship with folklore).

• Another series of reflections on recently concluded meeting of the Conference on Faith and History, from John Fea of Messiah College: part 1 (Tracy McKenzie’s presidential talk on historians serving the church), part 2 (on the undergraduate experience of the conference), part 3 (on public history in CFH).

• Another CFH member, Jay Case of Malone University, reflected on a perpetually tricky question for Christian historians: “Is it possible to identify how God works through history?


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