Tag: health

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-Wanted: Adventurous woman to act as surrogate for Neanderthal baby.
-Hidden history of Washington D.C.
-The plague has staying power.
-What are the ten most important documents in U.S. history? Submit your nominations now.
-Gene study hopes to settle debate over origin of European Jews.

Rites and Wrongs: Changing a Ritual from Within

By Elizabeth Reis

The previously obscure ultra-Orthodox Jewish rite of metzitzah b’peh (oral suction) has burst into the news lately and raised critical questions about genital surgery, consent, First Amendment rights, tradition, and the representation of Jews.

I would guess that most Americans, even Jewish-Americans, had never heard of metzitzah b’peh (oral suction) until the recent controversy between ultra-Orthodox Jews and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. It refers to a custom performed after a circumcision in which a mohel (ritual circumciser) orally sucks the blood away from the baby boy’s penis. To insure the requirement that blood be shed and then hygienically removed (sucking was deemed the best means of achieving this hygiene anciently), metzitzah b’peh became part of circumcisions in the 2ndcentury, according to scholars. Most Jews, even observant Modern Orthodox Jews, have abandoned the practice. But a small minority adheres to and defends it, based on the First Amendment – somewhat surprisingly now on free speech grounds in addition to its religious liberty provisions.

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-Reamins of Nazi wife confirmed through DNA.
-Wow . . .Henry VIII really knew how to put on a feast!
-The sad history of kid-sized handcuffs.
-America fails at health and wellness.
-More sex, less babies.
-Therapeutic synthetic poop (yes, you read that right).

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-Recession babies more likely to be delinquents?
-Surreal textbook illustrations from the 1970s.
-Need to peruse the ancient letters of St. Paul? There’s an app for that.
-A new spin on historic sites – digital caves.
-The class politics of vaccinations.
-The entrepreneurial historian.

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-What’s in your belly button? (Hint: ewww…gross.)
-The forgotten history of 20th century drugs.
-The history of female genital mutilation.
-The nautical roots of the modern tattoo.
-The troubled history behind the stolen babies of Spain.
-1860s fundraising efforts for emancipated slaves.

“My, What Healthy Breasts You Have!” (said no one, ever)

By Carolyn Herbst Lewis

This past May, I attended the annual meeting of the Western Association of Women Historians, which is one of my favorite history conferences (I’m pretty sure there is no other history organization that concludes its awards banquet with a sing-a-long). Usually I hate to miss any of the sessions. But this year, I snuck off with Cheryl Lemus and another historian (I’ll call her L) to do a little “mentoring” in the shops of Berkeley. This isn’t totally facetious, as we were on a mission: to find me a properly fitted sports bra. I had started running a few months earlier, and while I had great shoes and a snazzy outfit, certain other areas of my anatomy were feeling less well-equipped. Cheryl and L are seasoned runners, and they were appalled by my bounce. So, we headed to the only place where any self-respecting women’s historian would go for such things: Title IX Sports.

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-The weirdest claims made by “Designer Vagina” websites.
-Civil War underwear.
-Japanese-American internee letters found hidden in wall.
-The historian’s curse.
-New study shows disabled parents often lose custody of their children.
-Girls in juvenile detention face health care issues.
-Is neuroscience under attack?

Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times Britain in the 1950s

As I watched Call the Midwife, I recalled my own personal memories and relationship with the National Health System (NHS).   I trained as a midwife in the late 1980s in one of the busiest (if not the busiest) inner-city maternity hospitals in Britain. We delivered 8,000 babies a year. Midwifery training was highly competitive. The… Read more →

Feminist Conversations: Elizabeth Reis Talks Intersex

Elizabeth Reis is a professor of women’s and gender studies at the University of Oregon and is the author of Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009). This year (2012-2103) she is a visiting scholar in the History of Science Department at Harvard University. This interview originally appeared in Feminists for Choice and is reprinted with permission.

1. What was the motivation behind writing Bodies in Doubt?

So much of the “history” of intersex begins in the mid-1950s with a critique of John Money and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins University. This was an important period, of course, because Money’s protocols became widely adopted, but it was hardly the beginning of the story of the medical management of intersex. As an early American historian, I wondered what happened to those born with unusual bodies in earlier eras. I wanted to find out how the gradual process of medicalization affected our understanding of how male and female bodies were supposed to look.