Category: Reviews

Taking Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy Seriously: Little Women on PBS

Spoilers ahead for plot points of Little Women — but you’ve had 150 years to read the book! Growing up, my mother kept a 19th-century copy of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women on a table in my parents’ bedroom. It was pleasantly heavy, and its rounded cover had embossed vines and flowers on the cover…. Read more →

Gilded Age Decadence and Decay: A Review of The Alienist

I’ve been pretty excited about the coming of TNT’s adaptation of Caleb Carr’s The Alienist since the announcement last summer. I read the book – and hated it – last year with my book club. That discussion was a fun one, because we love to hate a book. Our biggest qualm was that the author… Read more →

Fighting Back Over Leaning In: HBO’s Big Little Lies as a Lesson in Feminist Solidarity

As powerful men continue to fall in the wake of the viral #metoo movement, and as it has evolved into #TheirTimeIsUp, women are asking how to move forward in order to create a different world. I keep coming back to the critical possibilities of HBO’s Emmy and Golden Globe winning miniseries Big Little Lies. Single,… Read more →

Judy Blume with a Potty Mouth: A Review of Netflix’s Big Mouth

A sex education video plays to a class of middle school students. “As puberty begins, hormones are released and the sexual organs begin to change. The uterus is the center of female reproductive activity….” Two boys, quietly, in the back of the room: “The uterus? I thought girls had vaginas?” “I thought that too, but… Read more →

A Quiet Inquisition

When Delma Rosa Gómez was 27 years old, she was diagnosed with advanced stages of metastatic cancer. When she told her physician she was pregnant, they replied that they couldn’t start chemotherapy. “They said any treatment could provoke an abortion. And they couldn’t give me an abortion because it was penalized by law. They said… Read more →

Woke Kids on Campus: Netflix’s Dear White People

Justin Simien’s television adaptation of his movie, Dear White People, appeared on Netflix in April to considerable fanfare and controversy. The satirical series about racial struggles at the fictional Ivy League school, Winchester University, earned a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes. The trailer also attracted its share of white Americans on social media miffed about… Read more →

War Art 100 Years Later: The “World War I and American Art” Exhibit and the Centenary of the Great War

On March 12, I attended the exhibit “World War I and American Art” at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. This museum and art school, one of the oldest art academies in the United States that first opened in 1805, hosted the exhibit as part of a nationwide effort to remember American entry… Read more →

A Post-Racial Gilead? Race and Reproduction in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale

In the Texas state legislature last month, several women dressed as handmaids sat in silent judgment over the lawmakers who were attempting (yet again) to outlaw an abortion procedure. Since last November’s election, sales of dystopian literature, including Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, have skyrocketed. A number of writers, perhaps most notably Rebecca Traister, have… Read more →

A Parable for Our Time: Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale

“I know this may not seem ordinary to you right now, but over time it will be. This will become ordinary.” These days, words of caution like this sound like they could come from any number of progressive political pundits commenting on the rise of right-wing nationalism and all that it entails. In Hulu’s new… Read more →

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 →