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The CIA logo over a Jackson Pollock painting

Was Modern Art Really a CIA Psy-Op?

The number of MoMA-CIA crossovers is highly suspicious, to say the least.

Cabinet of Curiosities

The Last Day of Pompeii by Karl Brullov

Pompeii Mania in the Era of Romanticism

Nothing appealed more perfectly to the Romantic sensibility than the mix of horror and awe evoked by a volcano erupting.

Roundup

A cat

We Have All the Cute Animal Posts

Phylum away for safekeeping, and have fauna!

Take Two

The Masculinization of Little Lord Fauntleroy

The 1936 movie Little Lord Fauntleroy broke box office records, only to be toned down and masculinized amid cultural fears of the “sissified” male.

Suggested Readings

A locust standing on a sugar cane.

COVID-19, Locusts, and Elephant Minds

Well-researched stories from The Atlantic, The Guardian, and other great publications that bridge the gap between news and scholarship.

Most Recent

A live window display to celebrate UK Plus Size Fashion Week on September 3, 2015 in London, England.

How Body Positivity Coexists with Fat Shaming

Retail workers at a plus-size clothing store had to promote the contradictory messages that every body is beautiful and that being fat is bad.
A depiction of cholera by Robert Seymour

Disease Theory in Mary Shelley’s The Last Man

Shelley's third novel, about the sole survivor of a global plague, draws on the now-outdated miasma theory of disease.
A person driving a Mercedes

In Epidemics, the Wealthy Have Always Fled

"The poor, having no choice, remained.”
Ulysses S. Grant between 1860 and 1865

Why Ulysses S. Grant Was More Important Than You Think

Grant’s presidency is often overlooked, but his accomplishments around civil rights are getting more consideration from historians.

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Long Reads

Mme du Coudray

How a French Midwife Solved a Public Health Crisis

Angélique Marguerite Le Boursier du Coudray revolutionized childbirth in France through education, building a detailed birthing mannequin.

Two Drops of Life: India’s Path to End Polio

On the eve of its 6th polio-free anniversary, India immunizes over 170 million children, despite a lack of roads, reinfection threats, and a periodic mistrust of vaccines.
An advertisement for Teenform Bras

How Training Bras Constructed American Girlhood

In the twentieth century, advertisements for a new type of garment for preteen girls sought to define the femininity they sold.

P.S., Mushrooms Are Extremely Beautiful

American mycologist Violetta White Delafield painted over 600 stunning watercolors of mushrooms as part of her fieldwork. Here they are in all their glory.

In 1918, many of Philadelphia’s hospitals were segregated, and the Sisters performed essential work visiting the sick who were at home and had nowhere else to go and often no one to care for them.

Surviving a Pandemic, in 1918

Mint

Plant of the Month: Mint

From the fields of ancient Egypt to the present-day American Pacific Northwest, the history of mint goes beyond the search for fresh breath.
Bison americanus

Where the Bison Roam—Again?

The American bison isn't extinct. But could it ever roam freely across North America, as it once did? Some scholars say it could happen.
The North Ronaldsay or Orkney sheep is a breed from North Ronaldsay, the northernmost island of Orkney, off the north coast of Scotland.

Sheep Snarf Seaweed at the Scottish Seashore

A seaweed-only diet seems to curb methane emissions in sheep on a tiny island in Scotland.