The Historical is Personal: 5th Anniversary Reflections

In honor of Nursing Clio’s 5-year-anniversary, I planned to write an essay about our origin story. It is a fascinating tale — I started the blog as a final project in a grad seminar on public scholarship — but ultimately, I decided it’s not what I want to write about. I would rather celebrate our… Read more →

Before the Pink Hat: Abolitionist (and Other) Objects of Protest

The point of public protest is to draw attention to something — to make the invisible wrong visible, and thus demand that we recognize and engage with it. To this end, protest and resistance movements have long made use of material culture, from murals to t-shirts. While by current prevailing wisdom we should phone our… Read more →

Helen Atwater: The First Lady of American Nutrition You’ve Never Heard Of

When I was researching the history of American food guides, I came across one of the earliest resources, “How to Select Foods,” published in 1917 by Hunt and Atwater. At first I assumed that this Atwater was Wilbur Olin Atwater, the man so often heralded as “The Father of American Nutrition.” I was wrong. It… Read more →

No Excuses: The 21st-Century Supercrip in Three Snapshots

In the past decade, the landscape of commercial fitness has changed drastically. It has become less dependent on stationary exercise machinery, and instead emphasizes free weights. CrossFit gyms and obstacle course races (OCR) such as Tough Mudder and Spartan Race have become mainstream fitness options. Both CrossFit and OCR have a paramilitary ethos and randomized training…. Read more →

Andrew Jackson’s Love Letters

In our era of political “bromances” between leaders who value aggression and belittle sensitivity, it’s easy to forget that expectations as to how men should interact with other men are always changing. In the 1820s, President Andrew Jackson, whose legacy Donald Trump has embraced, fashioned himself as one of the most virile men of his… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news The amateur abortionists. Medicine’s medieval roots. The pharmacist of Auschwitz.  Cholera in 19th-century France. Romania’s problem with Dracula. The woman doctors who fought to serve. How black freedom benefited poor whites. An old disease that needs a new treatment. Global weirding in America’s first… Read more →

The Pill Kills: Women’s Health and Feminist Activism

On December 16, 1975, a group of Washington, D.C. area women’s health activists held the first-ever protest at the headquarters of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The demonstration took the form of a “memorial service” to commemorate the thousands of women who had died from using the contraceptive pill and other estrogen-containing drugs, and… Read more →

A Post-Racial Gilead? Race and Reproduction in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale

In the Texas state legislature last month, several women dressed as handmaids sat in silent judgment over the lawmakers who were attempting (yet again) to outlaw an abortion procedure. Since last November’s election, sales of dystopian literature, including Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, have skyrocketed. A number of writers, perhaps most notably Rebecca Traister, have… Read more →

A Parable for Our Time: Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale

“I know this may not seem ordinary to you right now, but over time it will be. This will become ordinary.” These days, words of caution like this sound like they could come from any number of progressive political pundits commenting on the rise of right-wing nationalism and all that it entails. In Hulu’s new… Read more →

What Lies Beneath: The Handmaid’s Tale in Trump’s America

I first came across Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale in my junior year of college, when it was assigned for my feminist theory class. I didn’t know much about the novel, but I remember that the professor emphasized how relevant the book’s message was in 1985, when it was first published; in 1990, when… Read more →