The Newspaper and Its Disjecta Membra


“If scrapbooks can be distilled to one overarching interpretive theme, it is that of rupture.”

“What could be more emblematic of the fractured narratives of modernity than scrapbooks?”

“[An] excess of fragments that burst the bindings and bulge the pages.”

“How then do we read these fragments as cultural artifacts?”1

Newspaper clippings were frequently pasted into scrapbooks, and sometimes, as in the case of the scrapbook shown here, compose the entirety of the scrapbook’s contents: Continue reading “The Newspaper and Its Disjecta Membra”

Taxing Times: The Trials and Tribulations of Tax Resistance

Greetings on Tax Day, whether you’ve filed early or are digging up your W2 form this morning. In homage to one of life’s certainties, let’s delve into the history of tax resistance and rebellion through resources available at the University of Illinois Library, focusing on materials from HPNL.

Continue reading “Taxing Times: The Trials and Tribulations of Tax Resistance”

Oppenheimer: Igniting Interest in History

I was late to the Oppenheimer bandwagon. I did not get the chance to see the movie until it was available for streaming. I admit, it would have been amazing to see the film on the big screen, but I was also glad to be able to split the long, 180-minute movie up in two days so that I could really enjoy and focus on the movie. I was happy that I watched the movie before the Academy Awards Ceremony. Continue reading “Oppenheimer: Igniting Interest in History”

The Truth is Out There?

What exactly do aliens have to do with civil rights? What would drive supposedly sane people to believe something that defies all rational explanation? Why exactly are we so fascinated in what (or who) may exist outside the threshold of our world when we already have more than enough trouble to last lifetimes contained within our own borders? These are the questions that Matthew Bowman interrogates in his latest book The Abduction of Betty and Barney Hill, a rigorously researched historical account of an alleged alien abduction of a married couple in 1961. Continue reading “The Truth is Out There?”

Life Stories of Remarkable Women

March is Women’s History Month. It’s also National Reading Month! If our last post put you in the mood to read more biographies of women, the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library’s shelves are bursting with possibilities. Discover the fascinating lives of a 1st-century C.E. Jewish ruler, a neo-Platonist mathematician, an 18th-century Italian physicist, a 19th-century samurai grandmother, a dozen under-appreciated British philosophers, a Mexican independence fighter, a Sufi spy in Nazi-occupied Paris, an agnostic French Jew who became a Christian mystic, a Zimbabwean painter, a Black Canadian science fiction writer, and many, many more.

Here are a few recent biographies that jumped out at me: Continue reading “Life Stories of Remarkable Women”

Not the Camilla You Think It Is…


I had a tough time selecting a book to read and review for this blog this time. I didn’t know anything about the League of Nations or Woodrow Wilson, nor did I really care to learn the ins and outs of the gubernatorial races in mid-twentieth century Louisianan politics enough to continue reading the two books I started on those topics, so I turned on the TV and looked for a distraction. Continue reading “Not the Camilla You Think It Is…”

A Foucaldian February

If on these wintery rainy days of February, the structures of power are getting you down, consider coming to the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library and having a Foucaldian February. The library has a great many books by Foucault, about Foucault, about his writings, and generally inspired by Foucault, which will hold you in good stead until the last day of February (The 29th this year!) and even through to the next leap year (and well beyond.) 

Continue reading “A Foucaldian February”

Merry Christmas, Jason Donovan

Where’d You Get Your Information? (Part II)

This post is the second in a set on the British band Cornershop and their obsession with information. In part two, we examine a song, “Jason Donovan / Tessa Sanderson,” about two libel cases that seem especially to have captured their imaginations: Continue reading “Merry Christmas, Jason Donovan”

Testing Digital Humanities Tools for Research

No doubt if you are in academia right now–or even outside of academia you might’ve heard a bit about digital humanities. While researching end-of-semester papers, I thought I would test out a few DH tools for research that have been recommended to me and see how well they work for my subject matter. I’ll be testing JSTOR’s Text Analyzer and Connected Papers. Continue reading “Testing Digital Humanities Tools for Research”