JSTOR Daily published a whopping 752 stories in 2018—that’s a lot for our small staff. Here are the greatest hits: our personal favorites and yours. As always, each of these stories includes free, open links to relevant scholarship in JSTOR. Happy New Year!


Photgraph: Fred Rogers lacing up his iconic sneakers

Source: Grand Communications/The Fred Rogers Company

Long Live Mister Rogers’ Quiet Revolution

Fred Rogers argued by example and in his quiet, firm way that television’s power could be harnessed to shape future generations for good.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Percy Bysshe Shelley

Mary Shelley’s Obsession with the Cemetery

The author of Frankenstein always saw love and death as connected. She visited the cemetery to commune with her dead mother. And with her lover.
Memphis bridge

The People’s Grocery Lynching, Memphis, Tennessee

On March 2, 1892, in Memphis, Tennessee, a racially charged mob grew out of a fight between a black and a white youth near People’s Grocery.
paragraph book

What a Paragraph Is

On the controversial directive that a paragraph must contain a topic sentence, an idea that theorists, writers, and students have questioned for decades.
Vintage engraving from 1876 of a old victorian haunted house.

How Victorian Mansions Became the Default Haunted House

Quick: Picture a haunted house. It's probably a Victorian mansion, right? Here's how these structures became signifiers of horror, haunting, and death.
Little Women movie

My Summer of Watching Little Women

What the author learned from his mother, a feminist academic doing a research project on film adaptations of Little Women.
Walking Natan

The Art of Walking

Walking as an art has a deep history. By guiding participants, or their own bodies, on walks, artists encourage us to see the extraordinary in the mundane.
duck billed platypus

The Platypus Is Even Weirder Than You Thought

Platypuses. They’re weird. In fact, platypuses are so unusual that it took taxonomists more than eighty years just to decide what they are.
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.
Charles Knowlton portrait

Charles Knowlton, the Father of American Birth Control

Decades after Charles Knowlton died, his book would be credited with the reversal of population growth in England and the popularization of contraception in the United States. 
supermarket illustration

Sex and the Supermarket

Supermarkets represented a major innovation in food distribution—a gendered innovation that encouraged women to find sexual pleasure in subordination.
Horse skull

The Horse Skulls Hidden in the Dance Floors of Ireland

Old houses in Ireland often have horse skulls buried beneath the floors, but folklorists and archaeologists disagree on exactly why.
Brothers Grimm

The Fairytale Language of the Brothers Grimm

How the Brothers Grimm went hunting for fairytales, accidentally changed the course of historical linguistics, and kickstarted a new field of scholarship in folklore.
The Sharing Economy Was Dead on Arrival

The Sharing Economy Was Dead on Arrival

Sharing economy firms like Lyft and Airbnb promised community, but the ideas they promoted as overturning the status quo are the status quo.
Benedetta Carlini

Lesbianism (!) at the Convent

Mother Superior Benedetta Carlini, a visionary nun of Renaissance Italy, was accused of heresy and “female sodomy.”
Queer aging

Queer Time: The Alternative to “Adulting”

What constitutes adulthood has never been self-evident or value-neutral. Queer lives follow their own temporal logic.
trial by combat

Trial by Combat? Trial by Cake!

The medieval tradition of deciding legal cases by appointing champions to fight to the death endured through 1817, unlike its tastier cousin.
Yemen crisis children

Why Yemen Suffers in Silence

Yemen is suffering a major humanitarian crisis. How did the country get to such a precarious state, and why aren't Americans paying more attention?
Email friendship

How Facebook Revived the Epistolary Friendship

Would today's online, social media-based friendships look familiar to the letter-writing friends of earlier centuries, when epistolary friendships were also common?
A computer screen reflected in glasses

To Cope with Digital Distraction, Embrace Digital Neurodiversity

The internet is changing our brains. Our columnist suggests that maybe this isn't such a bad thing.
Cropped Image Of Man And Woman Kissing

The Murky Linguistics of Consent

In many #MeToo stories, crucial signals, verbal and non-verbal cues, are sent but not received. Why is that?
Mr. Knightley and Emma Woodhouse, from Jane Austen's Emma

Jane Austen’s Subtly Subversive Linguistics

Why are Jane Austen books still so beloved? A linguist argues it has more to do with Austen's masterful use of language than with plot.
Food security

Global Food Security: A Primer

World hunger is not caused by our inability to produce enough food. The problem arises because of the economic inequality that distorts food distribution.

 


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