At the Crossroads of Comfort TV and Comfort Food

When I started my PhD, a kind mentor advised me to cope with graduate school’s stresses by eating chocolate and watching lots of TV. I received the same guidance when starting a tenure track position, though the recommendation escalated to watching TV in a (forgivable and deserved) prostrate position. This is survival advice for everyone,… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Gin, syphilis, and lunacy. A history of the wheelchair. Why we need more black doulas. Teaching “Car Talk” to new docs. Viking women, at home and at war. Fairy tales may be older than we think. The real doctors who inspired M*A*S*H. The camera… Read more →

Manly Firmness: It’s Not Just for the 18th Century (Unfortunately)

The references to “manly firmness” are everywhere in late-18th-century political sources. For example, Edward Dilly wrote to John Adams from London in 1775 to praise the men in the Continental Congress, “for the Wisdom of their Proceedings — their Unanimity, and Manly firmness.” In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson listed the crimes of the… Read more →

Femininity and Legitimacy: Policing Women and “Witches” in Post-Apartheid South Africa

One night in the late spring of 2008, in the South African town of Mondlo, an assembly of neighbors brought 72-year-old Ntombikayise Zulu to tribal court. The neighbors suspected she wanted to kill them after they had killed her “familiar” — a squirrel who hunted chickens. Zulu, who tearfully claimed that she never practiced witchcraft,… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Medicine on screen. Plague water, anyone? The miscegenation troll. When Brooklyn was queer. The great glass coffin scam. Hemp and heritage in France. Celebrating bad taste at the Met. The laughing gas parties of the 1700s. Scientific duo gets back to basics to make… Read more →

Emigration as Epidemic: Perspectives on the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Highlands

In our digital age, the contagion metaphor is often part of the language we use regarding the exchange of information. The most popular videos go “viral” online. We share culturally-relevant “memes” via social media that spread like the common cold. But such metaphors are nothing new, especially when applied to migration. As medical knowledge developed… Read more →

Colonial Colette: From Orientalism and Egyptian Pantomime to Polaire’s Jamaican “Slave”

I first read excerpts of Colette’s Sido in my IB French class in 2007, so when the recent biopic starring Keira Knightley and produced by Wash Westmoreland came out, I knew that I had to see it. Colette was one of the most prolific French writers of the early twentieth century, well known for her… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news WWII and drug prevention. Rethinking love and autism. Do aphrodisiacs really work? So who really was Queen Anne? Eugenic love in the Progressive Era. A teenage social revolution in your pocket. 8 daring female entrepreneurs from history. Sperm banks, DNA testing, and donor privacy…. Read more →

Marie Kondo and Books: Tidying Up the Misconceptions

The Netflix reality TV show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo premiered on January 1, 2019. Based on her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (2014), the show follows Kondo as she brings her process into the homes of a diverse cast of clients. Her process, called… Read more →

“Acknowledgments in Essay Form:” Briallen Hopper’s Hard to Love

I agreed to review Hard to Love: Essays and Confessions a week before my long-time boyfriend broke up with me out of the blue one otherwise completely normal Wednesday afternoon. Needless to say, my copy of Briallen Hopper’s heartfelt and nourishing essays arrived at exactly the right time. Her collected musings — examining love, life,… Read more →