One of the wearying inevitabilities of 2018 was that even the most cursory glance at the news was likely to bring you a fresh tale of sexual assault — in politics, the entertainment industry and, closer to home for me, academia. Much of the resulting commentary was almost as jarring as the news articles themselves…. Read more →
A woman arrives in a small American town at Christmas time. Possibly her car has broken down, or she’s there on business, or to take a job she (initially) does not want, or she’s deliberately seeking the traditional festive comforts of a small town during the holidays. (It might be that she grew up there,… Read more →
In the October 1949 issue of the romance comic Hollywood Confessions, the protagonist of the story “Too Ugly to Love” describes himself as so ugly that he resembles a “menace from a horror picture.”1 Jon Koslo has “accepted … [his] ugliness philosophically!” when a film producer spots him and “exploits [his] ugliness” by giving him… Read more →
I unabashedly love romance novels. As a reader, I find that a well-crafted happy ending is a wonderful antidote to a world that seems at times utterly devoid of them. As a scholar of gender, I am fascinated by the ways in which sexuality, power, and desire are constructed, discussed, and challenged. Moreover, I heartily… Read more →
In our era of political “bromances” between leaders who value aggression and belittle sensitivity, it’s easy to forget that expectations as to how men should interact with other men are always changing. In the 1820s, President Andrew Jackson, whose legacy Donald Trump has embraced, fashioned himself as one of the most virile men of his… Read more →
Do genetics or environmental factors determine one’s gender identity? The question may seem a distinctly modern one. Indeed, premodern people — and especially medieval ones — are often considered naively incapable of even pondering such concepts. We assume it was a simpler time, long before the theoretical legwork of social constructionism and so much feminist… Read more →
By Sean Cosgrove
I like Valentine’s Day. Its initials give me pause for thought sometimes — perhaps they are so appropriate as to be off-putting (‘V.D.’ anyone?) — but overall it strikes me as a formalized excuse to show the people you care about that you love them. Last year, I even wrote up a little piece urging us to broaden our definitions of relationships to include the bromance in the Valentine’s festivities! So, when I say that I want your Valentine’s Day plans to be a success, I really do mean it.
By Sean Cosgrove
In recognition of this as my favourite American holiday, I couldn’t resist the urge to share with you a happy and historical Thanksgiving story I came across just the other day. It’s frothy and not particularly political, but I don’t think that makes it irrelevant or unnecessary. In fact, I sometimes think these simple stories have powerful messages of hope or love, or kindness or cheer, that transcend the historical and connect us to the past in a very real, and often emotional, way. A message not too far off what I took Thanksgiving to be about.