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Livia Gershon

Livia Gershon is a freelance writer in Nashua, New Hampshire. Her writing has appeared in publications including Salon, Aeon Magazine and the Good Men Project. Contact her on Twitter @liviagershon.

Ancient human footprints found at White Sands National Park in New Mexico

Why Academic-Indigenous Collaboration Is Tricky

Although many archaeologists are trained to prize objectivity, Indigenous scholars approach research with a different sort of grounding.
Walmart employee Clara Martinez stocks the shelves at a Walmart store on February 19, 2015 in Miami, Florida.

How Retail Sales Became “Unskilled” Work

There's a big difference between how salespeople in traditional department stores and big-box retailers interact with their customers.

How Show Business Went Union

Since the nineteenth century, the IATSE union has organized behind-the-scenes workers, first in theater, then in the movies.
Albert Raboteau

Albert Raboteau on Re-Enchanting the World

The late religion scholar suggested that to regain a sense of wonder, we should look to education.
Thoreau as a Young Man

Did Thoreau Do Yoga?

The transcendentalist was big on Asian texts—at least as he understood them.
Parker Pillsbury

Parker Pillsbury, Nineteenth-Century Male Feminist

Abolitionists like the New Hampshire native believed that masculinity required self-control, setting them against violent enslavers.
From Home Suggestions, 1921

How American Consumers Embraced Color

Vivid hues in everyday products became eye-popping reality in the early twentieth century.
Governor William Burnet of New York meets with the Iroquois in 1721

The Native American Roots of the U.S. Constitution

The Iroquois, Shawnee, Cherokee, and other political formations generally separated military and civil leadership and guarded certain personal freedoms.
A campaigner gives a leaflet to a woman at the Abortion Travel agency store on April 10, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.

Evading Abortion Bans with Mutual Aid

One scholar chronicles how communities have banded together to help each other with abortion care even when it’s against the law.
Man buying garters from a female shop assistant

Sex Panic at the Department Store

Were shopgirls selling more than scents at the perfume counter? Three investigators were determined to find out.
Mary McLeod Bethune with a Line of Girls from her School in Daytona Beach, Florida, 1905

How Black Americans Fought for Literacy

From the moment US Army troops arrived in the South, newly freed people sought ways to gain education—particularly to learn to read and write.
Illustration: Head of a man with a severe disease affecting his face by Christopher D' Alton, 1858

Source: https://www.jstor.org/stable/community.24834473

The Ugly History of Chicago’s “Ugly Law”

In the nineteenth century, laws in many parts of the country prohibited "undeserving" disabled people from appearing in public.
An illustration of strawberries

Strawberries and British Identity Forever

Even though they occupied much of South Asia, British civil servants and their wives wanted a taste of home. Strawberries, for instance.
Osiris flanked by Horus on the left and Isis on the right

A Holy Trinity in Ancient Egypt

The ancient Mediterranean was full of religious expression, and Kemetic culture's concept of a divine family influenced early Christians.
An illustration from a 17th century German theosophical text

The Changing Meaning of “Mysticism”

People who don't follow organized religion sometimes describe themselves as spiritual. But this idea isn't a recent invention.
Concept image of people rejecting a vaccine injection

Why Do Vaccination Rates Plateau?

Two experts discovered a paradox that can lead people to think disease isn't a problem.
An advertisement for Eagle Pencil Co's fine arts lead pencils, c. 1870-1900

Why You’ll Never Get Lead Poisoning from a Pencil

Some of the greatest moments in international pencil history involve discoveries of a different mineral.
James McCune Smith

For James McCune Smith, Racism Was All Over Anthropology

What if the creation story of anthropology isn't exclusively about white men classifying people as primitive?
An illustration of somebody using an inhaler

Asthma Tropes and the Kids Who Hate Them

Children with asthma respond to the movie executives who see them as weak people helped by magical inhalers.
Woman recycling glass, Wallingford neighborhood, Seattle, Washington, 1990

You’ll Never Believe Who Invented Curbside Recycling

Far from ushering in a zero-waste world, the switch from returnables to recycling provided cover for the creation of ever more packaging trash.
A father teaching his son at home

Why Some Black Parents Choose Homeschooling

Homeschooling has proved to be a valued alternative to the institutional racism often found in the classroom. But it offers something more, too.
Antonio DeSilva, who is currently homeless, plays with his dogs outside his tent on September 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California

What Leisure Means for People Who Are Homeless

It's a human right to have opportunities for rest and time off. Even if you live on the streets.
Classroom of students with their teachers inside a Walapai school at Hackbury, Arizona, circa 1900

Life in Indigenous Boarding Schools

Survivors of schools in the US spoke with scholars about their experiences of cruelty, neglect, and cultural degradation.
Signal corps, pigeon section, 1919

How Pigeons Helped Fight World War I

At ten weeks old, many of the birds headed to the trenches, carrying back messages over distances of about ten miles.
National Welfare Rights Organization activists marching in Washington, DC, May 1968.

How Poor Women Shaped the War on Poverty

Bridging the gap between policy and people was a central aim of the War on Poverty. Often, women were the ones who linked the government to the community.