Ƶ - Topics in Focus Archive




Each month, Ƶ offers free access to scholarly and reference content exploring a relevant topic. Explore past topics below and be sure to check back each month to discover more resources from our ever-expanding library.

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A Tour of Queer Theory and LGBTQ Studies

Academic study of marginalized communities legitimizes unique experiences and perspectives that have previously gone unrecognized. To celebrate Pride month, Ƶ brings together excerpts from groundbreaking studies in Queer Theory and LGBQ Studies, offering insights into what this complex subject area is and how it is studied.

Scroll down to take a tour of this evolving scholarly landscape and learn about queer history, the role of homosexuality in literature, queerness in work and home life, and more.

Image Credit: Getty Images/Madiha Ali

Researching Queerness

In a time when big data drives important social and political decisions, the collection of demographic social information has never mattered more. Writer and researcher Kevin Guyan’s book Queer Data: Using Gender, Sex and Sexuality Data for Action is the first to look at queer data and explain why it’s important to understand, and how it can influence actions towards equality.

Read the book’s introduction, which kicks off the discussion of what queer data includes and how LGBTQ researchers, practitioners and activists can use that information to protect and improve the lives of the global queer community.

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What Is Queer History?

Queer history dates back centuries, with LGBTQ individuals woven into the fabric of human culture. The Myth of the Modern Homosexual: Queer History and the Search for Cultural Unity, from the Bloomsbury Academic Collections Gender Studies series, legitimizes queer history by reviewing its fundamental historiographical issues and demonstrating how it takes precedence over political ideology.

In this sample chapter, literary and cultural history scholar Rictor Norton asks and answers the fundamental question “What is queer history?”, drawing from sources including (but not limited to) queer researchers as he offers readers a source-based overview.

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The Fundamentals of LGBTQ Identity

Part of ABC-CLIO’s Contemporary Debates series, LGBTQ Life in America: Examining the Facts provides readers with a clear and unbiased understanding of what it means to be LGBTQ in the United States in the 2020s. Along the way, it debunks common myths and misconceptions about the LGBTQ community while providing accurate information about LGBTQ people, their successes and shared history, and the current challenges they face.

This introductory chapter offers a thorough overview for researchers seeking foundational knowledge on the subject of LGBTQ identity, including the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity, LGBTQ identities across cultures, and the existence of LGBTQ individuals throughout human history.

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Transgender Discrimination

The transgender community is more visible now than ever before, but still faces significant discrimination in homes, at schools, and at work. In their delicate and evidence-based text Gender Ambiguity in the Workplace: Transgender and Gender-Diverse Discrimination, Alison Ash Fogarty and Lily Zheng analyze the relationship between gender identity and performance in the workplace while considering the emotional and economic survival of those who identify as transgender.

This sample chapter offers a thorough overview of the changing terminology associated with gender diversity, providing students with the tools they need for deeper research.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Corbis Historical

Homosexuality and Literature

Although many contemporary artists are able to be openly gay and address homosexuality explicitly in their work, the literary landscape has historically been much more restrictive. However, in Homosexuality in Literature 1890–1930, from the Bloomsbury Academic Collections Gender Studies series, Jeffrey Meyers demonstrates that the harsh social climate of the late 1800s – early 1900s actually produced outstanding literary explorations of homosexuality.

In the book’s introduction, Meyers sets the stage for his analysis, which includes an exploration of the lives and works of notable authors of the era including Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, T.E. Lawrence, and more.

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Exploring Queer Spaces

Vital to the study of queer theory is a clear understanding “gay space” or “queer space”: the infrastructure that provides community for LGBTQ populations. Such spaces include bars, cafes, nightclubs, pubs, and community centers. In his book Queer Premises: LGBTQ+ Venues in London Since the 1980s, architectural history scholar Ben Campkin examines the queer spaces of London from 1980 to the present, considering how, where, and why such spaces have been established, and the challenges they now face.

Read the book’s introduction, in which Campkin offers readers access to queer spaces and discusses the role such locations have played in LGBTQ social movements.

Film Studies: Cinematic Storytellers

From the earliest silent movies to modern action blockbusters, our lives and cultural history have been shaped by our favorite films. This month, Ƶ celebrates cinematic storytellers who have given us movies that have informed how we view ourselves, our society, and our larger world.

Get your popcorn, choose your seat, and scroll down to learn about the achievements of directors from Alfred Hitchcock to Pedro Almodóvar with selections from Ƶ’ Film & Media Studies library.

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey

When Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey premiered in 1968, audiences didn’t know what they were in for. More than just a story about rockets, UFOs, and alien beings, 2001 invited us to contemplate the very nature of our existence on the planet, as well as what might be waiting for us elsewhere.

