I have never been a person who can just simply relax by sitting outside for several hours watching the view change ever so slightly or by reading a light summer beach novel that I will inevitably forget the premise of in a week. Don’t get me wrong - occasionally I can do these things, but I often have this sense of needing to learn more about the world and grow my knowledge and myself in some area, any area that I am interested in. Perhaps this is because of my anxiety, but I think it is also fueled by my innate interest in wanting to learn more. I always have had a plethora of interests in many different fields, which is what led me to study Museum Studies and Library Science and to work at Special Collections, since I get to learn about all different types of topics, histories, cultures, and more every day!
If the above mentioned activities are what you enjoy doing to relax, keep on doing that or whatever else brings you joy. But if you’re like me in this way or you want to learn more about some topics that may of be interest to you, then I have some recommendations.
One of the ways I enjoy relaxing is by reading fashion magazines. I am particularly partial to these magazines as I love the artistry of fashion design, the elegance of the graphic design and stunning photography, and the insightful journalistic examinations of trends, culture, and beauty. I also love reading fashion magazines to interpret how the clothes and included articles in them reflect what was happening culturally, socially, historically, and politically at the time. Enter the Vogue Archive, a searchable archive that allows you to examine American Vogue from 1892 to the present.
The Vogue Archive is a treasure for anyone interested in fashion and fashion history, popular culture, gender studies, photography and graphic design, and advertising. Another fantastic fashion resource I have come across is the journal Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty, which is available through the BrowZine database.
I love learning more about the communities I am a part of through others’ experiences and research, which sometimes reflects aspects of my personal life or are completely different than my own experiences. As someone interested in women and gender studies, LGBT histories, and social justice, I was excited to come across several different resources available through the University Libraries. This includes the journal Gender and History, available through the BrowZine database, which examines a wide range of related topics, and the LGBT studies database, which includes archival collections, series and periodicals, notable documentaries, interviews, and archival footage that examines the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, as well as delves into LGBT history and culture, civil rights, and more.
I always love learning more about my field too. So if you’re interested in special collections, museums, historic sites, art galleries, and/or libraries, you also may enjoy examining history through the American History in Video database, reading about museums and social issues in the journals Curator: The Museum Journal, Museums and Social Issues, and Project MUSE, all available through the BrowZine database or the Project MUSE database.
Lastly, I’d be remiss if I did not include the podcast that I am currently captivated by, which explores some of the previously mentioned subjects, I Weigh with Jameela Jamil. This podcast is available on Spotify, Earwolf, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, and several other places. Each episode, Jameela meets with a variety of activists, performers, thought-leaders, influencers, and friends from varying backgrounds to discuss topics related to shame, mental health, body image, being LGBT, self-love, and more.
Jameela Jamil started the “I Weigh” movement 2 years ago through Instagram and it focuses on individual accomplishments and body positivity. Since then, “I Weigh” has grown into a platform for activism, inclusivity, and self-love, and now, a podcast! At the end of each episode, Jameela asks each interviewee to discuss what they “weigh” in what they love, what they have achieved in their lives and careers, and what they value (not what they weigh or how they look).
I hope you enjoy some of these recommendations. I know I have cultivated quite the list of content here for you all (and of course, myself) to dive into.