Apr 30, 2017

NAFTA, Maquiladoras, and Mexican Immigration in the US

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Donald Trump, in a September 2016 presidential debate, said, “NAFTA is the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country.” But NAFTA was not addressed in any of his executive orders, and now President Trump’s intentions for NAFTA are unclear. Today Averill and Elizabeth continue our series on US immigration with this episode about the North American Foreign Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Maquiladoras and Mexican immigration in the 20th century. Trump has said little about what improvements he wants, apart from halting the migration of U.S. factories to Mexico. This this conversation is also closely tied to rising nativist sentiments in America about Mexico and Mexicans in general, and cannot be separated from the discussion of wall building, and actions our President has taken to place restrictions on immigration. In our current political climate, this rhetoric and vitriol has had a dramatic impact on the lives of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, which has everything and nothing to do with the actual role of the economy in all of this.

 

Apr 23, 2017

Tuberculean Chic

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Marissa and Sarah discuss Georgians' and Victorians' love affair with Tuberculosis and the tuberculean aesthetic in fashion and art. In Georgian London, some diseases started to seem fashionable, desirable even. Gambling was popular, elites were using snuff and drinking spirits, powdering their hair, whitening their faces with toxic creams, damaging their bodies with restrictive clothes and hairstyles. Ladies of fashion were perceived to be particularly vulnerable to disease and this made them even more attractive. This is the context where tuberculosis first began shaping beauty standards. The Victorians took this even further. Pre-Raphaelite painters, their models, and the discovery of the tubercle bacillus germ brought new classed and gendered meanings to the tuberculean chic.

Apr 16, 2017

Communists and Uteruses

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There is something fascinating about the history of reproductive rights, contraception, and abortion in every country and ideology that we've looked at in our women's reproductive rights series. This week we're turning to the impact of Communism on these issues, particularly in China and the Soviet Union. Here we have the complete range of reproductive control extremes - from hyper pro-natalist policies and criminalization of birth control and abortion in both China and the USSR; to the Soviet Union's provision and regulation of abortion while simultaneously paying for extensive maternal support programming; to China's one child policy, which included forced abortion and sterilization in an attempt to get control over an overpopulation problem. Averill and Marissa discuss all of these nuances and more in this episode on the impact of Communism on uteruses.

Apr 9, 2017

Mexican Braceros & the Welfare State

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In this continuation of our series on immigration, Dan and Elizabeth focus on the Mexican-American experience within the United States: instances of racism, the importation of Mexican workers, and how Mexican-Americans were intentionally excluded from the welfare state. The Bracero Program began in 1942, and was an agreement between the United States and Mexico, which started the legalization and control of Mexican migrant workers along America’s southern border area. The program lasted until 1964, and it is estimated that in this 22 year period, approximately 4.6 million Mexican nationals came to work in the U.S. as braceros.

Apr 2, 2017

Anti-Vivesection in the 19th Century

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Things have been pretty political around here lately, so we wanted to dig into something that's just fascinating and, frankly, creepy: anti-vivisection, or the 19th century campaign to end scientific and medical experimentation on living animals. Join Averill and Sarah as they talk about the practice of vivisection and the efforts to stop it. Also, a word of warning: we use some nineteenth century language when reading quotes, and also describe some pretty graphic events. You might want to turn it down if you're sensitive or listening with kids.