Tag: history

A Lesson in Protest: Teaching History and Citizenship in the Trump Era

This semester I am teaching a course called “Resisting State Violence: Race, Policing, and Social Justice in Twentieth-Century America.” One of the course objectives is to encourage students to investigate the histories of policing, surveillance, political repression, deportation, and incarceration, and the ways they intersect with racism, settler colonialism, xenophobia, economic exploitation, and sexism and… Read more →

A Healthy Dose of Skepticism

The FDA is on a mission to redefine healthy, and they “want to get it right.” This undertaking stems in part from ongoing criticism of the FDA’s nearly twenty-year-old, fat-phobic labeling regulations, in which absurdities abound. For instance, low-fat toaster pastries — comprised predominately of unpronounceable ingredients from a chemistry exam, often meet requirements for… Read more →

100,000 Women in Trafalgar Square: Remembering The Forgotten Women’s March of 1979

On January 21 this year, thousands of people rallied in central London in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, along with millions of others around the world. These protesters were, of course, responding to the specific brands of misogyny and racism that are seen to characterize Trump’s America and Brexit Britain. And yet the… Read more →

The Pre-History of the Paleo Diet

Dr. Loren Cordain describes himself as the “world’s foremost authority on the evolutionary basis of diet and disease” and as “one of the world’s leading experts on the natural human diet of our Stone Age ancestors.” He is the self-proclaimed founder of the Paleo Diet Movement and champions a way of eating that mimics that… Read more →

War Art 100 Years Later: The “World War I and American Art” Exhibit and the Centenary of the Great War

On March 12, I attended the exhibit “World War I and American Art” at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. This museum and art school, one of the oldest art academies in the United States that first opened in 1805, hosted the exhibit as part of a nationwide effort to remember American entry… Read more →

Whose Body Is it Anyway? Decolonizing Narratives of Aboriginal Prisoners’ Health

When the British colonized Western Australia in 1829, they did so under the legal doctrine of “terra nullius,” or empty land. Of course, the area was inhabited – owned by the Indigenous Nyoongar people who were dispossessed from their land through frontier conflict, disease, physical dependency on European goods, and punishment under British law. By… Read more →

Before the Pink Hat: Abolitionist (and Other) Objects of Protest

The point of public protest is to draw attention to something — to make the invisible wrong visible, and thus demand that we recognize and engage with it. To this end, protest and resistance movements have long made use of material culture, from murals to t-shirts. While by current prevailing wisdom we should phone our… Read more →

Helen Atwater: The First Lady of American Nutrition You’ve Never Heard Of

When I was researching the history of American food guides, I came across one of the earliest resources, “How to Select Foods,” published in 1917 by Hunt and Atwater. At first I assumed that this Atwater was Wilbur Olin Atwater, the man so often heralded as “The Father of American Nutrition.” I was wrong. It… Read more →

A Post-Racial Gilead? Race and Reproduction in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale

In the Texas state legislature last month, several women dressed as handmaids sat in silent judgment over the lawmakers who were attempting (yet again) to outlaw an abortion procedure. Since last November’s election, sales of dystopian literature, including Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, have skyrocketed. A number of writers, perhaps most notably Rebecca Traister, have… Read more →

What Lies Beneath: The Handmaid’s Tale in Trump’s America

I first came across Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale in my junior year of college, when it was assigned for my feminist theory class. I didn’t know much about the novel, but I remember that the professor emphasized how relevant the book’s message was in 1985, when it was first published; in 1990, when… Read more →