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Joseph Kaminski

History, Sociology, & More

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January 19, 2018

2017 Article Awards: Personal Favorites from JosephKaminski.org


It has now been around four – closer to five, at this point – years since I’ve started “blogging”. I oftentimes refer to posts on this site as “articles” rather than “blogs”, mostly out of spite for the atmosphere WordPress and Tumblr have created around the activity. In 2013, I helped write The French Turmoil: Vive La France!an eleven-part series (twelve if you count a bonus essay on Haiti and the eventual Louisiana Purchase) that went through the French Revolution in a way that students would have been able to find interesting. Although it’s been four-ish years since I’ve taken on that project, I still find myself trying to write history in a way that the average person – not pompous eggheads in the ivory tower of academia – would be able to understand and enjoy.

This will be the last article of 2017, and I’d like to take a look back at this year’s articles – those I’ve honestly enjoyed writing. I used to do this a long time ago, once a month actually. Back before I migrated to my own server in December 2015. I called it “Monthly Wrap-ups” or something lame like that. This year I’ve written some wonderful articles for this site: articles that I’ve truly enjoyed researching, editing, and posting. So, without further adieu, here’s my personal favorites from the site this year (in chronological order):

January 27th, 2017: Nazi Punching and Dirty, Old Fascism

…but I think we can make a little asterisk next to political mindsets that believe in the supremacist of a single race and the overall discrimination or genocide towards another. Whether they be using more covert or overt methods on whitewashing the present status of politics, the Neo-Nazi culture formatting itself on the right is becoming more and more dangerous. I, for one, think it’s pretty funny that a Neo-Nazi can cry about how much it hurt to get punched in the face even though his entire political movement has the notion of limiting the rights and lives of countless people.

Nazi Punching and Dirty, Old Fascism


February 10th, 2017: Professionalizing History 4: Howard Zinn and the War Against American History

That same friend came back to me, saying that anything could be possible. I hesitated, saying I’d probably get killed in this new realm of politics. He responded with the following: “If you’re not getting into trouble, you’re not doing your job as a historian. If you are not discomforting the comfortable, then you are either writing propaganda or Hallmark cards.” Of course, I liked that quote. I informed him that I actually wanted that quote on a literal Hallmark card and moved on with my day.

Professionalizing History 4: Howard Zinn and the War Against American History


February 17th, 2017: Professionalizing History 5: Is it Justifiable to Apologize for History?

In recent decades, the concept of apologizing for history has leaped into the rhetoric of our society. Whether it be for immense crimes against humanity such as slavery in the United States and the Holocaust of Europe, or dastardly deeds on a local level such as police brutality of the past; it is becoming more and more topical for men and women of authority coming to terms with and accepting the outcome – as negative as such an outcome could be – within the dark stains of history.

Professionalizing History 5: Is it Justifiable to Apologize for History?


March 1st, 2017: Women’s Roles in New England vs Women’s Roles in The South

A woman’s “job” was to maintain the order in the house, encourage moral development within their children, and, of course, to be subordinate to men. The house was a “woman’s domain” – one that established a stereotype that withstood the test of times upwards until the second wave of feminism nearly four hundred years later. As the population in these early colonies grew, the economy altered based on the geographical differences of the colonies. This rapidly changing economy merged with a social stratification of sorts, causing change to erupt through the southern colonies more than through the northern ones. In a sense, political behavior developed, adopting a new form of customary culture…one that didn’t necessarily translate between the north and south.

Women’s Roles in New England vs Women’s Roles in The South


June 29th, 2017: F. Scott Fitzgerald and The First World War

He died believing he was a failure; believing he wouldn’t be recognized as nothing more than a statistic or a name rather than a story after his time. He never ‘finished’ his last work, the one he thought would be the one to have him finally be happy in life. Little did he know that his so-called “flop”, The Great Gatsby, would make a massive “comeback” only two years after his death at the height of the Second World War – the sequel that no man, not even Fitzgerald himself, in The Roaring Twenties would have thought possible. Over 155,000 copies of the book were distributed to soldiers, which ultimately boosted sales and led to Gatsby becoming a literary name after his death. Only four years after his death, full length papers and articles were being published on his so-called failure.

F. Scott Fitzgerald and The First World War


July 17th, 2017: Gustave Courbet’s “The Origin of the World” and the Censorship of Art

There is nothing wrong with a naked body in its self. It is human shame and greed that brings down the opinionated platform that many people – especially traditionalists and those in orthodox religions – ashamed of art that uses nudity as a foundation to express emotion. The threat of “lust” is a societal movement that, when summed up, equates to religious morality and nothing more. The human body is nothing near shameful, and the question revolving around whether porn and nudist /erotic art are similes is unreasonable at best.

Gustave Courbet’s “The Origin of the World” and the Censorship of Art


July 18th, 2017: Ten Cent Beer Night

The teams retreated from the field, running into dugouts while protecting each other and picking up other players as they went. They watched in horror as the drunken nature of mankind took over the field. The literal bases were pulled up from the ground and never returned. Cups full of booze, medium-sized rocks, radio batteries, half-eaten hot dogs, and folding chairs began flying like a cloud of locusts over the heads of the rioters.

