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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.

corn harvest

Why Do We Have “Free Trade” For Televisions, But Not For Corn?

While the U.S. opens industries to market competition at home and abroad, we give our agricultural producers a lot of protection, including big subsidies.
Jordan Motor Car Company

How Car Ads Started Selling Sizzle

In the 1920s car ads began changing. Specialists began to craft auto manufacturer's images solely to please their customers.
Peterloo Massacre

Identity Politics and Popular Movements

Issues tied to gender have often been part of broad-based popular movements, like the Zetetic movement in early nineteenth-century England.
Springfield, Mass. High School

The High School of the Future (in 1917)

In 1917, a Progressive education reformer surveyed the high school landscape and looked to the future. His grand plans still haven’t come to fruition.
Rosalie Slaughter Morton and Anne Morgan, an American philanthropist, in 1918

The Forgotten Women Physicians of World War I

For women physicians, WWI was an opportunity for service that highlighted their deeply ambiguous position, as Ellen More explained in a 1989 paper.
President Ronald Reagan at his desk in the Oval Office.

Why Ronald Reagan Became the Great Deregulator

How did deregulation, and related ideas about how to run the economy, become so central to American politics? Look to Reagan for the answer.
charter school hallway

When School Choice Works

Betsy DeVos strongly supports charter schools operating within the public school framework, and vouchers that help students pay private school tuition.
WPA mural

Why Do We Take Pride in Working for a Paycheck?

In the modern imagination, work is a source of pride, but early labor unions regarded hourly toil in industry as "wage slavery."
Vagrant

The Hidden Subtext of Vagrancy

In recent years, activists in cities across the country have repeatedly clashed with municipal officials over anti-vagrancy laws.
The demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe houses in St. Louis, 1972

“Inner City” Myths and Realities

The history behind why urban black neighborhoods face much higher rates of poverty, crime, and overburdened schools than white suburban areas do.
NYSE floor traders

Why Do Financial Traders Get Those Huge Bonuses?

Highly placed traders win their big money by essentially taking their firms hostage.
Themis statue

When Do We Care About Ethics Violations?

Experimental evidence suggests that our opinions on ethics depend on who’s committing the violations, and who’s doing the judging.
Columbia graduate student union

Why Grad Students Unionize

The graduate student union movement is a fight by low-paid workers to get more money and better benefits.
Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition logo

Cosmopolitanism (and Racism) at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition

Seattle's Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition celebrated intercultural connections, but also reduced non-white cultures to quaint attractions.
kindergarteners

The Dangerous Lessons Kindergarteners Learn About Being “Smart”

Kids develop images of themselves as "smart" or "not smart" at very young ages.
meeting

14 Ways to Make Meetings Less Awful

Can anything be done to make meetings more useful and less dull?
Letter on Corpulence William Banting

When Dieting Was Only For Men

Today, we tend to assume dieting is for women, but in the 1860s, it was a masculine pursuit.
Professor in front of class

How One Group of Teachers Defended Academic Freedom

The opposition to the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1950s San Francisco may offer insight on strategies for supporting academic freedom.
Bird's Eye frozen meals

The Evolution of Convenience Food in America

Meal kits signal a change in the way we cook, but this is nothing compared with how frozen food disrupted the American kitchen in the mid-20th century.
Edvard Munch's "Anxiety"

How Anxiety Got Rebranded As Depression

Depression diagnoses have skyrocketed over the past 50 years, but not necessarily as result of underlying changes in our mental health.
Catholic school building

School Choice Since 1800

Donald Trump is putting forward a plan to massively increase the use of public money to pay students’ ...
Soldier reading newspaper

When Did the Media Become a “Watchdog?”

The media changed its coverage over the course of the Vietnam War. But it may not have become more adversarial.
Japanese American school children

Lessons From a Japanese Internment Camp

Trump ally Carl Higbie recently cited Japanese internment camps during World War II as a “precedent” for a proposed registry of Muslims in the U.S.
Gem Chimney ad

Can Advertising Be a Science?

Advertisers have been trying to develop a precise science of advertising for more than a century.
Nixon and JFK

Should Nixon Have Demanded a Recount?

A lot about the 2016 presidential election has been unprecedented, but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen calls for recounts in some states.