In this provided essay from The Hollywood Renaissance: Revisiting American Cinema’s Most Celebrated Era, writer and professor of Cinema Studies Julie Turnock examines the impact of 2001: A Space Odyssey by analyzing the special effects and unique editing style that solidified Kubrick as a bona fide master of his craft.

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Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest

Fans of Alfred Hitchcock likely have difficulty choosing a favorite film, especially since the auteur’s body of work successfully explored a range of genres, including mystery, horror, drama, and even comedy. But in the realm of nail-biting spy films, North by Northwest (1959) stands out as an all-time classic.

Read this chapter from author and film historian James Chapman’s book Hitchcock and the Spy Film and learn about the film’s premiere place within the context of suspenseful espionage drama, from the gripping sequence in which Cary Grant is chased through a corn field by a machine-gun wielding plane, to the climactic, nail- biting climb down the face of Mount Rushmore.

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Steven Spielberg’s “Suburbia” Trilogy

Few directors have enjoyed the career longevity or global acclaim of Steven Spielberg. From the early successes of Jaws (1975) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) to later pop culture touchstones like Jurassic Park (1993) and Minority Report (2002), many critics argue that Spielberg has had a permanent impact on the landscape of modern cinema.

Read about Spielberg’s films from the late 1970s and early 1980s exploring what happens when otherworldly forces invade everyday suburbia in the films Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Poltergeist (1982) with this sample chapter from author and editor James Kendrick’s book Darkness in the Bliss-Out: A Reconsideration of the Films of Steven Spielberg.

Photo Credit: Sunset Boulevard/Corbis Historical

Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker

In 2009, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director for her searing war drama The Hurt Locker, about an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team navigating the trauma of the Iraq War. With this landmark achievement, Bigelow helped open doors for other female directors across cinematic genres.

In this essay from Film Firsts: The 25 Movies that Created Contemporary American Cinema, author Ethan Alter gives readers insight into how Bigelow’s film made a unique impact on war movies, and examines how the director helped break the glass ceiling for female filmmakers.

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Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now

By the time Francis Ford Coppola accepted his Best Director Oscar for The Godfather Part II (1974), he was already planning his next film, which would permanently change how the world viewed the Vietnam War. Apocalypse Now (1979), Coppola’s re-envisioning of Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness, may have been met with mixed reviews upon its initial release, but has since been recognized by critics as one of the greatest films of all time.

Read this chapter about Coppola’s journey making the film, from The Coppolas: A Family Business, which chronicles the legacy of the Coppola family and its lasting influence on the world of film.

Photo Credit: Sunset Boulevard/Corbis Historical

Pedro Almodóvar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Pedro Almodóvar had already made a name for himself in his native country of Spain before his work began to receive acclaim overseas in the 1980s. But his talent as a director became apparent to the world with the release of his 1988 black comedy Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios), which was ultimately nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

In this sample chapter from his book analyzing the film, author and professor Peter William Evans examines what inspired Almodóvar to make Women on the Verge, and what led it to become the most commercially successful film to emerge from Spain, as well as a subsequent global phenomenon.

Photo Credit: Philippe Le Tellier/Hulton Archive

Environmental Writers: Activists, Ecologists, and Philosophers

Sometimes the best way to appreciate the natural wonders of our planet is to see it through the eyes of another. To commemorate Earth Month, Ƶ celebrates environmentalist writers whose words continue to inspire readers by honoring nature and advocating conservation. Scroll down for free-to-read essays about some of the activists, poets, and philosophers who have changed the way we view the natural world.

Literature as Cultural Ecology: Sustainable Texts

Capturing the natural world through writing can be a uniquely powerful way to inspire readers and encourage commitment to environmental causes. In his book Literature as Cultural Ecology: Sustainable Texts, author and professor Hubert Zapf discusses how literature can serve cultural ecology through creative language, imagination, and criticism. Read the book’s introduction to learn more about how works by authors such as Herman Melville, William Faulkner, Emily Dickinson, and Toni Morrison can be read as works of environmentalism.

Spiritual Ecology: A Quiet Revolution

John Muir was more than just an environmental philosopher and founder of the Sierra Club. He was a worldwide traveler, lifelong pacifist, committed naturalist, and crusading preservationist. In this chapter from Spiritual Ecology: A Quiet Revolution, author Leslie E. Sponsel sheds light on Muir’s enduring relationship with nature, and his devotion to the three components of spiritual ecology: intellectual, spiritual, and activist.

Dispersion: Thoreau and Vegetal Thought

Plants are silent and steadfast; so much so that we may not consider how they accompany us throughout our lives, or possibly even perceive our existence. The essay collection Dispersion: Thoreau and Vegetal Thought draws from the research and insights of Henry David Thoreau to consider our ongoing relationship with plant and tree life. In this provided selection, author Jane Bennett describes Thoreau as a man with unique sensitivity to natural influences, and how that awareness enhanced his relationship with Mother Earth.

