Tag: history

Teaching Rape

Throughout my academic career, I have talked about, read about, and taught about rape. To be clear, rape is not my research focus. Murder is my bailiwick. Within that context, rape features peripherally as an adjunct to another crime. But I have read about, discussed, and now teach about rape because I believe it is… Read more →

Writing My Dissertation, A gif Odyssey

Sex, Death, and Three Irish Women

In November 1984 the Catholic parish of Tynagh, County Galway, Ireland, gathered to bury a woman who had been dead for 150 years.1 Local tradition asserted that the woman, Áine, gave birth to three illegitimate children in the 1830s or 1840s and then became gravely ill. Citing her sexual transgressions, Áine’s parish priest would not… Read more →

The Mother of Title IX Goes to Washington: Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927-2002)

When the US women’s basketball team dribbled their way to a 6th straight Olympic gold this summer in Rio, they owed some — if not much — of their success to Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927-2002). Mink was the first woman of color elected to Congress, where she served as a US Representative from Hawai’i (1965-1977,… Read more →

“We’ve Got to Get to Work”: John Lewis’s March

Congressman John Lewis is an American hero. As he tweeted on the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, he is the only speaker from that day of legendary oratory still alive. In his twenties, Lewis was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the youngest member of the “Big Six” leaders… Read more →

How Anti-Vaccine Ideology Crosses the Political Spectrum

Vaccinations have not been a major issue in the 2016 presidential campaign so far, but perhaps they should be. Republican candidate Donald Trump has repeatedly made statements promoting the disproven idea that vaccines cause autism. Third-party candidates have also joined the anti-vaccine chorus. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson opposes mandatory childhood vaccinations, while Green Party candidate… Read more →

New York Grandmother Seeks Democratic Presidential Nomination! Ellen McCormack (1926-2011)

No, not that one! Exactly forty years before Hillary Clinton’s historic run and nomination, Ellen Cullen McCormack (1926-2011) ran for president as a Democrat in the 1976 primary campaign that ended with the nomination of Jimmy Carter. But Ellen McCormack was a different kind of female Democratic candidate. In fact, while Hillary Clinton famously rejected… Read more →

Pictures of an Institution: Birth Records at Old Blockley

On September 22, 1859, 30-year-old Margaret Merchant of Philadelphia was admitted to the obstetrical ward at the Blockley Almshouse. She was pregnant with her sixth child — a boy, though with the ultrasound almost exactly a century in the future, Mrs. Merchant could not have known that at the time. A mother of five, Mrs…. Read more →

Teaching in an Era of Black Lives Matter

One of the functions of social movements is to raise consciousness around a particular problem or issue. The Black Lives Matter movement is no different. Activists have successfully used disruptive protest, policymaking, and social media to influence public debates around structural racism, state violence, policing, and mass incarceration. The movement, as well as my experiences… Read more →

Report from Pride: LGBT History Is (Not Yet) American History

Last June I participated in the annual Pride March in New York City, the biggest celebration of LGBT pride in the world. My girlfriend and I marched with the Episcopal Diocese of New York, waving a tiny rainbow flag someone handed us and walking behind a long white banner down 5th Avenue. After a slow start,… Read more →