fiction

Seeing Beyond Amazing: Is Sesame Street really changing the way we understand autism?

by Sam Killian December 14, 2015

This is a guest post by Anne McGuire, author of the University of Michigan Press forthcoming title, War on Autism. Seeing Beyond Amazing: Is Sesame Street really changing the way we understand autism? The Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, made international headlines and lit up social media last month with the introduction of its newest Muppet character, Julia. With wispy orange hair and bright green eyes, Julia is, according to Sesame: “a preschool girl with autism who does things a little differently when playing with her friends.” Julia is more than a just another person in the neighbourhood, […]

Read more

Emily Wilding Davison and the British Women’s Suffragette Movement

by Kasie Pleiness November 19, 2015

Suffragette, starring Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep, is a British historical drama inspired by true events from the early British feminist movement. The film focuses on Maud Watts, a fictional 24-year-old laundress who testifies in front of Parliament for the right to vote. She is thrown in jail, where she meets Emily Wilding Davison, a real life heroine of the early feminist movement and friend of activist Emmeline Pankhurst. Davison was at the center of one of the most memorable images of the British women’s suffrage movement — one that provides a key moment in the new film. On June […]

Read more

Publishing, Poetry, and the Future: Reflecting on the 2015 Bear River Writers’ Conference

by Allison Peters July 27, 2015

The weekend May sprung into June, I attended the 2015 Bear River Writers’ Conference at Camp Michigania up on Walloon Lake (where Ernest Hemingway used to spend his summers as a kid), 250 miles north of Ann Arbor, a little south of Petoskey. Sponsored by the University of Michigan Department of English, Bear River is rich with writing workshops, readings, panels (often related to publishing), and craft talks. Directed by University of Michigan faculty member and poet Keith Taylor, the annual conference—now in its fifteenth year—is regularly attended by some of the University’s most prestigious creative writing faculty as well […]

Read more

The World of Childhood

by Phillip Witteveen February 11, 2015

“For centuries, in Western civilization,” says Ellen Handler Spitz, “children were not really understood to have an inner life at all. Nobody paid attention really… childhood was seen as a preparatory stage of life for adulthood. Children were dressed as little adults—and what they produced when they were little was of no interest.” Spitz, the author of Illuminating Childhood, was recently featured on CBC Radio One to discuss this: the scientifically under-specified “inner life” of children: the locus of Spitz’ own research in aesthetics and psychology. Dr. Spitz’ work—and the whole radio hour—are really the same response to the puzzling nature of childhood. Psychologically, childhood is […]

Read more

Tzachi Zamir on His Philosophy of Acting

by Phillip Witteveen February 4, 2015

Tzachi Zamir is a professor of philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After a Ph.D. of pondering the nature of things, his accidental experiences with amateur acting led him to ponder the nature of performance. Zamir is the author of the first systematic philosophy of theater, Acts. This is not the first time he has tackled less-traditional philosophy, actually, having written about subjects from Shakespeare to vegetarianism to animal rights. Nowadays, though, in the interstices between professional philosophizing, he’s been taking classes, and working in rehearsal for a production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” The Israeli newspaper […]

Read more