Animal magnetism

Mesmerizing Labor

The man who introduced mesmerism to the US was a slave-owner from Guadeloupe, where planters were experimenting with “magnetizing” their enslaved people.
The Actor Arashi Wakano as a wakashu in a kappa (raincoat)

The Disappearance of Japan’s “Third Gender”

Gender roles in Edo Japan recognized an in-between position for young men, called Wakashu, that was erased as Japan westernized.
Ella Tyree in Ebony, February 1949

Women in Science Textbooks

A team of scholars examined the seven most popular ecology textbooks. Guess what they didn't find?
Acland servants in 1897 by Sarah Angelina Acland

Who Does the Drudge Work? Answers from Edwardian Britain

In 1909, Kathlyn Oliver called for the creation of a servants' trade union that was “as important to the community as the worker[s] in any other sphere."
Photograph: Marley Shelton, Marla Sokoloff and the rest of the girls at a sleepover in a scene from the film 'Sugar & Spice', 2001

Source: Getty

Slumber Parties and Folklore

Slumber party rituals are indeed alive and well, and being passed down to the next generation in person and online.

Message in a Button

A dive into the the University of Connecticut Pins and Button Collection gives a wearable history of progressive causes.
An advertisement for snake oil, 1905

Why Do We Fall for Scams?

People want to believe that the person they trust with their money, or their hearts, is telling the truth. The con artist relies on that.
Lazarillo de Tormes and His Blind Master

How Social Upheaval Gave Rise to the Picaresque Novel

How did the arcadian shepherd and chivalric knight-errant, centuries-old fixtures of European literature, give way to this witty rascal, the pícaro?
Grand Saloon of the Great Britain

Separate Spheres On Narrow Boats: Victorians At Sea

On the North Atlantic, the ships were small and the trips were long, making it difficult to maintain the land-based social distinctions.
Two devadesis in Chennai, India, in the 1920s.

How South Asian Temple Dancers Fought Moral Reform

Devadāsīs appealed to a longstanding tradition to argue that they had a legitimate position in their modernizing nation.