Mixtapes contained tiny archives. In the heyday of the portable cassette—which overlapped with King Vinyl before the great extinction-by-compact-disc of the 1980s—they allowed DJs and freestyle rappers to circulate their work to a micropublic. Unlike Grateful Dead concert bootlegs (which also united a public), mixtapes put individual virtuosity at the center of their aesthetic. As cassettes saturated suburban bedrooms and tape decks became fixtures in cars, young music fans created mixtapes for their own pleasure and to exchange with peers. Today, hip-hop artists still drop mixtapes (making new tracks or remixes available for download), and cassettes are fixtures in many prisons.
The April issue of Perspectives on History arrives near the end of the academic year, when many historians are neck-deep in metrics—grades, course evaluations, funding allocations, and more. So it’s appropriate that several stories in this month’s Perspectives address modes of measurement and their implications.
By Allison Miller
An open file cabinet graces the cover of this month’s Perspectives on History. As an illustration for our cover story—a brief for the power of academic administration to further knowledge production—it’s apt enough.
Are historians shaking off a Frankfurt School hangover? Anecdotally, it seems that having a taste for mass culture is more acceptable today than it was in the past, at least for the critical set.
One of the pleasures of editing Perspectives on History is the opportunity to work with authors committed to history in so many of its facets—including but not limited to academic research, public history, and teaching
I’m pleased to announce that the November issue of Perspectives on History is online, and it’s packed with stories that challenged, provoked, inspired, and fascinated us as we prepared the magazine for production.
Sometimes, when an issue of Perspectives is coming together, the editors will notice a theme linking several articles together, entirely unintentionally.
The September issue of Perspectives on History has arrived in the mailboxes of AHA members and is also available on our website.