Profile: The Conversation - History

Academic rigor, journalistic flair

The Conversation US launched as a pilot project in October 2014. It is an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public.
Our team of professional editors work with university and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider public.
Access to independent, high quality, authenticated, explanatory journalism underpins a functioning democracy. Our aim is to promote better understanding of current affairs and complex issues. And hopefully allow for a better quality of public discourse and conversation.
We aim to help rebuild trust in journalism. All authors and editors sign up to our Editorial Charter. All contributors must abide by our Community Standards policy. We only allow authors to write on a subject on which they have proven expertise, which they must disclose alongside their article. Authors’ funding and potential conflicts of interest must also be disclosed. Failure to do so carries a risk of being banned from contributing to the site.

NoteStream NoteStream

NoteStreams are readable online but they’re even better in the free App!

The NoteStream™ app is for learning about things that interest you: from music to history, to classic literature or cocktails. NoteStreams are truly easy to read on your smartphone—so you can learn more about the world around you and start a fresh conversation.

See the full list of Authors here: link




NoteStreams By The Conversation - History

What is Heaven?

When a family member or a friend passes away, we often find ourselves reflecting on the question “where are they now?” As mortal beings, it is a question of ultimate significance to each of us.
Post by Joanne M. Pierce, Professor of Religious Studies, College of the Holy Cross
Joanne M. Pierce is a Roman Catholic member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the USA, a national ecumenical dialogue group sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and The Episcopal Church.
Cover image: illustration of Dante’s Paradiso. Giovanni di Paolo
The Conversation
CC BY

Category: Social Awareness

View NoteStreamSave to App

Lessons from Lincoln’s ‘House Divided’ Speech, 160 Years Later

The idea of “two Americas,” or “red” and “blue” states, now dominates public discussion. But the idea that America is politically polarized isn’t new.
On the occasion of its 160th anniversary, Lincoln’s speech offers timely lessons about the costs of deep-seated political polarization.
Post by Bradford Vivian: Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and Director of the Center for Democratic Deliberation, Pennsylvania State University
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: Social Awareness

View NoteStreamSave to App

What Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Teaches us About the Need for Mothers

Mary Shelley’s classic work of literature, “Frankenstein,” celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, invites us to reflect on the deeper importance of mothers in our lives.
Post by Richard Gunderman: Chancellor's Professor of Medicine, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy, Indiana University
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: Book Club

View NoteStreamSave to App

Was Agatha Christie’s Mysterious Affair at Styles Inspired by an Indian Murder?

Agatha Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was written more than a hundred years ago. It remains one of her most popular works.
However, strychnine may not be the only spirit that inspired Christie’s first novel.
Post by Arup K Chatterjee, Assistant Professor of English, O.P. Jindal Global University
Cover image: Agatha Christie, with husband Colonel Archibald Christie (left) and friends in 1922.
The Conversation

Category: Book Club

View NoteStreamSave to App

How a Young Ernest Hemingway Dealt with his First Taste of Fame

When he published “The Sun Also Rises” in 1926, Ernest Hemingway was well-known among the expatriate literati of Paris and to cosmopolitan literary circles in New York and Chicago. But it was “A Farewell to Arms,” published in October 1929, that made him a celebrity.
With this newfound fame, Hemingway learned, came fan mail. Lots of it. And he wasn’t really sure how to deal with the attention.
Post by Verna Kale, Associate Editor, The Letters of Ernest Hemingway and Assistant Research Professor of English, Pennsylvania State University
Cover image:
Ernest Hemingway with a bull near Pamplona, Spain in 1927, two years before ‘A Farewell to Arms’ would be published. Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: Book Club

View NoteStreamSave to App

Nikola Tesla: The Extraordinary Life of a Modern Prometheus

The 75th anniversary of Tesla’s death on Jan. 7 provides a timely opportunity to review the life of a man who came from nowhere yet became world famous; claimed to be devoted solely to discovery but relished the role of a showman; attracted the attention of many women but never married; and generated ideas that transformed daily life and created multiple fortunes but died nearly penniless.
Post by Richard Gunderman, Chancellor's Professor of Medicine, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy, Indiana University
Cover image: The inventor at rest, with a Tesla coil (thanks to a double exposure). Dickenson V. Alley, Wellcome Collection, CC BY
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: Biography

View NoteStreamSave to App

The Mystery of a 1918 Veteran and the Flu Pandemic

Vaccination is underway for the 2017-2018 seasonal flu, and next year will mark the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed roughly 40 million people. It is an opportune time to consider the possibility of pandemics – infections that go global and affect many people – and the importance of measures aimed at curbing them.
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: Health