Ten Cent Beer Night


August 5th, 2017: The Gender of Sexuality and How Not Feeling Attraction Towards Trans Individuals is NOT Transphobia

Sex is not gender, and gender is not sex. They work together in some situations and are individually recognized in others, but they remain two distinctly different parts to an identity. Preferences towards either exist in our society, and it feels as if some people, like Riley Dennis, have merged the two concepts to create a discriminatory feature that just isn’t sociologically acceptable. By criticizing Dennis’s comments, I am not “strawmanning an argument and implying that trans women are men”, but merely supporting the nature vs nurture style of preference that exists in both the characterizations of sexuality and gender in society.

The Gender of Sexuality and How Not Feeling Attraction Towards Trans Individuals is NOT Transphobia


September 4th, 2017: The Sociological Story of Fake Friends

I must showcase my personal basis for how a ‘net positive’ friendship, acquaintanceship, or relationship must work. As the famous song by Simon & Garfunkel proclaims, friendship is “like a bridge over troubled water”. Keeping the symbolism intact, any serious relationship is a suspension bridge: with each person standing strong as the anchorage and the relationship itself creating the deck. Such a relationship is held up by emotional attachment (the cables), and has high points (the towers) and low points (the piers). When one ‘friend’ decides that the friendship is only secondary to the overall scheme of things, it will be unable to stand against the pressure.

The Sociological Story of Fake Friends


October 4th, 2017: Catalonia and The Independence Movement in Europe

Spain has every incentive on the board to keep the Catalans apart of the country; but that concept leaves out a very important aspect of it all. The government does have every incentive to keep the Catalans part of Spain; but in turn, that should mean they have every incentive to keep the Catalans happy with the government that they have.

Catalonia and The Independence Movement in Europe


October 17th: Anthropology of ‘Dying Peoples’

When asked for evidence for either argument on the topic of another world, we (to a certain extent) must admit to ourselves that there is none. We, on both sides of this rather controversial argument, attach ourselves to 3,000-year-old literature or modern-day scientific theories in attempt to prove that our existence means something…anything. Why must there be a meaning, why must there be some greater purpose in an exclusive and elusive afterlife? Our overwhelming interest with life and death reverts to a spiritual, philosophical, or any other universal purpose for everything; and I personally believe that this is a blind spot in our universal perception.

Anthropology of ‘Dying Peoples’


November 17th: Unified in Misery, Divided by Discrimination: An Analysis of Cohen’s “Making a New Deal”

Making a New Deal by Lizabeth Cohen focuses on the harsh climate of sociopolitical and economic turmoil that workers in Chicago underwent during the so-called luxurious decade that predated the largest economic depression in American history; and it can be argued that workers were unified in their misery and in the platforms of political efforts, but were far too divided by overt discrimination to succeed until the New Deal legislation.

Unified in Misery, Divided by Discrimination: An Analysis of Cohen’s “Making a New Deal”


December 15th: Infrastructure, Transportation, and Mechanization: The Creative Destruction of the American System

Just as the communal style of running society helped America during problems of the time, the early and later volumes of capitalism existed for such reasons as well. Perhaps, sociologically, the interests between government, company, and the general populace relates directly back to the superstructure of ideology – but, nevertheless, the system changed and warped through technological advancements and the necessities that were present over time.

Infrastructure, Transportation, and Mechanization: The Creative Destruction of the American System


In 2016, I took on a challenge to post a blog everyday of the year, which I did pretty good at until my server crashed and left me scrambling for 4+ months for backup copies on the floppy disks I have in my archaic office. It was easy to post daily in 2016, to be honest. The presidential election gave me more than enough political content to work with. I thought about bringing this 2016 goal back, kicking and screaming from the glitchy realm that it was left behind in, in 2017; but, life didn’t prepare the same schedule. This year was rather important (and busy) for me. I’ve been sidetracked with courses (whether this be a good or bad thing is uncertain, the jury is out at this very moment), working on three serious offsite projects, and picking up hours at the university archives. 2017 didn’t allow me to bring back to “post every day” format, and neither will 2018 from the looks of thing. BUT…each year, I’ve tried doing a ‘massive’ written onsite project. In 2015, I published my The Endless Flow of Society, a sociological look at social norms, religious values, mental health, and government in our current world. In 2016 I published my eight part miniseries on Catherine the Great. I continued this trend with my 2017 Professionalizing History series. I plan on some sort of continuation of this trend, but I have not yet decided what the site is going to focus on in the upcoming year. No matter what, you can expect the usual history, sociology, etc.

If you’re a regular reader, I thank you for continuing support despite the lack of personal ‘articles’ and updates on social media (which has recently turned into a spawn of retweets and reposts). My new years’ resolution is to put a more personal touch on this site. To bring everything together as it used to be. If you’re a new reader, you can follow me on twitter @publishingminds (I promise there will be more original content…whether that is a good or a bad thing, I’m not yet sure) and on instagram @historypolitics.

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