Tag: history

A Day at the Smithsonian: Black History Takes Its Place on the National Mall

Like many historians, I was thrilled that the newest Smithsonian museum would be focusing on African American History and Culture. The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) opened in late September, and I reserved tickets two months early to visit with family and friends — this was lucky forethought, since free tickets… Read more →

Dorothy Bruce Weske: Academia and Motherhood in the Mid-Twentieth Century

In 1934, in her mid-thirties and single, Dorothy Bruce defended her dissertation at Radcliffe College on thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Convocations, a name given to a category of English church councils. In 1937, her work, Convocation of the Clergy: A Study of its Antecedents and its Rise with Special Emphasis upon its Growth and Activities in… Read more →

Parental Guilt & STIs: A Historical Look

If you’ve been watching television lately, you’ve probably seen Merck’s recent ads for Gardasil, the most widely used vaccine for human papilloma virus (HPV). The commercials begin with a young person in their 20s stating they have cervical cancer or have been infected with HPV. From there, we see them get progressively younger through family… Read more →

Is Your Doctor Experimenting On You?

My friend’s father is in the hospital, and it’s been rough. His cancer treatment did not go as expected. “He’s suffering so much!” my friend sighed. “And the doctors, they’re just experimenting on him. It’s horrible.” When I heard this, I was confused. Was her father in some sort of experimental treatment? “No. But the… Read more →

Revisiting Loving v. Virginia (1967): A Review of Loving (2016)

In June 1958, Mildred Jeter and Richard Perry Loving married in the District of Columbia. The couple then returned to their home in Caroline County, Virginia. In the parlance of the time, Mildred was “colored.” Richard was white. Six weeks later, the local sheriff and his deputies burst into the Lovings’ bedroom in the middle… Read more →

Speak Up or Shut Up: The Legend of Barbara Jordan

Nearing the blessed close of what has been an absurd Presidential election cycle, one thing is clear: Barbara Jordan would not be here for any of this. Unfortunately, we could surely use her. The “voice of God” before Morgan Freeman was a flicker on a screen,1 Barbara Jordan was one of the most well-known and… Read more →

White Woman in Blackface as a Black Man in a White Coat? Scary.

Here’s a frank, perhaps surprising, and definitely disheartening admission: nothing you read here should be new to you. It’s been said a million times before. During Halloween weekend a white person at the University of Oregon appeared at an off-campus party in blackface. This distasteful and offensive act was distinctive only in its details —… Read more →

Climate Change, Crack, and the Dream of “Population Engineering”

Want to do your part to fight climate change? Don’t reproduce. If you’re American, each kid you don’t have will save the world from 9,441 metric tons of carbon emissions.1 This is the argument of a recent paper (soon-to-be book) gaining steam around the internet: “Population Engineering and the Fight Against Climate Change.” I first… Read more →

What Does It Mean to Say Millennials Are Having Less Sex?

The internet was abuzz this August with speculation about why Millennials have less sex than our elders did at our age. Perhaps economic precarity makes dating difficult, particularly for those living with their parents. Mediating our relationships through the internet could reduce physical contact. Or maybe ubiquitous pornography is replacing partnered sex, antidepressants are depressing… Read more →

“I Know This Guy”: Humanity in Hamilton’s America

As those of you with more exciting social calendars than mine may not know, this past Friday PBS aired a documentary about the making of the Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical. The documentary, entitled Hamilton’s America, provides Hamilfans and relative newcomers alike with backstage passes to the drama we may never get to see…. Read more →