Object Lessons – ocean

While conservationist and writer Rachel Carson may be best known for her work Silent Spring (1962), about the environmental harm caused by pesticides, her previous work Under the Sea-Wind (1941) has endured as well, a book examining the strength of marine organisms. This provided chapter from ocean, one of Bloomsbury Academic’s texts from its Object Lessons series, brings new light to Carson’s first published work by considering it within its historical context and examining how the book explores the mystery of ocean life through a marriage of poetry and science.

The Living World: Nan Shepherd and Environmental Thought

Devotees of nature writing and Scottish modernist literature are likely familiar with Nan Shepherd and her memoir The Living Mountain, written in the 1940s but not published until 1977. Author Samantha Walton inspires new enthusiasm for Shepherd’s writing with her book The Living World: Nan Shepherd and Environmental Thought, the first work to examine Shepherd’s prose and fiction through an ecocritical lens. Read this selected chapter, which traces the history of Shepherd’s memoir recounting her life in the Cairngorm mountains and the book’s profound contribution to ecocriticism.

From Suffrage to #MeToo: Movements that Shaped Women’s History

Ƶ is celebrating Women’s History Month with a walk through some of the social and political movements that have helped pave the road to gender equality: from the pioneers of suffrage, to the architects of second-wave feminism, to the first heroes of the #MeToo movement.

Scroll down to take a tour of the movements and individuals committed to protecting women’s voices and freedoms.

This image shows the cover of Women’s Suffrage: The Complete Guide to The Nineteenth Amendment.

Suffrage and the 19th Amendment

The fight to receive voting rights was an arduous one, with a range of advocates lending their voices to the debate. One of those voices belonged to Helen Keller, who overcame deafness and blindness from birth to become a writer, reformer, and suffragist. Her essay “Why Men Need Suffrage,” first published in the New York Call on October 17, 1913, is an astute example of the suffragist perspective presented at a time when such a view was considered controversial.

This essay is part of Women’s Suffrage: The Complete Guide to The Nineteenth Amendment, a comprehensive collection of primary sources, references, and analyses for researchers exploring this vital movement.

This image shows the cover of Conceived in Modernism: The Aesthetics and Politics of Birth Control.

Birth Control and Physical Autonomy

Current debates about birth control can be surprisingly volatile, especially given the near-universal use of contraception among American and British women. In her book Conceived in Modernism: The Aesthetics and Politics of Birth Control, Aimee Armande Wilson examines these debates through a literary lens, considering the different ways modernist writers from Virginia Woolf to Octavia Butler view the importance of physical autonomy for women.

In this sample chapter, Wilson looks at Butler’s novel Dawn, which compels readers to see birth control as a necessary precondition of fundamental personhood.

Click here to explore Conceived in Modernism: The Aesthetics and Politics of Birth Control.

This image shows the cover of Feminist Moments: Reading Feminist Texts.

Second-Wave Feminism and The Feminine Mystique

While first-wave feminism addressed suffrage and fundamental issues of equality such as voting and property rights, second-wave feminism began in the early 1960s, focusing on issues of family, reproductive rights, and equality in the workplace. At the core of this movement was Betty Friedan and her seminal book The Feminine Mystique, which challenged existing beliefs that women could only find fulfillment as wives and mothers.

The sample essay from Feminist Moments: Reading Feminist Texts, a collection examining pivotal tests in the history of feminist thought, explores Friedan’s book and the influences that shaped its thesis.

Click here to explore Feminist Moments: Reading Feminist Texts.

This image shows the cover of Sex Segregation in Sports: Why Separate Is Not Equal.

Title IX and Equality in Sports

Many historians say that the world of sports remains the last frontier when it comes to gender equality. Authors Adrienne N. Milner and Jomills Henry Braddock II advocate for the increase of gender comingling in professional sports and school athletics in their book Sex Segregation in Sports: Why Separate Is Not Equal, examining the landscape of sports through both historical and sociological perspectives.

In this provided chapter, Milner and Braddock examine the history and impact of the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.

Click here to explore Sex Segregation in Sports: Why Separate Is Not Equal.

This image shows the cover of The #MeToo Movement.

The #MeToo Movement

While it is widely believed that the #MeToo Movement began in 2017 with the public realization of filmmaker Harvey Weinstein’s mistreatment of women, the movement actually got its start a decade earlier in 2006, when Tarana Burke, founder and director of the Just Be Inc. youth organization, heard a young girl share a traumatic abuse experience in an all-girl group bonding session. Since then, the now famous phrase “Me Too” has galvanized women and allies who have intensified the fight against sexual harassment and assault.

