When most of us think about music piracy we focus on Napster and Bit Torrent, but music piracy is nothing new. Alex Sayf Cummings explores the history of music piracy during the 20th Century in his book Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright in the Twentieth Century(Oxford, 2013). Alex Sayf Cummings is an assistant professor of History at Georgia State University. His work has appeared in the Journal of American History, Southern Cultures, and Salon, among other publications, and he is the co-editor of the blog Tropics of Meta. He is also the DailyHistory.org author of Top Ten Media History Booklist.
In our interview we discuss not only his research on music piracy, but his views on whether traditional books face the same fate as vinyl and CDs.
The United States has been conducting surveillance of its citizens since it was created, but the ability of any government to spy on its citizens has dramatically improved in the digital age. How should United States balance national security and personal privacy? Does the Constitution provide adequate protection against unrestricted government surveillance? What can advocates do to strengthen personal privacy rights? These concerns will only intensify in the years to come.
Anthony Gregory’s new book American Surveillance: Intelligence, Privacy and the Fourth Amendment published by the University of Wisconsin Press examines the history of surveillance in the United States and grapples with these problems. He examines what the role the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against illegal government searches and seizures has played in protecting Americans from government surveillance and how courts have frequently circumvented it. Daniel Ellsberg has described Gregory’s book as essential to “those who want to protect liberty, peace and justice, and who want to take the debate to the highest level, will find this book indispensable.”
As a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Gregory has written pieces published by The Atlantic, Christian Science Monitor, Salon, Reason, and many others, and authored The Power of Habeas Corpus in America: From the King’s Prerogative to the War on Terror.
During the War 1812, US and Canadian privateers fought most of the naval battles between the United States and Great Britain. These privateers were comprised of captains who were motivated by the promise of profit to fight for their countries. There was a strong legal framework in both the United States and Great Britain that normalized piracy. Canadian and American ship owners and investors took advantage of it and funded privateering outfits during the war. Needless to say, privateers were incredibly risky investments.
Kert was previously a underwater archaeologist and she earned a PhD from the University of Leiden. She is currently an independent historian and the current book review editor for The Northern Mariner published by the Canadian Nautical Research Society. She is also the author ofTrimming Yankee Sails: Pirates and Privateers of New Brunswick and Prize and Prejudice: Privateering and Naval Prize in Atlantic Canada in the War of 1812.
Starting in 1787, states began to ratify the newly drafted federal Constitution which would determine the fate of the new American Republic. In order for the Constitution to go in effect, nine of the states needed to agree to the document. While five states quickly ratified the Constitution between December 1787 and January 1788, the country’s eyes stayed on Virginia. Virginia was the most populated and largest state and it was critical for the state to ratify the Constitution to legitimize the process.
Lorri Glover’s new book, The Fate of the Revolution: Virginians Debate the Constitution published by Johns Hopkins University Press, explores the dramatic battle that took place during the Virginia Ratification Convention. Virginia’s convention was notable because some of the most influential founding fathers had staked out positions on the Constitution in stark opposition to one another. As Patrick Henry, James Madison, George Mason and John Marshall publicly debated the merits of the new Constitution, the nation waited for a decision. Glover explores the constitutional questions that divided Virginia and shows how these questions are still relevant in understanding the Constutition.
Lorri Glover is the John Francis Bannon Professor of History at Saint Louis University. She has written extensively about the early American Republic and the founding fathers. She has also written Founders as Fathers: The Private Lives and Politics of the American Revolutionaries (Yale University Press, 2014), The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and The Fate of America, with co-author with Daniel Blake Smith (Henry Holt Publishers, 2008), Southern Sons: Becoming Men in the New Nation (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007), and finally All Our Relations: Blood Ties and Emotional Bonds Among the Early South Carolina Gentry (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).
The Oxford University Press published The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era by Michael A. Ross, an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland. Ross’s first book, Justice of Shattered Dreams: Samuel Freeman Miller and the Supreme Court During the Civil War Era, examined Justice Miller’s career on the Supreme Court. Ross has changed pace and his next book follows the 1870 kidnapping of a white seventeen month old girl, Mollie Digby, by two African American women in New Orleans. While virtually unknown today, the case was a national sensation at the time. Everyday, newspapers around the country were publishing reports of the kidnapping and subsequent trial. Unsurprisingly, the story became intertwined with the racial politics of Reconstruction.
Recently on Twitter, a debate broke out between Annette Gordon-Reed, Sam Haselby, and John Fea on the nature of Thomas Jefferson’s religious beliefs. The debate centered on the questions of whether or not Thomas Jefferson could be described as a Christian and wanted the United States to be a Christian nation. Ultimately, the debate could not overcome the 140 character limitations of Twitter. Fortunately, Michael Hattem preserved that debate at Jefferson, Christianity, and Twitter.
Instead of recreating the debate, it made more sense to contact one of the participants, Sam Haselby, whose recent book The Origins of American Religious Nationalism (published by Oxford University Press) examines how a conflict with Protestantism, in the decades following US independence transformed American national identity. Gordon Wood described his book in the New York Review of Books as an “impressive and powerfully argued book – that ….it was American Protestantism and not any sort of classical republicanism that was most important in shaping the development of American nationalism.”The Origins of American Religious Nationalism was published in 2015 and will be republished in paperback by OUP in December 2016. It made sense to get his perspective on the concept of American Religious Nationalism, the broad issues that underpinned the recent Twitter debate, and his understanding of early American Christianity.
The Oxford University Press recently published Theresa Kaminski’s Angels of the Underground: The American Women who Resisted the Japanese in the Philippines in World War II. Kaminski’s book follows the lives of four American women who were stranded in the Philippines after Japan invaded during World War II. Publishers Weeklydescribed her book as a “fast-paced true story” that documents how these women resisted Japanese occupation. Kaminski’s other books have also examined the lives of women in the South Pacific during World War II. Her previous books include Prisoners in Paradise: American Women in the Wartime South Pacific and Citizen of Empire: Ethel Thomas Herold, an American in the Philippines. She also edited Dorothy Dore Dowle’s autobiography Enduring What Cannot be Endured: Memoir of a Medical Aide in the Philippines in the World War II.
Kaminski is currently a Professor of American Women’s History at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook. I would also recommend checking out her fantastic blog at www.theresakaminski.com.