By Peter H. Wood and Harlan J. Gradin

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This image from the U.S. Senate archives depicts the assault on Sen. Charles Sumner in 1856.

This essay appeared first in Tropics of Meta.

These days, when angry white supremacists attack their political opponents in public, onlookers use cell phone video to capture threats of violence aimed at elected officials. In May 2020, when armed militia groups in Lansing challenged Michigan’s governor by invaded the state house, images of their brazen action circulated nationally on Facebook and network news. Then in January 2021, thousands of right-wing conspiracy believers, cell phones in hand, attacked on the U.S. …


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By Wylin Wilson

Before the pandemic, Valentine’s Day was one of my favorite days of the year. I used it to show friends and family how much I cared about them.

I love popping into a colleague’s office and deliver chocolates or other candies; It’s wonderful to see their eyes widen and mouths drop open. It makes my heart sing.

Some of my colleagues even came to expect my little gift and would ask in anticipation about the expected delivery. And at home, I also enjoyed making a care basket for my daughter and helping her make treats for classmates.


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By Timothy R. McDade

The wild movement in GameStop stock has some market watchers baffled.

Institutionalists are offended that a bunch of upstart individuals could bankrupt a hedge fund. Iconoclasts feel indignant that up until now markets have been the “casino” of those with gobs of money. Finance professionals and economists cling to their assertion that GameStop should have a low share price because its books don’t look great.

And political scientists, sociologists and psychologists aren’t surprised in the slightest.

Why?

The stocks of companies like BlackRock and Amazon have historically benefited from having well-regarded management. …


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Disinformation and calls to violence clearly helped fuel the recent assault on our nation’s capitol, and an ongoing flood of disinformation now continues to subvert the reality of what happened. Yet as we assign blame for that destructive stream of disinformation, a deeply complicit stakeholder has largely been ignored — advertisers.

Obviously, President Trump has received a substantial amount of the blame for inciting the D.C. insurrection, as have select members of Congress, social media platforms, and partisan “news” networks. Cable and satellite systems that distribute these networks have also been called into question.

Advertisers, however, help keep this dangerous…


By Charlie Thompson

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Charlie Thompson with his 1968 Topps Hank Aaron card. (Photo courtesy Charlie Thompson)

It was 1968, and I was an 11-year-old white boy in Appalachian Virginia imagining I was Hank Aaron. Home from school for the summer, a small group of us gathered for mornings in our backyard to play Whiffle ball — with a plastic bat and ball, and bases made from scraps of wood. A forsythia hedge, some 75 feet from the back steps where we batted, was the outfield fence. The innovation we came up with was to pretend to be major league players, reading stats and biographical facts about our favorite players from their baseball cards…


By Sara Grundy

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The start of vaccine rollout across the country has brought hope, but also questions about which populations should receive priority. The CDC recommends prioritizing healthcare and other essential workers, residents of long-term care facilities, people 75 and older, those with chronic conditions and incarcerated populations. The last of those recommendations continues to draw scrutiny, including recently from Governor Jared Polis of Colorado. Despite being known for campaigning on criminal justice reform, he recently said “There’s no way [the COVID-19 vaccine] is going to go to prisoners before it goes to people who haven’t committed any crime”.

Throughout…


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Canvassers from Bull City Votes canvassing in Georgia. Photo courtesy Faulkner Fox

By Faulkner Fox

I didn’t see footage of the siege until 9 p.m. that night. My mother had texted me earlier: “Watching the storming of the Capitol?” “Driving,” I texted back. “Glad you’re coming home. DC is really scary,” she replied. But I wasn’t coming home — not yet. My husband and I were driving west from Savannah, not sure yet where we were headed.

I was in Georgia with a Durham, North Carolina get-out-the-vote group, Bull City Votes. About 50 of us arrived in Savannah on November 29, invited by local organizers to help register voters. Many of us…


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Editor’s Note: This is part of an occasional series of essays by Duke faculty members whose normal fall 2020 class routines were disrupted by the pandemic. These essays will examine how faculty adapted.

By Maria Tackett

In the Fall of 2020, I taught two courses — STA 199: Intro to Data Science and STA 210: Regression Analysis — completely online. There were about 90 students in each course, so I knew one of the biggest changes would be transitioning the lectures from face-to-face to remote learning.

During a typical face-to-face lecture, I introduced new concepts and there were short discussion…


By Isabel Shapiro

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Me, too. I, like so many others, reveled in the schadenfreude of so many Hollywood abusers getting their comeuppance in the media, but the glow quickly faded. In 2017, when the #MeToo Movement went viral, I was working with impoverished, recently incarcerated people during the day and bartending in a firmly middle-class establishment at night. Even as I celebrated the downfall of Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein with my evening co-workers, I couldn’t help but notice how far away it all felt from my day job. …


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Editor’s Note: This is part of an occasional series of essays by Duke faculty members whose normal fall 2020 class routines were disrupted by the pandemic. These essays will examine how faculty adapted.

In July, we learned that our fall English for International Students (EIS) classes would be taught fully online. Many of our students living abroad would be unable to move to Durham, so we knew our Oral Communications classes would need major changes. In previous semesters, we had successfully collaborated to create a project-based class focused on academic and professional oral communication skills. …

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