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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.

The Eldorado Nightclub

Gender Identity in Weimar Germany

Remembering an early academic effort to define sexual orientation and gender identity as variable natural phenomena, rather than moral matters.
Building Colonies for WW1 Veterans

Building Colonies for WWI Veterans

After World War I, policymakers seriously considered the idea of setting up farming colonies for returning veterans.
Jenny Lind the Swedish Nightingale. Poster from the collection of the University of Sheffield.

Superfans in the Nineteenth Century

Americans have long obsessed over their favorite musicians.
Man cooking with his son

When Is Cooking Fun?

Is cooking a daily grind necessary to keep a family fed, or a fun hobby? The answers lies largely in how home cooks approach the tasks at hand.
Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai toast during Nixon's 1972 visit to China

How Nixon Paved the Way for Trump

Richard Nixon's voters had a lot in common with Trump's, especially in their idealization of the self-sufficient, independent American businessperson.
Chestnuts

When Chestnuts Were an Everyday Food

Even if you haven't actually roasted chestnuts on an open fire, you probably associate them with winter. But once they were a common year-round food.

Better Living Through Nudity

In England in the 1920s and ‘30s, nudism was ideological and utopian. Then the Nazis coopted the concept for their eugenicist Nacktkultur movement.
An ecstatic commune member

When Communes Don’t Fail

Communes have gotten a reputation for being flaky or cultish. But intentional communities have a long history, and many have been successful.
Side-by-side image of Dubai and Manhattan

The Key to Environmentally-Friendly Urban Planning

Manhattan and Dubai are both bustling, crowded cities with dense populations. So do Manhattanites have smaller ecological footprints?
"I Voted" stickers

How to Get People to Vote

In the United States midterm elections, it is common for as few as 40% of eligible adults to vote. Why it matters, and some possible solutions.
Portrait young couple at voter polling place

The Case for Lowering the Voting Age

If the standard we hold for who can vote is the consent of the governed, why shouldn’t children be included?
Women's March 1970

The Divide in Feminist Ethics on Mothering

In the 1960s, two groups of feminists had very different views about motherhood. Unsurprisingly, race and family played a role.
statue of liberty public charge

The Problem with “Public Charge” Rules

Historically, public charge rules have been a threat to immigrants dismissed as too disabled to be full contributors to the country.

From Samhain to Halloween

Exploring the Celtic origins of everyone's favorite harvest holiday celebrating thresholds between life and death.
Children out at night

What Happened to the Night Children?

A hundred years ago, it was quite common for working-class children to roam the streets freely at night.
1800s Chicago police

A History of Police Violence in Chicago

At the turn of the century, Chicago police killed 307 people, one in eighteen homicides in the city—three times the body count of local gangsters.
a group of silhouettes with different brain patterns including puzzle pieces, flowers, a stock market chart

When Do We Have Empathy People Living with Mental Illness?

Do we feel more empathy for those living with mental disorders when there's a biological explanation versus a psychosocial one for their condition?
A group of Victorian children playing in a park

The Magazine That Put Children in Their Place

Children's literature hasn't always been about whimsy. This early magazine sought to retrench the elite in the publishing and education industries.
King Kamehameha I

Hawaii’s Freemason Kings

Why Hawaii's 19th-century kings were so drawn to Freemasonry.
Dr William Dodd, executed for forgery

Punishing Forgery with Death

In early nineteenth-century England, forging currency was considered to be such a subversive threat that it was punished with the death penalty.
Mary Wollstonecraft early republic

Women’s Rights in the Early Republic

The U.S.A.'s founders focused on the rights of white men to vote, own property, and govern. The idea that women should have similar rights came later.
methodist religious revival

When Science and Religion Were Connected

During the Second Great Awakening of 1830, science and religion were seen as “two aspects of the same universal truth.”
solar city

Ecological Economics: An Oxymoron?

Mainstream economics has largely neglected to integrate ecological systems into its models. But the two disciplines don't have to be diametrically opposed.
Club Zara Boston postcard

When “Middle Eastern” Nightclubs Swept America

In the 1950s, nightclubs featuring "Middle Eastern" music and belly dancers mixed and matched cultures, serving white audiences an exotic experience.
warehouse

The Crucial American Warehouse

In 19th-century America, the changing economy called for warehouses, which in turn created the warehouse districts that defined many cities.