Sarah Swedberg

Ordinary Death in a Pandemic

On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, shortly after noon, my mother, Carol Lenoir Price Swedberg, died in home hospice at the age of 90. I had arrived to be by her side three days earlier despite the fact that COVID-19 had already started to disrupt travel and other aspects of our daily lives. Mom died an… Read more →

Assassination as Cure: Disease Metaphors and Foreign Policy

On January 3, 2020, I was at my mother’s house where CNN is her constant companion. A drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump had killed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani and nine others. I was horrified and wanted to hear the news, but I was only half-listening because I hate CNN’s so-called analysis and… Read more →

The Complicated World of Female Loyalism: A Review of Kacy Dowd Tillman’s Stripped and Script: Loyalist Women Writers of the American Revolution

Any scholar who teaches or writes about the era of the American Revolution understands that the category of loyalism is slippery. For those in favor of the war against the British, the word “loyalist” was a weapon used alongside battles, destruction of property, tarring and feathering, and other tactics to draw the line between friend… Read more →

AIDS and AIDS Activism in the 1980s United States: A Syllabus

An explanation: For years, I have wanted to teach Sarah Schulman’s People in Trouble in my Introduction to LGBTQ Studies course. This is a general education course (we call it “essential learning”) that Colorado Mesa University (CMU) students can choose in order to fulfill their Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement. Although I am trained as… Read more →

The Queer Truth: Sarah Schulman’s People in Trouble

For years, when I would tell stories of my time in 1980s San Francisco to friends or students, some of my listeners would say, “It sounds kind of like Rent.” “No,” I would say, “It’s more like Sarah Schulman’s novel People in Trouble, but San Francisco rather than New York.”1 The friends and students to… Read more →

What Does Gender Have to Do with the Desert?

Overheard in Grand Junction, Colorado on February 4, 2019 after Amy Irvine’s reading from her book, Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness. Amy Irvine’s Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness is a monologue written as if Irvine spoke directly to the deceased writer Edward Abbey at his gravesite. For those who… Read more →

Manly Firmness: It’s Not Just for the 18th Century (Unfortunately)

The references to “manly firmness” are everywhere in late-18th-century political sources. For example, Edward Dilly wrote to John Adams from London in 1775 to praise the men in the Continental Congress, “for the Wisdom of their Proceedings — their Unanimity, and Manly firmness.” In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson listed the crimes of the… Read more →

I Am a Professor in a Movie

Inspired by the “I am a ____ in a movie” phenomenon on Twitter where people in different professions tweeted the unrealistic portrayals of their professions on the big screen. I am a professor in a movie. I enter a college classroom on the first day. The classroom is filled with first-generation college students with few… Read more →

Change over Time: A Colorado Love Story

In 1992, 53% of Colorado voters answered yes to this question on the ballot: “Shall there be an amendment to Article II of the Colorado Constitution to prohibit the state of Colorado and any of its political subdivisions from adopting or enforcing any law or policy which provides that homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, conduct,… Read more →

Who is Dead?

The February 5, 2018 New Yorker carried a story of Jahi McMath and her family. In 2013, McMath went into Oakland’s Children’s Hospital for a routine surgery for tonsil removal. After the surgery, she experienced extreme blood loss and her heart stopped beating. Two days later, a doctor declared her brain dead. Her family battled… Read more →