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Process 2017: The Year in Review

Time Flies. Robert Couse-Baker. Creative Commons License.

As 2017 draws to a close, we at Process look back with gratitude to our authors, for the wonderful essays they have shared with us, and to our readers, for the time and attention they have devoted to our blog. Events of the past year have accentuated the fragility of democracy and the persistence of social injustice. But they have also demonstrated the resilience of the human spirit. We at Process strive to publish history that enables you to understand, to serve, and to fight for the world in which we live. We are proud to review just a few of our highlights from 2017:

On the eve of the Women’s March in January, Marjorie Spruill turned back the clock forty years, reexamining the purpose and platforms of the National Women’s Conference of 1977. The following month, on the #DayWithoutImmigrants, a round table consisting of Maria Cristina Garcia, Alan Kraut, Jana Lipman, and Carl Bon Tempo responded to the executive order by which President Trump banned the migration of Syrian refugees to the United States. In March, Jelani Favors invited readers to consider the history of Black student activism since the Civil Rights Movement. Meanwhile, in the wake of President Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Jonathan Gienapp reflected on the place of historical method and inquiry in the judicial search for original intent.

On Earth Day, Process launched a series of essays about environmental history, on topics ranging from oil extraction to land use and disaster risk to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. In his essay, “The Racial Wealth Gap and the Problem of Historical Narration,” published in June, Destin Jenkins investigated wealth predation along the color line in the decades after Reconstruction. The following month, Process opened a conversation on the history of America and Africa, which included among other works Sylviane A. Diouf’s meditation on the suppressed history of enslaved African Muslims as well as Sara C. Jorgensen’s introduction to Tip-o-Tip, or Borneo Moskego, a con man who persuaded late-nineteenth-century audiences that he was a Christian Zulu prince. Across the long summer, Process also explored the history of capitalism. Seattle teacher Mary Anne Christy, for example, offered suggestions for teaching the history of capitalism in high-school classrooms.

Just before the start of the academic year in August, white supremacists marched on Charlottesville, killing Heather Heyer and wounding many more. Process asked a panel of educators how they approached teaching in the wake of Charlottesville. As the nation grappled over the removal of Confederate monuments, we published a number of essays on memorialization, including Jamal Ratchford’s analysis of the commemoration of Smith and Carlos’s Black Power salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games, Laura E. Ruberto and Joseph Sciorra’s plea for the celebration of Italian American heroes more worthy than Christopher Columbus, and Stacey Smith’s report on the renaming of buildings on the campus of Oregon State University.

In late August, Hurricane Harvey dropped torrential rainfall on Houston, prompting Tyina Steptoe to sing the Flood Blues. The devastating hurricane likewise inspired us to assemble Houston Reviewed, a bibliography of Houston-themed scholarship published over the last half century, introduced by Merline Pitre. No sooner had Houston’s floodwaters begun to recede than Hurricane María lashed Puerto Rico. In the days that followed, Harry Franqui-Rivera recounted the debt and demographic crises that have weighed so heavily on the island in recent years.

Through late September, Christian Appy posted nightly reviews of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s ten-part documentary series The Vietnam War. In late October, allegations that President Trump insulted army widow Myeshia Johnson compelled us to revisit Rebecca Jo Plant and Frances Clarke’s essay on federal segregation and the Gold Star mother and widow pilgrimages of the early 1930s.

On National Coming Out Day, Process kicked off a sequence of essays on LGBTQ+ history, which included Cookie Woolner’s account of Black queer women in the early Great Migration and Amy Sueyoshi’s discussion of the role of Asian Americans in the emergence of gay subcultures in San Francisco, among others.

Again, this is only a brief survey of the many essays we published in 2017. We hope that you have enjoyed and benefited from all of our content and that you will come back to Process in the new year. We have scheduled an exciting slate of articles for January and February on legal history, the state of democracy in the United States, and the histories of sport. Throughout the year, we will feature previews of books by OAH Distinguished Lecturers.  We will also offer sneak peeks of the 2018 OAH Annual Meeting, which will take place on April 12-14, in Sacramento. Please join us or make a donation!