“Young people never are what they were in somebody else’s day.”: Sex Education, Margaret Mead, and History

John A. Carranza // On October 29, 2019, the Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees approved a new sex education curriculum that will teach students about gender identity and same-sex relationships, consent and interpersonal relationships, as  well as abstinence-plus (abstinence is the best way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, but still conveys…

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Health ✪ Part 2: Woman, M.D.

Sarah L. Berry // If you’re a female voter, thank a woman doctor. Without 19th-century female physicians, we might not soon be celebrating the 100th anniversary of suffrage. In 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to earn a Doctor of Medicine degree just as the women’s rights movement kicked off in Seneca Falls, NY….

Derrière(s): Chronos and the Gay Male

Dr. Brian J. Troth // “Le passé est passé. The future is now.” These temporal adages, for all intents and purposes platitudes uttered without much thought, suggest that we are obsessed with moving forward, going so far as to prematurely announce the impossibility that the future has already arrived. Yet we are also apt to…

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Health ✪ Part 1

Sarah L. Berry // Keep your politics out of my uterus. I can’t breathe. My Body, My Choice. Current social justice movements proclaim that not all bodies are free in the twenty-first-century United States. Demonstrators use public spaces to stage die-ins, march on Washington, D.C. and state capitols, and gather support over social media. Founded…

How can HIV-positive women be good mothers?

Sasheenie Moodley // We are told that a “good mother” is the trope of a mother who is loving and nurturing (Chess, 1982; Mercer, 1985). She prioritises and protects her infant. This mother has a good relationship with her “happy” infant (Benedek, 1959). It is a good mother’s job to understand her child’s behaviour and…

The Risks We Take: How to Talk About Risk Today

Dr. Brian J. Troth // Is risky behavior exciting and sexy? If we believe this to be true, then what happens when risk becomes harder to define, harder to pinpoint? In the year 2019, the risk of becoming HIV-positive is more mitigated than ever before thanks to a revolutionary preventative approach called PrEP. Critical regard…

The Edinburgh Seven and the Power of the Popular Press 

Jessica Kirwan // This past July, seven women known as the Edinburgh Seven were posthumously awarded bachelor degrees in medicine by the University of Edinburgh, 150 years after they had been allowed to enroll in the medical school but not actually earn degrees. Although the women had garnered some support at the university, and much…

Part II: The Church and Abortion in Counter Reformation Italy

Claire Litt // The first part in this series on women’s sexual and reproductive health in early modern Italy explored the political consequences of women’s pregnancies, and the devastating consequences for noblewomen when they were unable to conceive. However extensively treated the topic of conception was, especially in scholarly medical literature, the topics of contraception…

“Mirror Work” and the Epidemic Imaginary in New Queer Cinema

Jenelle Troxell // In the closing image of Todd Haynes’ 1995 film Safe, Carol White gazes deeply into the mirror, softly voicing the words, “I love you. I really love you. I love you,” as the camera pushes slowly towards her. While the inward tracking promises access to Carol’s interiority and her direct address to…

Parenting in Public, from Passivity to Peace

Mira Assaf Kafantaris and Alicia Andrzejewski Introduction Is the affective experience of public parenting a health concern, a concern for the medical humanities? Certainly, the constant surveillance of parents, mothers in particular, is born out of care and concern for the well-being of children. This surveillance and the interventions/invasions it inspires, however, result in a…