Category: Clio Reads

Difficult Truths: A Review of Anuradha Bhagwati’s Unbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience

Anuradha Bhagwati is not a dude-bro. She doesn’t defend “Murica” with blind reverence. She does not fit the common trope of an American Marine. She could, however, outrun and outshoot many of those who do. But these skills probably did not help the horrifying truth that, during her service in the Marine Corps, she rarely… Read more →

Colonial Politics are Reproductive Politics: A Review of Brianna Theobald’s Reproduction on the Reservation: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Colonialism in the Long Twentieth Century

This year, a panel of experts on reproductive health in Indigenous communities gave a briefing to Congress asking for, among a host of other demands, the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. The panel argued for more attention toward the effects of such restrictions on Native people amid a flurry of abortion bans that limit reproductive… Read more →

Showing Up, Building Community, and Creating Grace: A Review of Lindy West’s The Witches Are Coming

At 11 am CT on January 20, 2017 — just as Donald Trump was being sworn in as the forty-fifth President of the United States in Washington, DC — I was sworn in as a brand new American citizen in Rock Island, Illinois. It was an odd day. On the one hand, knowing that the… Read more →

Medieval Bodies, Head to Toe

The skeletal diagram in Mansur ibn Ilyas’s fifteenth-century medical text, the Tashrih-i badan-i insan, looks at first glance like it’s been drawn by someone who’s never seen a human body before. The skull is oddly triangular, the jawbone tapering to a sharp point and perched on an over-elongated neck. The script-like scalloping of the clavicle… Read more →

“If you liked this interview, you’ll love this book”: A Review of Sarah Milov’s The Cigarette: A Political History (2019)

On March 2019, writers Danuta Kean and Isobel de Vasconcellos released The Emilia Report, comparing how 10 male and female writers received broadsheet coverage in the same book market necessary for literary recognition. Perhaps to no one’s surprise, their survey uncovered that new books by men receive 56% of review coverage. Despite being bestselling authors,… Read more →

Help! Talk Radio Ate the Presidency!

In November 2016, my Facebook feed was filled with friends’ dreaded anticipation of Thanksgiving with extended family, and particularly with that uncle: the unapologetic Trump supporter full of crude, bigoted bluster. So many white families seemed to have an uncle like this — even if in liberal families everyone had written him off as a… Read more →

In Vitro Fertilization: From Science Fiction to Reality to History

It was not that long ago that “test tube babies” only existed in science fiction. I remember my shock when, in 2007, one of my students at Wellesley College told me that she was an IVF (in vitro fertilization) baby. “The technology couldn’t be that old, could it?” I thought. In The Pursuit of Parenthood:… Read more →

The Racist Misogyny behind Your “Does My Butt Look Fat in This?”: Reading Sabrina Strings’ Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia

Every so often, a book comes out that arrives as both an answer to a question and an answer to a prayer. For me, Sabrina Strings’s Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia is emphatically both. My scholarly superpower, and an annoying one it is too, is finding the holes in the… Read more →

“Our Dogged and Deadly Archnemesis”: A Review of Timothy C. Winegard’s The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator

In 2015, mosquito-borne pathogens caused approximately 830,000 deaths worldwide. Malaria alone killed 435,000 people in 2017. Statistical extrapolations suggest that mosquito-borne viruses and parasites have killed roughly half of all humans who have ever lived.1 While yellow fever, dengue, and malaria have long been the most virulent of these diseases, newer zoonotics (diseases transmitted from… Read more →

Searching for Solidarity in Madeline Miller’s Circe

Released just over a year ago, Madeline Miller’s Circe has since appeared on several bestseller lists and earned even more awards, and it makes for the perfect canon-challenging #BeachRead. The novel presents a rich array of themes, stories, and questions that push it past a simple pleasure-book. The narrative centers the mysterious figure of Circe,… Read more →