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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.

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.
team of PC gamers

Why Are Video Games so Great?

An anthropologist investigating one group of committed gamers found people attracted not to realism, but to deeply engaging cooperative projects.
biting dogs

The 19th Century War on Dogs

Dogs have always been a matter of debate in American cities. In 19th-century New York City, the debate involved paying impoverished children to participate in dog-murder.
Loggers slang

The Lost Language of American Loggers

Logger slang may have coined terms like "punk," "haywire," and "pie in the sky." One lexicographer attempted to catalogue the industry's slang in 1942.
Prison interior

Why Do We Have Prisons in the United States?

The Enlightenment brought the idea that punishments should be certain and mild, rather than harsh with lots of pardons and exceptions.
Guinness ad

Why We Drink Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day

Unlike shamrock pins and green beer, Guinness drinking really is a longstanding tradition in Ireland.
yoga class being led by instructor

How America Embraced Yoga

More than a century ago, a blend of exotic stereotypes, trendy health advice, and new ideas about religion and gender built the foundations of the American yoga movement.
School to tech pipeline

The Trouble with the School-to-Tech Pipeline

Anthropologist Elsa Davidson found at a Silicon Valley high school serving “at-risk” Latino and Southeast Asian kids that there are some complicated obstacles to careers in tech.
East LA Student protest

The Activist Students of 1960s East Los Angeles

Over a week and a half starting on March 1st, 1968, more than 10,000 students in mostly Chicano schools took part in what became known as the East Los Angeles School Blowouts.
pharmaceutical advertising

Should Drug Makers Advertise?

Drug advertising is a longstanding issue in the U.S, tangled with patients’ rights to make their own decisions, doctors’ professional status, and the ethics of profiting from powerful drugs.
Kids gaming in the library

The Grand Old Tradition of Gaming at the Library

Visit your local public library today and you may find rows of kids playing computer games, or even a couple of Xboxes. Gaming at the library is a tradition that goes back to the 1850s.
v

How Consumerism Sold Democracy to Postwar Germany

After World War II, the United States was battling the Soviet Union for cultural influence. In divided Berlin, the tactics included lavish consumer goods exhibitions.
Child poverty

Why Equality Matters More Than Income

Looking at children’s wellbeing in rich countries like the U.S. in 2007, scholars found that inequality may matter a lot more for kids’ lives than absolute income level.
Pope Sixtus V abortion ban

What a 16th-Century Abortion Ban Revealed

In 1588, Pope Sixtus V issued a papal bull officially classifying abortion, regardless of the stage of fetal development, as homicide.
I Am a Man

How the Memphis Sanitation Strike Changed History

How the Memphis Sanitation Strike, with its iconic “I AM A MAN” signs, helped deepen Martin Luther King, Jr.'s radicalism in the last months of his life.
Menstrual pads history

The Secret History of Menstruation

Menstruation is both a mundane fact of life and an oddly under-discussed subject. For many centuries, Western industrial societies have simply ignored it.
George Washington portrait

What Is President’s Day Actually About?

For most of American history, Washington's Birthday was a really big deal, but, as scholar Barry Schwartz explains, that's changed a lot since the middle of the twentieth century.
Shaker tree art

The Shaker Formula for Gender Equality

Shaker communities seem to have appealed to a lot of women because they offered a respite where their work was honored and respected.