Category: Clio Reads

Surrender, Discovery, and Recovery: The Many Meanings of Adoption

To write about mid-twentieth century adoption practices in the United States is to position oneself at the heart of dozens of competing narratives. As explored in other texts such as Ann Fessler’s The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades before Roe v. Wade, to… Read more →

Ending the War on Science: A Review of Maya Goldenberg’s Vaccine Hesitancy

With three highly efficacious vaccines widely available for COVID-19 in the United States (which were developed in record time, breaking the record set by a mumps vaccine in the 1960s), we are beginning to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the effort to reach herd immunity and reduce the COVID-19… Read more →

Trans Care Webs: A Review of Hil Malatino’s Trans Care

Hil Malatino’s Trans Care asks a seemingly simple question: What does care look like in trans lives? To be clear, Malatino isn’t asking how trans people are cared for. This is not a book about institutionalized forms of care or about how to make clinics, schools, social services, or public programs more trans-inclusive. Rather, this… Read more →

Women’s Experiences Matter. Natalie Kimball’s An Open Secret: The History of Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion in Modern Bolivia

Women’s experiences matter – this simple truth is at the core of Natalie Kimball’s brilliant new exploration into the tragic history of unwanted pregnancy and abortion in highland Bolivia over the past sixty years. As Kimball so eloquently argues in her book An Open Secret: The History of Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion in Modern Bolivia,… Read more →

Reclaiming Disability Space in an Ableist Society: A Review of Alice Wong’s Disability Visibility

Former president Donald Trump publicly mocked and disparaged disabled people, weakened the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and cut the payroll tax to make Social Security Disability Income run out by 2022. Writing for The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg interpreted that “Trump is deeply anxious about dying or… Read more →

Review of To Make the Wounded Whole: The African American Struggle Against HIV/AIDS by Dan Royles

As we approach the eleventh month of the COVID-19 pandemic, the death rates for Black, Indigenous, and people of color are disproportionately high and rising daily. The national response to the virus echoes the long-term HIV/AIDS pandemic that continues today to rattle the Black world. Dan Royle’s monumental new book, To Make the Wounded Whole:… Read more →

Upholding “First, Do No Harm”: A Review of Sarah B. Rodriguez’s The Love Surgeon

James Burt, an OB/GYN in Dayton, Ohio, spent years developing and perfecting his “love surgery.” He designed it to increase men’s pleasure during sex by “fixing” women’s anatomies so they would get better clitoral stimulation during missionary postion sex. The procedure involved radically altering womens’ genitalia: making the vaginal opening smaller, moving the vaginal opening… Read more →

Bearing the Capitalist Economy: A Review of Alexandra J. Finley’s An Intimate Economy

The historiography of women’s lives under and role in slavery and the slave trade has changed substantially in the recent years with the publication of a number of award-winning books. Scholars such as Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, Jessica Marie Johnson, Ariela J. Gross, and Marisa Fuentes have reshaped our understanding of the intersection of gender, race,… Read more →

What About Men’s Reproductive Health?

In her latest book, GUYnecology: The Missing Science of Men’s Reproductive Health, sociologist Rene Almeling asks why all the public health messages about healthy childbearing seem to be aimed at women. What about the research that shows that men’s health is relevant to the condition of their sperm, and can profoundly affect the health of… Read more →

Defining Normal Genitalia: A Review of Camille Nurka’s Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery

Everything, of course, has a history, and in her book, Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery: Deviance, Desire and the Pursuit of Perfection, Camille Nurka seeks to find the historical path leading up to what have been popularly (and not entirely accurately) called “designer vaginas.” These surgeries are often performed, and requested, with the intention of surgically… Read more →