Marijuana Panic Won’t Die, but Reefer Madness Will Live Forever
Originally produced as an exploitation film that drew on racial stereotypes, the ironic revival of Reefer Madness made it a cult classic for stoners.
The Defense of Ethiopia from Fascism
For black activists in the 1930s, defending Ethiopia from Mussolini’s invasion created unprecedented unity.
When Monks Went Undercover to Steal Relics
Because relics were understood to be capable of working miracles, any relic that was stolen must have wanted to be.
Hollywood Cast Laurette Luez as a One-Size-Fits-All “Exotic”
Like many actresses of her day, Laurette Luez was expected to be a beautiful siren in skimpy clothing who could be from almost anywhere—just not here.
The Masculinization of Little Lord Fauntleroy
The 1936 movie Little Lord Fauntleroy broke box office records, only to be toned down and masculinized amid cultural fears of the “sissified” male.
Pompeii Mania in the Era of Romanticism
Nothing appealed more perfectly to the Romantic sensibility than the mix of horror and awe evoked by a volcano erupting.
With the Coronavirus, Science Confronts Geopolitics
The containment of COVID-19 raises pressing questions related to the freedom of scientific information, civil liberties, and human rights, one scholar explains.
How Film Noir Tried to Scare Women out of Working
In the period immediately following World War II, the femme fatale embodied a host of male anxieties about gender roles.
When Language Goes Viral
How do innocuous words become insidious in the face of a public health emergency?
How Renaissance Artisans Turned Live Animals into Silver
Lifecasting was the renaissance art of making sculptures using molds taken from real-life plants and animals.