Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Who gets the embryos? How to create a human being. The secret history of Leviticus. Why is history all about humans? Diseases of virgins and spinsters. America’s first female mapmaker. Polio and the origins of Candy Land. Race and identity in medieval Europe. The… Read more →

When Did We Get So Hormonal? An Interview with Randi Hutter Epstein

Randi Hutter Epstein’s new book, Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything, traces the development of our scientific and medical understanding of hormones from the late nineteenth century to the present. Each chapter focuses on a different hormone, linking the science of endocrinology to fascinating details about the social context that… Read more →

The Dangerous Price of Diabetes: Not What the Pioneering Researchers Predicted

The 1921 discovery of insulin ushered in a new era in endocrinology. Canadian researchers transformed diabetes from certain death sentence to chronic illness, infusing hormone researchers and doctors with giddy optimism. Doctors soon thought that every hormone ailment would be reversed. All that was needed was to mimic what the University of Toronto team did… Read more →

I Was Trolled – Here’s Why I’m Turning It into a Teaching Opportunity

Here’s what happened. I wrote an essay critically analyzing a YouTube talk show I actually watch and enjoy — Hot Ones — on which celebrities answer questions while eating ten chicken wings doused in hot sauces of increasing spiciness. I argued that interrelated gender conventions about flavor, food, appetite, and consumption shape how celebrity is… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news A history of desserts. The history of toothpaste. Selling dead people’s things. The history of American fear. Civil War soldiers who glowed. Returning the wandering womb. The “macaroni” scandal of 1772. Why disability studies for archives? How to write about criminal women. How science… Read more →

Whence Liberty? The Retirement of Anthony Kennedy

On June 27, 2018, at the end of Pride month, I was visiting my family in my childhood home. My wife texted me to tell me that Justice Anthony Kennedy retired. The night before, I had heard on CNN (always on in this house) that he might retire, but I hadn’t really allowed myself to… Read more →

From Mooktie to Juan: The Eugenic Origins of the “Defective Immigrant”

On a Monday in November 1905, a “little deaf and dumb … 10-year old Eurasian girl” called Mooktie Wood arrived in the US on the steamship Canopic. An orphan with no known relatives, Mooktie had been “picked up” by an American Pentecostal missionary, Lillian Sprague, in the wake of one of the many devastating famines… Read more →

Sex, Death, and Atole at the Royal Indian Hospital

Mexico City, 18th Century For the wounded, diseased, and ailing of Mexico City, just about anything was better than the Royal Indian Hospital. By the 18th century it had been around awhile. King Philip II had established the Indian Hospital in the 1560s in a haphazard attempt to demonstrate the Crown’s supposed “piety and love… Read more →

Deconstructing the Stonewall Myth (Brick by Brick)

If you’ve been on social media at all during the month of June, you’ve probably seen Marsha P. Johnson’s name floating through your feeds. Johnson, a self-identified drag queen and founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, looms large in public consciousness today as the “black, bisexual trans woman, who was a sex worker, that… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news A history of hospice. Archiving while black. Lobotomies and colitis. How to decolonize a museum. The 18th-century craze for gin. A brief history of the word “femme.” An intellectual history of the sandbox. A history of home sewing and fashion. The secret surgeries of… Read more →