Tag: war

Writing “Hearts and Minds” as Feminist Military History

I was very proud to defend my dissertation on the British Indian Army on March 8 – International Women’s Day – until one of my advisors noted (lovingly) that there were “hardly any women in it.” She pointed out (and implicitly criticized) what is the troublingly common assumption – that of course stories about wars… Read more →

The Guerrilla Household of Lizzie and William Gregg

Taking a feminist lens to the Civil War in Missouri–known for its models of hypermasculinity like William Quantrill, “Bloody Bill” Anderson, Frank and Jesse James, Cole Younger, and William H. Gregg–it becomes readily apparent that white women were as married to the war as their Confederate menfolk. Lizzie Hook, a young woman from a slaveholding… Read more →

Breastfeeding During War

The fireworks began at 7 pm, and my anxiety, already made worse by sleep deprivation, was heightened. I had just returned home with my newborn from a traumatic birth experience, and we were struggling to learn to breastfeed and find a sleeping pattern. That evening, after a lot of fuss, I had finally put her… Read more →

A Woman Who Wrote About War: Recovering Ellen N. La Motte’s The Backwash of War

I love the old American spiritual “Down by the Riverside.” In fact, my first book borrows its title, War No More, from the song’s refrain. However, as a scholar of American antiwar writing, I have been studying war for a very long time. Sadly, my scholarly career has overlapped with America’s wars in Afghanistan and… Read more →

“Considerable Grief”: Dead Bodies, Mortuary Science, and Repatriation after the Great War

In September 1919, Mary McKenney was forced to relive the horrors of her husband Arthur’s death. Sergeant Arthur McKenney was wounded in France and returned to the United States.1 Despite his minor injury, he later died at a US Army hospital in Colonia, New Jersey from shock following an operation. After the autopsy, his body… Read more →

Neuro-Psychiatry and Patient Protest in First World War American Hospitals

November 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. As historian and Nursing Clio writer Evan Sullivan tweeted earlier this week, “We’ve always benefitted from the proximity of living within a century’s distance from WWI, but after this Sunday, it will begin to drift further into history. It will be… Read more →

Creating Battle Signs: Iraq/Afghanistan War Veterans, Art Therapy, and Rehabilitation

During my first research trip to the National Archives in College Park I stayed with my family in Lorton, Virginia just outside Washington, D.C. Every morning I drove past Fort Belvoir, a large and seemingly endless military base with its own school system and stores, and wondered what the inner workings were like. All I… Read more →

The Eye at War: American Eye Prosthetics During the World Wars

In December 1943 Colonel Derrick Vail, ophthalmologist and consultant to the Army Medical Department in Europe, wrote in a memo: “There is a critical shortage of artificial eye supply.”1 Vail was referring to the shortage of optical glass traditionally used in the manufacture of prosthetic eyes in wartime. During the Second World War the United… Read more →

War Art 100 Years Later: The “World War I and American Art” Exhibit and the Centenary of the Great War

On March 12, I attended the exhibit “World War I and American Art” at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. This museum and art school, one of the oldest art academies in the United States that first opened in 1805, hosted the exhibit as part of a nationwide effort to remember American entry… Read more →