Tag: Gender

On Feeding My Husband with Cancer

I am both a historian of medicine and a practicing physician. This sometimes throws into sharp relief how different medicine is today than it was even 100 years ago. One of the guiding principles in my research and teaching is called “relativism” — trying to understand people and ideas in the past on their own… 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 →

A Day at the Smithsonian: Black History Takes Its Place on the National Mall

Like many historians, I was thrilled that the newest Smithsonian museum would be focusing on African American History and Culture. The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) opened in late September, and I reserved tickets two months early to visit with family and friends — this was lucky forethought, since free tickets… Read more →

Dorothy Bruce Weske: Academia and Motherhood in the Mid-Twentieth Century

In 1934, in her mid-thirties and single, Dorothy Bruce defended her dissertation at Radcliffe College on thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Convocations, a name given to a category of English church councils. In 1937, her work, Convocation of the Clergy: A Study of its Antecedents and its Rise with Special Emphasis upon its Growth and Activities in… Read more →

Strange Pain, Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Womb: A Teacher’s Reflection on Bodies in History

In fall 2015, I taught a first-year writing class called “Womb Trouble.” I don’t know if it was a very good class. I was a first-time adjunct not quite out of grad school, tasked with teaching writing to freshmen barely five years younger than me, and I latched onto the text I knew best: the… 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 →

Rosie the Riveter for President: Margaret Wright, the People’s Party, and Black Feminism

  “I’ve been discriminated against because I am a woman, because I am black, because I am poor, because I am fat, because I am left-handed.” On an August afternoon in 1976, about 100 people from 14 states gathered at an alternative high school in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco to hear Margaret Wright… Read more →

Speak Up or Shut Up: The Legend of Barbara Jordan

Nearing the blessed close of what has been an absurd Presidential election cycle, one thing is clear: Barbara Jordan would not be here for any of this. Unfortunately, we could surely use her. The “voice of God” before Morgan Freeman was a flicker on a screen,1 Barbara Jordan was one of the most well-known and… Read more →

Are Women Human? A Historical Mystery with Medical Interruptions

In 1938, the British crime writer and theologian Dorothy Leigh Sayers addressed a women’s society on the simple question: “Are Women Human?” Adding her voice to the ongoing discourse on the “woman question,” Sayers expressed frustration with the wonder and criticism directed towards those people whose lives divert from the path expected of their gender…. Read more →

Are We Free to Be President Yet? The Legacy of Pat Schroeder and 1970s Feminism

I was born into 1970s feminism. I came into the world in 1972, the year Free to Be You and Me came out. It must have made a big impression on my elementary school teachers, because I saw the filmstrip version of it in school at least three times. I loved it at least as… Read more →