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Black and white headshot of author Livia Gershon

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.

Sisters of the Holy Family, New Orleans

The Hidden History of Black Catholic Nuns

The lives and roles of African-descended women who joined predominantly white Catholic convents was deliberately hidden by congregational historians.
Studio portrait of American violinist Maud Powell, c. 1909

Women, Men, and Classical Music

As more women embraced music as a profession, more men became worried that the world of the orchestra was losing its masculinity.
Officers Blois, Godot and Catin and their dogs, Black, Job and Dick, in Neuilly-sur-Siene, 1900

Dogs, the Four-Legged Crime-Fighters of Paris

Now a familiar part of policing, the partnership between canines and cops developed in an unpredictable fashion.
A Spanish Nobleman, 17th century

Nostalgia for Manly Men in Seventeenth-Century Spain

Moralists found it easy to criticize Spanish men, particularly the high-born among them, for all sorts of supposed failures of masculinity.
Demonstrators during a march calling for safe legal abortions for all women, in New York City, New York, 1978.

Jewish Law and Abortion

A practicing physician reviews contributions of Jewish ethics and rabbinic thought to the issue of abortion.
A screenshot from a video of a woman speaking Gullah and English

The Cosmopolitan Culture of the Gullah/Geechees

Emphasizing the isolation enforced by Lowcountry geography erases the agency of Gullah/Geechee communities in the preservation of African culture.
Omar Khayyam, the horse that won the 1917 Kentucky Derby

Fast Horses and Eugenics

The breeding of race horses validated those aspiring to belong to an American elite while feeding into racist beliefs about genetic inheritance.
From the cover of a teacher's book on geography

Teaching Citizenship in the Falling Ottoman Empire

In the nineteenth century, the state used a new education system to shape young citizens' attitudes toward a shrinking empire and the emerging Republic.
Two Filipino men in Los Angeles

1930s Filipinos Were Hip to American Style. There Was Backlash.

Filipinos, newly arrived to West Coast cities, displayed a mastery over American cultural life thanks to their knowledge of Hollywood films.
Chlorella algae under a microscope

Algae: The Food of the Future of the Past

In the years following World War II, American and European food scientists hoped to feed the world with common pond scum supplemented with plastics.
An Easter card from Sweden

The Easter Witches of Sweden

Today's lighthearted Easter tradition traces its roots to the witch trials and conspiracy theories of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Three pence Colonial currency from the Province of Pennsylvania. Signed by Thomas Wharton. Printed by Benjamin Franklin and David Hall, 1764

Building an Economy on Paper Money

A shortage of coined currency led Pennsylvania to begin using paper money in the 1720s. The British didn't like it, but the colonists did.
Gathering Sap at a Maple Sugar Camp, Vermont

Praising Maple Sugar in the Early American Republic

In Early America, some prestigious residents advocated for the replacement of cane sugar, supplied by enslaved workers, with maple sugar from family farms.
Jim Allen (L), a self-described member of the Vice Lords street gang, gets a hug from former Gangster Disciple and current community activist Q. L. Anthony following a press conference September 2, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.

What Do Chicago Gangs Provide to Their Members?

Confronted with discrimination and violence, gangs evolve and serve members differently, even when patterned after existing groups.
A group of Goldwater girls sitting in the shape of a 'G' in Sherman Oaks, California, whilst campaigning for Barry Goldwater, the Republican candidate for the Presidential election, July 1964

The Radical Right-Wing Housewives of 1950s California

The mobilization of housewives in 1950s California echoes through US national politics in the twenty-first century.
Radhakamal Mukerjee

Radhakamal Mukerjee and Indian Intellectual Independence

Sociologist Radhakamal Mukerjee helped shape a new view of sociology from an Indian perspective, contributing to the independence movement.
The 1939 first edition cover of The Grapes of Wrath

Banning The Grapes of Wrath in 1939 California

The Kern County, CA Board of Supervisors got a lesson in the Streisand Effect back in 1939, when they banned The Grapes of Wrath from their libraries and schools.
Uber Eats delivery people

COVID-19 and Justice for Food Workers

The COVID-19 pandemic put food workers in danger of contracting infections, with few, if any, consequences for the industries' failures to protect them.
Dolores Huerta

The Foundations of Chicana Feminism

The Chicana feminist movement was initially met with resistance from within, and racism from without.
Hindu devotees celebrate during Holi with colored powders at the Banke Bihari temple on March 26, 2013 in Vrindavan, India.

Gender and Caste at Holi

The Hindu festival of Holi celebrates love, colors, and the arrival of spring. How it's celebrated can vary significantly throughout India.
Terence McKenna

Terence McKenna’s Anarchic Psychedelic Religion

Terence McKenna was an evangelist for the use of psilocybin and other mind-altering drugs, as a way to transcend and escape “untrammeled rationalism.”
Somebody stealing a speech bubble from another person

Policing Joke Theft

Joke theft: it's a serious matter.
From the cover of FAAR News, November 1, 1977

Feminism, Self-Defense, and (Not) Calling the Cops

The feminist movement of the 1970s worked to raise awareness of violence against women, but diverged on the role of law enforcement in fighting it.
Freedmans Village near Arlington Hights, Va., July 10th, 1865.

The Long Afterlife of Freedman’s Village

Freedman's Village, created in Arlington, VA at the end of the Civil War, became a thriving community of Black residents as part of Reconstruction.
Four Immortals Saluting Longevity. T

The Trouble with Immortality

Stories about immortality are present in many cultures throughout time. How cultures perceive immortality—as a blessing or a curse—can differ widely.