Category: Clio Gets Personal

Is a Historian’s Library an Archive or a Living Thing?

This week I purged my bookshelves. As a Ph.D. historian, it initially felt like a risky move — somewhere in between disowning my former self and cutting out part of my brain. In the end, though, I think the effect will be closer to pruning a big, old, tangled shrub so that it has some… Read more →

“The Egg” in the Twenty-First Century: A Family’s Holistic Healing and Cleansing Practice

In the early 2000s, my great-aunt performed a holistic healing act on my mother with an egg. My mother, sick and feverish in bed, hadn’t kept food down for days. My grandmother called her sister, my madrina at the time, and asked that she come perform the ritual — “the egg,” as we called it… Read more →

In Memoriam

Among the many things in academia that graduate school does not prepare you for is outliving your students and, in some instances, having them share their experience of dying. As I close out my academic career I think about the students I have outlived and I write in memory of them. I give them pseudonyms… Read more →

How I Met My Mother: The Story of an Unexpected Pregnancy

I was born seven weeks after my mother found out she was pregnant. I was not a medical miracle — I was a bouncing 9lb 14oz when born — but my route into the world was complicated by a series of doctors (all men) who repeatedly told my mother she was not expecting a child… Read more →

Labor, Birth, and Superstitions

On the morning that my daughter-in-law went into labor, a small bird crashed into our apartment window and lay dead on the terrace. At least that’s what I assumed happened when I saw its small black and yellow body lying on its side. Our internet research told us it was a Blackburnian Warbler, a bird… Read more →

On the Craft of Editing, Our Teachers, and Leaving Academia

Generations of history graduate students at the College of William & Mary have stories to tell about Gil Kelly. The longtime managing editor of the books program at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture (OI), Gil was one of those unforgettable individuals. Throughout his career and long past the advent of Microsoft… Read more →

Stop Depicting Technology As Redeeming Disabled People

About corn, fancy arms, and the narratives imposed upon me. About a year and half out from my amputation, I visited my local grocery store. I was looking at ears of corn, peeling back the husk a little to see if the corn inside was a winner. Someone sidled up to me, and leaned in…. Read more →

How to Start a Feminist Restaurant: A Chat with Alexandra Ketchum

Just as Nursing Clio has covered #MeToo stories in academia, on the street, and in the bedroom, the movement plays out in the kitchen too. Conventional gender norms code everyday cooking as a feminine duty (and drudgery), while claiming professional food work as masculine mastery. Due to a host of additional challenges and barriers, a… Read more →

On Infanticide and Reluctant Maternity: Between Personal Testimony and Historical Sensitivity

As a historian of gender and medicine, I sometimes have nightmares about the scenes of medical suffering that appear in archival sources. The setting is always the same: the historical medical-school-turned-archive where I conducted research. Because I study surgical technologies, my dreams tend to be chilling portraits of the instruments physicians used in obstetrical interventions…. Read more →

Demanding to Be Heard: African American Women’s Voices from Slave Narratives to #MeToo

The #Metoo movement has made public what women have long known: that sexual assault and harassment are endemic in many workplaces. Using the power of social media, brave women have revealed the abuses men in positions of power have inflicted on the women who worked for them. Women have been revealing the abuses of powerful… Read more →