View NoteStreamSave to App

Marie Curie & her X-ray Vehicles’ Contribution to WWI Battlefield Medicine

Ask people to name the most famous historical woman of science and their answer will likely be: Madame Marie Curie. But few will know she was also a major hero of World War I. In fact, a visitor to her Paris laboratory in October of 1917: 100 years ago this month – would not have found either her or her radium on the premises. Her radium was in hiding and she was at war.
Post by Timothy J. Jorgensen, Director of the Health Physics and Radiation Protection Graduate Program and Associate Professor of Radiation Medicine, Georgetown University
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: History

View NoteStreamSave to App

Final JFK Assassination Files Due for Release

It will be a bumper year for conspiracy theorists.
It’s 2017, and conspiracy theorists around the world are eagerly awaiting the release of thousands of never seen before government documents related to the assassination of president John F. Kennedy.
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0
Post by Ken Drinkwater, Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Cognitive and Parapsychology, Manchester Metropolitan University
and
Neil Dagnall, Reader in Applied Cognitive Psychology, Manchester Metropolitan University

Category: Social Awarenessxxx

View NoteStreamSave to App

What to do with Confederate Statues?

Could Russia teach us something about how to deal with difficult aspects of our national history?
As a student of southern politics who recently traveled to Moscow, I wondered if we can look to the Russians and how they have treated their Soviet past. The situations are not perfectly analogous. Many Russian people lived through the Soviet experience. Not so for the Confederacy. That said, in both cases, there is the question of whether – and how – to purge the past.
Post by James Glaser, Professor, Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, Tufts University
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: Social Awareness

View NoteStreamSave to App

Dunkirk Survivors’ Terror Didn’t End When They Were Rescued

Documenting the reality of those shell-shocked survivors is what London’s Imperial War Museum had in mind when it recorded interviews of scores of veterans in the 1990s and early 2000s. Those interviews show that the horror stayed with many of them long after they were freed from a deathtrap between the German Army, the Luftwaffe and the sea.
Post by John Broich, Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: Military History

View NoteStreamSave to App

When – And Why – Did People First Start Using Money

Sometimes you run across a grimy, tattered dollar bill that seems like it’s been around since the beginning of time. Assuredly it hasn’t, but the history of human beings using cash currency does go back a long time – 40,000 years.
As an anthropologist who’s made discoveries of ancient currency in the field, I’m interested in how money evolved in human civilization – and what these archaeological finds can tell us about trade and interaction between far-flung groups.
Post by Chapurukha Kusimba, Professor of Anthropology, American University
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: History

View NoteStreamSave to App

The Military Power, Economics and Strategy that led to D-Day

On June 6 1944, more than 150,000 Allied troops landed in Normandy. Their number rose to 1.5m over the next six weeks. With them came millions of tons of equipment, ranging from munitions, vehicles, food, and fuel to prefabricated floating harbours.Post by Mark Harrison, Professor of Economics, University of Warwick
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: Military History

View NoteStreamSave to App

Why Easter is Called Easter, & Other Little-Known Facts About the Holiday

Easter is quite similar to other major holidays like Christmas and Halloween, which have evolved over the last 200 years or so. In all of these holidays, Christian and non-Christian (pagan) elements have continued to blend together.
Post by Brent Landau, Lecturer in Religious Studies, University of Texas at Austin
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: History

View NoteStreamSave to App

Why the Battle of the Somme Marks a Turning Point of World War I

The British offensive on the Somme began on July 1, 1916. Bloodier battles would come in 1918, but on the first day of the Somme the British Army suffered its greatest daily loss: 19,000 killed.
Coming at the mid-point of World War I, the Battle of the Somme is often taken to exemplify the stupidity of the war on the western front. But this terrible experience took place at a unique moment, defined by two facts.
Post by Mark Harrison, Professor of Economics, University of Warwick
The Conversation
CC BY-ND 4.0

Category: Military History

View NoteStreamSave to App

The Novel and Play that Predicted Donald Trump’s Rise

Given this history, how might voters turn to performance to combat campaigns based on hate and discrimination? Where might they look for inspiration?

Category: Social Awareness

View NoteStreamSave to App

Demagogues In History: Emotion Over Facts

America has a deep and abiding history of demagogues, including Louisiana’s Huey Long, Alabama’s George Wallace, and Washington D.C.’s Pat Buchanan.

