Vintage engraving from 1876 of a old victorian haunted house.

How Victorian Mansions Became the Default Haunted House

Quick: Picture a haunted house. It's probably a Victorian mansion, right? Here's how these structures became signifiers of horror, haunting, and death.
mummy brown painting

When Artists Painted with Real Mummies

The popular paint pigment called “mummy brown” used to be made from—yep—ground-up Egyptian mummies.
krazy kat comic

Krazy Kat’s Complex Relationship with Race

Behind the slapstick antics in this beloved comic strip simmered ambivalence about color and race.
hawaii stars lava mana

The Mysterious Mana of Speaking

The Austronesian concept of "mana" helps us understand that behind the monolithic "magic" of modern power and authority, there is a fragile human dimension.
francis willughby crows

The First True Ornithologist

Though he was once dismissed as a dilettante, naturalist Francis Willughby was in fact part of the vanguard of observation-based modern science.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Percy Bysshe Shelley

Mary Shelley’s Obsession with the Cemetery

The author of Frankenstein always saw love and death as connected. She visited the cemetery to commune with her dead mother. And with her lover.
Judy Garland A Star is Born

Did A Star is Born Make Judy Garland a Gay Icon?

One scholar argues that Judy Garland's role in A Star is Born was so pivotal because it involved both gender impersonation and “racial drag."
pioneer plaque

Art in Space

Artists may soon be heading to the moon for the first time, but art and space travel have been linked together since the beginning.
Truman Capote

How Truman Capote Advanced the New Journalism

In Cold Blood changed the face of journalism. And yet years after its publication, we are still asking: how much of it was factually true?
Many pills and tablets with bottle isolated on black background.

What Complicates Addiction Treatment

Treating addiction can have a toll on doctors, who may find themselves confused and challenged by the addicts' behavior.