What to Expect When You’re Expecting in the Nineteenth-Century U.S.

Type “pregnancy” into any internet search engine today, and you’ll literally get a billion results. This plethora of information at our fingertips feels quite modern, and yet it has a long history: American women have long turned to the printed word for advice about their reproductive bodies. In the nineteenth century, there were many competing… Read more →

Cancer DIY: Gendered Politics, Colonialism, and the Circulation of Self-Sampling Screening Technologies in Canada

Innovative. Exciting. Easy. Painless. These are just some of the words used to describe the Delphi Screener — a sterile, plastic, syringe-like device that allows women to test themselves for cervical cancer. Requiring no training, speculum, or invasive gynecological exam, this novel technique was developed in 2015 by three Dutch gynecologists who wanted to design… Read more →

The Racist Misogyny behind Your “Does My Butt Look Fat in This?”: Reading Sabrina Strings’ Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia

Every so often, a book comes out that arrives as both an answer to a question and an answer to a prayer. For me, Sabrina Strings’s Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia is emphatically both. My scholarly superpower, and an annoying one it is too, is finding the holes in the… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Farm to hospital bed. Why IVF has divided France. A brief history of chicken soup. A “Cook’s Tour” of imperialism. Who are feminist baby books for? Argentine feminists remake tango. How the drug user became a junkie. The woman who designed tarot cards. Want… Read more →

“Our Dogged and Deadly Archnemesis”: A Review of Timothy C. Winegard’s The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator

In 2015, mosquito-borne pathogens caused approximately 830,000 deaths worldwide. Malaria alone killed 435,000 people in 2017. Statistical extrapolations suggest that mosquito-borne viruses and parasites have killed roughly half of all humans who have ever lived.1 While yellow fever, dengue, and malaria have long been the most virulent of these diseases, newer zoonotics (diseases transmitted from… Read more →

Mokgadi Caster Semenya v. The Patriarchy and its IAAF Minions

Caster Semenya first grabbed my attention in 2009 when she won the 800-meter race in Berlin — she bested her competition by over two full seconds and set a world-leading time for the year. Soon after her athletic successes, however, the sporting community challenged her sex/gender identity. The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) policy… Read more →

Sex Trafficking in Twentieth-Century Europe

Thanks to Liam Neeson and edgy action-thrillers like Taken, Americans have a pretty specific idea of what the sex-trafficking industry looks like: naïve young American girls, traveling on their own for the first time, who trust the wrong guy and get kidnapped. In Taken, the girl’s father happens to be ex-CIA with a “very particular… Read more →

Is a Historian’s Library an Archive or a Living Thing?

This week I purged my bookshelves. As a Ph.D. historian, it initially felt like a risky move — somewhere in between disowning my former self and cutting out part of my brain. In the end, though, I think the effect will be closer to pruning a big, old, tangled shrub so that it has some… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news An oral history of Lilith Fair. The little-known history of cat litter. Twin births in the U.S. are dropping. Stop getting married on plantations. Showing solidarity with women in prison. Making camping more comfortable, a history. The colorful history of the black leather jacket…. Read more →

Will Technology Change How We Understand Interpersonal Violence? Maybe. Probably Not.

The Atlantic’s August cover story by Barbara Bradley Hagerty, “An Epidemic of Disbelief,” describes how some jurisdictions, in the midst of processing backlogs of rape kits going back years and in some cases decades, are uncovering DNA evidence that is changing what we know about rape. DNA testing has shown that there is an extraordinarily… Read more →