Category: Features

Mujeres Libres: Women, Anarchy, and the Fragility of Democracy in Spain

Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez decided to call a snap election in April 2019 following the withdrawal of support by the Catalan separatists who were propping up his government. The short-term implications of another general election in Spain were great, as the lack of a stable government in recent years has impacted Spain’s social… Read more →

Women in the French Resistance

In France, women have long played a vital role in the military. Like most modern militaries, in multiple conflicts the French army had “camp followers,” mostly women, but also men and children, who took care of the cooking, laundering, and other tasks needed to maintain a large standing army. During the French Revolution, some women… Read more →

Sex Trafficking in Twentieth-Century Europe

Thanks to Liam Neeson and edgy action-thrillers like Taken, Americans have a pretty specific idea of what the sex-trafficking industry looks like: naïve young American girls, traveling on their own for the first time, who trust the wrong guy and get kidnapped. In Taken, the girl’s father happens to be ex-CIA with a “very particular… Read more →

Thomsonianism Meets Juice Cleanses

I will be the first to admit that I love juices. They’re colorful, full of tasty fruits and vegetables, and highly “Instagrammable.” I’ve been known to occasionally treat myself to a $10 cold-pressed drink, but there’s more to juice than just an expensive beverage. They’ve become part of an alternative medicine culture surrounding the idea… Read more →

Understanding Shaming’s Place in History: The Story of Germany’s Victims

It can be difficult for those who have never experienced sexual violence to understand and address the pain of survivors. From the women who’ve chosen to come forward and report instances of abuse in the entertainment industry as part of the #MeToo Movement, to less publicized cases in which women make the brave choice to… Read more →

“A Most Damnable Fraud?” Public (Mis)conceptions and the Insanity Defense

James Kahler murdered his two daughters, ex-wife, and grandmother in Kansas on Thanksgiving in 2009. Kahler’s defense team wanted to use an insanity plea, but Kansas is one of only four states that does not allow for this defense. Quickly, the focus of his trial shifted from the question of his mental health to a… Read more →

Evidence Written in Blood: Forensic Science and the True Crime Consumer

According to reports, in December 2001 Michael Peterson found his wife, Kathleen Peterson, dead at the bottom of a set of stairs in their Durham home. While locals like me remember the hullabaloo that followed, true crime fans became familiar with the case through a multipart French documentary, The Staircase, which Netflix renewed for five… Read more →

The Postmortem Life of Anton Probst: Philadelphia’s First Mass Murderer

On the morning of June 7, 1866, Henry Leffmann, a first-year medical student at Jefferson Medical College, arrived at Philadelphia’s Myomensing Prison to set up a large quantity of galvanic batteries. Leffmann’s mentor, Dr. Benjamin Howard Rand, requested these “voltaic cells” to conduct “a most unusual experiment” upon the corpse of executed mass murderer, Anton… Read more →

Justice and Agency: Why Women Love True Crime

When I was young, I was obsessed with Unsolved Mysteries. While not typically a “go-to” show for an eight-year-old, my love of the program was unsurprising to my parents. I voraciously read every single Nancy Drew novel, regularly solved Encyclopedia Brown mysteries, and loved watching Father Dowling Mysteries and PBS’s Mystery! with my grandmother. But… Read more →

Militaristic Homophobia: Attitudes toward Homosexuality in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia

“Sin doesn’t lie in the act itself, but in its relation to other things.”1 Mikhail Kuzmin wrote these words in his novel Wings, which depicts a homosexual relationship between a middle-aged man and an adolescent boy. Kuzmin’s quote highlights that homosexuality was not harmful because of the sexual act itself, but in how it was… Read more →