Cassia Roth

On Poverty, Morality, and Mothering

In 1930, nineteen-year-old black (preta) Jovelina Pereira dos Santos, a live-in domestic servant in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, hid her pregnancy from her family and employers, gave birth in secret, and asphyxiated her newborn immediately after delivery. Santos already had a young son named Ernesto who was a little over one year of age. Santos… Read more →

Women Against Abortion: Inside the Largest Moral Reform Movement of the Twentieth Century, by Karissa Haugeberg

Not a year goes by without state legislatures across the country implementing new regulatory burdens on abortion clinics, or requiring excessive waiting periods for women seeking abortions. In fact, while abortion continues to be a legal procedure, the twentieth-first-century abortion landscape is often much more restrictive than it was in the years immediately following the… Read more →

Option Whatever: The Corporatization of Grief in Sheryl Sandberg’s Option B

Two years ago, my husband Clayton was murdered. That summer, I wrote a lot in my journal. I felt angry at how so many people reacted to Clayton’s death. I wanted to memorialize our memories together. I wanted to remember through writing. I snarkily told my family I was going to publish my own how-to… Read more →

A Quiet Inquisition

When Delma Rosa Gómez was 27 years old, she was diagnosed with advanced stages of metastatic cancer. When she told her physician she was pregnant, they replied that they couldn’t start chemotherapy. “They said any treatment could provoke an abortion. And they couldn’t give me an abortion because it was penalized by law. They said… Read more →

HIV in Brazil: Health and Human Rights in a Global Context

The fight over the future of the ACA here in the U.S. has made me think about universal healthcare, disease, and rights in a global context. The fierce debate over the idea of healthcare as a “right” versus a “privilege” on Capitol Hill seems almost antiquated when compared with other countries. When a friend of… Read more →

For the Love of Data: Science, Protest, and Power at Love Canal

For many environmental activists and scientists, the phrase “Love Canal” remains indelibly marked in the imagination. A toxic waste site that pitted scientists and citizens against the government, it is heralded as one of the first successes of the environmental movement in holding the state accountable for the public health of its residents. In 1896,… Read more →

What Lies Beneath: The Handmaid’s Tale in Trump’s America

I first came across Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale in my junior year of college, when it was assigned for my feminist theory class. I didn’t know much about the novel, but I remember that the professor emphasized how relevant the book’s message was in 1985, when it was first published; in 1990, when… Read more →

When the Man Gets You Down… Or the Power of Transnational Feminism

Over the last fifteen years, Latin America has seen the rise and fall of women in politics. A decade before the U.S. (almost) elected their first woman president, Chile elected Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010 and 2014-present); Argentina voted in Cristina Kirchner (2007-1015); and Brazil chose Dilma Rousseff (2010-2016). These women ran on mainly leftist platforms and… Read more →

Tales of Transnational White Privilege: Gender, Race, and Nationality on the Streets of Rio de Janeiro

It’s old news by now that on August 14, 2016, American swimmers Ryan Lochte, James Feigen, Gunar Bentz, and Jack Conger claimed that they were robbed at gunpoint by police officers at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In an interview with NBC, Lochte said that the four swimmers had been pulled over… Read more →

Writings Appropriate to Her Sex: Women Authors, Pseudonyms, and the Gendered History of Publishing and Reading

Recently, Italian journalist Claudio Gatti allegedly “outed” the popular Italian novelist Elena Ferrante by publishing in the New York Review of Books proof of her “true” identity. Ferrante’s writing, particularly the Neapolitan novels — a series of four books that chronicle female friendship, violence, poverty, and gender in postwar Italy — have become international bestsellers… Read more →