History

Royal Navy sailors were appalled by conditions on slave ships, but those they ‘rescued’ rarely experienced true freedom

This piece was originally published on The Conversation.  Britain was once among the most enthusiastic of slave-trading nations. But just over 200 years ago, the country dramatically changed course and used its naval dominance against the transatlantic trade in enslaved African people, one of the worst historical crimes against humanity. After the Abolition Act of 1807 … Continue reading

Journals

Star Wars: the evolution of the Death Star reflects Hollywood’s growing fears of a climate apocalypse

This piece was originally published on The Conversation.  Design for the ultimate Death Star – Star Wars: Rogue One. Lucasfilms/20th Century Fox Science fiction films are rarely about the future. Their distant planets and remote time periods instead seem to reflect upon the concerns and anxieties of the contemporary moment. For instance, 1978’s Invasion of the Bodysnatchers played … Continue reading

Modern Languages

Le mariage burlesque: Carnival cross-dressing in the French Caribbean

This piece was originally published on The Conversation. Anyone in the French Caribbean islands of Martinique or Guadeloupe during the carnival festivities will witness a unique and wonderfully subversive tradition: le mariage burlesque. As a legacy of the refusal to assimilate into a French model of marriage and family, le mariage burlesque parodies the idealised fiction of a heterosexual … Continue reading

History

Inside the Kingdom of Hayti, ‘the Wakanda of the Western Hemisphere’

This post was originally published on The Conversation US. Marvel’s blockbuster “Black Panther,” which recently became the first superhero drama to be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award, takes place in the secret African Kingdom of Wakanda. The Black Panther, also known as T’Challa, rules over this imaginary empire – a refuge from the colonialists … Continue reading

Irish Studies

Artistic works inspired by the Great Famine struggle to do it justice, but they keep the memory alive

This piece was originally published on The Conversation. How do you represent in film an experience as keen and painful as hunger? Director Lance Daly’s recently released film Black ‘47 – a revenge epic set during the 1840s Irish famine – is the latest attempt to depict the devastating catastrophe which left more than a million dead … Continue reading