Tag: catholicism

Uncovering the Convent

I study nuns. Now, let me start by saying that I’m not Catholic; I just study nuns in the nineteenth century. I am one of a handful of scholars, mainly women, who study nuns, or more accurately, women religious.1 Although I am immensely passionate about my topic, I find that most people are not aware… Read more →

This is Not a Culture of Life, This is a Culture of Un-Death

Last week at a Vatican conference on abortion, Pope Francis “argued that children who were not expected to live long after birth deserved to be treated in the womb ‘with extraordinary pharmacological, surgical and other interventions.’” He intimated that parents who did not use extraordinary measures were not caring for their children, saying that “Taking… Read more →

Murder and Motherhood in 1950s Ireland: The Trial of Abortionist Mamie Cadden

On the evening of April 17, 1956, thirty-three-year-old Helen O. visited nurse Mamie Cadden at 17 Hume Street, Dublin, for what she likely thought would be a routine, if illegal, abortion.1 Helen O.’s death after the attempted abortion provoked a national controversy that complicated dominant constructions of motherhood and domesticity in mid-twentieth-century Ireland. In the… Read more →

Teaching Abélard and Héloïse

One of the wearying inevitabilities of 2018 was that even the most cursory glance at the news was likely to bring you a fresh tale of sexual assault — in politics, the entertainment industry and, closer to home for me, academia. Much of the resulting commentary was almost as jarring as the news articles themselves…. Read more →

Medical Metaphors: The Long History of the Corrupted Body Politic

For the past few years, my Facebook feed has been full of political memes. Quite a few critique or satirize a particular issue or person, but many are about political corruption in a more general sense. Polls indicate that even before the 2016 election, Americans on both sides of the aisle believed that government corruption… Read more →

Women, Prayer, and Household Authority in Irish History

Traveling through Ireland in 1909, writer Robert Lynd described “a strange crying—almost a lamentation” that one might hear “on some evenings, if you are in a Catholic house in the most Irish parts of the country.” This strange sound, he elaborated, “was the hour of family prayer.”1 In almost all Irish households, nightly prayers were… Read more →