Lincoln Review: Courtney M. Baxter

In this five-part series, Lakefront Historian contributors respond to the critically acclaimed blockbuster Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day Lewis.

Memory and Reimagining in Lincoln

As I walked into the movie theater to see Steven Spielberg’s newest movie Lincoln, I was struck by the audience in the packed theater. An audience of silver-haired White people filled nearly every seat. It came as a shock to me considering my location in a Chicagoland suburb where the residents are mostly Black and Latino Americans.  Eventually, along with my family and me, a few Black people trickled in (also of an older crowd).  It was a stark sight to see and I considered the topic of Lincoln and the memory of the man. Who was Abraham Lincoln to this audience?  I cannot presume to fully know.

Continue reading “Lincoln Review: Courtney M. Baxter”

Advertisements

Lincoln Review: Cambray Sampson

In this five-part series, Lakefront Historian contributors respond to the critically acclaimed blockbuster Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day Lewis.

Lincoln

I found out about the movie Lincoln surprisingly recently.  I honestly had not heard that this movie was being made until about two months ago, but once I found out about it I wanted to go see it.  I love watching movies based on historical events, though I will admit that I haven’t seen as many of these movies as I would like.  My first attempt to see the movie ended when I arrived at the theatre to find that it was sold out for four straight shows.  That in itself sold me on the popularity of the movie even before seeing any box office figures.  I had resigned myself to waiting several weeks to see Lincoln when I received a text message from theatre friend gushing about the technical aspects of the movie and encouraging me to go and see it – I went the next day.

Continue reading “Lincoln Review: Cambray Sampson”

Around the Web (October 2012)

Periodically, a Lakefront Historian contributor surveys recent public history-related content that emerges on the Internet.  In this installment, Anne E. Cullen shares pop cultural videos, Facebook happenings, and a recent public radio controversy raising significant questions about oral history practice. Follow  The Lakefront Historian on Twitter (@LakefrontHist) for news updates as they happen.

  • Did you see the Lincoln Unite trailer that premiered during the latest Presidential Debate on October 3, 2012? What did you think of the trailer and the choice to air it during a presidential debate?
  • On the quirky design tumblr Branding the Presidents of the United States, the creator captures the character of each president with historic photographs and fonts.
  • If you’re a new public historian in the Chicago area, make sure to join the Facebook group “Chicago Emerging Museum Professionals” by clicking here.

teddy roosevelt

  • Have you heard about the recent controversy surrounding the interview of Eng Yang, a Hmong immigrant living in Minnesota,  by Robert Krulwich, RadioLab co-host? The Minnesota Public Radio News blog provides some thoughtful commentary in addition to sharing both a clip of the interview and the entire segment that aired on RadioLab on September 24, 2012.  The incident forces us to think about the politics of power, popular memory, and the relationship between interviewer and intervewee that lie at the heart of oral history theory and methodology.  Read Kao Kalia Yang’s response to the incident (the niece of Eng Yang who also served as translator of the interview in question) by clicking here.
  • PERIODS. is a critically acclaimed comedy film series that, among other things, reimagines the past in a variety of hilarious ways.

Public History Students featured on NCPH Blog

Two Lakefront Historian contributors and public history students at Loyola University Chicago are featured this week on History@Work, the blog from the National Council on Public History (NCPH).  Annie Cullen and Rachel Boyle discuss how the overwhelming success of Public History Ryan Gosling reveals the strengths and weaknesses of popular culture as a tool for public historians.  The post will give you a preview of the panel presentation Cullen and Boyle will be giving at the annual NCPH conference this April in Ottawa, Canada.  Hope to see you there!

“I Don’t Know What I Stand For Anymore”: Fun., Postmodern Angst, and Civil War Memory

The casual radio listener cannot avoid the chart topping hit “Some Nights” by the band Fun.  As with their other recent hit, “We Are Young,” Fun. produces upbeat tempos and soaring harmonies that belie darker lyrics about the emptiness and purposelessness of life.  By applying the postmodern undertones of “Some Nights” to a music video dominated by Civil War imagery, Fun. meaningfully reflects and contributes to popular memory of the Civil War.

