The Writer as Witness

Why We Need Literature to Document Atrocities—at Home and Abroad

For a long time, I cringed whenever I heard someone talk about a novel or a poem bearing witness. The word “witness” bothered me. It felt hollow and privileged. It felt like something an entitled American writer would say, a writer who could author a book and walk away. I was not that person, or at least I didn’t want to be.

And I was not the only one who had reservations. The poet Natalie Diaz observed in an interview that “bearing witness” is a curious phrase. “Most people don’t …

The Global Women’s Movements That Helped Kamala Harris Rise | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Global Women’s Movements That Helped Kamala Harris Rise

The Vice President-Elect Rides a New Wave of Feminism—Led by Women of Color From Africa and Asia to South America—to the White House

As Kamala Harris readies to take the oath of office this January, she does so knowing that she will be the first woman, the first Black woman, the first Asian …

How France’s Panthéon Started Living Up to the Nation’s Ideals

Resistance Heroine Simone Veil Was Laid to Rest This Summer Alongside Voltaire and Rousseau—the Fifth Woman So Honored

When architectural critics gaze at the Panthéon in the Latin Quarter of Paris, one thought often comes to mind: Rarely have so many blocks of stone been heaped so high …

The South Carolina Aristocrat Who Became a Feminist Abolitionist

After Moving to Philadelphia and Joining the Quakers, Angelina Grimké Rededicated Her Life to Fighting for Racial Equality

Angelina Grimké’s future seemed clear the day she entered the world. Born a Southern aristocrat in Charleston, South Carolina in 1805, she was destined to become an enslaver; born female, …

How Our Grandmothers Disappeared Into History

A Historian Turned Novelist Ponders the Absence of Women From America's Historical Archives

I recently Googled my grandmother’s name. I wanted to know the date she died, so I could better place a childhood memory. In the 21st century, embarrassingly, the internet has …

How Feminists Invented the Male Midlife Crisis

When Women's Lib Upended Traditional Gender Roles, Men Claimed Their Own Right to Self-Fulfillment Outside the Home

The term “midlife crisis” conjures up the image of an affluent, middle-aged man speeding off in a red sports car with a woman half his age. He leaves behind his …