Category: History

Medical Metaphors: The Long History of the Corrupted Body Politic

For the past few years, my Facebook feed has been full of political memes. Quite a few critique or satirize a particular issue or person, but many are about political corruption in a more general sense. Polls indicate that even before the 2016 election, Americans on both sides of the aisle believed that government corruption… Read more →

Change over Time: A Colorado Love Story

In 1992, 53% of Colorado voters answered yes to this question on the ballot: “Shall there be an amendment to Article II of the Colorado Constitution to prohibit the state of Colorado and any of its political subdivisions from adopting or enforcing any law or policy which provides that homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, conduct,… Read more →

Give Thanks for Crossing Guards

“Wait on the curb, kids. Wait until I say you can cross.” Janice, the crossing guard at Fairmount Avenue, stepped briskly into traffic, waving her sign and yelling “this means stop!” at the stray car that ignored the red “STOP” octagon she wielded. “Okay, kids, now you can go.” I crossed with a troupe of… Read more →

Public Memory and Reproductive Justice in the Trump Era

Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 necessitated a rethinking of narratives of both self and nation, and a reimagining of the future for many feminists and others on the Left. Our book, Nasty Women and Bad Hombres: Gender and Race in the 2016 US Presidential Election, connects the outcome of the 2016 presidential election with America’s “historical… Read more →

Reproductive Justice and Midwifery on the US-Mexico Border

On August 29th, Kevin Sieff of the Washington Post published an article about the citizenship status of Americans born near the U.S.-Mexico border. According to Sieff, the State Department has been denying U.S. citizens passports, citing citizenship fraud via forged birth certificates certified by (likely) Mexican American midwives in rural areas of the Southwest. Following… Read more →

When Pain is Political: Paulette Nardal and Black Women’s Citizenship in the French Empire

October 12 marks the 122nd anniversary of the birth of Martinican writer and intellectual Paulette Nardal. It also marks 79 years since Nardal survived one of the first maritime attacks of World War II. She was travelling from the then-French colony of Martinique to Paris when her ship was torpedoed by a German U-Boat. Her… Read more →

The Angel of the Workhouse: The Body, and the Body Politic, of Victorian Women with Disabilities

On September 12, 1846, a poet-prince married a “rather plain, thin, faded, hysterical woman [who] was loved for herself as perhaps none of all the world’s famous beauties has ever been.” Perhaps that rather dramatic description is not an entirely fair account of the elopement of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett, but their readers’ continued… Read more →

Who is Dead?

The February 5, 2018 New Yorker carried a story of Jahi McMath and her family. In 2013, McMath went into Oakland’s Children’s Hospital for a routine surgery for tonsil removal. After the surgery, she experienced extreme blood loss and her heart stopped beating. Two days later, a doctor declared her brain dead. Her family battled… Read more →

Golden Girls, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and the Legacies of Hysteria

On September 23, 1989, the fifth season of Golden Girls opened with a two-episode arc entitled “Sick and Tired.”1 The show as a whole focuses on the fictional comedic escapades of four older women sharing a home in Miami, Florida. The story line that opened the fifth season, however, was deeply autobiographical in nature, as… Read more →

Between War and Water: Saratoga Springs and Veteran Health after the First World War

One month and eight days before world leaders signed the Armistice to end the First World War, New York Governor Charles Whitman wrote to Surgeon General William Gorgas to ensure that his state would play a role in caring for America’s veterans. He advocated on behalf of Saratoga Springs, a vibrant city forty miles north… Read more →