Cassia Roth

The (Historical) Body in Pain

For the last decade, I’ve been reading and writing about other women’s pain. Contractions lasting 72 hours. Feverish deliriums after a punctured uterus. A woman beaten with a tree branch. I study the history of gender and medicine, and my book manuscript examines the parallel processes of the medicalization of childbirth and the criminalization of… Read more →

Up in Flames: The Death of Brazil’s Museu Nacional

What do you do when your archive burns down? That’s a question that I, as well as thousands of researchers in Brazil and across the globe, faced on Sunday, September 2, when Brazil’s Museu Nacional (National Museum) in Rio de Janeiro went up in flames. The largest national history museum in Latin America, the Museu’s… Read more →

After the Mosquitoes Went Away: A Review of Debora Diniz’s Zika

In April 2015, Géssica Eduardo dos Santos — a Brazilian woman who lived in Juarezinho, a small town in the interior of the northeastern state of Paraíba — became pregnant for a second time. Géssica already had a young daughter, and this time she and her husband Silvandro da Silva Lima were hoping for a… Read more →

Joan Scott, Liberalism, and Abortion Rights

Recently, the University of Edinburgh awarded Joan Scott an honorary doctorate in social science. The hooding ceremony seemed more like a Catholic wedding than an intellectual honor — replete with scepters, somber music, and long robes (the British do like their hierarchy). I attended, of course, not for the solemn ceremony, but for the lecture… Read more →

#MarielleFrancoPresente

On the evening of Wednesday, March 14, Marielle Franco — the thirty-eight-year-old human-rights activist, feminist, anti-racist organizer, and recently-elected city councilwoman — went to an event on young black women and organizing (“Jovens Negras Movendo as Estruturas”) in the central Lapa district of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.1 At around 9 pm, Marielle left the meeting…. Read more →

Medicina/Medicine: A Special Nursing Clio Series on Latin America and the Caribbean

When I started writing for Nursing Clio in late 2014, I was excited to bring a Latin American focus to the blog. Since then, I’ve written about the history of gender, medicine, and race in the region with an emphasis on Brazil. I’ve tested out new research ideas, polished old ones, and ranted about things… Read more →

A Midwife for Every Woman: Maternal Healthcare in Malawi

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in Africa, with 50% of its population living in poverty. A landlocked country located in East Africa between Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia, it received independence from British rule in 1964. It would take another 30 years for free elections. The country has made headlines in the last few… Read more →

Black Nurse, White Milk: Wet Nursing and Slavery in Brazil

In 1888, Brazil became the last country to abolish slavery in the Western hemisphere. The process of emancipation in the country, however, had been gradual, beginning in 1850 with the final end of the slave trade. In the second half of the nineteenth century, legislation continued to chip away at the institution of slavery, including… Read more →

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 →