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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.

Alice Paul ERA

Why the Equal Rights Amendment Hasn’t Been Ratified Yet

Suffragist Alice Paul proposed the ERA in 1923. Congress approved it in the 1970s. So why isn't the amendment part of the Constitution?
couple with wedding gifts

When Weddings Went Commercial

The rise of industrial production and commercial marketing transformed the way that well-to-do Americans celebrate weddings.
Washington Monument

When Washington D.C. Became a Tourist Destination

When the U.S. federal government first moved to D.C. in 1800, the city was still largely swamp. Tourists didn't start to visit until many decades later.
Degas bather

When Americans Started Bathing

The first baths weren't about getting clean or relaxing. In the 1860s, experts agreed that the best kind of bath was a brief plunge in cold water.
Catherine Beecher

The Women Who Tried to Prevent the Trail of Tears

In the 1830s, American women, including Catherine Beecher, worked to fight Andrew Jackson’s genocidal Indian Removal campaign.
Roman food mosaic

High Cuisine in Ancient France

An archaeologist explores how the division of upper- and lower-class cuisine may have developed in France more than 2,000 years ago.
waveform

A History of Noise

What's noisier, nature or civilization? Whether we consider the sounds of nature to be pleasant or menacing depends largely on our ideologies.
prison slang

When Prison Time Meant Rhymes

The “gay, frolicsome and amusing" rhymes of 1970s American prison slang.
Child laborers

The Campaign for Child Labor

Why did David Clark lead a successful campaign to keep kids working in the early 20th century? For one thing, child labor benefited his interests.
BBQ

How Barbecue Defined America

The barbecue boom in 1950s American was tied to nationalistic concepts of the "perfect family": patriarchal, suburban, and white.
commuting workers

Can America Get Behind Full Employment?

Full employment was a prominent goal in U.S. politics after World War II, but has faded from policy debates in recent decades.
segregation

How Global Colonialism Shaped Segregation

One of the first U.S. municipal laws demanding residential segregation, passed in 1910 in Baltimore, has roots in European colonial policies.
Chanel N°5

The French Perfume Boom

The marketing of scents through clever branding, rather than real differences in what’s being sold, originated in nineteenth-century France.
miniature people standing on around a stack of coins

Can Consumer Groups Be Radical?

Historian Lawrence Glickman looked at the consumer movements of the 1930s to find out.
valuing young black people

Black Youths Aren’t Broken

The graduation rate gap between black and white kids is a major issue. One organization emphasizes social identity, media literacy, and youth development in redressing the problem.
Advertising Mother's Day

What Good Moms Buy

The way advertisers target mothers has changed along with the social understanding of American motherhood, one sociologist found.
Women gardeners

When Gardens Replaced Children

Historian Robin Veder explains that the way we associate female nurturing with gardens goes back to the way ideas about gender and work changed in the mid-nineteenth century.
Public health

A Different Kind of Public Health Message

Researchers have found that Americans experience radically different health outcomes depending on their race and socioeconomic status.
Sex trafficking

The Complicated Reality of “Sex Trafficking”

Anthropologist Jennifer Musto looked at how the rise in concern about sex trafficking, particularly in regard to the domestic trafficking of underage girls, actually plays out in policing.
Antebellum sex education

Who Gets To Speak Publicly About Sex?

Frederick Hollick's case involved not only his controversial sex-positive arguments, but also the question of who should be privy to medical knowledge about sex.
Old West Crossdressing

The Forgotten Gender Nonconformists of the Old West

In the Old West, cross-dressing was sometimes a disguise for criminals on the lam. But, one historian argues, in many cases these “cross-dressers” were probably people who we would identify as transgender today.
Hotel Clerk

Why Americans Used to Hate Hotel Workers

In 1874, popular writer Henry Hooper called the hotel clerk “the supercilious embodiment of Philistinism.” What accounts for the nineteenth century hate?
psychology on the radio

Psychologists on the Radio

Americans have tuned their radios for psychological insight and edification since the dawn of the medium.
Oklahoma Sunday school class 1900

Where Sunday School Comes From

Sunday school was just one part of nineteenth century reformers’ efforts to improve children’s lives and morals in this period. But the mission of Sunday schools changed significantly over the years.
WV teachers strike

The Teachers’ Union Boomerang

Today's teacher's strikes in places like Oklahoma and West Virginia are the result of labor battles back in 2010, and the declining presence of unions across the economy generally.