This sample chapter from Laurie Collier Hillstrom’s book The #MeToo Movement offers researchers an overview of the movement’s evolution within a historical context, including a look at the criticism and debates it has provoked.

Click here to explore The #MeToo Movement.

African Americans in Arts and Culture

The artistic and cultural contributions made by African Americans throughout U.S. history cover vast territory. To celebrate Black History month, Ƶ offers a selection of free-to-read chapters drawing from history, film, literary studies, music, and fashion, examining the impact of African American cultural changemakers including Alain Locke, Zora Neale Hurston, and Sam Cooke.

Scroll down to read excerpts from resources ideal for student researchers and scholars alike.

Bury My Heart in a Free Land: Black Women Intellectuals in Modern U.S. History

The history of intellectual thought in America includes contributors too often overlooked in the past, including women of color. Covering the history and contributions of black women intellectuals from the late 19th century to the present, Bury My Heart in a Free Land gives voice to the passion and insights of black women intellectuals on various arenas in American life—from the social sciences, history, and literature to politics, education, religion, and art.

In this sample chapter, Nicole Anae examines the legacy of Zora Neale Hurston, chronicling her literary contributions to intellectual thought, notably in the realm of anthropology.

Click here to explore Bury My Heart in a Free Land: Black Women Intellectuals in Modern U.S. History.

Harlem: The Crucible of Modern African American Culture

U.S. History’s Harlem Renaissance saw sweeping social, cultural, and political reforms, as black Americans fled the feudal South and used Harlem as a place to nurture intellectual and artistic pursuits. In Harlem: The Crucible of Modern African American Culture, author Lionel C. Bascom examines the established image of Harlem during the Renaissance period—roughly between 1917 and the 1960s—as “heaven” for migrating African Americans.

Read this provided chapter which profiles Alain Locke, the man some have called the architect of this important historical era, from the naming and promotion of the New Negro Movement to the popularization of America’s great Jazz Age.

Click here to explore Harlem: The Crucible of Modern African American Culture.

Black Designers in American Fashion

From Elizabeth Keckly’s designs as a freewoman for Abraham Lincoln’s wife to flamboyant clothing showcased by Patrick Kelly in Paris, Black designers have made major contributions to American fashion. However, many of their achievements have gone unrecognized. From enslaved 18th-century dressmakers to 20th-century “star” designers , the subjects of Black Designers in American Fashion show how Black designers helped build America’s global fashion reputation even while facing extreme adversity.

Through an examination of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century seamstresses and modistes such as Harriet Jacobs, Elizabeth Keckly, and Ann Lowe, this provided chapter illuminates the connections between needlework and political activism.

Click here to explore Black Designers in American Fashion.

Sam Cooke’s Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963

Known by many as the “King of Soul,” singer/songwriter Sam Cooke stands tall among African American musicians whose impact changed the landscape of music. Over time, Cooke’s live album Sam Cooke’s Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963, has come to be recognized as one of the most important live soul albums ever made. As part of Bloomsbury Academic’s 33 1/3 series, this book examines the musician and the album, placing it in the context of musical history as well as Cooke’s life as a writer and an agent of social change.

In this introductory chapter, author Colin Fleming reveals his own discovery of Cooke as a young listener, offering a timeline of songs and events leading up to the seminal live album.

Click here to explore Sam Cooke’s Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963.

Black Hollywood: From Butlers to Superheroes, the Changing Role of African American Men in the Movies

The history of African American men in film is complicated at best, with dehumanizing depictions of black male characters dominating twentieth-century cinema. In her book Black Hollywood: From Butlers to Superheroes, the Changing Role of African American Men in the Movies, author and historian Kimberly Fain examines the history of film decade by decade, both exploring problematic character portrayals and exploitation of black performers, and celebrating the success stories that emerged as social activism has reshaped the cinematic landscape.

In this chapter, Fain offers a tour the turbulent 1960s, analyzing the impact of performers like Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte whose roles reflected changes inspired by the Civil Rights Movement.

Click here to explore Black Hollywood: From Butlers to Superheroes, the Changing Role of African American Men in the Movies.

Mental Health & Wellness in 2024

Embracing the new year often means committing to a new set of healthy habits—at least for as long as we can. Sometimes the most beneficial and long-lasting changes we can make are the ones that address our mental and emotional health: whether we’re analyzing our relationship with food, conditioning ourselves towards healthier relationships, navigating social anxiety, or even learning from our dreams.

This month, Ƶ offers a selection of free-to-read chapters from its vast library of Health & Wellbeing titles, with a focus on insights from leaders in cognitive and social psychology. Scroll down to read excerpts from resources ideal for student researchers and scholars alike.

