Thanksgiving, Tradition, and Ted Cruz: A Public Health Crisis

John A. Carranza // On November 21, 2020, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted the cover image of a trussed and cooked turkey with a black star immediately above it and the words “Come and Take It” below. The tweet is a take on the flag used at the Battle of Gonzales in Texas, in…

Locating Emotion in Our Language and Bodies

Claire Litt // Practically speaking, heartbreak is nonsensical. We know the heart is a muscle, and that muscles do not break—they tear. Yet no despondent lover has ever laid prostrate on their bed complaining of heart tears. Though it is a muscle, the heart breaks as a bone—and the fact that we say so informs…

Transatlantic Antivaccination Campaigns: A Brief History

Samantha Allen Wright // “Will you get the new COVID-19 vaccine? Aren’t you worried about it?” As an enthusiastic supporter of vaccinations (I’m first in line for my university’s yearly flu shot drive), I get many questions from family, friends, and students on my thoughts about a potential COVID-19 vaccine. I answer these questions by…

Is the Face Mask a Muzzle? A Brief History

Don James McLaughlin// On June 26, a video began circulating of a man growling “I will not be muzzled like a mad dog” at a special meeting of the St. Lucie County Commission in Florida, held to discuss a proposal for a face mask mandate. Bared teeth notwithstanding, commissioners voted to approve the ordinance on…

Health histories from watery places: Seafaring bodies in the labour archive

Madeleine Mant // In the basement of an unassuming building on the Memorial University campus in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, lies the Maritime History Archive (MHA), curating the employment records of Britain’s Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen (RGSS). Approximately 75% of all surviving logbooks and Agreements from 1857 to 1942 and 1951 to…

The Murky History of Colonizing Near Water

Theodora Christopher // In 1854, John Snow presented his theory that the rapid spread of cholera in London was due to the local water supply.[1] This was the first scientific documentation of a waterborne disease.[2] Research has since shown that illnesses such as botulism, dysentery, and typhoid are waterborne diseases, and that contaminated water can…

The Science of Judging a Book by its Cover

Brent Arehart // There is a famous anecdote about Hippocrates told by Arabic authors. One day, Hippocrates’ students gathered to discuss whether anyone else was more virtuous than their master. When they could not think of any obvious candidates, one student got a clever idea. He proposed that they acquire a picture of Hippocrates and…

Better to Protect than Regret

Better to Protect than Regret: What Syphilis Campaigns Can Teach Us About Combating the Coronavirus Jessica M. E. Kirwan // In 1917, an incurable bacterial disease had infected an estimated 10% of England’s cities.1 It spread through sexual intercourse, then slowly attacked multiple organs of the body until causing a painful death. Little was known…

Literature After the Era of Roe v. Wade

Bojan Srbinovski // “The right of privacy,” writes Justice Harry Blackmun in the majority opinion for Roe v. Wade, “whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action…or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to…