Bad History, doctors, gender, internet, midwives, museums and collections

Exhibiting our past: “This Vexed Question”

There's been a lot of interest online in a temporary exhibition which has recently opened at the Royal College of Physicians in London: "This Vexed Question: 500 years of women in medicine". I was disturbed by some of the media reports, in particular one in Culture Trip which started with the comment that the RCP was 'dissecting… Continue reading Exhibiting our past: “This Vexed Question”

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Bad History, birth, dissection, doctors

The internet for historians?

Thanks to the wonders of Twitter as a way of asking academic questions and being pointed to research I didn't know existed, last week I was able to read Tim Hitchcock's superb 2013 article "Confronting the digital: or how academic history writing lost the plot". This is the first piece I've read which addresses in detail,… Continue reading The internet for historians?

Bad History, doctors, drugs, films, menstruation

Queen Victoria’s cannabis habit: again

Queen Victoria still grips our imaginations. The latest revelations, coming soon in the movie 'Victoria and Abdul', concern her attachment to an Indian Muslim called Abdul Karim, presented to her as a 'gift from India'. The book on which the film is based was written by Shrabani Basu. Although most of the Queen's letters to… Continue reading Queen Victoria’s cannabis habit: again

Bad History, doctors, drugs, love, sex

Cleopatra and the vibrator powered by bees

One of the most far-fetched myths about ancient sexuality, repeated online but also in print, is that Cleopatra invented the vibrator. Some sites date this event to ‘circa 54 BC’ while others go for 45 BC: there’s nothing like a date to make a story look more convincing. Now, there’s obviously one little problem here:… Continue reading Cleopatra and the vibrator powered by bees