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Our Writers' Favorite Stories of 2021 - JSTOR Daily

By: The Editors 4-5 minutes 12/27/2021

Peter the Great cutting a Boyar's beard

Peter the Great’s Beard Tax

July 22, 2021

Why did the Russian tsar seek to ban beards?

Dizzy Gillespie

What Is Jazz Poetry?

May 7, 2021

The form flourished in the 1950s, as poets and musicians inspired each other to new heights.

Ancient Roman slave-collar

Slave Collars in Ancient Rome

June 24, 2021

The objects purported to speak for the wearer: "Hold me! I have run away."

A punk with a mohawk in a cottagecore painting

The Punk Rock Linguistics of Cottagecore

February 24, 2021

So you want to borrow a concept from another culture but don’t know what to call it? Try a morpheme!

Charles Chesnutt

The Ghosts of Slavery in Charles Chesnutt’s Fiction

October 31, 2021

What begins as a magical escape from the horrors of plantation life soon turns into a spine-chilling testament to slavery’s dehumanizing effects.

Actor John Boles with extras from his latest musical, 'Redheads On Parade', 1935

The Rise of Hollywood’s “Extra Girls”

September 8, 2021

They didn't have to do anything besides stand around and look pretty. At least, that was the myth the studios wanted the public to believe.

Vintage engraving of an old fisherman drinking a cup of tea, 1900

What’s the Difference between a Shanty and a Sea Song?

January 16, 2021

“Soon May the Wellerman Come” is the heart of ShantyTok—but it’s not a sea shanty at all. Two authoritative essays roil the waters.

I.W.W. Picnic, July 1919, Seattle, Washington.

How the IWW Grew after the Centralia Tragedy

January 13, 2021

A violent confrontation between the IWW and the American Legion put organized labor on trial, but a hostile federal government didn’t stop the IWW from growing.

Photograph: Robert Williams

Source: Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images

Armed Self-Defense in the Civil Rights Movement

February 9, 2021

When idealistic nonviolent activists encountered violence in the South as they registered Black voters, local leaders lent them protection.

Derrick Bell by David Shankbone (2007)

What Is Critical Race Theory?

September 2, 2021

Critical race theory has become a focus of conservative legislation, often with little understanding of its meaning and history.

An advertisement for Burdock Blood Bitters

The Bitter Truth About Bitters

July 9, 2021

A bottle of bitters from about 1918 had significant amounts of alcohol and lead—and not a trace of the supposed active ingredient.

Roots and leaves

Why the Belowground Ecosystem Matters

October 22, 2021

Trees get all the credit. But for biodiversity, look down, too.

Sans Dessus Dessous by Jules Verne

How Early Sci-Fi Authors Imagined Climate Change

March 18, 2021

A century before the modern “cli-fi” genre, many authors envisioned unsettling worlds shaped by man-made climate chaos.

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