On Cloth Masks and the History of Cleanliness

Julia Dauer // Cloth masks have become passé in this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.  With masks mandates mostly gone and high-quality disposable masks widely available to those who wish to use them, cloth mask sightings have become increasingly rare.  In the early days of the current pandemic, with supplies of N95 masks extremely limited…

Mexican Homosexualities and the Distortions of the Medical Gaze

Doctor Omar Durán-García’s research includes the first sex reassignment surgery in the Western Hemisphere, the use of hormones by trans sex workers and the artistic representation of condoms during the HIV-AIDS crisis in Mexico. By examining the intersection of homosexuality, medical technologies and subjective expression during second half of the twentieth century, he shows how…

Stranger Things; or, Why ’80s Nostalgia is Good For You

Naomi Michalowicz // Stranger Things, Netflix’s hit show about kids fighting eldritch terrors in 1980s suburbia, has just concluded its fourth season. An obvious appeal of the show is its shameless indulgence in ’80s nostalgia, hitting every cliche of representing the decade—bicycles, arcades, music, quaint technology, bad hair, and of course, the full range of…

Parkland Speaks: What It Means to Survive

April Sharp // Gun violence is a national epidemic and public health crisis. You can’t turn on the TV or scroll through social media these days without news of another mass shooting. In Baltimore, where I’ve lived for the past decade, shootings and homicides are so common that many don’t even make the news. In…

In memoriam.

Travis Chi Wing Lau// TW: end of life, death, dying In 2019, I wrote about my grandmother transitioning to hospice care. At the time, we feared the worst, for she had experienced a traumatic fall in her own home and was discovered unconscious hours later. After the incident, she seemed to have lost her capacity…

Life, Death and Grief in the Garden: Some Literary Roots

Avril Tynan // In Plant Dreaming Deep, May Sarton’s journal of her life in rural New Hampshire, the author describes her decision to buy a house in the USA following the deaths of her parents. The home(s) she once knew in Europe—in England, France, Belgium and Switzerland—no longer felt like home and, in the marriage…

Viral Health Myths: Social Media to the Rescue?

Sam Allen Wright // I’ve always been afraid of my deodorant. Ever since I started using it—always a deodorant and antiperspirant combination—the fear that I’m going to get breast cancer has lingered in the back of my mind. Of course, this fear was never enough to get me to stop using deodorant. As an active…

A Band-Aid on Systemic Racism

Sara Press// Millennials who came of age in the early 2000s will surely remember the hit single “Hot in Herre” by the St. Louis rapper Nelly. For young consumers of pop culture, Nelly was a familiar face at the start of the 21st century, famous for his catchy songs and his signature look: a white Band-Aid…