History
Books

'Bigger Than History: Why Archaeology Matters'

On everything from climate change to gender identity, archaeologists offer vital insight into contemporary issues.


Recent
Books

Isabel Wilkerson's 'Caste' Reveals the Other Kind of American Exceptionalism

By comparing the American race-based class system to that of India and Nazi Germany, Isabel Wilkerson makes us see a familiar evil in a different light with her latest work, Caste.

Film

Seeds of Colonial Capitalism in Kelly Reichardt's 'First Cow'

In her excellent film, First Cow, Kelly Reichardt explores the effects of colonial land theft and capitalism through the medium of food.

Music

Going Beyond the Neutron Dance with Ruth Pointer of the Pointer Sisters

Ruth Pointer reflects on her multi-faceted career with the Pointer Sisters, honors the memory of her sister Bonnie, and shares the joy found in her music -- and fashion.

Books

'Perramus: The City and Oblivion' Depicts Argentina's Violent Anti-Communist Purge

Juan Sasturain and Alberto Breccia's graphic novel Peraramus: The City and Oblivion, is an absurd and existential odyssey of a political dissident who can't remember his name.

Film

Nazis, Nostalgia, and Critique in Taika Waititi's 'Jojo Rabbit'

Arriving amidst the exhaustion of the past (21st century cultural stagnation), Waititi locates a new potential object for the nostalgic gaze with Jojo Rabbit: unpleasant and traumatic events themselves.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Coronavirus and the Culture Wars

Infodemics, conspiracies -- fault lines beneath the Fractured States of America tremble in this time of global pandemic, amplify splinters, fractures, and fissures past and present.

Books

90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.

Reading Pandemics

AIDS Play 'The Normal Heart' Is a Guide During COVID-19 and Political Indifference

When national leadership isn't addressing a pandemic as it should, Larry Kramer, as playwright and activist, pens the only viable response: "Everyone's entitled to good medical care. If you're not getting it, you've got to fight for it."

Books

'No Modernism Without Lesbians'

Philosopher and historian Diana Souhami's No Modernism Without Lesbians is a work of impeccable scholarship and a vibrant narrative about the essential and lasting philanthropy and patronage of the Arts by four remarkable lesbians.

Books

'Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier'

The comics format of Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks' Astronauts is ideally suited for telling the story of how women fought and overcame sexism in the US Space Program, given the US government and military's ridiculous resistance to female astronauts.

By the Book

The Art of Advertising (excerpt)

The Art of Advertising invites us to consider both the intended and unintended messages of the advertisements of the past.

Julie Anne Lambert
Reading Pandemics

Cookbooks and Contagion: Recipes for Caring from Fannie Farmer

Cookbooks are rarely read as political or even narrative texts. However, alongside the recipes and lists of ingredients is often rich information about the ideologies and social structures that the foods are consumed within.

Books

Lerone Bennett, Jr. Wrote Black History into Modern America at Ebony Magazine

E. James West's new book explores Lerone Bennett, Jr.'s impact as a popular Black historian. It's a gateway to a body of work that still speaks to Black rage, struggle and hope, yesterday and today.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

What Will Come? COVID-19 and the Politics of Economic Depression

The financial crash of 2008-2010 reemphasized that traumatic economic shifts drive political change, so what might we imagine — or fear — will emerge from the COVID-19 depression?

Film

Old British Films, Boring? Pshaw!

The passage of time tends to make old films more interesting, such as these seven films of the late '40s and '50s from British directors John Boulting, Carol Reed, David Lean, Anthony Kimmins, Charles Frend, Guy Hamilton, and Leslie Norman.

Books

How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.

Reading Pandemics

What's Love Got To Do with It? Shakespeare's 'Venus & Adonis'

The worn trope—Time Devours All Things (tempus edax rerum)—is true for human beings, says Shakespeare: if you're a mortal, death lurks at the heart of the very thing you most want. During a plague, or a pandemic, it's wanting that endangers us.

Books

Crapification Syndrome: When Hilarity Slides into Nausea

No one living in America today can escape the blast radius of the questions raised in Wendy A. Woloson's Crap.

Books

Home Computers: 100 Icons that Defined a Digital Generation (excerpt)

Whether you remember waiting for dial-up access, tiny screens, and green lines of text or not, you'll get a kick out of Alex Wiltshire's travel back in time to when computers came with wires. Enjoy this excerpt of Home Computers, courtesy of MIT press, with nostalgia photography by John Short.

Alex Wiltshire
Film

Pudovkin Makes the Revolution Human: The Bolshevik Trilogy

Inspired by D.W. Griffith's Intolerance, Vsevolod Pudovkin would leave his chemistry studies for cinema. His films Mother, The End of St. Petersburg, and Storm over Asia are presented in The Bolshevik Trilogy.

Music

Punk and Metal: Frenemies for Life

Worlds collided when punk and metal realized they were opposite sides of the same coin.

Books

'Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar' (excerpt)

Ravi Shankar was bemused by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds and other bands using the sitar in rock music. Enjoy this excerpt from biography Indian Sun, by Oliver Craske (who worked with Shankar on his 1997 autobiography), courtesy of Hachette Books.

Oliver Craske
Books

The American Robot: A Cultural History [By the Book]

In The American Robot, Dustin A. Abnet explores how robots have not only conceptually connected but literally embodied some of the most critical questions in modern culture, as seen in this excerpt from chapter 5 "Building the Slaves of Tomorrow", courtesy of University of Chicago Press.

Dustin A. Abnet
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