Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Disability, race, and art. The faces of World War I. Perfume advice for Victorians. A brief history of fake doctors. The language of American loggers. The Chinese survivors of the Titanic. (Mis)understanding a female serial killer. The strange history of medicinal turpentine. 10 historical… Read more →

Lizards and the Idea of Mexico

In the summer of 1782, Don Juan de Luna, a respected elder citizen of the City of Mexico, nearly choked on a lagartija, a lizard, when he ate it to ease the throbbing tumor on his tongue. The details are foggy, but he likely followed the protocol established by his medical counsel, the celebrated physicist,… Read more →

“No-Tell Motels”: Abortion in Pre-Roe South Carolina

“Charleston was the place to come before Roe v. Wade, for abortions.” Reminiscing about illegal abortion in South Carolina in the 1960s and early 1970s, this woman in her 60s, an oral history narrator, highlighted the roles of “backstreet” abortion networks in Charleston. She also told a story about a college friend who needed an… Read more →

It’s Not You, It’s Me: #MeToo in Academia

It was Friday, and I was indulging myself at the prepared foods bar at Whole Foods, thinking — hoping — that a meal would calm my anxiety enough to face the mountain of grading I had to finish at home. I had been too anxious to eat for about two days. Lost in thought, I… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news The testosterone myth. Rube Goldberg got tech right. The history of the wolf-whistle. Archives and dumping grounds. On the misuses of medical history. The curious origins of the dollar sign. A brief history of breasts for pleasure. What it means to study food at… Read more →

New Medical Tourism on St. Kitts

The late William Halford of Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine spent his life developing what Hollywood director Agustín Fernández called a herpes “miracle treatment.” Theravax is an experimental herpes vaccine that, in 2013, Halford began testing both on himself and on friends, family, and volunteers. Inside hotel rooms across Illinois, Harford injected Theravax into… Read more →

Remembering the Mothers of Gynecology: Deirdre Cooper Owens’ Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology

Antebellum physician James Marion Sims has been in the news quite a bit lately as a target of activism. After the Charlottesville white supremacist rallies, efforts to take down Confederate monuments have spread across the country, and those efforts have included statues of James Marion Sims. Sims is known for developing a successful technique for… Read more →

Understanding My Past after #MeToo

For some, #MeToo and #TimesUp mark political correctness run amok. Some scoff that women don’t know the difference between a bad date and assault, drawing a sharp divide between critics of the movement and women who are demanding that we reclaim our voices in the face of a wide array of abuses. While not all… Read more →

Dying to Heal: Women and Syphilis in Colonial Lima, Peru

In the early modern world, syphilis victims suffered through four stages of disease over a ten- to thirty-year time span. The first two phases manifested on the skin, beginning with painless ulcers near the site of infection (usually the genitals or mouth), which progressed to blotchy, red rashes on the palms of the hands and… Read more →

“Shock from Loss”: The Reality of Grief in the First World War

On October 24, 1918, fifty-eight-year-old Elizabeth was admitted to the City of London Mental Hospital by her husband.1 He stated that she had been suffering for the past fourteen months with “shock from loss of her two sons in the War.”2 He further explained that her younger son had been killed in action, and her… Read more →