On March 2, 2021, the 117th birthday of Theodor Geisel, the children’s book author and illustrator behind the Dr. Seuss pseudonym, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that it would “cease publication and licensing” of six titles in its collection because the listed books “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” A new battle in the political culture wars ensued, with cries of “cancel culture” exploding in the conservative media.
But who is Dr. Seuss? And why did this action provoke such controversy?
Continue reading “The Dr. Seuss Controversy and the Serious Business of Curating Knowledge of the World for Children”
In spite of all, in spite of all—the time will come when man will reach out his hand to his brother, all over the world.
Magnus Hirschfield (1868–1935) was a world-renowned pioneer in sexology. Years of his modern scientific knowledge production on sexology were monumentalized with the establishment of the Institute of Sexual Science in Berlin in 1919. On May 10, 1933, the institute became an early target of violent Nazi attacks with its library ransacked and its books burned publicly. During these turbulent times in Germany, Hirschfeld was on a lecture tour in the Unites States, where he was lauded as a celebrity and his knowledge was embraced enthusiastically by many in the American academy, press, and public. Unable to return home because of the Nazi seizure of power, he decided to embark on a world tour to acquire and share the “treasures of serological knowledge.” In transit, he acquired new ideas.
Continue reading “Knowledge in Transit: Global Encounters and Transformation in Magnus Hirschfeld’s Travelogue”
Ricky Law, “Knowledge is Power: The Interwar German and Japanese Mass Media in the Making of the Axis,” Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 54 (Spring 2014): 27–46.
Ricky Law, who won the Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize in 2013, investigates the role of the interwar German and Japanese mass media in preparing the ground for the Axis by studying the portrayal of Japan in German newspapers, motion pictures, and nonfiction as well as the depiction of Germany in Japanese dailies, lectures and pamphlets, nonfiction, and language textbooks. Law goes beyond cultural history, however, to consider how knowledge was acquired, translated, and disseminated, including the roles played by pundits and voluntary associations.