Bruce Jenner’s Journey

In the introduction of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, Jennifer Finney Boylan says, “If I’ve met over 5,000 transgender people, I’ve probably heard 5,000 different explanations of what it means to be trans, and what our defining experiences are.”[1] Bruce Jenner’s recent interview with Diane Sawyer embodies her statement that there is no one path to […]

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Untangling Roy Cohn

Tony Kushner’s Angels in America features Roy M. Cohn, a fictionalized version of a real right-wing lawyer who stood center stage in the American politics of the Cold War. Roy Cohn was, in life as in the play, a complex figure full of contradictions. A precocious and arrogant young man, he graduated from Columbia Law […]

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Native American Voices: Come and Listen

The Penn Museum’s current exhibit Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now is a powerful celebration of contemporary indigenous cultures as living, breathing entities. Native American history as commonly recounted in the United States is a tale of woe and loss, framing Native groups as near extinct and struggling to survive. Post-contact Native history is […]

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Nicki Minaj and the Crooked Room

In the first chapter of Melissa Harris-Perry’s Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, she introduces the concept of the “crooked room.” This term comes from research studies in cognitive psychology on field dependence, which examines how humans perceive themselves to be vertical in a given space. Subjects were placed in a crooked […]

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The Legacy of Strange Fruit

Like many of my classmates, I vividly remember the first time I heard “Strange Fruit.” I was in seventh grade, and it was at a school assembly in which students reenacted pivotal moments from the Civil Rights Movement (my school at the time was primarily black and went all the way up to twelfth grade). […]

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