A Guide to the Psychology of Eating

Every year, many of us make New Year’s resolutions about food—both what we consume, and how much. But the best way to change our eating habits is to understand our relationship with food itself. A Guide to the Psychology of Eating, by Leighann Chaffee and Stephanie da Silva, illuminates contemporary eating topics, including the scope and consequences of overnutrition, societal focus on dieting and body image, controversies in food policy, and culture-inspired cuisine.

In this sample chapter, “This Is Your Brain on Food: The Biopsychology of Eating,” the authors take readers through a menu of insights about how biological hunger and satiation affect our thoughts and emotions.

Click here to explore A Guide to the Psychology of Eating.

Digital Detox: Why Taking a Break from Technology Can Improve Your Well-Being

Do your New Year’s resolutions include spending less time online? Most of us are aware that too much time in the digital space can be unhealthy, but to change our online behavior, it’s vital to understand the psychological effects of digital addiction to the internet, social media, online games, and other forms of technology. In her book Digital Detox: Why Taking a Break from Technology Can Improve Your Well-Being, author and professor Bernadette H. Schell offers student researchers a psychological context for examining online addiction, as well as its remedies.

This provided chapter uses case studies to categorize different types of internet addiction, examining causes, symptoms, and effects.

Click here to explore Digital Detox: Why Taking a Break from Technology Can Improve Your Well-Being.

Understanding Social Anxiety: A Recovery Guide for Sufferers, Family, and Friends

Navigating social anxiety can be an exhausting journey for young and old alike. Researchers exploring the condition can gain insight from Vera Sonja Maass’ Understanding Social Anxiety: A Recovery Guide for Sufferers, Family, and Friends. This powerful book provides comprehensive coverage of social anxiety disorder by covering its history, explaining the symptoms and root causes, and presenting information on how key changes to the thought process can help sufferers find relief and be more comfortable in the modern world.

Read Maass’ introduction to learn more about the history of social anxiety’s diagnosis as an officially recognized disorder, as well as what causes are often found at anxiety’s core.

Click here to explore Understanding Social Anxiety: A Recovery Guide for Sufferers, Family, and Friends.

Living on Automatic: How Emotional Conditioning Shapes Our Lives and Relationships

Whether romantic, platonic, or professional, our relationships are shaped by thoughts and emotion patterns passed down through generations. In Living on Automatic: How Emotional Conditioning Shapes Our Lives and Relationships, psychiatrists Ƶr B Martin and Christine B.L. Adams shed light on the role emotional conditioning can play in the relationships we develop, as well as how we can “decondition” ourselves to ensure that our relationships are healthier and more rewarding.

In this provided chapter, Martin and Adams examine seven effects emotional conditioning often has on our relationships, from impairing our judgment to stereotyping others.

Click here to explore Living on Automatic: How Emotional Conditioning Shapes Our Lives and Relationships.

An Introduction to the Psychology of Dreaming

Why do we dream, and what do our dreams mean? Examining our thoughts and emotions through the lens of dream psychology can be an effective way of understanding ourselves. In An Introduction to the Psychology of Dreaming, Kelly Bulkeley draws from neuroscientific research as well as theories from formative experts including Freud and Jung to consider how our dreams function and what they can reveal.

This free-to-read chapter sets a context for beginning and advanced psychology student researchers by addressing fundamental questions about the formation, function, and interpretation of dreams.

Click here to explore An Introduction to the Psychology of Dreaming.

World Religions

While religions inspire faith and offer guidance to followers around the world, the subject of religious studies allows researchers to explore questions about religion’s role in history and modern society. This month, Ƶ offers selections taking cross-disciplinary approaches to the analysis of religion’s impact: from symbolism that has shaped Judaism’s past and present, to the role of feminism and female deities in early history, to a debate about the role of Eastern religion in the evolution of pop music

Scroll down for free-to-read excerpts that present a sampling of Ƶ’ Religious Studies library.

Hidden Religion

Covering secret societies, mysterious ancient traditions, and the often-mistaken history of the world's religious symbols, Hidden Religion: The Greatest Mysteries and Symbols of the World's Religious Beliefs takes readers on a tour through the fascinating world of religious symbolism and reveals the most mysterious and misunderstood facets of different religions from early history to the present.

In this free-to-read chapter, readers learn more the meaning of symbols that have shaped different sects of Judaism throughout history, from the chai symbol, to the ceremonial menorah, to the Kabbalistic Tree of Life.

Click here to explore Hidden Religion: The Greatest Mysteries and Symbols of the World’s Religious Beliefs.

Human Rights and the World's Major Religions

In a world where religious beliefs influence political and social views around the world, Human Rights and the World's Major Religions is invaluable to researchers in religious studies. This updated one-volume edition of the celebrated five-volume set offers readers a comprehensive examination of the way the world's five major faiths—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism—view and have viewed human rights from ancient times to the present.

