This Anthem Was Made For You and Me?

When Jennifer Lopez sang Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” at Joe Biden's presidential inauguration in January of this year, it marked the latest use of Woody Guthrie's much-contested song. The history of "This Land Is Your Land," from the many versions of the song to the even more varied responses to it, raise important questions about what a national anthem is—and what it might do in the discordant politics and culture of the United States.

Of Plagues and Papers: COVID-19, the Media, and the Construction of American Disease History

In their attempts to make sense of the novel coronavirus, media outlets frequently invoke the past, comparing COVID-19 to the Black Death, the "Great Influenza" of 1918-19, and other historical disease outbreaks. The act of connecting "then" and "now" has produced two countervailing historical narratives: one that emphasizes medical progress over time, and another that highlights America's failure to learn the lessons of past pandemics.

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