Voters dropping their voting slips into the ballot box.

Why Do We Vote by Secret Ballot?

Election days used to be raucous affairs, with individual votes sometimes cast orally for all to hear.
Botanical manuscript of 450 watercolors of flowers and plants

Plant of the Month: Dittany

Did women in the premodern world have much agency over reproduction? Their use of plants like dittany suggests that they did.
Photograph showing Waldemar Mordecai Wolffe Haffkine (1860-1930), Bacteriologist with the Government of India, inoculating a community against cholera in Calcutta, March 1894.

Anti-Asian Racism in the 1817 Cholera Pandemic

We should learn from, instead of repeating, the racist assignations of the past.
A fetus inside of an artistic depiction of an artificial womb

On the History of the Artificial Womb

Will outside-the-womb gestation, increasingly viable for animal embryos, lead to a feminist utopia? Or to something like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World?
Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Willem van der Meer by Michiel van Mierevelt

Public Dissection Was a Gruesome Spectacle

Renaissance-era anatomists taught people to “knowe thyself” by reading the books of bodies.
French Revolution Calendar

Why the French Revolution’s “Rational” Calendar Wasn’t

What ever happened to "the most radical attempt in modern history to challenge the Western standard temporal reference framework?"
Treadmills atonement

Treadmills Were Meant to Be Atonement Machines

America’s favorite piece of workout equipment was developed as a device for forced labor in British prisons. It was banned as cruel and inhumane by 1900.
Horsepower

Why We Still Use “Horsepower”

Horses were omnipresent in the West until only a few generations ago, but then they were replaced by machines and disappeared from our streets as well as our consciousness.
A dog on trial

When Societies Put Animals on Trial

Animal trials were of two kinds: (1) secular suits against individual creatures; and (2) ecclesiastic cases against groups of vermin.
Great Mosque at Mecca

How European Empires Helped Shape the Hajj

Despite the Hajj's celebration of ascetic faith and brotherhood, there has always been plenty of profit made off the pilgrims traveling to Mecca.