In this chapter, author and scholar William H. Brackney explores the history of religious liberty within Western Christianity, examining the interpretation of the term “religious freedom” through time.

Click here to explore Human Rights and the World's Major Religions.

Feminism and Religion

Throughout world history, different religions have held ranging views regarding the roles and rights of women. In Feminism and Religion, editors and renowned subject experts Michele A. Paludi and J. Harold Ellens lead readers through a detailed exploration of the feminist methods, issues, and theoretical frameworks that have made women central, not marginal, to religions around the world.

In this provided essay, Maija Jespersen takes readers back to the early period of human history when female deities were worshipped as powerful natural forces, from the Paleolithic age to the goddess-worshipping cultures of Egypt and Greece.

Click here to explore Feminism and Religion.


The idea of miracles gives hope to believers with events that are viewed as the intersection of the divine and the mundane. Miracles have shaped world history and continue to influence us through their presence in films, television, novels, and popular culture. Miracles: An Encyclopedia of People, Places, and Supernatural Events from Antiquity to the Present provides a multidisciplinary approach to more than 150 miraculous phenomena that have shaped humanity’s faith and beliefs from 1500 BCE to the present day.

Read anthology editor Patrick J. Hayes’ introduction, which sets a context by defining miracles within historical, theological, philosophical, and scientific settings.

Click here to explore Miracles: An Encyclopedia of People, Places, and Supernatural Events from Antiquity to the Present.

The Bloomsbury Handbook of Religion and Popular Music

The Bloomsbury Handbook of Religion and Popular Music combines research in religious studies, theology, musicology, and sociology to present scholarly insights into the relationship between popular music and different faiths, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and more. This cross-disciplinary resource also focuses on individual music genres, from blues and jazz to rap and hip hop.

In this essay, editor Christopher Partridge dives into the global phenomenon of K-pop, analyzing the ongoing debate about whether Eastern religions like Neo-Confucianism have shaped the genre’s evolution.

Click here to explore The Bloomsbury Handbook of Religion and Popular Music.

Indigenous Cultures

At ranging levels of education, humanities programs are integrating more study of indigenous cultures and the welcome decolonization of research itself. This month, Ƶ proudly offers authoritative content exploring a range of indigenous cultures around the world, including Native Americans, Inuit communities of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, and the Aboriginal and Māori cultures of Oceania.

Scroll down to discover free-to-read chapters ranging from the preservation of indigenous languages and cultures, to the growing genre of indigenous cinema, to an excerpt from Linda Tuhiwahi Smith’s formative work on decolonizing research in the field of Indigenous studies.

Culture and Customs of the Choctaw Indians

Replacing stereotypical images with a more accurate understanding of Native Americans, Donna L. Akers’ Culture and Customs of the Choctaw Indians explores the traditional lives of the Choctaw people, their history and oppression by the dominant society, and their struggles to maintain a unique identity in the face of overwhelming pressures to assimilate. This thorough overview of the Choctaw people, from ancient times to the present, includes sections on history, cuisine, music and dance, current issues, oral traditions and language, and more.

Akers examines Choctaw worldviews and spiritual beliefs in this provided chapter.

Click here to explore Culture and Customs of the Choctaw Indians.

Daily Life of the Inuit

Ideal for researchers seeking foundational insight into the contemporary Inuit communities of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, Pamela R. Stern’s Daily Life of the Inuit is the first serious study of contemporary Inuit culture from the post-World War II period to the present. Beginning with an introductory essay surveying Inuit prehistory, geography, and contemporary regional diversity, this expansive treatment explores the daily life of the Inuit throughout the North American Arctic.

In this chapter, readers can discover the unique attributes of native Inuit spoken and written language (Inuktitut), how it survived during years of colonialism, and how the oral tradition of storytelling has helped preserve the integrity of Inuit education.

Click here to explore Daily Life of the Inuit.

Native Features: Indigenous Films from Around the World

Native Features: Indigenous Films from Around the World is the first book to look at feature films made by and about indigenous people. The book introduces student researchers to more than 50 indigenous features now in circulation. In the process, author and scholar Houston Wood illustrates how movies made by Native peoples throughout the world often strengthen older cultures while simultaneously correcting stereotypes found in non-indigenous films.

In this provided chapter, Wood considers the complex impact of four films made by both indigenous and non-indigenous filmmakers: Rabbit-Proof Fence, Whale Rider, Smoke Signals, and Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner.

Click here to explore Native Features: Indigenous Films from Around the World.

Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples

Considered a vital and formative text in the field of Indigenous studies, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples offers groundbreaking commentary on what happens when imperialism affects the very nature of research itself, and how the decolonization of research methods can help reclaim control over indigenous ways of knowing and being. In this new edition, author Linda Tuhiwahi Smith includes a featured chapter presenting twenty-five indigenous projects and a collection of poetry.