Category: Social Awareness

View NoteStreamSave to App

Since Ancient Greece, the Olympics and Bribery Have Gone Hand in Hand

According to the poet Pindar, the king of Pisa bribed Hermes' son Myrtilus to tamper with his opponent’s chariot wheels.

Category: Social Awareness

View NoteStreamSave to App

How One Man Changed The Landscape Of Film Music

It isn’t just quantity: John Williams’s film work has been incomparably influential in terms of quality.

Category: Music

View NoteStreamSave to App

Friday Essay: Jane Austen’s Emma at 200

What the many Emmas of the last 200 years reveal is that Austen’s idea for a novel based on “three or four families in a country village” is shaping up to be immortal.

Category: History

View NoteStreamSave to App

Was the 2015 Nobel Prize a Turning Point for Traditional Chinese Medicine?

How should we interpret the seismic shift in international attention on traditional Chinese medicine?

Category: Science

View NoteStreamSave to App

The Byte May Destroy the Book But the Novel Isn’t Over Yet

The biggest challenge that digital technology poses to the novel is the fact that digital media isn’t linear – digital technology is multidimensional, allowing stories to expand, often wildly and unpredictably, in nonlinear patterns.

Category: Book Club

View NoteStreamSave to App

The Syrian War In One Short, Easy Read

The Syrian “war” began in March 2011, during the Arab Spring. Here are the basics – decoded.

Category: Social Awareness

View NoteStreamSave to App

How Public Bathrooms Got Separated By Sex

For years, transgender rights activists have argued for their right to use the public restroom that aligns with their gender identity. In recent weeks, this campaign has come to a head.

Category: Social Awareness

View NoteStreamSave to App

Historical Fiction: Stories We Tell About the Past

This introductory article is the first in a new series examining the links, problems and dynamics of writing, recording and recreating history, whether in fiction or non-fiction.

Category: Arts

View NoteStreamSave to App

In Death Could Michael Jackson Set a Legal Precedent?

Can disgruntled Michael Jackson fans sue the pop star's doctor over the impact Jackson's death had on their lives? Let's find out.

Category: Social Awareness

View NoteStreamSave to App

Why The History of News Explains Its Future

The current freewheeling world of news seems like journalistic hell to many in a business where American newsrooms shrank by 40 percent between 2007 and 2015.

Category: History

View NoteStreamSave to App

The Humble (ad-free!) Origins of the 1st World Series Broadcasts

Hard to believe it right now, but the first 13 World Series broadcasts were free to the radio networks that covered them. Ad-free, they were started as a promotion for station WJZ, in Newark, New Jersey to announce its arrival in the New York metro area. So - how did we get to where we are today?!

Category: Sports

View NoteStreamSave to App

Old Drawings By Kids & Our View Of History

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
This line, from 1 Corinthians, still sums up how we tend to think about childhood – that it’s something to outgrow.
According to this view, the way children speak, think and observe is not as relevant as adult perceptions of the world. According to this view, each life is a progress narrative, and as we mature, it’s best to put away “childish things.”

Category: History

View NoteStreamSave to App

The Medieval Origins of Thanksgiving Foods

How and why did the dishes served at Thanksgiving dinner come to be so fixed?

Category: Food

View NoteStreamSave to App

Does Translating Shakespeare Diminish It?

An uproar ensued after it was reported that the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) – southern Oregon’s 80-year-old annual theatrical extravaganza – would be commissioning playwrights to “translate” all of Shakespeare’s plays into modern English.
The project drew jeers from Shakespearean professors, arts practitioners and others who believe passionately in the power of Shakespeare’s original texts, who abhor any attempt to “dumb down” their language.

Category: Arts

View NoteStreamSave to App

Economics, Literature and the Detective Story

If you read or watch detective stories, you probably don’t think about them as an expression of economic principles. But at their heart, that’s exactly what they are.

Category: Arts

View NoteStreamSave to App

How Did Wild Boar Become Farmyard Pigs?

Ever thought how the ingredients for that bacon sandwich got to your plate? By that, I mean the amazing historical journey that has transformed the animal and plant species we farm today into the huge global biomass that now feeds billions of us.

Category: Science

View NoteStreamSave to App

Human Experiments: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Research involving human subjects is littered with a history of scandal that often shapes people’s views of the ethics of research.

Category: Science

View NoteStreamSave to App

Which Paintings Were The Most Creative Of Their Time?

