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.

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.
Burning woman witchcraft

Where Witch Hunts Began

Although witch hunts are associated with 17th-century Salem, many hundreds of thousands of "witches" were killed in Europe from the 13th century on.
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.