Cultural History – History of Ideas – History of Religion


Articles on cultural history, the history of ideas, and the history of religion.

 

Go to Century Past History Resources for a directory of all pages.

African American Religions, 1500-2000: Colonialism, Democracy, and Freedom

Review of Sylvester A. Johnson, African American Religions, 1500-2000: Colonialism, Democracy, and Freedom.

Shari L. Rabin, H-Net Reviews 2017

American Idol: On Nietzsche in America

Why early twentieth-century Americans—from anarchists to Baptist ministers—fell for the philosophy of Nietzsche.

Ross Posnock, The Nation 2011

Fairy Tales or Medieval Reality? Historical origins of fantasy stories

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Gemma Hollman, Just History 2016

America’s Second Great Awakening – Podcast

Part I of a special three part series exploring America’s Second Great Awakening. In this episode Sarah, Marissa and Katie introduce the Second Great Awakening, and talk about some of the major movements of the period, including Joseph Smith and the Mormons.

Marissa Rhodes, DG 2016

American Enlightenments – Podcast

In many ways, the Enlightenment gave birth to the United States. Enlightened ideas informed protests over imperial governance and taxation and over whether there should be an American bishop.

Caroline Winterer, Ben Franklin’s World, Episode 127

Aristotle, Father of Scientific Racism

In the past few years, an obsession over the intersection of race and science – and in particular, the use of science to shore up theories of racial hierarchies – has seen a resurgence. At the heart of this revival: Charles Murray, co-author of the notorious 1994 book on innate intelligence and public policy, “The Bell Curve.” These are very old and very bad ideas that have led to unspeakable oppression, particularly of black Americans.

Matthew A. Sears, Washington Post 2018

The Catholic church in America: Earthly concerns

The Catholic church is as big as any company in America. Bankruptcy cases have shed some light on its finances and their mismanagement

The Economist 2012

Historians of Christian Nationalism see disturbing parallels to today’s tax cut battle

The legacy of Christian libertarianism

Jack Jenkins, Think Progress 2017

Atheism in America

Section headings are: The Origins of Americans’ Attitude toward Atheism, Deism Arrives in America, The Golden Age of Unbelief in America, Atheism in the Twentieth Century, Belief and Unbelief in Post-World War II America, The New Atheism

Staff, Encyclopedia of American Studies

Becoming Atheist: Humanism and the Secular West

Naturalistic and atheistic worldviews have a long history in Western philosophy, but there was no identifiable culture of atheism within Europe until the 18th century. the subsequent development of an ethos of disbelief was confined for many years to the intellectual and literary classes…

Dr Russell Blackford, Reviews in History

Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More

Along with Marx, various others have raised significant objections to Protestant, capitalist definitions of work. Bertrand Russell and Buckminster Fuller are among those in the 20th century.

Open Culture 2015

Chicago Renaissance; Literature and Art in the Midwest Metropolis – Podcast

Jon talks with Liesl Olson about her new book published by Yale University Press, titled “Chicago Renaissance: Literature and Art in the Midwest Metropolis” (2017). Olson is the Director of Chicago Studies at the Newberry library and has taught at the University of Chicago.

Liesl Olson, Midwestern History Association 2017

Clear and Present Dangers

Review of American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century, by Kevin Phillips

Alan Brinkley, NY Times Sunday Book Review 2006

Creating Circumstances: Edward Bernays, Psychoanalysis, and the Making of American Consumer Culture

The author briefly sums up research he had been doing on Edward Bernays, who was a public relations man early in the 20th century who had been associated with Freudianism.

Joseph Malherek, Perspectives on History 2017

A Critical History Asks, What Does It Mean to Be Modern?

Review of MODERNITY AND ITS DISCONTENTS: Making and Unmaking the Bourgeois From Machiavelli to Bellow By Steven B. Smith

James Miller, NY Times Book Review 2016

Decolonising the Mind: The Misunderstanding of Traditional African Beliefs

There are few religions as globally misunderstood as African traditional religions. Whether it is being wrongly labelled voodoo, juju or witchcraft, indigenous African faith systems tend to be associated with darkness, animal and human sacrifices, violence and general backwardness

Cosmic Yoruba, 2014

Did the United States Invent Teenagers?

The United States did invent teenagers. They became a common commodity, sharing a profoundly influencing uniform experience for them and the nation: they attended high school. By the middle of the 1920s, high school experience had become relatively homogenized across the nation…

James Cortada, Oxford Univ. Press blog 2016

Disappearing Religions of the Middle East – Podcast

Gerard Russell is the author of Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East

Gerard Russell, History Today 2014

Eating for Others: The Nineteenth-Century Vegetarian Movement in Germany

Carolyn Taratko, Journal of the History of Ideas Blog 2016

The Evangelicals

Frances Fitzgerald talked about her book ‘The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America’, in which she provides a history of evangelicalism in the United States.