From Picasso’s The Young Ladies of Avignon to Munch’s The Scream, what was it about these paintings that arrested people’s attention upon viewing them, that cemented them in the canon of art history as iconic works? In many cases, it’s because the artist incorporated a technique, form or style that had never been used before. They exhibited a creative and innovative flair that would go on to be mimicked by artists for years to come. Throughout human history, experts have often highlighted these artistic innovations, using them to judge a painting’s relative worth. But can a painting’s level of creativity be quantified by Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

Category: Arts

View NoteStreamSave to App

Kitsch to Park Ave: History of Plastic Pink Flamingos

In 1957, a 21-year-old art school graduate named Don Featherstone created his second major design for the Massachusetts-based lawn and garden decoration manufacturer Union Products: a three-dimensional plastic pink flamingo propped up by two thin, metal legs that could be plunged into soft dirt. Featherstone’s duck and flamingo ornaments sold in pairs for $2.76, and were advertised as “Plastics for the Lawn.” They became simultaneously popular and derided in the late 1950s and remain a recognizable species of American material culture.

Category: Arts

View NoteStreamSave to App

It’s All About the Hamiltons, Baby!

The US Treasury Department has decided to remove Alexander Hamilton from the $10 bill by 2020. But it’s a poor choice. While it’s decidedly not a bad idea to place a woman on a bill, we Americans need to have Hamilton (and his story) before us – perhaps now more than ever before.

Category: History

View NoteStreamSave to App

Extraordinary Life of Whistler’s Mother

Many are familiar with James McNeill Whistler’s portrait of his mother – officially titled Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 – which is being exhibited this summer, starting July 4, at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Given the picture’s iconic status as a symbol of motherhood, many also believe that they can guess the character, personality and life experiences of the quiet, seemingly frail, little woman sitting in that chair. You might opine that she led an isolated or sheltered life, or spent her days baking cookies. But you’d be wrong.

Category: Arts

View NoteStreamSave to App

100 Years Ago, Baseball Almost Banned Broadcasts

In December 2011, when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Texas Rangers signed away their local television rights for about $3 billion apiece, the sport media heralded a new record for local television rights fees. Accounting for roughly 43% of MLB’s $8 billion haul in 2014, media revenues have made the players rich and the owners even richer. Today, the idea that a team would ban its games from being broadcast is unthinkable, so ingrained are TV and radio contracts in the marketing and business practices of the sport. But in 1921, when radios first began making their way into American homes, a number of baseball team owners weren’t quite sure what to make of the emerging technology. In fact, the owners were sharply divided over whether or not broadcasting games on the radio would benefit or deeply damage revenues. A 20-year battle among owners would ensue.

Category: Sports

View NoteStreamSave to App

The History Of Fireworks

Fireworks, as everyone knows, were invented in ancient China.
The details of their actual origin are lost to history, but they were probably developed as a way to keep mountain men and spirits at bay using loud bangs. Dried bamboo stalks would emit a noisy crack when thrown on a fire, and gunpowder, another Chinese invention, rammed into bamboo may have first been used to magnify this startling effect.

Category: History

View NoteStreamSave to App

How Do You HaHa? LOL Through the Ages

Laughter is uniquely human. Sometimes deliberate, sometimes uncontrollable, we laugh out loud to signal our reaction to a range of occurrences, whether it’s a response to a joke we hear, an awkward encounter or an anxious situation. The way we laugh is, according to anthropologist Munro S Edmonson, a “signal of individuality.” And an outburst of laughter is an important enough part of communication that we represent it in text. In a recent The New Yorker article, Sarah Larson wrote about laughter in internet-based communication – the use of hahaha and hehehe, even the jovial hohoho.

Category: History

View NoteStreamSave to App

Forensics Shed Light on Killing Richard III

The discovery of Richard III’s skeletal remains under a car park in Leicester revealed the final resting place of the last English monarch to die in battle. We know that he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field on August 22, 1485. Using modern forensic examination, we have now discovered that Richard’s skeleton sustained 11 wounds at or near the time of his death – nine of them to the skull, which were clearly inflicted in battle.

Category: History

View NoteStreamSave to App

Paratroopers & Pests: Animals In World War II

For the 70th anniversary of D-Day, veterans and world leaders were meeting on the beaches of Normandy to commemorate the biggest seaborne invasion in military history. Memorial services were set to recognize the estimated 4,500 soldiers who died that day.
There were also some lesser known troops involved in the Normandy landings: animals played a key part in the operation. The British army parachuted dogs on to French soil prior to the invasion to locate mines and booby traps during the D-day landings.
Learn about the critical roles played by animals - from horses to pigeons - and the battles fought against mosquitoes, rodents and more.

Category: Military History

View NoteStreamSave to App