Continue reading ““I Don’t Know What I Stand For Anymore”: Fun., Postmodern Angst, and Civil War Memory”

Around the Web (July 2012)

Periodically, a Lakefront Historian contributor surveys recent public history-related news that emerges on the Internet. In this installment of “Around the Web,” Anne E. Cullen highlights new digital collections and blogs, museum reviews, and pop culture happenings that exemplify public history online.  Follow The Lakefront Historian on Twitter (@LakefrontHist) for news updates as they happen.

LFH BlogImage source

  • Since we’re all about mythical figures re-examined through the lens of feature films here on the Lakefront Historian (read our recent roundtable reviews of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), we couldn’t help but notice another historical heavy-weight recently memorialized at the box office: Marie Antoinette. Farewell, My Queen, based on the award-winning novel Les Adieux à la Reine by Chantal Thomas,  hit theaters this July 13th. Watch the trailer here.
  • Threadbared’s review of the Tattered and Torn: On the Road to Deaccession exhibit on NYC’s Governor’s Island explores historical value, material culture, and costume collections.
  • Speaking of fashion and public history, in July the Chicago History Museum debuted an online digital collection showcasing their costume collection.  With over 50,000 pieces from the mid-18th century to the present, CHM’s collection is the second most expansive fashion collection after that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Another new online collection? Don’t forget to check out the Grateful Dead Archive Online which includes over 45,000 digitized items from the library at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
  • The Chicago History Museum commemorated the 1919 Chicago Race Riot with a blog post built around Jun Fujita’s photographs of the tragic violence.
  • Loyola Chicago’s own Women and Leadership Archives recently launched a new tumblr. The blog features fun and interesting photographs from WLA’s collections and also highlights other online content related to women and history.  Check out the tumblr here.
  • The National Archives is recognizing the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with a web research page highlighting Presidential records related to people with disabilities throughout US history.
  • And in honor of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, be sure to watch this amusing video that uncovers the secret history of the City of London.

The Rachels Review “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (Part I – Rachel Lewis)

Rachel Lewis and Rachel Boyle share the same first name and many courses at Loyola University Chicago.  Rarely do they share the same perspective on historical topics.  In this installment, the Rachels provide two distinct reviews of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter as a work of cinematic public history.

Spoiler Alert: Some plot points are discussed in this review. If you want to be surprised by the movie, read no further.

When I first saw the previews for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter I was, in fact, excited. How could I not be? It has our 16th president, explosions, and vampire blood being splattered about. As a rule, I try to avoid historical movies; they are just too upsetting for me as a historian. For this movie, however, I was willing to ignore my rule about “historical” movies. I really wanted to enjoy this one.

Continue reading “The Rachels Review “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (Part I – Rachel Lewis)”

The Rachels Review “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (Part II – Rachel Boyle)

Rachel Lewis and Rachel Boyle share the same first name and many courses at Loyola University Chicago.  Rarely do they share the same perspective on historical topics.  In this installment, the Rachels provide two distinct reviews of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter as a work of cinematic public history.

“History prefers legends to men” – Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

In the interest of full disclosure, I should confess that I have very limited knowledge of vampire mythology.  I am still unclear about how to kill a vampire.  Do you shoot them in the heart with a silver bullet? Cut off their head? Nervously bite your lip until they succumb to your wiles?  Judging from the way Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter treats the historical record, I suspect the film plays fast and loose with the rules of vampire hunting as well.  Therefore, I will not be evaluating Abraham Lincoln in terms of adherence to the rules of vampirology or historical accuracy.  I am most interested in dissecting the internal logic of this film and the implications for the public’s memory of Abraham Lincoln and nineteenth century United States history.

Continue reading “The Rachels Review “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (Part II – Rachel Boyle)”