News from the Dead

On December 14, 1650, 22-year old Anne Greene was led up the gallows in Oxford. She had been charged with infanticide; after sleeping with her employer’s grandson, she gave birth to a child—one she insisted was stillborn—whose body had been found “covered…with dust and rubbish” in the outhouse where she delivered it.1 After praying and… Read more →

Past Practices: A Review of Ruth MacKay’s Life in a Time of Pestilence: The Great Castilian Plague of 1596–1601

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a number of historians of medicine and other scholars have written and given interviews about past public health crises. E. Thomas Ewing’s look at how newspapers focused on kissing during the 1918 influenza outbreak suggested that the emphasis on kissing via handkerchief 100 years ago signaled potentially troubling questions for… Read more →

Psychiatry and Homosexuality Draft Exemptions during the Vietnam War

When Bob McIvery reported for his mandatory physical exam to determine if he could be drafted into the Army, the doctor didn’t believe he was gay. Although McIvery, a member of the Gay Liberation Front, had checked the “homosexual tendencies” box on his pre-induction medical form and stated verbally that he was gay, he was… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news On sex with demons. Archiving at a distance. Should we kill chivalry?  A history of the raised fist. The post office as public service. The unlikely history of a gay porn landmark. The controversial history behind hurricane names. An old postcard gives clues to… Read more →

The Deathbed and the Sound of Rebirth

What is the soundscape of the deathbed? Most often, for Chinese Buddhists, it has involved the sound of human voices chanting the name of Amitābha Buddha. According to the core Pure Land scriptures, Amitābha vowed to save all those who called on him, ensuring that after death they would be reborn in his Pure Land,… Read more →

Accessibility in America Past and Present

Bess Williamson’s Accessible America: A History of Disability and Design is a thought-provoking and edifying look at the shifting culture around disability and the design of our built environment in the United States from post-World War II to the present. I was interested to read the book both because I have a longstanding scholarly interest… Read more →

Writing Black Women’s Stories in French: A Review of A Decolonial Feminism and Reimagining Liberation: How Black Women Transformed Citizenship in the French Empire

Since January 2011, an archived rendition of the “Anthem of the Movement for the Liberation of Women” (MLF) has garnered more than 300,000 views on YouTube. The song was collaboratively written by MLF leaders and sung for the first time in March 1971 to commemorate the lives of the women who died during the Parisian… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Toppling Columbus. When plague is not a metaphor. What Black nature might look like. Protesting police violence, a playlist. The world’s most historic ghost towns. The first gay magazine in the United States. Sierra Club grapples with John Muir’s racism. A brief history of… Read more →

“Heroic Effort Beyond the Call of Duty”: Death Care Workers and the 1947 Texas City Disaster

On April 16, 2020, the New York Times published an op-ed about the challenges facing overwhelmed funeral directors around the country during the COVID-19 epidemic. In “hot spots” like New York, Detroit, and New Orleans, funeral home staff are working long hours to pick up and prepare the remains of those killed by the disease;… Read more →

“For Those on Both Sides”: An Interview with Mary Ziegler about Abortion and the Law in America

Recently, Florida State University law professor Mary Ziegler sat down with Nursing Clio to talk about her new book, Abortion and the Law in America: Roe v. Wade to the Present. The book illustrates how the question of “abortion rights” is only one piece of the puzzle – rather both antiabortion and pro-choice advocates have… Read more →