“The Club of the Four Hs”: HIV/AIDS, Race, and Neoliberalism in Argentina

During my childhood in Buenos Aires, adults usually told us to be careful while using telephones and cinema seats because people diagnosed with HIV could hide infected syringes in these “dark spots” to spread the virus. Generally portraying people with HIV as resentful and dangerous, popular representations activated historical racial and sexual boundaries that legitimated… Read more →

Mary Seacole and the Politics of Writing Black History in 1980s Britain

Mary Seacole, the nineteenth-century Jamaican-Scottish nurse known to many as the “Black Florence Nightingale,” has a complicated history in British public memory. After essentially disappearing for a century after her death, Seacole was “revived” with the republication of her 1857 autobiography by editors Ziggi Alexander and Audrey Dewjee at the feminist Falling Water press in… Read more →

Making Medical History: The Sociologist Who Helped Legalize Birth Control

When sociology and economics professor Norman E. Himes published The Medical History of Contraception in 1936, he had made a daring, yet tactical move. At the time, contraception was not, legally speaking, considered a medical matter at all. Under the Comstock Act, which had been in effect since 1873, all literature and devices used for… Read more →

“Blindness and Boldness”: Haptic Imaginaries from the Operating Theater to the Pandemic Everyday

“It’s like driving a car in the fog”: The Operating Theater A torso, swollen with gas and yellow with antiseptic – this was the only glimpse of the patient’s body visible among the draped blue sterile sheets of the operating theatre. Poking through four quarter-inch incisions across the lower abdomen were the tools of surgical… Read more →

Right All the Way Through: Dr. Minerva Goodman and the Stockton Mask Debate during the 1918-1919 Influenza Epidemic

During the 1918-19 influenza epidemic, Stockton, California, adopted a mask ordinance three times, totalling more than seventy days. In late December 1918, Dr. Minerva Goodman, the recently appointed city health officer, lost a debate about ending the second mask ordinance to those advocating a return to normal activities. Just weeks later, as cases rose again,… Read more →

“Containment and Control, Not Care or Cure”: An Interview with Elizabeth Catte on Virginia’s Eugenics Movement

In Pure America: Eugenics and the Making of Modern Virginia, Dr. Elizabeth Catte expertly investigates and contextualizes the local history of eugenics in Staunton, Virginia. The story of the former Western State Lunatic Asylum—now renovated as a luxury hotel and pricey condos—demonstrates how race, gender, class and capitalism intersect in the American eugenics movement to… Read more →

Working Mothers

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed racial and class inequities in brutal ways. Gone are the early days when politicians might say that the virus affects us all equally. We can see in the statistics, in the losses, and in who fills up the hospital beds that this isn’t true. And just as the pandemic helped… Read more →

The Empire of Depression: A Conversation with Jonathan Sadowsky

Professor Jonathan Sadowsky, Theodore J. Castele Professor at Case Western Reserve University, is the author of two important works on the history of psychiatry: Imperial Bedlam: Institutions of Madness in Colonial Southwest Nigeria and Electroconvulsive Therapy in America: The Anatomy of a Medical Controversy. Sadowsky is well known in the field for his nuanced and… Read more →

Sister Mariana’s Spyglass: The Unreliable Ghost of Female Desire in a Convent Archive

In 1731, Sister Mariana de Jesus, a young nun at the Augustinian Convent of Santa Monica in Portuguese Goa, was caught using a spyglass to ogle the monks at the convent’s brother monastery across the street.[1] Under other circumstances, Sister Mariana’s spyglass might not have attracted much attention. Spyglasses were popular among the sisters of… Read more →

Trans Care Webs: A Review of Hil Malatino’s Trans Care

Hil Malatino’s Trans Care asks a seemingly simple question: What does care look like in trans lives? To be clear, Malatino isn’t asking how trans people are cared for. This is not a book about institutionalized forms of care or about how to make clinics, schools, social services, or public programs more trans-inclusive. Rather, this… Read more →