Demand the Impossible


Book Description

Born from the wave of activism that followed the inauguration of President Trump, Demand the Impossible asks scholars what they can do to help solve present-day crises. The twelve essays in this volume draw inspiration from present-day activists. They examine the role of history in shaping ongoing debates over monuments, racism, clean energy, health care, poverty, and the Democratic Party. Together they show the ways that the issues of today are historical expressions of power that continue to shape the present. Adequately addressing them means understanding their origins. The way our society remembers the past has long served to cement inequality. It is no accident that the ahistorical slogan "make America great again" emerged after decades of income inequality and a generation of funding cuts to higher education. But the movement toward openly addressing injustice and inequality though historical inquiry is growing. Although many historians remain tucked away in ivory towers of their own making, we join a long tradition of activist scholars like W.E.B. Du Bois, C.L.R. James, and C. Vann Woodward, as well as a growing wave of engaged colleagues including Keri Leigh Merritt, who penned the foreword for this volume. As historians and citizens, we feel a responsibility to preserve an authentic vision of the past in a moment riddled with propaganda and lies. In doing so, we hope to help provide a framework to fight the inequities we inherited from prior generations that are repurposed and enshrined by the powerful today. Nathan Wuertenberg is a doctoral candidate at The George Washington University. He is conducting research for a doctoral dissertation on the 1775 American invasion of Quebec, entitled "Divided We Stand: The American War for Independence, the 1775 Quebec Campaign, and the Rise of Nations in the Twilight of Colonial Empires." William Horne is a PhD candidate at The George Washington University researching the relationship of race to labor, freedom, and capitalism in post-Civil War Louisiana. His dissertation, "Carceral State: Baton Rouge and its Plantation Environs Across Emancipation," examines the ways in which white supremacy and capitalism each depended on restricting black freedom in the aftermath of slavery. Contents I. LIBERALS, LEFTISTS, AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY Be Realistic: Demand the Impossible! Ben Feldman This Really is Your America, Nathan Wuertenberg II. RACISM AND RIGHTS: AFRICAN AMERICANS AND CONTESTED CITIZENSHIP(S) "Hands off D.C." Race and Congressional Control of Washington, D.C., Kyla Sommers Ferray vs. Pompeyo the Free Black: Fear and Black Masculinity in the Era of the Haitian Revolution, Sarah Senette III. MONUMENTS AND POWER: RACISM AND PUBLIC MEMORY Monuments, Urbanism, and Power in Urban Spaces: Looking at New Orleans, Louisiana from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Douglas McRae Producing and Protesting Invisibility in Silver Spring, Maryland, David Rotenstein IV. JOBS AND THE ENVIRONMENT: MOVING BEYOND THE HERRENVOLK DEMOCRACY OF COAL Energy and the Trump Administration: Pipelines, Promises, and the Third Energy Shift, Tom Foley Bring Back Our Jobs: Work, Memory, and Energy Infrastructure, William Horne V. INSURING MENTAL HEALTH: TREATMENT AND ACCESS FOR THE MENTALLY ILL Treating Mental Illness in Victorian Britain, Jade Shepherd Inheriting Expulsions from the Insurance Industry, Kathleen M. Brian VI. POVERTY AS POLICY: WAGELESSNESS AND AID Taxing Values: What Our Tax Code Says About Us, Tessa Davis From Moral to Political Economy: The Origins of Modern Philanthropy's Charitable Feedback Loop, Thomas Barber Conclusion: Policing Patriotism and the Responsibilities of Activist History, Cory James Young




Hitler's American Model


Book Description

How American race law provided a blueprint for Nazi Germany Nazism triumphed in Germany during the high era of Jim Crow laws in the United States. Did the American regime of racial oppression in any way inspire the Nazis? The unsettling answer is yes. In Hitler's American Model, James Whitman presents a detailed investigation of the American impact on the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazi regime. Contrary to those who have insisted that there was no meaningful connection between American and German racial repression, Whitman demonstrates that the Nazis took a real, sustained, significant, and revealing interest in American race policies. As Whitman shows, the Nuremberg Laws were crafted in an atmosphere of considerable attention to the precedents American race laws had to offer. German praise for American practices, already found in Hitler's Mein Kampf, was continuous throughout the early 1930s, and the most radical Nazi lawyers were eager advocates of the use of American models. But while Jim Crow segregation was one aspect of American law that appealed to Nazi radicals, it was not the most consequential one. Rather, both American citizenship and antimiscegenation laws proved directly relevant to the two principal Nuremberg Laws—the Citizenship Law and the Blood Law. Whitman looks at the ultimate, ugly irony that when Nazis rejected American practices, it was sometimes not because they found them too enlightened, but too harsh. Indelibly linking American race laws to the shaping of Nazi policies in Germany, Hitler's American Model upends understandings of America's influence on racist practices in the wider world.




