Category: Reviews

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 →

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 →