Category: Clio Gets Personal

Fight and Flight: “Butch Flight,” Trans Men, and the Elusive Question of Authenticity

My junior year of college, my roommate and dear friend had a butch girlfriend. She aligned more with what many would consider traditional masculinity than I did; there was always a can of Axe body spray in the back of her truck. She confessed to me one night that she felt pressure to transition to… Read more →

History at Home in the Tenement Museum

Several times a day, several days a week, I stand with a group of strangers in the parlor of a Lithuanian immigrant family who arrived in New York’s Lower East Side in 1901. I explain that when the Rogarshevsky family observed the Sabbath each week, their two teenage daughters were away at their jobs in… Read more →

I Think I Love You: Life, Death, and the Enduring Legacy of David Cassidy Fever

On May 30, 1974, 14-year-old Bernadette Whelan died after lingering in a coma for four days. The cause of her death? Officially, “traumatic asphyxiation.” Unofficially, according to the coroner, “a victim of contrived hysteria,” otherwise known as David Cassidy Fever. Twenty-six years later, at 14 years of age, my own life was saved. The cause… Read more →

On Poverty, Morality, and Mothering

In 1930, nineteen-year-old black (preta) Jovelina Pereira dos Santos, a live-in domestic servant in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, hid her pregnancy from her family and employers, gave birth in secret, and asphyxiated her newborn immediately after delivery. Santos already had a young son named Ernesto who was a little over one year of age. Santos… Read more →

My Experiences with Auto-Immunity and Why I Dislike the Term “Able-Bodied”

I dislike the term “able-bodied.” I see this term used frequently in academic and activist scholarship, as well as everyday language, often without giving the term its due scrutiny. As an academic who studies structural inequalities based on race, gender, and disability, I find that it assumes a binary system structured on ableist ideas. It… Read more →

Finding My Amputee Brethren

I remember vividly the first amputee I met after my amputation. Driving down with my spouse to Wake Forest from our small college town so that I could get more chemo, we were at a rest stop. I had only recently received my first “test” leg and hobbled along, with atrophied muscles from months of… Read more →

Teaching Rape

Throughout my academic career, I have talked about, read about, and taught about rape. To be clear, rape is not my research focus. Murder is my bailiwick. Within that context, rape features peripherally as an adjunct to another crime. But I have read about, discussed, and now teach about rape because I believe it is… Read more →

Writing My Dissertation, A gif Odyssey

Fears of a White Mother for her Biracial Son

My son could be Philandro Castile, the Minnesota cafeteria manager who was shot by police in July 2016 as he simply reached for his license during a traffic stop. I am a white woman in the South, raising a black son. I have grown used to the stares of surprise and barely-hidden shock. This is… Read more →

I Could Wrestle with my Disability, but I Think I’ll Dance Instead

This post is the inaugural essay in an occasional series we’re calling Clio Gets Personal, a special and infrequent departure from our typical historical and cultural criticism featuring more intimate stories.  A year and a half ago, I gained a permanent dance partner. That’s what I’ve decided. That’s how I need to think about the damage to my visual… Read more →