The new book The Extraordinary Journey of David Ingram: An Elizabethan Sailor in Native North America (Oxford University Press, 2023) by Dean Snow rights the record on a shipwrecked sailor who traversed the length of the North American continent only to be maligned as deceitful storyteller. [Read more…] about The Extraordinary 1569 Journey of David Ingram
The Blackfeet: A History Podcast
To understand the early American history of North America, we need to investigate and understand North America as an Indigenous space. A place where Native American populations, politics, religion, and trade networks prevailed for centuries before and after the arrival of Europeans and enslaved Africans. [Read more…] about The Blackfeet: A History Podcast
Adirondack Gentrification: Resortification & Urbanization (Part 6)
Rural gentrification has appeared in almost every region, from Big Sky territory to the Rockies to Prairie Country to New England to the American South. Outside the United States, it has been documented in Spain, Turkey, Sweden, New Zealand, France, Canada, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, and especially Britain.
While the details vary from place to place, most gentrifying rural communities suffer the same consequences: the displacement of the rural working class, the decline of available space for social reproduction, and the aging of the vestigial population. Yet if rural America is united in its symptoms, it is divided by its disease. [Read more…] about Adirondack Gentrification: Resortification & Urbanization (Part 6)
Adirondack Gentrification: Seasonal Development & The Rent Sink (Part 5)
In the spring of 1989, the Adirondack working class received an alarming wake-up call in the unlikely form of Robin Leach. The Adirondacks, according to the garrulous host of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, were a hidden jewel just waiting to be discovered by travelers with a taste for wilderness and the purchasing power to claim a slice of nature-at-its-moneyed-best for their very own. The show had even gone so far as to list the remote and rugged mountains as an “upcoming hot spot for jet-setters” in its “Guide to the World’s Best Places.”
Leach’s prediction had been well borne out by the mid-1990s. “Rough It Like A Rockefeller,” proclaimed one strapline in the travel section of the Wall Street Journal, while an article in Vanity Fair encouraged readers to go “camp hopping in the haute Adirondacks” and Travel and Leisure billed it as a place where “the notion of escape endures.” Such articles, liberally sprinkled with posh photographic layouts depicting the rich at play in tastefully rustic lodges nestled on the shores of gleaming silver lakes, recommended such accommodations as The Point in Lake Placid, where guests could take in the clean mountain air for a mere $1300 a night.
Beemers had been traded for sport utility vehicles, and the Adirondacks, it appeared, had become an exclusive retreat for well-heeled consumers seeking respite from their taxing cosmopolitan lives in the newly fashionable wilderness. [Read more…] about Adirondack Gentrification: Seasonal Development & The Rent Sink (Part 5)
The Devil’s Due: Adirondack Gentrification & Environmental Justice (Part 1: Displacement)
“Just close the fucking thing.”
These words of quiet despair were uttered twenty years ago in the aftermath of a meeting at the Raquette Lake School, whose imminent demise was increasingly apparent to the people of the village. The atmosphere at the Tap Room, the unofficial community center where attendees had decamped to face the inevitable over a beer, was raw.
The man who issued the fatal prognosis relished it neither as a parent nor an alumnus. But the writing was on the wall. Pupils had dwindled to single digits, too few for a play or a baseball team, never mind the district budget for utilities, maintenance, transportation and salaries. With no babies on the horizon, the current crop of children would age out, and there would soon be none left to educate. [Read more…] about The Devil’s Due: Adirondack Gentrification & Environmental Justice (Part 1: Displacement)
When Europeans Settled Down (Podcast)
This week’s guest on The Historians Podcast is Rob Swigart, author of the historical novel Mixed Harvest: Stories of the Human Past. Swigart describes how a prehistoric nomadic population in Europe transitioned to more permanent settlements. [Read more…] about When Europeans Settled Down (Podcast)
Humans In Zoos: A Long History of ‘Exotic’ People Exhibitions
Social Darwinism is an ideology that misapplied Charles Darwin’s ideas to the socio-political sphere. The theory proved fruitful to those who advocated the economic principle of laissez faire, and added an element of racial inequality as peoples were classified along an evolutionary scale.
The doctrine can be paraphrased in terms similar to these: “We (white men) belong to a superior race and civilization, be it in economic, military, or moral understanding. This primacy demands from us to direct and civilize the rest of humanity.” [Read more…] about Humans In Zoos: A Long History of ‘Exotic’ People Exhibitions