History News Wrap-Up, August 5

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Professor Carrie Janney’s The Next Lost Cause?” was recently published in the Washington Post. Here is an excerpt from Carrie’s insightful piece: “Even as Confederate monuments tumble this summer, we may be witnessing an attempt to form a new lost cause. Today, President Donald Trump describes his opponents as “unfair,” the pandemic sapping his popularity as a “hoax,” the polls that show him losing to Joe Biden as “fake,” and the election in which he’ll face ultimate judgment in November as “rigged” or potentially “stolen.” His defenders are already laboring to cast him as a righteous, noble warrior martyred by traitors and insurmountable forces. They rely on the same tools that were used to promulgate Confederate myths: manipulating facts, claiming persecution, demonizing enemies and rewriting history. In other words, Trump is laying the groundwork to claim moral victory in political defeat — and to deny the legitimacy of the Democratic administration that would displace him.” 

Professor Jim Loeffler has published a wonderfully informative article in The Atlantic, “The Problem With the ‘Judeo-Christian Tradition.” In this article, Jim explains why the concept , “Judeo-Christian Tradition,” was always an unstable foundation on which to build a common American identity. 

Professor Philip Zelikow’s recent article in The American Interest, “Lessons from the Second World War: A Reply to President Putin,” turns our attention to the European Parliament’s and President Putin’s recent debates about World War II.  In the article, Philip argues that “the European Parliament’s proclamation about the cause of World War II is wrong. It offers a fundamentally inaccurate version of the most important episode in modern history. President Putin’s rebuttal is serious, yet it, too, is deeply misleading. The net result is to deepen Europe’s divides, not overcome them.”

Professor Jennifer Sessions was interviewed for a series on contested monuments by the podcast Paroles d'Histoire. As many of you know, in recent months, statues and monuments associated with slavery and colonialism have been contested and sometimes overturned. The eruption of memorial issues in public space is the subject of Paroles d'Histoire’s five podcast show. Jennifer’s insightful commentary provides a much needed global perspective on monuments and our collective reckoning with the past. 

In the latest installment of UVaToday’s special series, “UVA and the History of Race,” Professor Christian McMillen examines the George Rogers Clark and Lewis and Clark statues. In this article, Christian details how the George Rogers Clark and the Lewis and Clark statues were “also monuments to white supremacy” and “instrumental in creating and perpetuating the myth of brave white men conquering a supposedly unknown and unclaimed land.” 

This month, Professors Will Hitchcock and Siva Vaidhyanathan started a new podcast series: “Democracy In Danger.” The series interviews leading scholars about the erosion of democratic norms in the US and around the world. Each week Will and Siva address a different topic, from populism and xenophobia to the dark web and the role of social media in the democratic process. The impressive line-up includes scholars such as Nicole Hemmer on right-wing media; Federico Finchelstein on fascism in Latin America; Matt Hedstrom on Christian Nationalism today; Erika Lee on xenophobia in America; Leah Wright Rigueur on Black Lives Matter; Elizabeth Hinton on Mass Incarceration; Nina Jankowitz on Russian disinformation tactics; and Carol Anderson on voter suppression. Two episodes are live now; they will be adding one each week through the November election. The series runs from July 2020 through the election cycle and beyond. New episodes post on Tuesdays. Subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts and tweet your thoughts @UVAMediaLab.