Sarah Swedberg

The Agency of the Irresponsible

  Like many faculty at state universities, the beginning of this school year brings me more terror than excitement. Colorado Mesa University (CMU), the institution at which I have taught since 1999, will require neither masks nor vaccines for students, and faculty cannot enforce mask mandates in the classrooms. This flies in the face of… Read more →

Echo Chambers

Anthony Antonio has been charged with five crimes related to his participation in the January 6, 2021 insurrection, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. His attorney, Joseph Hurley, does not deny Antonio engaged in illegal and violent actions on that day but claims that his client suffers from “Foxitis.” As Hurley tells… Read more →

Liberty and Insanity Sitting in a Tree

In 2011, I participated in a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar entitled “The Problem of Governance in the Early Republic.” Our group was housed at the Library Company of Philadelphia, and for three weeks the participants, led by Purdue University professors John L. Larson and Michael A. Morrison, talked and argued about a… Read more →

Why I Say “Black Lives Matter”

Two paragraphs in my forthcoming book, Liberty and Insanity in the Age of the American Revolution, continue to haunt me. The paragraphs reference the 1770 protests in New Bern, North Carolina. Like their seventeenth-century English ancestors, these protestors believed that the people had a duty to “regulate” the government, and particularly to step in when… Read more →

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 →