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What’s in the March issue of The Journal of American History?

march_coverThe March issue of the Journal of American History is now online for subscribers.

Inside are articles by Christopher M. Florio, Yael A. Sternhell (be sure to listen to the JAH’s podcast with Sternhell her article), Cybelle Fox, and Frank Costigliola. Costigliola’s article, “‘I React Intensely to Everything’: Russia and the Frustrated Emotions of George F. Kennan, 1933–1958” is this issue’s Editor’s Choice article, and has been opened to the public.

Check out previews of these articles below the fold.

You’ll also see the JAH’s yearly Textbooks and Teaching section in this issue. This edition of Textbooks and Teaching, edited by Laura Westhoff and Scott Casper, focuses on assessment. Within this section, Ann Hyde offers “Five Reasons History Professors Suck at Assessment.” Two groups of historians from State University of New York at Plattsburgh and University of Mary Washington discuss their departments’ efforts to redesign assessment strategies. Finally, James Grossman and Julia Brookins of the American Historical Association round out the section with a discussion centered around the AHA’s Tuning project. As always the Textbooks and Teaching section is freely available to the public.

Next, the JAH features a metagraph review by David Prior of Anne Sarah Rubin’s book Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman’s March and American Memory and accompanying digital project Sherman’s March and America: Mapping Memory.

Our book reviews section features 150 reviews of the recent works in American history. The March issue includes feature reviews of the volume Formations of United States Colonialism, edited by Alyosha Goldstein, reviewed by Melinda Maynor Lowery, Stuart Schwartz’s Sea of Storms: A History of Hurricanes in the Greater Caribbean from Columbus to Katrina, reviewed by Liz Skilton (also check out his interview with Process), Hasia Diner’s Roads Taken: The Great Jewish Migrations to the New World and the Peddlers Who Forged the Way, reviewed by Lila Corwin Berman, Christian Appy’s American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity, reviewed by Scott Laderman, and Alice Goffman’s On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, reviewed by Tony Platt.

Finally, the March issue features digital history reviews of Caleb McDaniel’s twitter bot project @every3minutes, reviewed by Joshua Rothman, Gregory Downs and Scott Nesbit’s Mapping Occupation project, reviewed by Ian Bennington, and a review of three projects of the Brooklyn Historical Society by Thai Jones.

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

Article previews:

Historians have traced how free labor supplanted slave labor as the engine of the global economy. In the mid-nineteenth century, however, Americans and Britons formulated ideas and practices that connected the lives of poor and enslaved laborers. Christopher M. Florio investigates how, beginning in the late 1830s, Anglo-American abolitionists and American plantation overseers strove to transform India’s poor into cotton producers who could perform the work of African American slaves. As he recounts how abolitionists and overseers tried to claim the economic potential of destitute Indian cultivators, Florio suggests that poor and enslaved people were bound together in a struggle that centered on labor and attempts at its extraction. He contends that attending to the entangled histories of slavery and poverty unsettles the historical and historiographical boundaries of slavery and freedom.

Historians like to think of the archives they work in as pristine storehouses of raw primary sources. Yet archives are deeply woven into the fabric of their time and place: the work of collecting and storing documents is shaped by cultural and political forces, while the availability of documents determines how societies understand their pasts. Yael A. Sternhell unearths the story of one of the most trusted and widely used archives in American history, revealing both its profoundly politicized nature and its role in fostering a new ideology of national reconciliation in the late nineteenth century. The postbellum history of Confederate papers is a case study in how historical knowledge is formed and how it transforms the culture from which it is born.

When the modern welfare state was established in 1935, no federal laws barred noncitizens, even unauthorized immigrants, from social assistance. During the 1970s, however, the federal government abruptly changed course, barring unauthorized immigrants from nearly all federal welfare programs. Cybelle Fox examines the origins and consequences of this little-known policy shift. Federal restriction exacerbated the consequences of illegality for unauthorized immigrants and threatened the rights of their U.S.-born children and those suspected of entering the country illegally. It also ushered in years of struggle between local, state, and federal officials over who was responsible for the social costs of unauthorized immigration.

Drawing on the emerging “emotional turn” in history, Frank Costigliola presents a fresh view of the origins and development of the Cold War by showing how emotion can be used to decode policy recommendations that have traditionally been explained in almost wholly rational terms. While remaining cognizant of the integral nature of thinking, he seeks to trace the particular pathways by which George F. Kennan’s feelings permeated his thoughts and actions relating to Russia and the United States. Scholars in a variety of fields can use a similar approach to delve deeper into the thoughts, motivations, and behavior of historical actors.