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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.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shakyamuni_Buddha_with_Avadana_Legend_Scenes_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

How Comparative Religion Took Root in the 19th Century

Many Americans considered faiths outside Christianity and Judaism to be "pagan." Unitarian minister James Freeman Clarke argued otherwise.
An advertisement for Schlitz Beer, 1967

Selling Hedonism in Postwar America

The hedonism of American consumer culture is the result of deliberate efforts by mid-twentieth century marketing experts.
A fallout shelter

The D-I-Y Fallout Shelter

In the 1950s and 1960s, families planning for the apocalypse often took a homespun approach.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Why Were There Still Stories of Blackface in 2019?

One of the minor themes of 2019 was the revelation that various prominent white politicians had once worn blackface. The question is: why?
Medieval depiction of Caesarian birth

How Medieval Surgeons Shaped Sex and Gender

Our ideas about surgically “correcting” intersex conditions go back to a shift in the profession of surgery seven centuries ago.
1971 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Ambulance

When Ambulances Were Hearses

The federal government pushed the improvement of emergency services from several directions in the 60s and 70s.
A women's hockey team, 1931

A Century Ago, Women Played Ice Hockey

Ice hockey came to the U.S. from Canada at the end of the nineteenth century. Women started playing immediately, forming their own clubs.
Scholars attending a lecture in the Ashmolean Museum

The Invention of the Archive

Seventeenth-century scholars were horrified by how much ancient knowledge had been lost when the monasteries dispersed.
Luther at the Diet of Worms by Anton von Werner

Ok papist

England faced a generational divide almost 500 years ago, as the Protestant Reformation split the nation apart.
Oil refinery

What Comes After Oil Culture?

Almost everything about our culture today is built on oil. Can we imagine a world built on a different energy infrastructure?
Elsie the Cow

Who Was Elsie, besides the World’s Most Famous Cow?

In the Great Depression, Borden sought a new spokescow to help preserve its traditional agrarian image.
Buster Keaton, Margaret Leahy and Wallace Beery in a scene from The Three Ages, 1923

The Truth about “Caveman Courtship”

Cartoon stories about early humans bear a striking resemblance to many popular uses of evolutionary psychology today.
A person's hands wrapping Christmas gifts

Only You Can Prevent Useless Gifts

Is it time for a revival of the Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving (SPUG)?
An overhead view of a book store

Why We Love Local Businesses

The explanation may have to do with the gift economy.
Vintage Portrait of two Babies in an Old Fashioned Antique Baby Carriage Buggy

This Isn’t the First Baby Bust

And it's unlikely to be the last. One scholar looks at the factors that contributed to the increase in childlessness at the turn of the twentieth century.
A classroom of young women

The End of Men, in 1870

In 1790, U.S. men were about twice as likely as U.S. women to be literate. But by 1870, girls were surpassing boys in public schools.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cole_Thomas_The_Course_of_Empire_Destruction_1836.jpg

A Nation in Decline, as Always

What does it really mean for a nation to be “in decline?” And why does it make for such appealing political rhetoric?
A climate protest

How to Sell Climate Denial

Climategate began with the leaking of emails sent to and from climate scientists. Climate skeptics quickly seized on just a few of them
A 1934 ad for Listerine toothpaste

Good Housekeeping Treated Advertisers as Health Experts

Good Housekeeping set itself up as a source of authoritative advice, but included ads for “health” products known to be harmful.
Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen looking into an X-ray screen placed in front of a man's body and seeing the ribs and the bones of the arm.

The X-ray Craze of 1896

For many science-obsessed Victorians, X-rays were not just a fun novelty, but a potential miracle cure.

The Real Joy of Mock Food

"Wow, this really kind of tastes like turkey.”
A family poses for a portrait in front of a fabric backdrop on the veranda of their home, in the early 1900s.

What the Reconstruction Meant for Women

Southern legal codes included parallel language pairing “master and slave” and “husband and wife.”
Hot Shot members from Zuni, NM

How Native Americans Came to Fight Southwestern Fires

The practice began with the 1933 creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and, specifically, its Indian Division.
A group of people drinking together outside

Science Says: Alcohol Can Make You More Social

It might not sound like a shocking conclusion, but there was surprisingly little research on the question.
A father and his son walk to school

The “Parenting Tax” of School Choice

The framework of school choice imposes a kind of tax, one paid in the time and effort that it imposes on many black parents.