Secret Societies of Sapphos: Faro Ladies, Bluestockings, and Gendered Insults of Women’s Societies in 18th- and 19th-Century Britain

London was a colorful place in the 1790s, full of vices that the Victorians took great pains to either criticize or euphemize in their histories of England: alcoholism, casual sex, venereal disease, child abandonment, vagrancy, unwed motherhood, and the list continues. To contemporaries, these were all areas of concern but Read more…

A illustrated poster showing the various consequences of syphilis, including skin lesions, birth defects, and social stigma

Syphilis: Origin Story. Or, Early Modern Europeans Don’t Know Where It Came From, Current Scholars Don’t Know Where It Came From, and a Lot of Poxy Penises and Vulvas Suffered in Between

From whence came the poxiest of poxes? Averill and Marissa dive into the debates surrounding the origin of syphilis, with historians, paleobiologists, forensic anthropologists, and Shakespeare all weighing in. Listen, download, watch on YouTube, or scroll down for the transcript. Related Posts: Hearts of Darkness: Victorian Imperialism and Travel of Read more…

A black and white photograph of Congolese people

Hearts of Darkness: Victorian Imperialism and Travel of the African Continent

Victorian-era European imperialism was facilitated by the thousands of missionaries, businessmen, soldiers, and private police forces employed by the religious, economic, and military institutions of “civilized” Europe, but there were also individuals that facilitated this process, such as Henry Morton Stanley, Joseph Conrad, and Roger Casement. These individuals were essential Read more…