• Actually, All of Shakespeare's Plays are About Race

    by Daniel Pollack-Pelzner

    A new collection of essays argues that Shakespeare's works helped Renaissance Europeans to invent the category of "whiteness," and for later generations to refine and contest its meaning. 

  • Is Globalization Changing Mexico's Relationship to Death?

    by Humberto Beck

    Post-revolutionary Mexico embraced cultural commemorations of the dead—Diá de los Muertos—to help conceal the violence of the regime's rise. Now, that "traditional" culture is again being transformed by global cultural appropriation and the escalating violence of global drug trafficking.

  • America Fought Its Own Battle Over Books Before it Fought the Nazis

    by Brianna Labuskes

    The Armed Services Editions paperback books were wildly popular among World War II servicemembers. But they became symbols of American freedom to read in the war against fascism only after a bitter domestic battle about the works and topics that would be permitted. 

  • The Past Isn't Even Past, Especially in Florida

    by Diane Roberts

    "I plan to carry on teaching the way I always have, resisting the state’s decrees. The point of education is to produce not just pliant cogs but thinking citizens with knowledge of the rich and expansive ways to be human. That is genuine freedom."

  • Why is Italy's Far Right Embracing Dante?

    Italy's original Fascists embraced Dante as a marker of national chauvinism, and a prophet of authoritarianism; today's far right has renewed their enthusiasm for the poet. 

  • What Happens if We Read Jay Gatsby as "Passing"?

    by Alonzo Vereen

    A high school literature teacher found his students were better able to engage with the classic if they stopped assuming that it's title character was a white man. 

  • The Indigenous Sami Culture Shaped this Novelist's Fiction

    Ann-Helén Laestadius grew up among the Sámi, an Indigenous people living near the Arctic Circle, in Europe. Her fiction has brought the long-running conflict between the Sami and the Swedish government, and the racism and violence endured by the Sami, to the forefront of public debate. 

  • How the Russian Jews Became Soviet

    The novelist Gary Shteyngart, who emigrated from the USSR to the US as a child, reviews Sasha Senderovich's "How the Soviet Jew was Made," a work that gives short shrift to neither the "Soviet" nor "Jewish" sides of the question. 

  • Does Novelist Robert Keable Deserve a Reappraisal?

    by Simon Keable-Elliott

    Briefly celebrated in the 1920s, then consigned to posthumous obscurity, the missionary and novelist, whose experiences encompassed the collision of colonialism, war and racism in the British empire, is overdue for rediscovery. 

  • The Moral Corruption of Holocaust Fiction

    A popular book for young readers strips the Holocaust of its horror, and its victims of their Jewishness in favor of banal lessons about empathy and kindness. 

  • Against Queer Presentism—How Literary Studies Neglects the Archive

    by Colton Valentine

    LGBTQ writers in today's literary world too often operate on the presumption that they are the first to experience queerness openly, making their own experiences of repression seem universal and transhistorical, and effacing older fictional and critical voices. 

  • Do Documents Clear Chaucer's Name Over Accusations of Rape?

    Although the belief that Chaucer was accused of the crime spurred a significant wave of feminist critical studies of sex and power in his writing, scholars have recently argued that the documents used to support the charge have been misinterpreted. 

  • Salman Rushdie Changed Everything

    by Siva Vaidhyanathan

    The novelist's creative brilliance and critical acclaim signaled a moment for south Asian people around the world to see themselves outside the frame of colonialism and to grapple with the subcontinent's ethnic and religious fissures.