Category: Culture

A Perspective on Patienthood

“The patient.” I hate that term. I hate to write about “the patient,” I hate to talk about “the patient.” But before I proceed, let me take a moment to locate myself: I am a medical social worker, a therapist, and a chronic illness patient with SLE (lupus). A significant part of my job is… Read more →

Why Are So Many Fellowships Residential?

It’s fellowship application season for academics. A time when we all beat the bushes of the internet, trying to find as many opportunities as possible to get time away from teaching to research or write. We pursue these opportunities diligently every year. We do so because we know our chances of actually receiving a fellowship… Read more →

¡Viva the Queer Zapata! The Sexual Politics of Defining Mexican Identity and Icons in Fabián Cháirez’s “La Revolución”

Fabián Cháirez’s painting “La Revolución,” part of the current exhibition, “Emiliano. Zapata después de Zapata” in Mexico City’s Bellas Artes Museum, has provoked controversy in Mexico. It portrays Emiliano Zapata (1879–1919), the archetypal, hyper-macho Mexican revolutionary, as a voluptuous, pouty-lipped pin-up girl wearing a pink sombrero, pistol-shaped stilettos, and a ribbon of green, white, and… Read more →

“Keepers of the Light”: A Musical History of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus

Music forms a critical part of every documented human culture, providing a functional and emotional form of communication. Studies show that individuals who make or listen to music experience heightened levels of oxytocin and endorphins, resulting in decreased pain perception and relief from symptoms of depression. Within groups, creating music can sync heartbeats, leading to… Read more →

Historical Fanfiction as Affective History Making

I became a historian because of a television show. That is something I don’t often admit, but it’s true. I was home for Thanksgiving in 2009, nearly finished with my first semester as a journalism major, and I was miserable. To cope, I spent two days curled up on my parents’ couch watching the Band… Read more →

The Opioid Epidemic as Metaphor

I watched a lot of drug movies in high school. Maybe it was the clothes, the pulsing soundtracks, or how much I loved a voiceover. It also could have been the incredibly pretty people in these movies. Maybe it was because the Drug Movie as a format involves a type of fantastical world-building absent from… Read more →

A Brief History of “Bouncing Back”

So the world has witnessed yet another round of the Royal Baby bonanza — from tracking Meghan Markle’s maternity style, to conjecturing on her due date, to now discussing the baby’s name. But the most familiar set piece of this performance is, of course, the post-birth photo shoot. British tabloids loudly complained about the privacy… Read more →

How to Do It: Sex Education and the “Sex Life”

In 1696, in Somerset county in southwest England, a schoolboy named John Cannon and his friends took their lunchtime break on the banks of a river near their schoolhouse. Unlike other uneventful riverside lunches, though, this day was memorable enough for Cannon to record in his memoirs. An older boy who was “about 17” years… Read more →

Mange, Morphine, and Deadly Disease: Medicine and Public Health in Red Dead Redemption 2

Spoiler warning: This essay discusses major plot points about the ending of Red Dead Redemption 2. It’s dead midnight, there’s moonlight on the corn, and Thomas Downes owes me money. He protests he doesn’t have anything to spare, but I insist he does, and so we end up wrestling against the wood fence. Then, bruised… Read more →

Hallmark Christmas Movies: Guilty Pleasure or Feminist Rallying Cry?

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 →