Charles Ives, an American Composer

Inspired by German Romanticism, transcendentalism had its roots in the writings of Immanuel Kant. Hoping to see beyond the surface of things, transcendentalists ultimately rejected all things European, shed the stilted confines of the 19th-century Unitarian Church, and eschewed the cold, calculating gaze of the Enlightenment. It was a refreshing way of moving forward intellectually, spiritually, and artistically in the New World.

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Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Southern Society, and the Sectional Divide

In Within the Plantation Household: Black & White Women of the Old South, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese argues that women in the Old South differed fundamentally from their Northern counterparts. Unlike women in the North, Southern women lived in a household that remained at the center of economic production. Accordingly, they lacked a separate private sphere and were perpetually subject to masculine influence. Fox-Genovese’s conception of the Southern household, as distinct from the Northern home, helps to explain the evolution of the South’s slave society and provides an explanation for distinctly Southern cultural mores that reinforced and exacerbated the divide between the regions.

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The Place of Confederate Memorials in America

The Civil War ended in 1865, but the United States has struggled to cope with its legacy ever since. Who is to be honored, and how should we remember those who fought and led troops on both sides? Recently the conversation over the place of monuments commemorating Confederate generals and soldiers has been prevalent in the news. To truly understand the issue, we must look to the origin of the monuments. Considering the time and place in which they were erected can help determine what to do with them.

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Colosseum as Icon

Over the centuries, many have come to Rome to stand in the shadow of the ancient monument to the Roman Empire, the renowned architectural achievement – the Colosseum. Travelers and academics often comment, however, that their visual expectations far exceed their first impression of it. Touring the Colosseum is almost anticlimactic. The magnificent amphitheater, faced with gleaming travertine stone three stories high and lined with statues --  a venue that that once hosted gladiator fights, mock sea battles, staged animal hunts, and public executions of Christians, criminals, and ill-fated persons -- now seems a mere skeleton whispering about its former blood-soaked glory, imposing structure, and storied history.

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Jussie Smollet Hoax

Recently stories of hate, intolerance, and injustice have flooded the media. Most people, out of compassion, rally behind those who have been hurt and take steps to ensure that we don’t allow these types of crimes to occur.

This was my initial reaction when Jussie Smollett, an actor and singer, reported that he had been the victim of a hate crime. He alleged that two men in ski masks had attacked him, calling him racial and homophobic slurs. According to Smollett, they even proclaimed,  "This is MAGA country." Smollett originally stated that the two suspects then "poured an unknown liquid" on him and put a noose around his neck.


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Privacy and its American Context

Our world − saturated by social media and artificial intelligence − has become increasingly public. Ever more willing to share intimate details, Americans young and old post very private, sometimes damning, information online with little regard for consequences. Partly as a result, both the government and private companies have access to unprecedented amounts of information that is compiled into databases and readily available to those willing to pay subscription fees. Given the sheer pervasiveness of technology and data collection, we ought to have an intensive national dialogue on an appropriate legislative response. Before that debate happens, however, we must have a firm theoretical understanding of what exactly we mean by “privacy.”

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