Henrietta Lacks, Pose, and Cuz I Love You
In the second of a recommendations series for undergraduate History degree applicants, we spoke to Dr Michell Chresfield, Lecturer in United States History.
Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010): Skloot's biographical exploration of Henrietta Lacks is a captivating tale that explores the intersections of race, class, and medicine. From polio vaccines to cancer research, and numerous medical discoveries in between, we are all indebted to the life of Henrietta Lacks, and this story tells us why.
Pose (2018) - Set in 1980s New York City, at first glance Pose is a stylized depiction of the of the city's ballroom scene, a space where Black and LatinX youth sought expression, community, and acceptance through subverting traditional boundaries of gender, class, and race. Yet Pose is so much more. The series' depiction of the AIDS epidemic and its ravages on queer communities of colour has been an important corrective to the historical erasure of these groups.
Lizzo, 'Cuz I Love You' (2019): The third album from one of the breakout artists of 2019, the album mixes, hip-hop, soul, and R&B to produce some of the most body-positive and woman-centric anthems of 2019. In a time where we might be feeling short on joy, I'd definitely give Lizzo a listen.
Dr Michell Chresfield is Lecturer in United States History in the Department of History at the University of Birmingham. Her research interests include cultural and intellectual history, the history of science and medicine, and the history of racial formation and identity making in twentieth century America.
Michell teaches on our History and Joint Honours with History programmes, leading modules on 'American History, 1890- 2000' and 'U.S. Gender and Sexuality'.