Tag: Book review

What Does It Mean to Have a “Real Choice” about Abortion?

What does it mean to have a “real choice” about abortion? I am writing this book review as the Supreme Court hears arguments over Mississippi’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks of gestation, and it could seem like the wrong time for arguing the subtleties of this question. Abortion may become flat-out illegal throughout the… Read more →

Matrix: Lauren Groff’s Visions of the Medieval

The title of Lauren Groff’s ambitious new novel, Matrix, is deliberately multivalent. In Latin, it points us toward the leader and mother of a women’s religious community. It also means a system of categorizing and understanding knowledge, a system within which things come into being. Among other things, the novel is a Bildungsroman for its… Read more →

Vanguard: The Fights that Connect Black Women Activists across More Than Two Centuries

My undergraduate and MA adviser, Dr. Angela Howard, argued that women across time and space often have remarkably similar experiences if you zero in on major events in their lives. These include first marriages, first babies, menopause, or widowhood. She encouraged me to compare women at these moments of their lives even if they occurred… Read more →

Acting Up and Fighting Back: Stories of ACT UP

Sarah Schulman’s Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987–1993 and Peter Staley’s memoir, Never Silent: ACT UP and My Life in Activism aren’t in conversation with one another so much as they are different versions of the same story. Both focus on the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT… Read more →

Liberal Christians in the Making of Sex Education

In the 1960s conservative Christian leaders like Billy James Hargis and his “Christian Crusade” defined the culture wars over sex education as a battle between secular liberals who wanted to teach comprehensive sex ed in the public schools, and religious conservatives who demanded silence on the subject.[1] That framing has stuck in the cultural imagination…. Read more →

You’ve Never Seen the Opioid Crisis Like This Before: A Review of Empire of Pain

It’s hard to keep up with the ever-growing body of literature on the opioid crisis, which has killed nearly as many Americans in the last two decades as the Civil War and is still getting worse. We are inundated with new books and articles to read, podcasts to listen to, and documentaries and miniseries to… Read more →

Addressing the Language Gap: A Review of Marvels of Medicine: Literature and Scientific Enquiry in Early Colonial Spanish America

The year of reckoning with the twin pandemics of racism and COVID-19 increasingly reminds us to attend to the relationships between health status and narrative experiences – how, for example, art and artists can express and contextualize our understanding of health experiences and inequities. Yet current research shows us the linguistic and cultural gaps still… Read more →

Ending the War on Science: A Review of Maya Goldenberg’s Vaccine Hesitancy

With three highly efficacious vaccines widely available for COVID-19 in the United States (which were developed in record time, breaking the record set by a mumps vaccine in the 1960s), we are beginning to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the effort to reach herd immunity and reduce the COVID-19… Read more →

Women’s Experiences Matter. Natalie Kimball’s An Open Secret: The History of Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion in Modern Bolivia

Women’s experiences matter – this simple truth is at the core of Natalie Kimball’s brilliant new exploration into the tragic history of unwanted pregnancy and abortion in highland Bolivia over the past sixty years. As Kimball so eloquently argues in her book An Open Secret: The History of Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion in Modern Bolivia,… Read more →

Reclaiming Disability Space in an Ableist Society: A Review of Alice Wong’s Disability Visibility

Former president Donald Trump publicly mocked and disparaged disabled people, weakened the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and cut the payroll tax to make Social Security Disability Income run out by 2022. Writing for The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg interpreted that “Trump is deeply anxious about dying or… Read more →