“Kiss Via Kerchief”: Influenza Warnings in 1918

Just over one hundred years ago, New York Health Commissioner Royal S. Copeland responded to the threat of “Spanish” influenza reaching the United States with the reassuring, if completely misguided, prediction that “there is nothing to be alarmed about so far as I can see.”1 Yet the part of Copeland’s warning that “went viral,” to… Read more →

“There’s Only One Way This War Ends”: New Ways of Telling a Familiar Story in Sam Mendes’s 1917

In the spring of 1917, the German Army was recouping from enormous losses suffered at the Somme, Verdun, and in the Brusilov Offensive on the Eastern Front. Hoping to consolidate and reinforce their manpower, their army on the Western Front retreated to a series of well-planned, highly fortified trenches known as the Hindenburg Line. In… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news The first seizure. Eat like a 1970s radical. The queer history of flowers. 9 women who deserve a biopic. Sex education meets art history. The animated history of abortion pills. The first drag queen was a former slave. OB-GYNs are using Reddit to help… Read more →

Carrying Community: The Black Midwife’s Bag in the American South

The classic 1953 documentary film All My Babies features the life and work of Mary Coley, a legendary African-American “granny” midwife.1 The film follows Coley as she travels around her rural Georgia community carrying her ever-present black satchel. In one memorable scene, the exhausted midwife returns home after a long night of “catching babies.”2 As… Read more →

Intertwined Histories and Embodied Lives: An Interview with Cassia Roth

In A Miscarriage of Justice: Women’s Reproductive Lives and the Law in Early Twentieth-Century Brazil, Cassia Roth offers an innovative approach to the intertwined histories of honor, reproduction, maternity, and medicine in modern Brazilian history. With deep archival research, nuanced argumentation, and sensitivity toward historical actors — their suffering and their agency — Roth traces… Read more →

A Miscarriage of Justice

My book, A Miscarriage of Justice: Women’s Reproductive Lives and the Law in Early Twentieth-Century Brazil (Stanford University Press, 2020), begins and ends with the story of twenty-nine-year-old Isalina Vieira, a Brazilian woman living in the country’s capital of Rio de Janeiro. One October morning in 1912, Vieira went into labor. She called her female… Read more →

Conditions Are Favorable—For Love!

Tara Staley’s 2013 novel Conditions Are Favorable brings romance to the windswept sand bar of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, positing an emotional relationship between Orville Wright and Madeleine Tate at the start of the twentieth century. Tate is a local woman dreaming of something better than rural poverty and hard work. She seems to find… Read more →

Please Touch: 3D Technologies for Accessibility in Museums

In the fall of 2016, students and faculty from Coastal Carolina University attended the annual Reconstructive and Experimental Archaeology Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. The conference always includes a hands-on component like atlatl throwing, Viking bead-making, or other kinds of experiential learning. At the conference, Dr. Linda Hurcombe from University of Exeter gave a paper on using… Read more →

“I Would Rather Die”: A Review of Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland

On April 27 of last year, sociologist and psychiatrist Jonathan M. Metzl was at a public reading for his new book, Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland, when a group of megaphone-wielding “identitarians” interrupted him. They offered up a cringe-inducing nativist political platform and chanted “this land is… Read more →

Just Being There: The AIDS Crisis and the Shanti Project’s Hospital Counselor Program

When Ward 5B premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the nurses of the first AIDS inpatient unit in the United States walked down the red carpet with movie stars Julianne Moore and Halle Berry. Garnering critical and popular praise as well as Oscar buzz, Ward 5B explores the famed AIDS unit from the time it… Read more →