‘The Normal Heart’ and the Morality of Being Gay

By Goh Wei Hao

Written during a different time, when the world was consumed by another virus, the themes of The Normal Heart remain extraordinarily relevant in today’s world.

The play is set in New York City, and takes place over a span four years in the 1980s — during the early days of the HIV epidemic when the virus did not yet have a name. It is centred around the writer Ned Weeks and the gay health advocacy group that he helped to establish along with closeted banker Bruce Niles, the free love advocate Mickey Marcus, and the self-described “Southern bitch,” Tommy Boatwright. Also part of this ragtag group is Dr Emma Brookner who pushes the group to campaign harder for their voices and her advice to be heard by the community.

After watching the 2021-revival of Larry Kramer’s largely autobiographical play, a question lingers in my mind: What does it mean to be a moral gay man?

Continue reading ‘The Normal Heart’ and the Morality of Being Gay

The 2021 British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding, Recommended by Patrick Wright

By Sophie Roell and Patrick Wright

Sophie: Through careful research and compelling argument, the books shortlisted for the British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding cast light on globally significant problems, says Patrick Wright, chair of the 2021 jury and Emeritus Professor of Literature, History and Politics at King’s College London. Here he talks us through the books that made the 2021 shortlist as well as last year’s winner, works of nonfiction that “speak directly to the urgent challenges of the times in which we live”.

Continue reading The 2021 British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding, Recommended by Patrick Wright

Black History Month 2021: Shakespeare, Race and Performance

Black History Month 2021

As part of the series Black History Month, Professor Farah Karim-Cooper will be speaking on Shakespeare, Race and Performance at the Museum of London.

TUESDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2021, 6:00PM – 7:00PM (also live-streaming).

How do Shakespeare’s familiar plays Othello and Romeo and Juliet reflect the early modern preoccupation with race and emerging concepts of colour-based racism? How do these ideas play out in early modern as well as in contemporary performance?

Continue reading Black History Month 2021: Shakespeare, Race and Performance

17 days of June: on COVID-19, prescriptions and proscriptions, and the contingencies of care

By Pavan Mano

Common sense is an interesting thing. Particularly in those not infrequent moments when it becomes clear that it isn’t, in fact, all that commonly distributed and, quite often, doesn’t actually make very much sense. These moments offer an opportunity – even if quite often missed – to unwind, untangle, and unmake some of these articulations of common sense – hopefully in favour of something better. This is one such moment. After all, “pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew” (Roy 2020). We’ve been forced, collectively, to confront the question of care and the various conditions under which it’s extended to different degrees, to particular categories of people, in particular circumstances, and so on – the contingencies of care, in other words. In the face of the conspicuous insufficiencies that have been brutally exposed over the course of the past year and a half, it would be awfully remiss of us to eschew reimagining how our world and societies are arranged and organized.

Continue reading 17 days of June: on COVID-19, prescriptions and proscriptions, and the contingencies of care

An Office of One’s Own: Introducing Dr Emma Butcher

By Emma Butcher

I’m writing this sat in my lovely new office. I’m not used to having a space all to myself, so it feels apt that my first ‘office of one’s own’ is situated in the Virginia Woolf Building. It’s quite a lovely moment at this point in the year, even if slightly chaotic, with the new term around the corner and the campus once again starting to bustle after a year and half’s painful lull caused by the pandemic.

Continue reading An Office of One’s Own: Introducing Dr Emma Butcher