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The Body as Archive

By Andrea Milne

Trying to become a public historian and freelance writer in grad school is requiring me to walk a difficult tightrope. I want to be as authentic as humanly possible, but I'm also a professor-in-training; I don't want to put anything out into the world that I would have trouble explaining to a hiring committee, to my colleagues, or to my students. As a result, I often find myself debating the merits of a post. The problem with this particular brand of censorship is that it's entirely too fuzzy. I haven't articulated to myself what constitutes fair game. How personal do I want to get? How personal do I need to get? That's why, on August 28 -- after much hemming and hawing -- I ultimately decided to write about a medical procedure I was about to undergo. I want to live in a world where academics living with disabilities aren't afraid to "come out" for fear of the cultural and institutional ableism to which it would expose them. Telling my own story is a risky, but necessary, step in that process.

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Women in Tech from ENIAC to MOM

By Adam Turner

On September 24, as I enjoyed my second coffee of the morning and caught up on news, a photo caught my eye. In the image, women in colorful saris congratulated each other amidst massive computer monitors. The exuberance of the photo arrested me -- as did the obvious techy setting, nerd that I am -- but, sadly, what really drew my attention was the fact that these women seemed … out of place. And I wasn't the only one drawn in by this image. The photo, snapped by AFP photographer Manjunath Kiran, quickly made the rounds on news outlets and social media.

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Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-The midwives of St. Croix.
-Male midwives of Ethiopia.
-America's coolest ghost towns.
-Does cancer spread while you sleep?
-Life in a 1930s psychiatric hospital.

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Advertising Hormonal Contraception: Medicalizing the Natural

By Nicole Lock

In recent years, there has been great debate about access to contraception, particularly the hormonal birth control pill. In 1957, the first hormonal birth control pill was approved by the FDA for severe menstrual disorders, in 1960 it was approved for contraceptive use, and by 1965 it had been legalized for married couples by the Supreme Court. It wasn't until 1972 when the Pill was approved for adult women regardless of marital status.

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Pregnancy Is Bad for Women’s Health

By Ginny Engholm

Our sentimentalizing of pregnancy, combined with our faith in modern medicine, have contributed to a backlash against birth control, encouraging us to see pregnancy as low risk and to lose sight of its dangers and perils. Contraceptives -- and legal access to them -- continue to be a source of controversy, political wrangling, and ideological posturing because the political and cultural discussion surrounding them focuses on issues of personal choice and sexual mores rather than questions of health. The recent Supreme Court decision regarding Hobby Lobby reflects this view of birth control as a matter of religious conviction and personal choice rather than reproductive health. If pregnancy is so natural, so low risk for women, then preventing pregnancy is not a medical issue, but rather a personal decision. Even efforts to argue that women use birth control for other health reasons, such as treating PMS or endometriosis, miss the point that limiting, preventing, and spacing pregnancies are medical reasons to use birth control. The backlash against contraceptives stems, in part, from our current misguided view of pregnancy as a low risk medical event for women. The problem with this view is that pregnancy is dangerous, and medical science has a long history of revealing its risks and perils for women.

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Save Our Sisterhood: Reflecting on Single-Sex Education Ten Years Later

By Sarah Handley-Cousins

Ten years ago, on October 2, 2004, Wells College, a tiny, women's liberal arts college in rural New York State, announced its decision to become coed. Frustrated and angry, many Wells Women -- myself included -- protested by holding a sit-in at the main academic building in hopes of compelling the college board of trustees to reverse its decision. We refused to leave. We slept in our classrooms; we chanted and sang; we lined up from one end of the building to the other, arm-in-arm, our mouths gagged with black fabric to symbolize how we had been silenced by the Wells administration.

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Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-£7.5 trillion for slavery.
-Bette Davis on sexism.
-Vaccinated mosquitos?
-A history of body snatching.
-"What Women Want": a history.
-How science still gets race wrong.

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Adventures in the Archives: The Dangers of Legal Abortion

by Kimberlyn Kasperitis

This summer I worked with Professor Carolyn Herbst Lewis and three other students on a research project in which we explored the history of reproductive health care in Chicago. Part of our summer included a trip to Chicago to do archival research on our subjects, and, after a month of pouring over secondary research, I was nowhere near having a thesis or a direction for a paper, which was supposed to have something, anything, to do with abortion services. I knew going into the project that, given the socially charged and complicated nature of the subject, it would challenge me both academically and emotionally, but I had no idea of the frustrations that this project would give me. When we arrived in Chicago, I made the decision to take a step back and see if any of the primary sources I was interested in would speak to me and steer me in the right direction. Even so, as I stepped into the unexpectedly warm and brightly lit Northwestern University archives, I was admittedly pessimistic about whether any of the sources I requested would be of any use. What I did not expect to discover were materials that would give me chills and move me as emotionally as some of these materials did.

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Is Pop Culture Replacing Sex Education?

By Corinne Yank

According to the documentary, “Lets Talk About Sex”, 10,000 teens catch a sexually transmitted disease, 2,400 teen girls get pregnant, and 55 young people are infected with HIV in the US every day. Meanwhile, despite these alarming statistics, our educational and political culture blurs, obscures, and shrouds discussions of sex with denial, systematically oppressing comprehensive and preventative sex education within institutional settings. According to a study done in 2002 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, comprehensive sex ed is declining in middle and high schools across the majority of the United States. And despite the fact that around 46% of high schoolers were found to be sexually active, many state programs focus primarily on promoting abstinence, rather than providing teens with real answers and options to reduce their risk and engage in safer sex.

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Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-How Prozac conquered America.
-A real-life Oregon Trail adventure.
-How Sigmund Freud Wanted to die.
-The most beautiful anatomical theaters.
-Can a person be an "anti-psychopath"?

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