Read this edition’s new co-written introduction here.

Click here to explore Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous Women’s Voices: 20 Years on from Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s Decolonizing Methodologies

Continuing the work of Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s Decolonizing Methodologies, this insightful collection celebrates the breadth and depth of how Indigenous women writers are helping reshape and decolonize research today. With contributions from indigenous female researchers, this collection helps define and distinguish methodological approaches and enables indigenous researchers to overcome the confines of being marginal voices.

Read the text’s introduction here, which sets a context for this collection of 13 international Black female voices ushering in the indigenization of academic research and understanding. (Complete text can also be found via Bloomsbury Open Access.)

Click here to explore Indigenous Women’s Voices: 20 Years on from Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s Decolonizing Methodologies.

Haunted Literature

The literary realm is filled with frightful icons—from the gothic ghosts of the Victorian era, to the nightmarish (some say merely misunderstood) Frankenstein’s monster, to the sinister lord of evil himself: Count Dracula. This month, Ƶ invites readers into the spookier corners of its Literary Studies library with free-to-read content from eBooks analyzing classic and contemporary horror fiction.

With more than 3,000 Literary Studies titles, Ƶ supports students and researchers in the disciplines of writing, culture, and literary theory.

Scroll down to meet the denizens of Bloomsbury’s haunted literary landscape—if you dare!

Bram Stoker’s Dracula: A Reader’s Guide

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) gave readers a classic villain who has stalked innocents for over a century across literature, film, television, and more. Author and Gothic Studies professor William Hughes contributes to Bloomsbury Academic’s collection of reader guides with a text that helps students and researchers examine Dracula in historical, intellectual, and cultural contexts.

In this sample chapter, Hughes takes readers on a tour of Dracula’s various adaptations, from early stage productions, to Bela Lugosi’s iconic portrayal on the silver screen, to Dracula’s literary descendants, including Anne Rice’s vampire Lestat.

Click here to explore Bram Stoker’s Dracula: A Reader’s Guide.

Classic Horror: A Historical Exploration of Literature

Horror literature holds up a dark mirror to society, using monsters to illustrate social change, cultural shifts, and even scientific progress. In Classic Horror: A Historical Exploration of Literature, author and English professor Anne DeLong explores four works of classic horror from the Victorian era—including Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798) and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818)—with background information, primary source documents, and analysis.

This sample chapter presents Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), analyzed within its original context of late 19th century England, where the conflict between a refined upper class society and a decaying, violent underclass was symbolized by Jekyll/Hyde’s dueling personalities.

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Frankenstein and Its Classics: The Modern Prometheus from Antiquity to Science Fiction

Few fictional monsters are as enduring as the creature in Mary Shelley’s master work Frankenstein (1818). More than a lumbering menace, Shelley’s modern Prometheus is drawn from ancient Greek and Roman literature, history, philosophy, and myth. This scholarly collection brings together analyses that give close examination to scenes, sources, and adaptations of what many scholars have deemed literature’s first true science fiction novel.

In the book’s introduction, the editors address the history and impact of Frankenstein 200 years after its original publication.

Click here to explore Frankenstein and Its Classics: The Modern Prometheus from Antiquity to Science Fiction.

Horror Fiction in the 20th Century

Horror fiction grew in popularity during the 1800s, but its reach extended greatly during the next century, becoming a popular genre for paperbacks, hardcover novels, comics, and pulp magazines. In Horror Fiction in the 20th Century, author Jess Nevins guides readers through horror’s evolution with historical overviews and detailed critical analyses of works from gothic Victorian ghost stories to contemporary tales of the supernatural around the world.

Nevins turns his attention to the American pulp publication Weird Tales and its central author H.P. Lovecraft in this chapter about horror in the 1920s and 30s.

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Poe and the Subversion of American Literature: Satire, Fantasy, Critique

While Edgar Allen Poe is best known for bringing his readers’ nightmares to life, the author was also a gifted satirist who enjoyed poking fun at the national discourse he observed in the U.S. Author Robert T. Tally Jr. examines Poe’s work through the lens of social commentary in his book Poe and the Subversion of American Literature: Satire, Fantasy, Critique, bringing his otherworldly tales into the real context of the mid-nineteenth century.

In this chapter, Tally Jr. discusses the literary devices Poe used to captivate his readers, taking them away from the world of proper literature and into the realm of the perverse.

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Theology, Horror and Fiction: A Reading of the Gothic Nineteenth Century

The landscape of Victorian gothic literature is populated with mournful spirits, living nightmares, and the occasional lurking monster; but in his book Theology, Horror and Fiction: A Reading of Gothic Nineteenth Century, author and scholar Jonathan Greenaway reveals the religious and theological scaffolding within the genre. From the castle of a mysterious Transylvanian nobleman, to a dim corner of Dorian Gray’s attic, to a windswept moor where Heathcliff pines for his lost Catherine, Greenaway reveals the role of religious ideology in the twists and turns of gothic novels.

