What We’re Reading: April 16, 2015

This week’s What We’re Reading contains Italian toilets, a medieval Yoda, tote bags, and much, much more.

Cuba to Be Removed from US List of Nations That Sponsor Terrorism
Cuba has been on the list since March 1, 1982, 33 years total. Recent diplomatic inroads have led to more normal relations, which includes Cuba’s removal from the list pending a 45-day review period.

Californians Believe Racial Harmony Is Real
A recent USC/Los Angeles Times poll reveals the statewide optimism regarding race relations in the state compared to the whole nation.

A History of Hat Throwing
With the first batch of candidates making their announcements, The Economist reveals how they stack up against former election cycles of announcements.

Preserving the Ghastly Inventory of Auschwitz
The aim of the foundation maintaining the site of the concentration camp is “to preserve authenticity.” It is a moral stance with specific curatorial challenges.

Scott Beale / Laughing Squid. http://laughingsquid.com/

Scott Beale / Laughing Squid. http://laughingsquid.com/

Centuries of Italian History Are Unearthed in Quest to Fix Toilet
As he tried to find a sewage pipe, Luciano Faggiano dug his way past a Messapian tomb, a Roman granary, a Franciscan chapel, and even etchings from the Knights Templar.

Is “Pretending” to Be Muslim an Appropriate History Assignment?
A history teacher gave her students a writing assignment: watch documentaries and imagine what it would be like to be a Muslim in the US today. The exercise angered conservatives in Wisconsin, especially radio show host Vicki McKenna.

Was Yoda a Medieval Monk? It Takes a Museum Curator to Tell You
On how the insular position of curator became more of a public position, and why medieval art is so interesting.

How NPR Tote Bags Became a Thing
The history of the tote bag, as told by the Atlantic.

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