Conference Report on History of Science Society 2013 Annual Meeting

By Heather Munro Prescott

Last weekend I attended the 2013 annual meeting of the History of Science Society in Boston, Massachusetts. I tweeted periodic comments throughout the conference. Here are some further thoughts:

On Thursday afternoon, I started off with the Special Public Engagement Session: Science in the Streets, cosponsored by Boston University Center for the Philosophy and History of Science. This session consisted of two interdisciplinary panels aimed at exploring “innovative ways of connecting ordinary citizens with science, and how the history of science can inform and enrich these efforts.” Presenters included Brian Malow (the science comedian) and Ari Daniel Shapiro of the science podcast The Story Collider. Conevery Valencius Bolton from the University of Massachusetts, Boston did a fine job as an emcee for the session.

Visual Campaigns against AIDS, Then and Now

Once upon a time, AIDS was a focal point for artists in the United States. My design students and I recently read Maud Lavin’s Clean New World: Culture, Politics, and Graphic Design, in which she discusses the rise of political art and design in the 1980s after the election of Ronald Reagan.1 The Eighties —… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-How braille was invented.
-Intersex women speak out.
-Lead poisoning and great art.
-When did Mormons become straight?
-An advent calendar of quack medicine.

In Fair Atlanta, Where We Lay Our Scene: A Thanksgiving Love Story

By Sean Cosgrove

In recognition of this as my favourite American holiday, I couldn’t resist the urge to share with you a happy and historical Thanksgiving story I came across just the other day. It’s frothy and not particularly political, but I don’t think that makes it irrelevant or unnecessary. In fact, I sometimes think these simple stories have powerful messages of hope or love, or kindness or cheer, that transcend the historical and connect us to the past in a very real, and often emotional, way. A message not too far off what I took Thanksgiving to be about.

Birth Certificates can be Changed; Surgery is Forever

By Elizabeth Reis

We shouldn’t get too enthusiastic about Germany’s new birth certificate designation: “indeterminate.” Because the category will be an obligatory designation for babies born with ambiguous genitals (commonly known as intersex), the law might do more harm than good. Most infants are born with seemingly uncomplicated gender designations; we look at their genitals and decide their sex and their gender in an instant. Of course, not everyone grows up to agree with the gender they were assigned at birth. Transgender people grow up feeling out of sync with the gender they were assigned, even though the decision for most of them seemed perfectly straightforward at the time.

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-WWI pumpkin pie.
-The drones of the Civil War.
-Early 20th century yoga films.
-Sexting acronyms from the 1930s.
-A history of 8 Thanksgiving foods.
-That wacky sugar diet of the 1950s.

A Golden Girl’s Guide to Growing Old

By Cheryl Lemus

A few months ago, I decided to stop dyeing my hair. There were a couple of reasons behind this decision. In March, I started my new job as assistant professor of history for an online university, which means I work from home. One of the advantages of this position is that I don’t have to get dressed. Working in yoga apparel and/or PJs is oddly liberating, although I have to remind myself to wash my face and brush my teeth. There is a freedom in forgoing a professional wardrobe, but I began to wonder if I still needed to color my hair, which I’ve done in one way (Sun In) or another (Clairol #108) since I was 13. Now that I work from home, the box of dye is sitting in the bathroom. I think laziness is driving my decision more than wanting to make some sort of statement about embracing middle age.

Sex and Disability, Part 2

By Adam Turner

This is the second post in a two-part reflection on some of the issues raised by a September BBC news story, Judge Approves Man’s Sterilisation in Legal First. (See part one for a synopsis of the story.) In part one I listed three reasons why people often believe adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) should not have sex or sometimes even be in romantic relationships. I discussed number one in part one, and will now look at numbers two and three.

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-The Great War in color.
-Talk like a WWII soldier.
-The circus animals of WWI.
-Photos reveal Brazil’s slave history.
-Sexy vintage Thanksgiving pinups?

Renisha McBride and the Killing of Black Bodies

By Austin C. McCoy

Renisha McBride’s death once again reveals how the criminalization and dehumanization of black youth and the violent policing of black bodies persists in spite of triumphant declarations of post-racial America. On November 2, nineteen-year-old Renisha McBride became the latest African American to die because someone perceived her presence as a threat. That night, McBride was involved in a car accident with a parked car in Detroit. Two hours later, she was shot dead in the face at a house in Dearborn Heights. McBride’s parents claim she was looking for help. The homeowner thought she was trying to break into his home, and his gun discharged accidentally.