Pathologizing Politics: Eugenics and Political Discourse in the Modern United States

Carrie Buck was three months shy of her twenty-second birthday when she was forcibly sterilized on October 19, 1927. Buck’s fate was based on the 1924 Virginia eugenic sterilization law, which marked individuals for sterilization based on vague and misleading concepts such as immorality, defectiveness, weak-mindedness, and promiscuity.1 Eugenicists, social hygienists, and lawmakers passed state… Read more →

Eugenic Sperm

In 1974, a Los Angeles Times staff writer interviewed Dr. Donald Adler, a Beverly Hills gynecologist who ran a sperm bank out of his private practice.1 Adler described for the interviewer his process of selecting sperm donors for health and intelligence, and in turn the interviewer asked him whether he considered his practice eugenic. Adler,… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news The history of go-go music. The iPhone at the deathbed. She wanted a freebirth with no doctors. Grimault & Co’s asthma cigarette empire. The Tampax empire and the tampon wars. Black Mexico and the War of Independence. Everything you know about obesity is wrong…. Read more →

Suffering a Suffragist: An 1880s Romance

When Nursing Clio put out the call for the Romancing Clio series, I searched Goodreads for historical romance novels in my field and was surprised to find eighty-two suffrage-themed romance novels, including one set in Texas, my specialty. Bobbi Smith’s The Lady and the Texan looked like an enjoyable romp about Amanda Taylor, a young… Read more →

The Spaces of Screening: Tracing the Spatial Geographies of Mobile Mammography from Carparks to the Cosmos

In 2019, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) launched a new cancer detection initiative. In this pilot program, the NHS harnessed “technology developed for space travel” to design a series of mobile cancer screening vans, which have been placed in Sainsbury’s and Morrisons supermarket parking lots across Great Britain (Figure 1). Designed by the UK space… Read more →

Where a Pregnancy Can Last for Years: The Remarkable Colonial Reports of Sleeping Pregnancies in the Maghreb

A couple patiently waits for a healthy child after a pregnancy that has lasted several years. A desperate widow claims her newborn is her husband’s child, years after his death. Fetuses are made to “fall asleep” in the womb and hibernate there for years until woken up again. In the French colonies of Tunisia, Morocco,… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Darwin in love. A history of seduction. Is “snake oil” really from snakes? The long history of the hand-washing gender gap. Can “feminist design” save algorithms from bias? The 200-year-old diary that’s rewriting gay history. What happened to Playboy’s first black cover girl? The… Read more →

Love in the Ton: Georgette Heyer’s Legacy in Regency Romance World-Building

Georgette Heyer is widely considered to be the pioneer of the Regency romance. From 1921 to 1972, Heyer published thirty-seven romances set in the Georgian or Regency eras.1 But Heyer’s fiction never reflected the realities of life in Regency England. Although she was an avid researcher, particularly when a subject interested her, she nevertheless invented… Read more →

“Kiss Via Kerchief”: Influenza Warnings in 1918

Just over one hundred years ago, New York Health Commissioner Royal S. Copeland responded to the threat of “Spanish” influenza reaching the United States with the reassuring, if completely misguided, prediction that “there is nothing to be alarmed about so far as I can see.”1 Yet the part of Copeland’s warning that “went viral,” to… Read more →

“There’s Only One Way This War Ends”: New Ways of Telling a Familiar Story in Sam Mendes’s 1917

In the spring of 1917, the German Army was recouping from enormous losses suffered at the Somme, Verdun, and in the Brusilov Offensive on the Eastern Front. Hoping to consolidate and reinforce their manpower, their army on the Western Front retreated to a series of well-planned, highly fortified trenches known as the Hindenburg Line. In… Read more →