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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.

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Party Conventions and the Political Amateur

As the Republican and Democratic party conventions approach, many wonder which way the "political amateur" delegates will vote.
War headlines

Do Terrorists Ever Win?

Surveying the purported objectives of 28 international terrorist groups and determining whether these groups achieved their aims.
smoking

How to Cut Smoking Rates

A working paper released the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that lifting people out of poverty could cut smoking rates. 
Watts

Did The 1965 Watts Riots Change Anything?

Sociological data from immediately after the riots in Watts, Los Angeles, in 1965 show major disparities in attitude by race.
rio olympics

How Olympics Host Cities Hide Their Homeless

Olympic host cities have historically cleared away and marginalized their homeless in advance of the games.
Doctor examines patient, 1942

Why We Make Doctors Get Licenses

We might question why barbers or florists need licenses. But almost everyone would agree that doctors ought to be licensed.
Cornelius Vanderbilt II House

Why We Obsess Over Other People’s Mansions

Gilded Age mansions were remarkably public places. Newspapers breathlessly followed their construction and the social lives that happened within them

How Parents Watch Teachers

What parents watch teachers the most? Economic class has a lot to do with report cards.

Happy Flag Day! (What is Flag Day?)

What is Flag Day, again? Early American flags were all over the place. There was no consensus about the flag until 25 years after the Revolution.

Why Naming Anti-Gay Violence Matters

The Orlando shooting was an act of anti-gay violence, an element of the story many politicians have ignored.

How American Tourism Began

American tourism took the scenic route over the course of the twentieth century. A growing middle class and car ownership helped.

A Brief History of Tobacco in America

Over the past 50 years, the portion of Americans who smoke dropped has dropped from 42 to 15 percent. The precipitous decline could mean the end of the fascination.

From Dorm Rooms to Bathrooms: The Long Fight for Gender Equality

Before current uproar over transgender people and bathrooms, the country debated the place of coeducation in American society.

When Do We Grow Up? After Graduation?

The age when we grow up and begin our adult lives has changed over the years.
Paul Gauguin, Nafea Faa Ipoipo? (When Will You Marry? ) 1892, oil on canvas, 101 x 77 cm

The Real Reason Fine Art Costs So Much

To outsiders, art auctions can seem like a parody of bizarre spending by wealthy people. The origins of ultra-expensive art lies in the nineteenth-century.

The Invention of Retirement

Retirement as a mass phenomenon didn’t start as a way for older people to enjoy themselves.

Race Has Always Affected the Vote

While racism in the United States is often attributed to poor whites, research suggests its political power resides in middle and wealthy suburban whites.
consultants

Consultants: Recommending Consultations for 100+ Years

Glassdoor reports that three of the five highest paying companies in the country are consulting firms. To some ...
Chicago teachers striking

The Rise of Teachers’ Unions

Teachers' unions have been an important force in America since the 1950s.
Mary Cassatt's The Young Mother

Maternity, #Meternity, and the Military

Maternity leave as we know it today may have its origins in turn-of-the-century French militarism.
anti-Mormon illustration

How Victorian Writers Eroticized Mormons

Victorian anti-Mormonism meant 19th-century Americans were both fascinated and frightened by Mormons' marriage and sexual practices.
Socialists in Union Square, N.Y.C. May 1, 1912

How Labor Lost May Day

At the turn of the century, May 1 was a time for radical labor protests. During WWI, May Day was replaced by the more nationalistic Labor Day.
Picture of Gunnery Camp, the first organized American summer camp, 1861

Summer Camp Has Always Been About Escaping Modern Life

The first summer camps presented themselves as an natural alternative to encroaching industrial society.
1871 Life insurance policy

Putting a Price on a Life

If you have a life insurance policy, that means your insurance company pays your beneficiaries when you die, ...
Tax frustrations

A Brief History of the Income Tax

The significance of the date April 15 is not lost on anyone in the modern United States. But ...