Tracking a Writer: Paul Ringel

This week, I was reading through the Atlantic, looking for a writer who could capture the widespread hopeless feeling that has captured the country for the past few weeks. From the natural disasters in the Caribbean to the largest shooting in American history in Las Vegas, the articles I read all seemed to reflect the nation’s feeling: completely at a loss. The reason Paul Ringel’s article (“The Insidious Logic of ‘Stick to Sports’“) stood out to me because Ringel applied a logic sequence to a seemingly illogical and frustrating topic: conservative responses to Colin Kaepernick’s (and other professional athletes’) protests. Upon further research, this made sense because Ringel is a professor of history at High Point University in North Carolina. His writing style was so familiar to me because I am a history major and could see the similarities and conventions that most historical work followed, even in an article for the Atlantic. Some examples of these conventions include Ringel’s frequent reliance on primary sources and using that sample of historical instances to construct a representation of a period, and his logical sequencing of dates.

Looking into Ringel’s publication history was mostly limited to scholarly articles published through collegiate presses and publications, though he is also published in larger online periodicals, like the Atlantic, but also the Smithsonian. Ringel writes mostly about American cultural history with an intersection in civil rights, specifically sport history and children’s literature. In 2015, however, he published his first book, “Commercializing Childhood: Children’s Magazines, Urban Gentility, and the ideal of the American Child, 1823-1918.” It is difficult to find any earlier work of his, but, according to his LinkedIn profile, he only started publishing after he finished his doctorate in 2005, and only for public history-oriented projects (one can assume this was copywriting-esque work). All in all, it seems Ringel found a niche topic to focus in on, was published through respected academic publications, and worked his way up to larger online periodicals (the Atlantic article was published in 2016, TIME article in 2015).


P.S. Unrelated side comment, Ringel only has a 2.8/5 rating on Apparently, he is a very tough grader.

Meghan Brody

Meghan Brody. B.A. History & Writing. LSA Senior. Aspiring librarian.

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