Mothers, Criminal Insanity and the Asylum in Victorian England


Book Description

Tracing the experiences of women who were designated insane by judicial processes from 1850 to 1900, this book considers the ideas and purposes of incarceration in three dedicated facilities: Bethlem, Fisherton House and Broadmoor. The majority of these patients had murdered, or attempted to murder, their own children but were not necessarily condemned as incurably evil by medical and legal authorities, nor by general society. Alison C. Pedley explores how insanity gave the Victorians an acceptable explanation for these dreadful crimes, and as a result, how admission to a dedicated asylum was viewed as the safest and most human solution for the 'madwomen' as well as for society as a whole. Mothers, Criminal Insanity and the Asylum in Victorian England considers the experiences, treatments and regimes women underwent in an attempt to redeem and rehabilitate them, and return them to into a patriarchal society. It shows how society's views of the institutions and insanity were not necessarily negative or coloured by fear and revulsion, and highlights the changes in attitudes to female criminal lunacy in the second half of the 19th century. Through extensive and detailed research into the three asylums' archives and in legal, governmental, press and genealogical records, this book sheds new light on the views of the patients themselves, and contributes to the historiography of Victorian criminal lunatic asylums, conceptualising them as places of recovery, rehabilitation and restitution.




When the Smoke Cleared


Book Description

Echoing James Forman Jr.’s Locking Up Our Own, a riveting story of race, civil rights, and rebellion in Washington, DC In April 1968, following the murder of Martin Luther King Jr., a wave of uprisings swept across America. None was more visible—or resulted in more property damage, arrests, or federal troop involvement—than in Washington, DC, where thousands took to the streets in protest against racial inequality, looting and burning businesses in the process. The nation’s capital was shaken to its foundations. When the Smoke Cleared tells the story of the Washingtonians who seized the moment to rebuild a more just society, one that would protect and foster Black political and economic power. A riveting account of activism, urban reimagination, and political transformation, Kyla Sommers’s revealing and deeply researched narrative is ultimately a tale of blowback, as the Nixon administration and its allies in Congress thwarted the ambitions of DC’s reformers, opposing civil rights reforms and self-governance. And nationwide, conservative politicians used the specter of crime in the capital to roll back the civil rights movement and create the modern carceral state. A vital chapter in the struggle for racial equality, When the Smoke Cleared is an account of open wounds, paths not taken, and their unforeseen consequences—revealed here in all of their contemporary significance.




A Generation of Sociopaths


Book Description

In his "remarkable" (Men's Journal) and "controversial" (Fortune) book -- written in a "wry, amusing style" (The Guardian) -- Bruce Cannon Gibney shows how America was hijacked by the Boomers, a generation whose reckless self-indulgence degraded the foundations of American prosperity. In A Generation of Sociopaths, Gibney examines the disastrous policies of the most powerful generation in modern history, showing how the Boomers ruthlessly enriched themselves at the expense of future generations. Acting without empathy, prudence, or respect for facts--acting, in other words, as sociopaths--the Boomers turned American dynamism into stagnation, inequality, and bipartisan fiasco. The Boomers have set a time bomb for the 2030s, when damage to Social Security, public finances, and the environment will become catastrophic and possibly irreversible--and when, not coincidentally, Boomers will be dying off. Gibney argues that younger generations have a fleeting window to hold the Boomers accountable and begin restoring America.




Taking Back the Academy!


Book Description

Taking Back the Academy! is not only an historical look at activism on campus since the 1960s, but also an exploration of the ways in which the historian's craft leads to social change. Written against the current political wave that views liberal academics as treasonous and unpatriotic, these authors defend political dissent and powerfully document the importance of activism and public debate on college campuses. From the controversies surrounding the current war to continuing problems of identity politics on campus, Taking Back the Academy! covers a number of issues raging on today's university campuses.




Class, Race, and Marxism


Book Description

Winner of the Working-Class Studies Association C.L.R. James Award Seen as a pioneering figure in the critical study of whiteness, US historian David Roediger has sometimes received criticism, and praise, alleging that he left Marxism behind in order to work on questions of identity. This volume collects his recent and new work implicitly and explicitly challenging such a view. In his historical studies of the intersections of race, settler colonialism, and slavery, in his major essay (with Elizabeth Esch) on race and the management of labor, in his detailing of the origins of critical studies of whiteness within Marxism, and in his reflections on the history of solidarity, Roediger argues that racial division is part of not only of the history of capitalism but also of the logic of capital.




The End of Protest


Book Description

Is protest broken? Micah White, co-creator of Occupy Wall Street, thinks so. Disruptive tactics have failed to halt the rise of Donald Trump. Movements ranging from Black Lives Matter to environmentalism are leaving activists frustrated. Meanwhile, recent years have witnessed the largest protests in human history. Yet these mass mobilizations no longer change society. Now activism is at a crossroads: innovation or irrelevance. In The End of Protest Micah White heralds the future of activism. Drawing on his unique experience with Occupy Wall Street, a contagious protest that spread to eighty-two countries, White articulates a unified theory of revolution and eight principles of tactical innovation that are destined to catalyze the next generation of social movements. Despite global challenges—catastrophic climate change, economic collapse and the decline of democracy—White finds reason for optimism: the end of protest inaugurates a new era of social change. On the horizon are increasingly sophisticated movements that will emerge in a bid to challenge elections, govern cities and reorient the way we live. Activists will reshape society by forming a global political party capable of winning elections worldwide. In this provocative playbook, White offers three bold, revolutionary scenarios for harnessing the creativity of people from across the political spectrum. He also shows how social movements are created and how they spread, how materialism limits contemporary activism, and why we must re-conceive protest in timelines of centuries, not days. Rigorous, original and compelling, The End of Protest is an exhilarating vision of an all-encompassing revolution of revolution.




We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible


Book Description

Essays by 30 authors attempt to reclaim and to create heightened awareness about individuals, contributions, and struggles that have made African American women's survival and progress possible.




Masterless Men


Book Description

This book examines the lives of the Antebellum South's underprivileged whites in nineteenth-century America.