It’s just as unreasonable to think that a piece of paper gauze will stop you from getting sick as it is to think that a plaster mask stuffed with herbs will. But that’s the problem with how we remember major infectious disease events of the past – we remember that people died, but we don’t think a lot about how we might be repeating their mistakes.
Category: Robin Reads the Internet
When a disease goes pandemic, we need to fight more than just the spread
When a pandemic worms its way into our collective consciousness, fighting the disease is no longer just about fighting the virus, but also about fighting the social anxieties that surround it.
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Diastasis recti, the history of round bellies, and making medicine about aesthetics
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, I am not offering medical advice.Read More
The Ornament of the World: Why we shouldn’t define people by religion
If you are an avid PBS fan, you may have seen the premier of a new documentary titled Ornament of the World in the last month. It’s a piece about the interfaith world of medieval Spain, and given that I work on the very related field of cross-cultural contact in medieval Sicily, I should have been excited to see it, but, frankly, I was surprised and somewhat exhausted at the thought that this movie had been made. Because not only was its perspective on interreligious contact left behind by the field of medieval studies almost 20 years ago, but its entire approach to the question assumes that peoples of different religions should be inherently separate.Read More
Finding America’s Conquistador Roots in San Leandro
Last year, my husband and I were looking to buy a house in the small California city of San Leandro, on the edge of Oakland. Being a historian and a nerd (redundant, I know), I looked into the history of the town and its name. I was surprised, delighted, and eventually horrified to find it rooted in medieval history, and it showed me just how deep-seated America’s racism is in its visions of the Middle Ages. Read More
Corduroy and Politics in Children’s Books
Corduroy was one of my favorite books as a kid, but it wasn’t until I started reading it to children as an adult that I realized it has a political message. Read More
Babel – Universal translators, memes, and medieval scribes
Virtuous “clean” eating is the same as the Instagram aesthetic
Let me rant at you about a 10-month old podcast episode. Read More
Intermittent Fasting – Health, religion, and individualism in the modern wellness brand
We need to talk about intermittent fasting. Read More
What can video games really teach us about history?
A lot more than names and dates. Read More