Russell Cobb

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then.


Russell Cobb

Stories about the Heartland and beyond. I write about identity, who we are, who we want to be and the gaps between.

Scholar, writer, basketball fanatic.

Dumb Okie, PhD


Trump rally in Tulsa, a day after Juneteenth, awakens memories of 1921 racist massacre

For only the second time in a century, the world’s attention is focused on Tulsa, Okla. You would be forgiven for thinking Tulsa is a sleepy town “where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain,” in the words of the musical Oklahoma!. But Tulsa was the site of one of the worst episodes of racial violence in American history, and a long, arduous process of reconciliation over the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 was jarred by President Donald Trump’s decision to hold his first campaign rally there since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The Great Oklahoma Swindle

This book is about how one state in the union—Oklahoma—was founded and maintained on false information and broken promises from its very beginning. Rather than seeing fake news as a contemporary media problem, in other words, I see it as the touchstone for our political culture. A swindle was at the heart of Oklahoma’s state-building project. From the massive legalized theft of Native land in the early twentieth century, to a decades-long conspiracy of silence about one of the country’s worst acts of racial violence, to a former governor who believes a statewide day of Christian prayer is a solution for social problems and a former attorney general who continues to deny the reality of climate change, the state of Oklahoma was built and is still maintained on a bedrock of lies.
Bison Books Link to Story

How Barbecue Evolved

When you fire up the grill this summer, you may think you’re enjoying the most quintessential of North American culinary traditions. But as with many cultural artifacts we assume are in some way “authentic,” the origins of barbecue are far more complex, says Russell Cobb, the University of Alberta’s expert on the subject of all things smoked and grilled.

Oil's corrosive impact on democracy is the true socialist gateway drug

This article was originally published on The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. Disclosure information is available on the original site. Author: Russell Cobb, Associate Professor of Latin American Studies, University of Alberta.

"No Apology"

Tulsa Voice Link to Story

Russell Cobb: The story of Tuckabache, the first people to gather at Gathering Place and the land swindles that took their land

In the coming weeks, Tulsa gets its national close-up with the opening of Gathering Place, the product of the largest private donation to a public park in American history. It’s a cause for celebration, to be sure. As visitors descend on this 100-acre plot of land just south of downtown, they will be treated to European play structures, sensory gardens and fairy tale-like forests.
Tulsa World Link to Story

What do you do when there's no reliable Internet?

I’ve tucked into an alleyway in Old Havana looking for shelter from a downpour, content to wait out the storm under a crumbling balcony. No point checking my phone. Data is both extremely slow and very expensive in Cuba. As I wait, something catches my eye: a placard for a store selling phone cards.
New Trail-University of Alberta Link to Story

Oklahoma isn't working. Can anyone fix this failing American state?

The Guardian Link to Story

Cold War kids: This time it’s youth, not ideology, igniting unrest

Just when you thought the Cold War could be consigned to museums and thrillers like The Hunt for Red October, along came Donald Trump’s threats of “fire and fury” in North Korea and military intervention in socialist Venezuela. In a twist worthy of a John Le Carré novel, diplomats from the United States and Canada stationed on the island nation fell ill in the past year due to some sort of “sonic attack.”.

Trash to Treasure

A search of the river valley provided the long-lost items needed to create art that makes us think about what we throw away. On an unusually warm February night in the garage of a north Edmonton bungalow, Chad Baba advises Olivier L’Abbee on the finer points of grenade manufacturing. Truck bearings, some unidentifiable piece of metal serving as a safety lever: To my untrained eye, L’Abbee’s grenade looks like the real deal, straight from the Battle of the Bulge.

PagesMediaMusicPodcastWord Salad

Viking News, Ocean County College Link to Story

In Alberta, Oil, Cowboys … and Liberalism?

WHEN I moved from Houston to Edmonton, Alberta, in 2008, I was told to prepare for a soft landing, politically speaking. Alberta was supposed to be just like the Lone Star State: a place full of backslapping good ol’ boys in cowboy hats, riding high on the hog of oil money. The province’s politics were even more predictable than Texas’.
The New York Times Link to Story


Russell Cobb

Russell Cobb is a writer and academic, currently in residence as a Visiting Scholar at Cal-Berkeley. He is Associate Professor in Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta, where his work bridges the worlds of print and radio journalism with the digital humanities. His journalistic work has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, NPR, and The Nation. He is a contributing editor and frequent contributor to This Land Press. His scholarly work has examined the cultural Cold War in Latin America and contemporary cultural politics in the region.

His books include the eBook single Heart in Darkness (2013) and the edited collection The Paradox of Authenticity in a Globalized World (2014).