Category: History

“Who but Women Should Manage It?”: Convalescent Home Matrons and Medical Recuperation

Today we often hear reports about women’s invisible labor. Female family members do the lion’s share of housework and caregiving — not just for their own children, but for any household member. Given that such caregiving takes time, often drawing women away from wage-earning jobs, this care is likely one source of wage discrepancies between… Read more →

Missing Leaf: Placing Cannabis in the American Herbal Renaissance

Given the daily barrage of distressing headlines, you will be forgiven for not noticing that the United States is in the midst of an herbal renaissance. Concurrent with a rising distrust of mainstream medicine and the popularity of organic or “natural” foods, about 20 percent of the American public now report using herbal products. Over… Read more →

What Women “Want”: Wordsmithing Education Reform Rhetoric

Persuaders and Persuadees The decentralized nature of public education in America means that any one individual who wants to implement sweeping change needs to use rhetoric and persuasion to convince others their idea is the best one. For most of American history, the persuaders have generally come from one demographic group and directed their powers… Read more →

Over-the-Counter Anxiety: Selling the Home Pregnancy Test

Walk through the aisles of any American drugstore, and you’ll eventually encounter the home pregnancy test section. Because of the ease, convenience, and relative affordability of these tests, the majority of Americans now find out they’re pregnant in the privacy of their own bathrooms. The home pregnancy test is undoubtedly a success story. You can… Read more →

The Politics of Reproductive Rights Legislation in the “Modern” South

On May 15, 2019 Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed legislation that will make the state’s abortion laws the most restrictive in the United States. Furthermore, it will establish extremely stringent penalties for violating these laws. The Human Life Protection Act, as it is formally named, would ban abortion in nearly every instance, including rape and… Read more →

Uncovering the Convent

I study nuns. Now, let me start by saying that I’m not Catholic; I just study nuns in the nineteenth century. I am one of a handful of scholars, mainly women, who study nuns, or more accurately, women religious.1 Although I am immensely passionate about my topic, I find that most people are not aware… Read more →

The Eugenicists on Abortion

Clarence Thomas recently issued a twenty-page opinion on the Supreme Court decision Box v. Planned Parenthood that went viral because he drew on Margaret Sanger, founder of the first birth control clinic in the U.S., and her connection to eugenics in order to argue that abortion is and historically has been a tool to control… Read more →

A Tale of Two Midwives across Four Centuries

What happens when the person who delivers most of the babies in her community is arrested? This is a tale of two midwives, separated by nearly four centuries of history, and yet remarkably alike. Six months ago, certified professional midwife Elizabeth Catlin was arrested on the grounds that she was practicing midwifery without a license…. Read more →

The Anti-Abortion Politics of White Women

Last month, the Alabama State Senate passed a piece of legislation effectively banning abortion in the state of Alabama. House Bill 314, which prohibits abortion even in cases of rape and incest, comes on the heels of Georgia House Bill 481, which prohibits abortions in cases where a fetal heartbeat is detectable—six weeks into a… Read more →

The Opioid Epidemic as Metaphor

I watched a lot of drug movies in high school. Maybe it was the clothes, the pulsing soundtracks, or how much I loved a voiceover. It also could have been the incredibly pretty people in these movies. Maybe it was because the Drug Movie as a format involves a type of fantastical world-building absent from… Read more →