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Popular Culture, History, and Current Events

Hiding in Plain Sight: Legacies of Colonization in New England and the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower

By Christoph Strobel

Mayflower II, a replica of the original Mayflower docked at Plymouth, Massachusetts

Early in November 1620, after a rough Atlantic crossing of about two months, an aging ship called Mayflower arrived in the coastal waters of what we today call Cape Cod Bay. By mid-December, the colonists had chosen a site they called Plymouth, which is about 40 miles south of the current city of Boston. Although English colonization had begun further south in the Chesapeake Bay area over a decade earlier – not to speak of even earlier Spanish and French efforts – the arrival of the Mayflower is frequently imagined by many in American mainstream society as the founding moment of the United States. Largely spurred and popularized by the Thanksgiving holiday, this founding myth all too often minimizes the impact of colonization on the indigenous peoples of the region; theirs is a history that hides in plain sight.

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“My Goal Would Be To Go Out of Business and Go Back to the Classroom”: An Interview with Nancy Dome

By Sabrina Völz

At the dinner table, on the train, or at work, we witness discriminatory language or racist remarks from time to time. We often know that we should say something, but we – for one reason or another – do not always get involved. Many people would like to do more but don’t always know how. Dr. Nancy Dome, who has worked with children and educators for over 20 years, has literally made that quandary both her business and mission. This week’s blog features an interview with the CEO of Epoch Education about fostering the understanding of diversity and the development of inclusive cultures.

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The Ultimate Election Forecast: More than 5,000 Pollsters Agree – The Next President of the U.S. is ….

By Joannis Kaliampos

The 2020 U.S. election has people around the world on the edge of their seats, wondering who will become the next President of the United States. The two candidates – former Vice President Joe Biden and the incumbent President, Donald Trump – would become the oldest men to ever have held this office. Another ‘first’ is Biden’s VP pick, Kamala Harris, junior senator from California, the first-ever woman of color running on a presidential ticket. In addition, a global pandemic, an economic crisis, and nationwide demonstrations protesting systemic racism make this election more exciting than ever.

Photo credit: U.S. Embassy Berlin. Students participate in a Q and A session with U.S. election experts at the concluding event of the 2016 election project at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Berlin.

While U.S. pollsters, such as Larry Sabato or Nate Silver, predict a likely victory for Democrat Biden, Trump’s 2016 surprise upset lead many pollster to ask how reliable election polls really are. And sometimes, the best pollsters are not those featured in the news, but are those found in high school classrooms.

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A New Millennium?

By Michael Lederer

“MCU035” by maxxtraffic is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

January 1, 2000. Not just a new century, but a new millennium. Spotless, for the briefest moment, though far from empty. Arriving so brimful of promise and hope. “What will it be like?” we wondered, staring almost child-like at the clock as it approached the new era. A brand-new, unopened, ready-to-use millennium! And this time, with all we’d learned over past millennia, we would get things right.

Knock on wood.

 

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Politics and Religion in a Secular State

By Bobbie Kirkhart

It is ironic that, as the world’s first secular democracy having scorned all state religion, we soon became and have remained, socially and politically, preoccupied with god. Campaign speeches end with “God bless you.” The song, “God Bless America,” which Irving Berlin wrote as a parody sung by a comically chauvinistic character, is now performed as a patriotic hymn.

“God Bless America” by Joelk75 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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