Toby Keith performing onstage with "Made in America" on screen behind him.

How Country Music Became Patriotic

Country music boosters rebranded the genre and tied it to America's military mission as a way to build popularity.
A line crew at work in the Manzanar camp.

A Portrait of Japanese America, in the Shadow of the Camps

An essential new volume collects accounts of Japanese incarceration by patriotic idealists, righteous firebrands, and downtrodden cynics alike.
Espresso by Sabrina Carpenter surrounded by African American artists' records.

The Song of the Summer Is Actually the Song of 1982

Sabrina Carpenter’s “Espresso” is one of several recent hits bringing back the genre that never got a name.
Baseball players for the Texas Rangers restraining fan from running onto field.

The Beer Night Riot, 50 Years Ago: What Was That America Like?

The melee, the mayhem, the metal chairs.
Sailors singing a sea shanty.

There’s No Such Thing as “Just a Song”

What we can learn from the history of maritime folk music.
Ella Fitzgerald at the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, 1970.

The Genius of Ella Fitzgerald

She remade the American songbook in her image, uprooting the very meaning of musical performance.
Still from Pretty Poison (1968).

The All-American Crack-Up in 1960s Hollywood Cinema

Starting in the 1960s, more and more Hollywood films depicted an increasingly violent and alienated American society quickly losing its mind.
Painting of man finding woman seated at table writing

A Kind of Historical Faith

On the history of literature masquerading as primary source.
Ella Watson in American Gothic, photographed by Gordon Parks.

She Was No ‘Mammy’

Gordon Parks’s most famous photograph, "American Gothic," was of a cleaning woman in Washington, D.C. She has a story to tell.
A drawing that depicts statues of colonial figures on top of pillars.

Messy, Messy Masculinity

The politics of eccentric men in the early United States.
Ansel Williamson, the trainer whose horse won the first Kentucky Derby, is depicted on the right in the 1864 painting “Ansel Williamson, Edward Brown, and the Undefeated Asteroid,” by Edward Troye.

They Were Born into Slavery. Then They Won the First Kentucky Derby.

As the 150th Kentucky Derby kicks off, the achievements of jockey Oliver Lewis and trainer Ansel Williamson at the first Derby have been largely forgotten.
Longshoremen on their lunch hour at the San Francisco docks.

Jack London, "Martin Eden" and The Liberal Education in US life

In Jack London’s novel, Martin Eden personifies debates still raging over the role and purpose of education in American life.
Jack Conroy

Jack Conroy and the Lost Era of Proletarian Literature

In the midst of the Depression, Conroy helped encourage a new generation of working-class writers.
A drawing of Magneto wearing a kippah over his helmet.

The Judgment Of Magneto

From villain to antihero, nationalist to freedom fighter, the comic book character has always been a reflection of the Jewish cultural identity.
Women posing as if drinking from beer bottles.

How Prohibition Forever Changed Women’s Cultural Relationship with Alcohol

On the hostess Langston Hughes called the “Joy Goddess of Harlem.”
An up close photograph of Leonard Cohen.

Leonard Cohen: Hippie Troubadour and Forgotten Reactionary

As the legend of the singer–poet–sex symbol grows, fans rarely acknowledge his conservative streak.

Should a Colombian Buy a Banjo?

How preparation for a big purchase turned into an adventure through history.
Clara Bow

Taylor Swift’s Homage to Clara Bow

The star of the 1920s silver screen who appears on Taylor Swift’s new album abruptly left Hollywood at the height of her success.
Keith Haring standing shirtless in front of one of his paintings.

Angels with Dirty Faces

How Keith Haring got his halo.
Posters for Beyonce's "Cowboy Carter" album.

History Explains the Backlash to Beyoncé's 'Cowboy Carter'

Black cowboys made up as much as a quarter of working ranch hands during late 19th century. That legacy has been obscured.
Book cover of "Cold War Country" by Joseph M. Thompson.

Big Government Country

Connie B. Gay and the roots of country music militarization.
Black women gathered in discussion for an episode of "Black Journal."

“The Black Woman”

Black women activism within documentary films in the 1960s United States.
Aaron Douglas, detail from painting Aspects of Negro Life: From Slavery to Reconstruction, 1934.

The Cosmopolitan Modernism of the Harlem Renaissance

The world-spanning art of the Harlem Renaissance.
Larry David.

The End of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” Marks the End of an Era

Larry David is the last of his kind—and in several ways.
Sinclair Lewis.

How to Study the “Village Virus”

Sinclair Lewis and the small-town science of yearning.
Covers from Lippincott's and Harper's from the 1890s.

Advertising as Art: How Literary Magazines Pioneered a New Kind of Graphic Design

Allison Rudnick on the rise and fall of the 19th century "Literary Poster."
Tennessee Valley Authority.

The Dam and the Bomb

On Cormac McCarthy.
Jelly Roll Blues: Censored Songs & Hidden Histories

Jelly Roll Blues: Censored Songs & Hidden Histories

From the beginning of the recording industry, many voices have been suppressed and significant cultural history has been lost to prudery and censorship.
Marvin Gaye walking on a basketball court, with players and the crowd behind him.

Marvin’s Last Protest

In 1968 Gaye shifted his musical vision to give voice to impoverished Black urban communities and the rising dissent against involvement in the Vietnam War.
A celebration of Linda Martell on the stage of the Country Music Awards.

Who is Linda Martell, the Black Country Musician Beyoncé Spotlights?

The first Black woman to play the Grand Ole Opry and hit Billboard’s country music charts.