Elevate Difference

Reviews by Abigail Chance

The Scholar and Feminist Online, Issue 8.3 (Polyphonic Feminisms: Acting in Concert)

In hindsight, I probably should have waited to read all of the articles in this issue of Barnard Center for Research on Women’s The Scholar and Feminist Online journal, “Polyphonic Feminisms: Acting in Concert,” before emailing out sections that resonated with me and the work I’m interested in doing.

Secret Weirdo

Well, for a twenty-page minicomic that is filled with embarrassing stories about childhood, cat police, imaginary adventures, and an opening page offering “free hugs,” artist Lauren Barnett definitely set herself up for a difficult task. One of her biggest pet peeves as a female artist is having her comics be called cute.

Violence Against Latina Immigrants: Citizenship, Inequality, and Community

I generally do not start reviews with blanket statements, but I simply cannot say enough positive comments about this book. As a student of Gender & Sexuality studies, as well as community activism and Hispanic studies, I was greatly interested and inspired by this thoughtful, critical, theory-meets-activism approach to the difficult and devastating reality of violence against Latina immigrants. The author, Roberta Villalón, is a professor of Sociology at St.


Before reviewing the album, I have to admit, Ani Difranco and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, who are both major contributors to the project, definitely rake up the most counts on my iTunes top played lists. Bias. That said however, Anaïs Mitchell’s folk opera Hadestown is a masterful album in its own right, originally beginning in 2006 as a live show that toured New England with a cast of twenty-two performers.

Sometimes She Lets Me: Best Butch/Femme Erotica

So, I sometimes forget that reading erotica and looking at BDSM queer porn in the library of an Ivy League university is not necessarily standard practice. Lucky for me, I go to Brown, where I’m concentrating in Gender and Sexuality studies, and have somehow managed to legitimize studying sex manuals with postmodern theory in order to (supposedly, so they say) get a degree next year.

Good Problems

Ah, spring time on a New England college campus! I always forget what it’s like when everyone emerges out of the stacks of the library, poorly-lit dorms, and stuffy classrooms to congregate on the sunny main green.

Catch Light

When I flipped over to the back cover of Sarah O’Brien’s recent collection of poetry, Catch Light, it was both startling and encouraging to see the resemblance.


A beautiful album, Monika Jalili’s Élan evokes a romantic, and at times, haunting journey through a collection of popular, acoustic Iranian songs. The talented New York-born vocalist originally trained in musical theater, and shares her enchanting voice and love of Iranian poetry in a simple yet sincere album, which features tracks in Persian, Azeri, English, and French.


Sitting down with my notebook for a first listen, I adamantly tried not to get caught up in descriptions with romanticized cliché references to Cézanne paintings, sleepy villages, artsy cafes, or train rides home. Alas, I set myself up for inevitable failure listening to Simone White’s Yakiimo album riding a train northbound for the holidays on a clear, winter New England morning.

Sing Along to Songs You Don’t Know

I have never been one to accept iTunes’ genre classifications of the music I purchase. Yes, the categories can be useful, but they never quite fit with my personal interests. As soon as the tracks are downloaded, I quickly listen to the album and decide where it fits amongst my feisty feminist punk rock, hipster late-night sing-alongs, or classical acoustic sleep inducers (to name a few). Admittedly, I am a little bit of a control freak and perhaps a tad obsessive.

SexIs: Sex and All Things Sexual

There are an abundance of websites about sex, gender, and pleasure that range from academic, theoretical discussions to medical descriptions to sexual how-to guides, and I was admittedly skeptical of SexIs, a sex-positive community devoted to “sex and all things sexual” started by online sex toy company Eden Fantasies. Updated weekly by a diverse collection of writers (including Feminist Review founder Mandy Van Deven), [SexIs](http://www.edenfantasys.com/se

Jessie Murphy in the Woods

While some might not be into the cutesy, fairytale-like sound and lyrics of the New York City pop-folk group Jessie Murphy in the Woods, there is no denying the magical harmony produced by the three talented women.

Love Is Not Pop

While listening to the recently released album from Swedish pop artist El Perro del Mar (Sarah Assbring), I quickly realized I was being pulled into a cathartic experience evoked by Assbring's ethereal vocals and repetitive, melancholic lyrics.