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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.

kids on computers

Do Corporations Belong in Our Classrooms?

Google is making forays into American classrooms with their technology. Research looks at the case of Channel One school television for context.
Wedding bands

Selling the Men’s Wedding Ring

How changing mores, cultural pressures, and, yes, the jewelry industry made two-ring wedding ceremonies the norm in America.
Windowsill

When Americans Became Obsessed with Fresh Air

Once it became clear that mosquitoes, not the air itself, carried malaria, early 20th-century Americans went to extreme lengths to enjoy fresh air at night.
Michelle Obama school lunch

Who Doesn’t Like Healthy School Lunches?

The Trump administration’s decision to relax nutrition standards for school lunches is the latest development in a century-long fight.
West End, London

When Did We Start Shopping at Stores?

Online shopping drastically reduces the significance of physical stores. Where did the physical retail model come from to begin with?
Pied Piper

When American Schools Banned German Classes

When American troops headed to Europe for WWI, hostility to all things German intensified across the country. Schools even banned German fairy tales.
Harvard Business School

When Harvard Business School Tried To Fix Capitalism

Harvard Business School once attempted to apply psychological and political ideas to the project of saving capitalism from ruin.
coffee shop tipping

Do We Tip Because of Good Service or Low Wages?

The question of whether or not to tip can be vexing, particularly when a type of service, like ride-sharing, is relatively new.
May Day 2006 marchers

When did May Day Turn Into an Immigrants’ Rights Day?

May Day has traditionally focused on labor and working class issues. Immigration and immigrant labor adds a new dimension to the holiday.
Morehouse College campus

Can College Cure Racism?

New reading requirements at Harvard have added fuel to an ongoing debate about diversity in curricula. At HBCUs these fights had a different dimension.
JSTOR Daily Suggested Readings

Suggested Readings: Crucifixion, Distrusting Computers, and Trump Tower

Well-researched stories about the symbolism of the cross, AI you can trust, and the global gig economy.
Illustration: an eleventh century Byzantine depiction of King Solomon

Source: https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e4-380c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

How People Paid Their Taxes in Biblical Times

Think doing your taxes is annoying? Imagine trying it without a computer, a calculator… or even the Arabic numeral system.
NIH scientist

Scientists Have Always Been Political

Science has always been political, with questions about who pays for research, and who gets to do it, influencing the type of work that gets done.
Car junkyard

The Birth of Planned Obsolescence

Before WWII, American businesses began embracing “creative waste”—the idea that throwing things away and buying new ones could fuel a strong economy.
dance drug

What if We Acknowledged That People Use Drugs Because They’re Fun?

In the modern Western world, drug use fits well into economies that divide our days into disciplined, production-oriented “clock time,” and leisure time.
mens magazine

How Magazines Created a New Culture of Manhood

Middle-class American manhood changed in the mid-twentieth century. And the new ideal of masculine consumption was captured by men’s magazines.
wake up, America!

What Americans Thought of WWI

What did Americans think of World War I before the US entered the conflict 100 years ago? “Public opinion” was no more universal in 1917 than it is today.
babies healthcare

The First Health Insurance Policies Helped Reduce Infant Mortality

Some early healthcare history shows the effect of insurance plans: lower infant morality and better standards across the board.
Mansion of Happiness board game

Gamification, Then and Now

Nineteenth-century board games help to map public morality, from religious virtue to upward mobility.
Tiananmen Square

Will Engagement in the Middle East Change China?

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah visits China this month, marking China’s increasing involvement in the Middle East. China has long had a Muslim minority group.
Cotton gin

Automation in the 1940s Cotton Fields

Automation is a bit of a Rorschach test for anyone interested in workers’ rights. In the 1940s, the mechanization of cotton farming changed the US economy.
Michael Galinksy super tv mall

The Rise and Fall of the Shopping Mall

Is the shopping mall a thing of the past? A look at how the suburbs helped to create the mall--and what is now killing those same shopping centers.
Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) and Gloria Allred

The History of Outlawing Abortion in America

Abortion was first criminalized in the U.S. in the mid-19th century. A key argument was that too many white women were ending their pregnancies.
Department of Education headquarters, 2008

Does the U.S. Need a Department of Education?

The U.S. Department of Education has been controversial since President Jimmy Carter started it in 1979. Now many are wondering if it needs to exist.
The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777

Immigration and National Security in George Washington’s Day

Presuming that immigration was a boon to national security, U.S. borders remained mostly open for the first century of the nation’s existence.