North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Takes Effect (1994)

Signed by Canada, Mexico, and the US, NAFTA created the world’s largest free-trade area. The agreement immediately lifted tariffs on the majority of goods produced by the signatory nations, and it called for the gradual elimination of most of the remaining barriers to cross-border investment and to the movement of goods and services among the three countries. Critics claim that NAFTA has led to job loss in the US due to the prevalence of maquiladoras, which are what? Discuss
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Feast of Fools

A mock-religious festival popular during the Middle Ages in Europe, particularly France, the Feast of Fools had much in common with the Roman Saturnalia. Various classes of the clergy took turns reversing the normal procedures in the church—the group to whom the day belonged would nominate a bishop and archbishop of fools, ordaining them in a mock ceremony and then presenting them to the people. They would dance and sing obscene songs, play dice or eat at the altar, burn old shoes in the censers, and engage in other activities that would normally be unthinkable. Discuss
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Alfred Stieglitz (1864)

Stieglitz was the first art photographer in the US. More than any other American, he compelled the recognition of photography as a fine art. After editing a series of photography magazines, he established the famous gallery “291” in New York City. The gallery soon broadened its scope from fine-art photography and introduced to the US works by members of the modern French art movement, including Cézanne and Picasso. It also exhibited the works of what American artist whom Stieglitz later married? Discuss
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Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin

Considered the father of modern conjuring, Houdin was a French magician after whom Harry Houdini named himself. Originally a clockmaker, he was celebrated for his optical illusions and mechanical devices. He was the first to use electromagnetism for his effects, and attributed his magic to natural instead of supernatural means. In 1856, he was sent to Algeria by the French government to counter the influence of the dervishes by outdoing their feats. What are some of his famous illusions? Discuss
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