Category: Reviews

The Spoils of War: A Review of Sex and the Civil War

Many years ago when I was first starting my dissertation research on Civil War disability, I had an opportunity to sit in on a question and answer session with historian Marcus Rediker, who was talking about his book, not yet released at the time, The Amistad Rebellion. Part of the conversation revolved around the experience… Read more →

A Day at the Smithsonian: Black History Takes Its Place on the National Mall

Like many historians, I was thrilled that the newest Smithsonian museum would be focusing on African American History and Culture. The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) opened in late September, and I reserved tickets two months early to visit with family and friends — this was lucky forethought, since free tickets… Read more →

Revisiting Loving v. Virginia (1967): A Review of Loving (2016)

In June 1958, Mildred Jeter and Richard Perry Loving married in the District of Columbia. The couple then returned to their home in Caroline County, Virginia. In the parlance of the time, Mildred was “colored.” Richard was white. Six weeks later, the local sheriff and his deputies burst into the Lovings’ bedroom in the middle… Read more →

“I Know This Guy”: Humanity in Hamilton’s America

As those of you with more exciting social calendars than mine may not know, this past Friday PBS aired a documentary about the making of the Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical. The documentary, entitled Hamilton’s America, provides Hamilfans and relative newcomers alike with backstage passes to the drama we may never get to see…. Read more →

Can Mental Illness Be Funny?

This essay discusses the plot and characters of the most recent seasons of the TV shows You’re the Worst, Lady Dynamite, and BoJack Horseman. Spoilers ahead! In the era of “Peak TV,” there are many shows that are breaking the mold of what viewers may expect to see on the small screen.1 While in the… Read more →

The Salt in the Bottom of the Pretzel Bag: Reflections on Speechless

Last spring, my daughter wrote this poem in her 5th grade poetry class. This may sound like a poem written by a child when a newborn sibling arrives home. But it’s not. My daughter’s feelings of being ignored and pushed aside result from all the time, attention, medical care, behavioral therapy, ridiculously over-qualified babysitters, and… Read more →

Speechless and the TV Representation of Disability

The world of disability activism has been buzzing about the new ABC sitcom Speechless. So, what’s the big deal? While there are certainly shows that have characters with disabilities, there are currently none in which the premise of the show depends on disability as essential to the dynamic in a family sitcom. For the disability… Read more →

“Made in America”: O.J. Simpson, Race, and the Triumph of Toxic Masculinity

Black and white America could not have been further apart than on the morning of October 3, 1995 when a jury acquitted O.J. Simpson in the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. While most white Americans responded to the jury’s “not guilty” verdict with horror, many African-Americans rejoiced. Filmmaker Ezra Edelman seeks to… Read more →

“Ain’t No Bitches Gonna Hunt No Ghosts”

2016 is Terrible, So Go Watch Ghostbusters, Laugh, and Let Feminism Save Us All Dear Ghostbuster boys. Sit down and close your mouths. Stop talking. Stop leaving your stupid Rotten Tomatoes reviews, and your comment threads, and doing your misogynist, racist, sexist tweeting and mansplaining. Just. Stop. First, you drove Leslie Jones off Twitter with… Read more →

“Me Before You”: Hollywood’s Disability Problem & the Perils of Assisted Suicide

The recent movie Me Before You, based on the best-selling book by Jojo Moyes, has been marketed as the tearjerker romance flick of the summer. The film stars Emilia Clarke (of Game of Thrones fame) and Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games). But the movie has drawn fierce protests from disability rights activists, who say that the… Read more →