Adventures in the Archives: Julia Heller’s “Boy Friends Book”

By Carolyn Herbst Lewis

One of the writing assignments that I use in my American women’s history class is a series of primary document analyses. Each one uses a different digital database or archive to locate a document and analyze it using course materials. I like to imagine this is building twenty-first century research skills and teaching responsible use of the Internet, as well as our more traditional goal of critical thinking skills. As I was constructing the assignment, I explored several digital repositories, including the North American Women’s Letters and Diaries collection from Alexander Street Press. In the process, I stumbled upon an item that very quickly sucked me in. I had no choice but to drop everything else and read it very, very carefully.

Faculty Mothers: Continuing the Conversation

By Rachel Epp Buller

Listening ear. Moral support. Advisor. Counselor. Professor. Mother?

I’m in the midst of reading Academic Motherhood: How Faculty Manage Work and Family, by Kelly Ward and Lisa Wolf-Wendel–both of whom are well-published professors of educational leadership.[1] Ward and Wolf-Wendel aren’t the first authors to address this topic; other notable contributions to the conversation include Mama, Ph.D. (and the subsequent Papa, Ph.D.), Parenting and Professing, The Family Track: Keeping Your Faculties While You Mentor, Nurture, Teach, and Serve, and Academic Motherhood in a Post-Second Wave Context.

Sunday Morning Medicine

by Jacqueline Antonovich

-A cultural history of rabies.
-Tracking the flu, then and now.
-Did bad weather make us love milk?
-Healthy people seeking amputations.
-Did a 1930s scientist murder 8 people?

Disability, Responsibility, and the Veteran Pension Paradox

By Guest Author

Recently, NPR reporter Quil Lawrence presented a radio series in which he profiled veterans who received other-than-honorable discharges from the military after violating rules of conduct, breaking the law, or getting in trouble with military authorities. Despite their service – including, for many, tours in active warzones – soldiers with so-called ‘bad paper’ are no longer considered veterans. As former Marine Michael Hartnett put it: “You might as well never even enlisted.”[1] Hartnett was given bad paper in 1993 when he began abusing drugs and alcohol – an attempt to self-medicate his undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder. Veterans like Hartnett are no longer eligible to receive any of the veterans’ benefits they were promised when they enlisted.

Eating to Live: A Short History of Health Rap

Political hip hop songs tend to focus on the typical manifestations of state violence, structural racism, and corporate capitalism—police brutality, poverty, the prison-industrial complex, ghettoization, and war.  Themes of healthy eating and food justice, however, are underappreciated topics in rap music. One is more likely to hear rap songs about drug, alcohol, and eating binges… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-How Londoners died in 1665.
-The life of a 1970s housewife.
-“Oh God for one more breath.”
-Eight songs about your period.
-Why is hemp illegal? A short history.
-The Minnesota starvation experiment.

The Resurgence of the Horrific, Harsh, and Ugly Reality of Childhood Diseases: The Inevitable Risk of Forgoing Vaccinations

By Natisha Robb

In “When the Personal Really is Historical (and Scary!),” Jacqueline Antonovich, a gender and medicine historian, described her 21st-century experience with pertussis, a.k.a. whooping cough, an extremely contagious “good old-fashioned Oregon Trail disease” that recently reemerged since its near eradication in the 1970s. While Antonovich suggests a recent surge in the anti-vaccine movement, records unveil a history fraught with ongoing controversy. Before vaccinations became a childhood rite of passage, every family knew someone who lost a child to a now vaccine-preventable disease. Yet despite the magnitude of casualties from smallpox, measles, polio, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis in populations lacking herd immunity, vulnerable communities did not always welcome vaccination campaigns with open arms.

A Tale of Two Diseases: ADHD and Neurasthenia

Consider two diseases: Disease A and Disease B. Children with Disease A are described as being “excitable” and “precocious,” at risk of being “overstimulated.” Thus, they are unable to balance “academic, intellectual, and physical growth.” [Schuster, 116] Children suffering from Disease B, on the other hand, are “active, restless, and fidgety” and have difficulty “sustaining attention to tasks, persistence of effort, or vigilance.” [Barkley, 57] At first glance, the symptoms of the two diseases in children seem oddly similar. Yet these are two wildly unique diseases that have never overlapped in time.

The Trouble with Transcendence: Is Defying the Gender Binary the New Racial Passing?

By Mallory Nicole Davis

In 2010, Thomas Araguz III, a Texas firefighter died on the job, leaving behind his two children and transgender wife, Nikki.[1] The couple was legally married because although the state of Texas only recognizes heterosexual marriages, the state will validate a transgender union if the trans partner’s identification documents dictate that s/he is the opposite legal sex of the spouse.[2] However, when Nikki sought survivor benefits after her husband’s unexpected death, Thomas’ family launched a case against Nikki, stating that Thomas did not know his wife was transgender. The suit argued that Nikki wrongfully deceived her husband, while lobbying for the nullification of their marriage and subsequently, Nikki’s request for spousal benefits. The case was complicated further by the prosecuting attorney’s interrogation of a deposition taken from Thomas in a separate court case—a battle over custody of his two sons with his ex-wife—in which he stated that he did not know that Nikki was transgender.[3] In response to the scrutinizing of her late husband’s statement, Nikki insisted that Thomas lied during his deposition and pretended to be unaware of her transgender status in order maintain custody of his two small children. Nikki stated, “At the time, Thomas and I thought it was in the best interest of our children to lie. They were the center of (our) lives”.[4] Whether Nikki neglected to disclose her trans identity to her husband or that the couple collectively decided to lie to the court during their custody case for the sake of their children, deception surrounding Nikki’s trans status is at the center of this legal case; and undoubtedly, her credibility will be diminished regardless of how the court decides.

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-John Lennon in Havana.
-A 1950s guide to hooking up.
-40 vintage ads that shame women.
-Is Alcoholics Anonymous outdated?
-Vibrant anatomy drawings circa 1959.