JSTOR Daily published a more than 600 stories in 2022, with topics ranging from book publishing to black holes, reproduction rights to racism. Here are a few of our editors’ favorite stories. As always, each of these stories includes free, open links to relevant scholarship on JSTOR. Happy New Year!
Every Good Bird Does Fine
July 20, 2022
Is birdsong music, speech, or something else altogether? The question has raged for millennia, drawing in everyone from St. Augustine to Virginia Woolf.
John B. Cade’s Project to Document the Stories of the Formerly Enslaved
January 26, 2022
A recently digitized slave narrative collection consists of original manuscripts compiled by John Brother Cade and his students at Southern University.
What’s It Like to Be an Editor of a Prison Newspaper?
November 10, 2022
The incarcerated editor of The Nash News in North Carolina shares about the power of higher ed and his work at the prison newspaper.
The Algerian War: Cause Célèbre of Anticolonialism
June 29, 2022
On July 5, 1962, Algeria declared its independence after 132 years of French occupation. The transition was chaotic and violent, but inspired revolutionaries worldwide.
Kolkata and Partition: Between Remembering and Forgetting
August 10, 2022
In West Bengal’s capital city, suppressing the painful history of the 1947 Partition allows for the celebration of moments of endurance and success.
The Lives Beyond the Life Sentences
September 7, 2022
Their lives didn't stop when the judge sentenced them to life in prison. Then what? A 1994 issue of The Angolite profiled the longest-serving Americans.
The Meaning of Time in The Hour Glass
October 13, 2022
Writings from a women's prison in the 1930s grapple with philosophical questions on time and life. “The mere lapse of years is not life.”
Adventures in Poetry
April 20, 2022
Published in the East Village from 1968 to 1975, Adventures in Poetry features poems by New York School poets Anne Waldman, Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, Allen Ginsberg, Bernadette Mayer, and more.
In Defense of Polonius
June 15, 2022
Shakespeare’s tedious old fool was also a dad just doing his best.
The Fatal Current: Electrocution as Progress?
November 19, 2022
The electric chair was promoted as civilized and at the same time imbued with the technological sublime, the mystery of electrical power harnessed by humans.
Orange Crate Art
June 3, 2022
California citrus growers drew on mass-printing techniques and advances in color lithography to create distinctive brands for their boxes.
Far From Folsom Prison: More to Music Inside
November 29, 2022
Johnny Cash wasn't the only superstar to play in prisons. Music, initially allowed as worship, came to be seen as a rockin' tool of rehabilitation.
Betting on the Longshot
May 7, 2022
Researchers consistently observe that longshot horses are overvalued by bettors at the racetrack. Why are they willing to risk it all?
The “Trapeze Disrobing Act”
August 24, 2022
Strongwoman Charmion used Thomas Edison’s experiments with moving pictures to encourage women to embrace strength and physical activity.
Plant of the Month: White Sage
July 27, 2022
An important part of Indigenous spirituality and identity, the aromatic evergreen shrub is being threatened by poachers and over-commercialization.
Walking Streetlamps for Hire in Seventeenth-Century London
October 27, 2022
Much in the same way we hail cabs in cities today, a medieval Londoner could hail a torch-bearer (a link-boy) to light their way home from a night on the town.
Happy Birthday, Well-Tempered Clavier
November 2, 2022
Bach’s most influential pedagogical work turns 300 this year. But what’s so “well-tempered” about this clavier, and what’s a “clavier,” anyway?
Harvey Milk’s Gay Freedom Day Speech: Annotated
June 13, 2022
Five months before his assassination in 1978, Harvey Milk called on the president of the United States to defend the rights of gay and lesbian Americans.
Edmund Dulac’s Fairy Tales Go to War
December 16, 2022
One of the best-known illustrators of the “golden age of children’s gift books,” Dulac was also a subtle purveyor of Allied propaganda during the Great War.
Democide: An Inside Job?
July 19, 2022
The biggest enemy of democracy? It may be democracy itself.
Who Was the Little Girl in Las Meninas?
August 28, 2022
A Spanish princess who became a German queen, Margarita Teresa lived a life structured by Catholicism and cut short by consanguinity.
1930s Filipinos Were Hip to American Style. There Was Backlash.
April 23, 2022
Filipinos, newly arrived to West Coast cities, displayed a mastery over American cultural life thanks to their knowledge of Hollywood films.
The NYC –> RUS Yiddish Socialist Pipeline
March 31, 2022
At the turn of the twentieth century, Yiddish became the language of political organizing for Russian Jews, thanks to the flow of literature from New York.
Musical Myth-Busting: Teaching Music History with JSTOR Daily
August 22, 2022
Harnessing the power of quirk to engage students and inspire research in an online learning environment.
The USSR’s “Invisible Cuisine”
October 21, 2022
Unofficial cookbooks—handwritten recipes passed from kitchen to kitchen—provided their owners with social and cultural capital within the Soviet system.
Out of the Card Catalog Closet
October 14, 2022
Librarians gathered in 1970 to challenge Library of Congress classifications and catalog subject headings that aligned homosexuality with deviance.
The Unbearable Middle Passage
June 8, 2022
In the eighteenth century, doctors recognized melancholy as a disease endemic to groups forcibly displaced from their homes, particularly enslaved Africans.