Sarah Handley-Cousins

Taking Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy Seriously: Little Women on PBS

Spoilers ahead for plot points of Little Women — but you’ve had 150 years to read the book! Growing up, my mother kept a 19th-century copy of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women on a table in my parents’ bedroom. It was pleasantly heavy, and its rounded cover had embossed vines and flowers on the cover…. Read more →

Falling Out of Love with the Civil War

On Thursday morning, as the President of the United States tweeted his tacit support of the Confederacy, three different friends sent me messages. Each was struggling with the same thing: how do we convince our friends and families that statues of former Confederates need to come down? One friend had spent the previous evening in… Read more →

The Spoils of War: A Review of Sex and the Civil War

Many years ago when I was first starting my dissertation research on Civil War disability, I had an opportunity to sit in on a question and answer session with historian Marcus Rediker, who was talking about his book, not yet released at the time, The Amistad Rebellion. Part of the conversation revolved around the experience… Read more →

Sunday Morning Protest – A Note from the Editors

Since 1903, a poem has lain before the feet of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor that declares to the world that the United States will be a safe haven for the world’s neediest people: “Give me your tired, your poor/ your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” As historians we know that… Read more →

Lady Presidential Candidates: Belva Lockwood (1830-1917)

Oh, Hillary. What a bitch. A liar. A cheat. A man-hater. A one-percenter. The Donald most definitely does NOT rate her a “ten” on his own, patented “Women Donald Trump Thinks Are Hot Scale.” A measure so significant that he even uses it to rate his own daughter! Is this sad? Yes. Is this bad?… Read more →

“She Did It to Herself”: Women’s Health on Television and Film

[Spoiler alert for PBS’s Mercy Street] Like just about every other Civil War historian out there, I’ve been following PBS’s new period drama, Mercy Street, pretty closely. The show, which aired its season finale on Sunday night, was innovative compared to other shows and movies on the war: it included plotlines about the health of… Read more →

Ghosts are Scary, Disabled People are Not: The Troubling Rise of the Haunted Asylum

This past spring, the defunct Willard Psychiatric Center (previously known as the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane) in Ovid, New York, opened its doors for tours — one day only, with no advance sale tickets. I immediately made plans to make the two-hour drive — after all, for the past few years, I’ve been working… Read more →

What’s on Your Feminist Playlist?

Music played a pretty important role in my life as a kid, but I always listened to what my parents listened to — an interesting blend of 70s singer-songwriters, blue-collar rockers, and sugary 60s pop. When I was around 12, in an attempt to fit in better with my sixth grade peers, I decided to… Read more →

Heritage is Not History: Historians, Charleston, and the Confederate Flag

It’s hard to be a historian these days without constantly hearing about the supposed irrelevance of your work. After all, it must seem to many observers like we exist in our own academic echo chambers, engaging in ivory tower intellectualism that has little bearing on “real life.” And then, as a nation, we have a week… Read more →

You’re Wearing That?

In February of this year, Urban Outfitters began selling a tapestry covered with faded gray stripes and adorned with pink triangles. It didn’t take long for customers to notice that the tapestry looked “eerily reminiscent” of the uniforms and badges that the Nazis required gay men wear during the Holocaust. This is not the first… Read more →