C-Span Video 2017

Pew Research: To understand the political power of evangelicals, we must look beyond the pulpits.

Review of ‘The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America’, by Frances Fitzgerald

Jeff Sharlet, The New Republic 2017

‘European culture’ is an Invented Tradition

The idea of a coherent European culture is actually quite new. Scattered uses of the phrase appeared in the 19th century, but it was only in the 1920s and ’30s that the idea came of age…

Benjamin G Martin, Aeon

A History of U.S. Foreign Affairs in Which Grandiose Ambitions Trump Realism

Review of THE TRAGEDY OF U.S. FOREIGN POLICY; How America’s Civil Religion Betrayed the National Interest By Walter A. McDougall

David E. Sanger, NY Times 2016

How an Economic Theory Helped Mire the US in Vietnam

A little-remembered aspect of the Vietnam War debacle is the important role played by a prominent economic historian named Walt Whitman Rostow, whose theories on economic development helped persuade Americans – and two presidents – that the fight in Vietnam was right and that we must prevail.

Peter Hilsenrath, The Conversation 2017

How Cold War Philosophy Permeates US Society to this Day

When Cold War philosophy tied rational choice theory to scientific method, it embedded the free-market mindset in US society.

John McCumber, Aeon

Intellectual History and Global Transformations

During the final weekend of October, eighteen graduate students from a variety of history and literature departments gathered at UC Berkeley for the “Futures of Intellectual History” graduate conference to workshop dissertation chapters and to think more deeply about the sub-discipline of intellectual history, its future, its methodology, and its relevance in an age of global history.

Timothy Wright, Blog of the Journal of the History of Ideas 2017

Liberty – Podcast

Bettany Hughes examines changing ideas of liberty by allowing a neuroscientist to take control of her brain and by perusing the pornography of the French Revolution.

Bettany Hughes,The Ideas That Make Us, Series 2, BBC4

Martin Luther and the German Reformation

A comprehensive account of the man who split western Christendom for good.

Bridget Heal, History Today 2017

Martin Luther King’s Radical Anticapitalism

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Paris Review 2018

Pastors, Not Politicians, Turned Dixie Republican

Thirty years ago there were a few Republican Congressmen and Senators from Southern states, but state and local politics in the South was still dominated by Democrats. By 2014 that had changed entirely as the last of the Deep South states completed their transition from single-party Democratic rule to single party rule under Republicans. The flight of the Dixiecrats was complete.

Chris Ladd, Forbes 2017

Social Darwinism – Podcast

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Social Darwinism. After the publication of Charles Darwin’s masterpiece On the Origin of Species in 1859, some thinkers argued that Darwin’s ideas about evolution could also be applied to human society.

In our Time, BBC Radio 4 2014

Sovereignty

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of the idea of Sovereignty, the authority of a state to govern itself and the relationship between the sovereign and the people.

In our Time, BBC Radio 4 2016

The Friendly Recluse

Hermits, anchorites and anchoresses (men or women who lived enclosed in a small cell in a church) were holy figures with looser ties to ecclesiastical authorities and more autonomy than those who lived in formal religious communities…

Sophia L. Deboick , History Today 2017

The History of Human Emotions – Video

The words we use to describe our emotions affect how we feel, says historian Tiffany Watt Smith, and they’ve often changed (sometimes very dramatically) in response to new cultural expectations and ideas. Take nostalgia, for instance…

Tiffany Watt Smith, TED Talks 2017

Towards an Intellectual History of the Alt-Right?

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Yitzchak Schwartz, Journal of the History of Ideas Blog 2017

There is no such thing as western civilisation

The values of liberty, tolerance and rational inquiry are not the birthright of a single culture. In fact, the very notion of something called ‘western culture’ is a modern invention

Kwame Anthony Appiah, The Guardian 2016

‘There Will Be Oil: A Sacred History of Pipeline Politics in Cold War America’ – Video

This talk will reveal a hidden history of petroleum politics during the early Cold War period, one in which ‘oil patch’ evangelicalism plays a vital role in forging new oil frontiers and expanding the interests and influence of American petroleum on a global stage.

Darren T. Dochuk

What the idea of Civilisational ‘Collapse’ Says about History

The idea that the Maya or Easter Islanders experienced an apocalyptic end makes for good television but bad archaeology

Guy D Middleton, Aeon

When did Amish Become Old-Fashioned?

Although Anabaptists around the world are incredibly diverse, ranging like many faith communities from ultraconservative to liberal-radical, popular stereotypes have long presented members as agrarian anti-modernists.

Ben Goossen, JHI Blog

Directory at Century Past History Resources

 

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