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Announcing the December issue of the Journal of American History

dec cover

We are pleased to announce the publication of the December issue of the JAH! Subscribers may now access the issue online.

This issue features articles by Robert Morrissey, Kendra T. Field, Kirsten Fermaglich, Jennifer Burns, and Edward E. Curtis IV (check out previews of these articles below the fold). Within the book reviews section, the December issue includes feature reviews of Sven Beckert’s Empire of Cotton: A Global History reviewed by Edward E. Baptist, Gerald Horne’s Race to Revolution: The United States and Cuba during Slavery and Jim Crow reviewed by Elena A. Schneider, John David Smith and J. Vincent Lowery’s collection The Dunning School: Historians, Race, and the Meaning of Reconstruction reviewed by Eileen Ka-May Cheng, and Peniel Joseph’s Stokely: A Life reviewed by Judson L. Jeffries.

This issue also features exhibition reviews of the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, the Hawaiian and Pacific Halls of Honolulu’s Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum in Oklahoma City, the African Burying Ground Memorial Park in Portsmouth, N.H., and the exhibition “Rolls Down like Water” at Atlanta’s American Civil Rights Movement Gallery. The issue also includes digital history reviews of Two Plantations, the Paul Laurence Dunbar Digital Text CollectionHer Hat Was in the Ring!and Einstein Archives Online. Finally, the movie reviews section features the films Gore Vidal, Bessie, Klansville U.S.A., Last Days in Vietnam, Sinatra: All or Nothing at All, Going Clear, and She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry.

Check out the Dec. JAH podcast for a conversation between JAH editor Ed Linenthal and Edward E. Curtis IV about his article, “‘My Heart Is in Cairo’: Malcolm X, the Arab Cold War, and the Making of Islamic Liberation Ethics.”

Share your thoughts on the December issue in the comments section below, or by tweeting at us @JournAmHist.

Article previews:

Robert Michael Morrissey provides a new history of the Grand Village of the Kaskaskia, the Native American population center where as many as twenty thousand people congregated and unified for approximately twenty years at the top of the Illinois River valley at the end of the seventeenth century. Often understood as little more than a refugee center for Algonquians beleaguered by vicious Iroquois attacks, Morrissey argues that the village was an opportunistic center of exploitation, a purposeful attempt to take advantage of unique opportunities in one of the continent’s most important social and ecological borderlands. [update: Morrissey’s piece is now open to the public]

Kendra T. Field explores the intricacies of the little-known 1913–1915 Chief Alfred Charles Sam back-to-Africa movement and the lifelong migrants who created it. A century ago, Sam and his followers set sail for the Gold Coast. This article uses the story of one family of freedpeople to argue that this movement was not only a prelude to Garveyism and the Great Migration but also a capstone to what Carter G. Woodson once called “a century of negro migration.” The development of Chief Sam’s movement complicates notions of the quintessential domesticity and biracialism of the “nadir,” revealing instead the deeply transnational and multiracial dimensions of freedom’s first generation.

During World War II thousands of people submitted petitions to change their names in Manhattan’s city court. Although scholars usually assume that name changing was an act that immigrants used to assimilate, these petitions were submitted primarily by native-born Americans, and disproportionately by people with Jewish-sounding names. New York Jews changed their names during the war to find jobs, avoid racial stigma, and conform to government demands that citizens’ names match their official records. To Kirsten Fermaglich the name-changing phenomenon illuminates Jews’ resistance to antisemitism and ability to reshape their racial identities; it also highlights the subtle power of the state at mid-century.

Jennifer Burns analyzes the careers and writing of the children’s author Rose Wilder Lane, the book critic Isabel Paterson, and the best-selling novelist Ayn Rand, all of whom developed a radical politicized individualism in the 1930s and 1940s. These women’s identities as independent career women with atypical domestic lives influenced both this new individualism and their opposition to the New Deal. They were members of a self-conscious generation that influenced the development of a political conservatism and libertarianism rooted in long-standing intellectual traditions. After World War II, Lane, Paterson, and Rand were able to form pedagogical relationships with prominent businessmen who carried their ideas into the rejuvenated conservative movement even as the three women’s names faded from public view.

Malcolm X’s 1964 hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, is frequently depicted in contemporary U.S. culture and across the Muslim world as the ultimate symbol of his spiritual journey from street hustler to Nation of Islam minister and finally Sunni Muslim believer. Edward E. Curtis IV questions that conventional view, arguing that Cairo, not Mecca, was the real center of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz’s newfound identity as a Sunni Muslim. For Shabazz, the Islamic socialism and Afro-Asian solidarity of Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt rather than the monarchical, conservative ideology of Nasser’s Saudi Arabian rivals represented the heart of Islamic religion and the key to the liberation of all people of color.


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