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(May 5) (review) Pay For Play: A History of Big-Time College Athletic Reform
May book review:

(Apr 15) (review) A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s
April book review:

(Apr 15) (article) Frenemies: Iran and America since 1900
Our May Origins article is live:

(Mar 21) (article) American Populism and the Persistence of the Paranoid Style
Our April Origins article is up!

(Mar 11) The beta of our Origins Reader app is live!
We've launched the beta version of our Android app for Origins.

(Mar 2) (review) The Gold Standard at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: Rising Powers, Global Money, and the Age of Empire
Check out our March book review

(Feb 15) (article) Currency Wars, Or Why You Should Care About the Global Struggle Over the Value of Money
Our March issue of Origins is live! by Steven Bryan

Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective (RSS FEED)

(February 2013) Should Age Matter? How 65 Came to Be Old and Old Came to Be Ill (Tamara Mann)
Baby boomers, 78 million strong, are turning 65 at a rate of 4 million per year. The press, the government, and the medical community claim, often and loudly, that these numbers augur a mass dependency crisis. Such spokesmen envision a world of decrepit elders afflicted with chronic disease slurping their way through the country’s resources. This month historian Tamara Mann explores how, in the United States, the so-called “geriatric crisis” is less related to age itself than to the relationship between old age and government funds, particularly Medicare. She explains how 65 became a federal marker of old age and why health insurance came to be offered as the best solution to the problems afflicting America’s elders.

(January 2013) Democratizing American Higher Education: The Legacy of the Morrill Land Grant Act (David J. Staley)
In May 2012, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced a partnership to offer on-line courses, free to anyone anywhere in the world. There is a historical resonance in MIT's involvement in the MOOC (massive open on-line courses) movement. MIT is a land-grant university and the announcement came during the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Land Grant Act which created the land-grants. Arguably the greatest democratization of higher education in history, the Morrill Act stressed that higher education should be practical and that it should be accessible. This month historian David Staley looks back over the 150 year history of this experiment in state-funded, democratic higher education.

(December 2012) "Merchants of Death": The International Traffic in Arms (Jonathan A. Grant)
As we try to sort out the causes and consequences of armed conflicts around the globe, we seldom ask the question: where do all those weapons come from that make these wars possible? With the United States racking up a record shattering $66.3 billion in overseas weapons sales last year, the question has become even more pressing. This month, historian Jonathan A. Grant looks at the history of the governments and individuals who have created a global trade in armaments. Except when they run afoul of the law, as Russian arms dealer Victor Bout did in 2011, these men tend to operate out of public view but the impact they have had on societies around the world is hard to over-estimate.

(November 2012) From Commonplace to Controversial: The Different Histories of Abortion in Europe and the United States (Anna M. Peterson)
As the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court case legalizing abortion, approaches, many Americans assume that legalized abortion is only as old as that ruling. In fact, as Anna Peterson discusses this month, abortion had only been made illegal at the turn of the 20th century. The different histories of abortion in Europe and the United States reveal much about the current state of American debates-so prominent in the 2012 elections campaigns-over abortion and women's health.

(October 2012) Socialism Takes Over France, Again? (Alice L. Conklin)
After François Hollande’s victory in the French presidential elections in May followed by socialist victories in the more recent legislative elections, many commentators declared a decisive swing to the Left in Europe’s second largest economy, at a moment of intense political paralysis in the Eurozone. This month historian Alice Conklin explores why the socialists won now in France, after two decades out of power, and what their return portends for the future of the country. Rather than an extreme shift to “socialism,” French politics in the post-WWII era have been marked by a broad consensus across party lines over social policy and the basic architecture of the French welfare state.

(September 2012) From Karl Marx to Karl Rove: “Class Warfare” in American Politics (Sarah Brady Siff)
In the midst of a presidential election campaign that pits a wealthy Republican businessman against a self-proclaimed warrior for the middle class, Americans are talking a lot these days about “class.” Many credit the Occupy Wall Street movement with making “class warfare”—which, in its contemporary use, is really about tax policy—a driving issue in 2012. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ original idea of class struggle emerged with the creation of a class of factory wage earners during the Industrial Revolution. Now the term is a slander used by conservatives such as Karl Rove to imply its historic connection to socialism. This month, historian Sarah Brady Siff explores the history of the ideas and practices of “class warfare” in American history.

(August 2012) Russia and the Race for the Arctic (Nicholas Breyfogle & Jeffrey Dunifon)
Global climate change has caused unprecedented changes to the Arctic environment, especially a rapid decrease in the summer sea ice sheet. While perilous to the survival of the iconic polar bear, many humans are watching these changes with an eye to what riches an open Arctic Ocean might bring forth: in oil and gas, mining, and open-water transportation. Five countries can lay claim to the potential wealth of the Arctic Ocean: Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States. But it is Russia and Canada in particular that have jumped out to the early lead in this new race for the Arctic. This month, Nicholas Breyfogle and Jeffrey Dunifon explore Russia’s long history in the Arctic and the roots of its current assertive policies in the region.

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