Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Historians in action films. Mermaids have always been black. The CIA’s top secret anti-poop diet. The twisty history of paternity testing. The electrifying history of the air guitar. An oral history of the early trans internet. Before the internet, cable TV was for porn…. Read more →

Sherlock Holmes Comes to Paris: True Crime and Private Detection in the Belle Époque

What’s the appeal of true crime? There’s the mystery to solve and the lure of thinking about violence from a safe distance. There’s also the desire to see justice done: one of the staples of true crime is a botched or mishandled police investigation. There are those who say they are wrongfully accused (Adnan Syed… Read more →

Exhibition Review: Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis

One hundred years after the 1918 flu epidemic, Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis opened at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY). The exhibition, which ran through April 2019 in association with the New York Academy of Medicine, asked visitors to consider the complex relationship between New Yorkers and pathogenic microorganisms, both… Read more →

Witness to Pain: The Migraine Art Collection

“Good morning Katherine, I just wanted to let you know that we have located the Migraine Art.” For four years, as I worked on the history of migraine, I had periodically been in touch with the team at Migraine Action, a UK-based advocacy charity for people with migraine.1 Globally, migraine affects around one in seven… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Like a virgin? Moon landings and Nazis. Enslaved people lived here. Stop saying breast milk is free. We’ve already had a gay First Lady. Finding the “men” in mental health. The phantom of the anatomy lecture. When Soviets tried to eliminate the plague. The… Read more →

Fictional Detectives and Real-Life Forensic Science

On April 10, 1935, Lord Hugh Montague Trenchard, the Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, invited policemen and politicians to celebrate the opening of the new Metropolitan Police Laboratory (MPL). The attendees, wrote a Times correspondent, “have been invited not just to see a collection of microscopes and test tubes, but to open the door to… Read more →

True Fake Crime

On April 1, 2019, news broke that Awkwafina and Ike Barinholtz are producing and starring in a movie named Crime After Crime, a comedy about true crime podcasting. Earlier this year, fictionalized true crime podcast The Angel of Vine, which featured Hollywood stars like Joe Manganiello, Constance Zimmer, and Alfred Molina, wrapped up its 10… Read more →

The Eugenicists on Abortion

Clarence Thomas recently issued a twenty-page opinion on the Supreme Court decision Box v. Planned Parenthood that went viral because he drew on Margaret Sanger, founder of the first birth control clinic in the U.S., and her connection to eugenics in order to argue that abortion is and historically has been a tool to control… Read more →

Najila and Neymar; or, The Normalization of Violence against Women in Brazil

You may have heard of Neymar, Brazil’s soccer darling.1 With the speed and skill to rival the all-time greats, he’s been on the international scene for almost a decade, leading his team in two World Cups and clinching an Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. But he’s also faced intense criticism from… Read more →

Louis “The Laughing Eel” Ross and the Road of No Return: Incarcerating the “Criminally Insane”

In 1921 a burglar called the “Laughing Eel” began serving a ten-year prison term, but it was 33 years before he got his freedom back. Like thousands of other incarcerated people with mental illnesses, Louis Ross was diagnosed as “criminally insane” and moved to a state hospital with a virtual life sentence. Despite his slippery… Read more →