Read Greenaway’s introduction, in which the author offers a taste of how gothic narratives bring together the supernatural and the divine.

Click here to explore Theology, Horror and Fiction: A Reading of the Gothic Nineteenth Century.

Contemporary U.S. Politics

The field of political studies is an ever-shifting landscape, with seismic changes taking place every decade that redefine a nation’s ideologies and values.

Studying current politics means researching issues in both modern and historical contexts. To support students and researchers in the field, Ƶ is proud to offer innovative additions to its Politics & International Relations library. This vast collection of more than 2,000 titles now includes eBooks from Praeger, an award-winning imprint of scholarly works in the fields of politics, international relations, security studies, history, and more.

Explore the forces shaping today’s U.S. political landscape with this selection of chapters from key Praeger titles: from the influence of social media, to the impact of public health crises, to the nation’s shifting demographic portrait.

Democracy Disrupted: Communication in the Volatile 2020 Presidential Election

The U.S. 2020 presidential campaign and election revealed much about both the issues voters prioritized, and the candidates claiming to represent them. Future scholars will analyze three events in particular: a national pandemic taking place during a presidential campaign, calls for social and racial justice after the killing of George Floyd, and the public unrest that took place in response to Donald Trump’s election loss.

Democracy Disrupted: Communication in the Volatile 2020 Presidential Election examines these events through the lens of communications studies. In this provided chapter, scholars Daniel Montez and Kate Kenzi explore how the social media platform formerly known as Twitter functioned as both a value-reflecting mirror for the public, and a tool of persuasion for politicians during a pivotal year in U.S. history.

Click here to explore Democracy Disrupted: Communication in the Volatile 2020 Presidential Election.

Who's in Charge? Leadership during Epidemics, Bioterror Attacks, and Other Public Health Crises

The U.S. has seen its share of public health crises in recent years, ranging from the 2001 anthrax attacks to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. During such events, the public looks to its political leaders for guidance; but as physician, scholar, and author Laura H. Kahn posits in her book Who's in Charge? Leadership during Epidemics, Bioterror Attacks, and Other Public Health Crises, politicians, health experts, and journalists are often at odds about what actions should be taken during a public health emergency.

In this chapter, Kahn turns her attention to leadership at the local level, examining how politicians respond to emergencies “on the ground,” even as aid from state and federal entities are slow to respond.

Click here to explore Who's in Charge? Leadership during Epidemics, Bioterror Attacks, and Other Public Health Crises.

When Science and Politics Collide: The Public Interest at Risk

Science and politics are inextricably linked yet often in conflict, particularly within fields such as genetics, climate, and energy. Scientists advise leaders on policy, but those leaders sometimes find themselves pressured to spin scientific findings in a way some critics feel endanger the public. In his book When Science and Politics Collide: The Public Interest at Risk, political scientist Robert O. Schneider examines the conflict between science and politics in five areas, including the pursuit of energy resources, the space race, and pandemic policy.

Schneider addresses the ongoing debate on climate change in this provided chapter, and the manner in which earth science and energy experts find themselves at odds with politicians. A key question emerges: does the climate change debate have anything to do with climate science?

Click here to explore When Science and Politics Collide: The Public Interest at Risk.

The Puzzle of the American Economy: How Changing Demographics Will Affect Our Future and Influence Our Politics

As each generation gives rise to the next, a nation’s demographics shift. Understanding those shifts is fundamental to analyzing a society’s economic and political ethos. In his book The Puzzle of the American Economy: How Changing Demographics Will Affect Our Future and Influence Our Politics, author Mark A. Pisano examines the demographic factors affecting economic growth in the United States, and as a result, the nation’s political trajectory.

In this chapter, Pisano presents an illuminating demographic portrait of the U.S., helping researchers gain greater understanding of the American population, how it is changing, and what that may mean for the country’s economic and political future.

Click here to explore The Puzzle of the American Economy: How Changing Demographics Will Affect Our Future and Influence Our Politics.

A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments

For students and researchers seeking foundational knowledge about the U.S. Constitution, John R. Vile’s A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments, now in its seventh edition, offers a fundamental and broad-reaching analysis of one of the nation’s most revolutionary documents. With both an overview of the document’s origin and a close-up examination of each article and amendment, Vile’s text is requisite reading for anyone hoping to contextualize current political debates in subjects ranging from First Amendment freedoms, to civil protections, to presidential eligibility.

This sample chapter provides historical context for the document with an analysis of its background and origin, taking readers on a journey from the writing of the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution’s ratification.

Click here to explore A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments.

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