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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.

Obamacare signing

Access to Care Is Only Part of Public Health

While the U.S. debate over healthcare has been focused on Obamacare, we’ve been ignoring some other important aspects of health policy.
WPA mural masculinity

What Kind of Work is “Masculine”?

What's the fate of "masculinity" in a world where it’s hard for many men to achieve personal success? It's a question we asked in the 1930s, too.
Nixon and Daniel Patrick Moynihan

When “Welfare Reform” Meant Expanding Benefits

50 years ago, Republican politicians proposed, and sometimes won, welfare reform programs that were actually more comprehensive.
Woman looking at men whispering

The Pioneers in the Fight against Sexual Harassment

Some of the first precedent-setting sexual harassment cases were filed by women who were African-American, working class, or both
Fireworks Brooklyn Bridge

When Fireworks Told Stories

In Europe between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, fireworks displays were performances that told a story or symbolized real-world battles.
Granger poster

What’s So Bad About A Monopoly?

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods has drawn the ire of a new antitrust movement, which argues against the dangers of industry monopoly.
Fishing Victorian

How the Victorians Went Camping

If you’re going camping this summer, will you rough it on a wilderness hike, or relax in a ...
Barbed wire

How Barbed Wire Changed Farming Forever

On June 25, 1867, Lucien B. Smith of Ohio received the first patent for barbed wire. Within a few decades, barbed wire transformed the American West.
Birmingham trainyard

A Precedent for Today’s Political Violence

Illegal violence has always been a political tool, often serving the interests of the powerful. A historian looks at the case of 1930s Birmingham, Alabama.
Businessmen

The Secret Gay Business Network of Midcentury America

In the 1940s and 50s, a life of business travel represented a sense of freedom for gay men that would have been impossible in earlier decades.
DC African-American classroom, 1942

One Weird Trick for Raising Teachers’ Credentials

What's behind a drop in secondary school teachers' credentials? The profession has widened, but neither the its prestige, nor its pay has kept up.
Dagwood

What Father’s Day Jokes Really Mean

Comic strip dads give us some sociological clues into how views surrounding masculinity and fatherhood have changed.
Bigfoot signage

How Consumerism Created Bigfoot

People have long told stories about wildmen, creatures who straddled the line between human and animal. But Bigfoot himself first appeared in the 1950s.
Lichtenstein Crying Woman

What Really Made 1950s Housewives So Miserable

Where did the image of the quietly desperate stay-at-home mother come from?
Public housing project

Why is the U.S. Losing Public Housing?

In much of the U.S., public housing is disappearing as governments fail to maintain the buildings or actively demolish them.
kids on computers

Do Corporations Belong in Our Classrooms?

Google is making forays into American classrooms with their technology. Research looks at the case of Channel One school television for context.
Wedding bands

Selling the Men’s Wedding Ring

How changing mores, cultural pressures, and, yes, the jewelry industry made two-ring wedding ceremonies the norm in America.
Windowsill

When Americans Became Obsessed with Fresh Air

Once it became clear that mosquitoes, not the air itself, carried malaria, early 20th-century Americans went to extreme lengths to enjoy fresh air at night.
Michelle Obama school lunch

Who Doesn’t Like Healthy School Lunches?

The Trump administration’s decision to relax nutrition standards for school lunches is the latest development in a century-long fight.
West End, London

When Did We Start Shopping at Stores?

Online shopping drastically reduces the significance of physical stores. Where did the physical retail model come from to begin with?
Pied Piper

When American Schools Banned German Classes

When American troops headed to Europe for WWI, hostility to all things German intensified across the country. Schools even banned German fairy tales.
Harvard Business School

When Harvard Business School Tried To Fix Capitalism

Harvard Business School once attempted to apply psychological and political ideas to the project of saving capitalism from ruin.
coffee shop tipping

Do We Tip Because of Good Service or Low Wages?

The question of whether or not to tip can be vexing, particularly when a type of service, like ride-sharing, is relatively new.
May Day 2006 marchers

When did May Day Turn Into an Immigrants’ Rights Day?

May Day has traditionally focused on labor and working class issues. Immigration and immigrant labor adds a new dimension to the holiday.
Morehouse College campus

Can College Cure Racism?

New reading requirements at Harvard have added fuel to an ongoing debate about diversity in curricula. At HBCUs these fights had a different dimension.