Skip to content

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.

a group of silhouettes with different brain patterns including puzzle pieces, flowers, a stock market chart

When Do We Have Empathy for the Mentally Ill?

Do we feel more empathy for the mentally ill 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.
Close-Up Of Bees In Hive

Bees and the World-Wide Farming Web

Connections between beekeepers in the 17th and 18th centuries created the early “world-wide farming web”—a way to share information across long distances.
modern inequality

What Would Adam Smith Think of Modern Inequality?

The "father of modern economics" saw a role for a well-run government that used taxes and regulations to keep the market operating smoothly.
Tube London Blitz

What Life Was Like During the London Blitz

During WWII, 150,000+ people sought shelter in London's Tube stations each night. Over time, the various stations developed their own mini-governments.
Colourful sunset over famous shipwreck beach. Zakynthos, Greek Islands, Greece

The Romanticization of the Mediterranean

The idea that the disparate nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea represent a single region is the product of the nineteenth century.
Paleontologist dinosaur bones

The Controversy Around the First Museum Dinosaurs

Dinosaur bones on display at the American Museum of Natural History always balanced conveying objective truth with promoting science to the public.
High Angle View Of Yogurt In Disposable Cup On Table

How America Got Sold on Low-Fat Food

In the 1990s, a "healthy choice" meant eating SnackWell's cookies and sugary reduced-calorie yogurt. Why did America love the low-fat food trend?
Dangerous Librarians

Being a Victorian Librarian Was Oh-So-Dangerous

In the late 19th century, more women were becoming librarians. Experts like Melvil Dewey predicted they would suffer ill health, strain, and breakdowns.
aerial view of beach with people

Why Europeans Have Such Long Summer Vacations

In the 1920s, politicians saw workers’ time off as a way to mold society, encouraging workers to engage in politics and patriotism during their time off.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders Holds Daily Press Briefing At White House

What Is MS-13, Anyway?

The feared gang MS-13 was born out of conditions resulting from U.S. policies in El Salvador in the early 1980s.
Baby Drinking from Bottle, close-up

The Continuing Controversy Over Baby Formula

Nestlé promoted formula in the developing world, even though they knew bottle-feeding with limited sanitation and refrigeration could be dangerous.
Blackberries

The Crucial Southern Blackberry

In the 19th century, blackberry picking was both hobby and money-making endeavor for many Americans. Increased regulation of land use changed all that.
The United States Supreme Court Building

What Makes This SCOTUS Nomination Unique?

Presidents have always chosen Supreme Court nominees who agree with their political beliefs. But they've gotten savvier about the selection process.
Charles Sumner

Should Politics be Civil?

Some political philosophers suggest that arguments about civility are a distraction from the real political issues.
mailboxes

The Massive Fight over Sunday Mail

Sunday mail delivery was hugely controversial in the early 19th century, inspiring one of the U.S.'s first efforts to rally public opinion around a cause.
Enjoying a Music Festival

From Saturnalia to Coachella

Art, music, religious, and seasonal festivals have been a part of human life since prehistory. How have they changed as society has changed?
Mount Vernon Fourth of July naturalization ceremony

Celebrating Immigration on the Fourth of July

For many immigrants to the U.S. in the late 19th century, July 4th was deeply significant: Their own home countries were fighting for independence.