Amabie: A Disease-Fighting Mermaid of Japanese Lore

The world has become enchanted with a three-legged mermaid called Amabie, said to help fight plague. Last spring, in western Tokyo, my research assistant Payton Letko came upon an unusual treat in a small bakery: pastries in the shape of the Japanese folklore creature Amabie, a three-legged sea creature with scales and long flowing hair,[…]

A Brief History of Mermaid Mythology

Mermaids are not real, but they are meaningful to people around the world. Introduction Mermaids – underwater creatures that are half fish and half human – do not exist except in people’s imaginations. Scientists who study the ocean for the United States have investigated their possible existence and say no evidence of mermaids has ever[…]

Jane and Cicely: Massachusetts Slaves Who Died of an Epidemic in 1714

The lives, labor, and sacrifices of women and girls of color have been overlooked for centuries. Introduction What I believe to be the oldest surviving gravestone for a Black person in the Americas memorializes an enslaved teenager named Cicely. Cicely’s body is interred across from Harvard’s Johnston Gate in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She died in 1714 during a[…]

Trotula: Medicine and Women in the Middle Ages

The “Book on the Conditions of Women” was novel in its adoption of the new Arabic medicine that had just begun to make inroads into Europe. Introduction Trotula is a name referring to a group of three texts on women’s medicine that were composed in the southern Italian port town of Salerno in the 12th[…]

6 Reasons to Learn More about the Culture of Indigenous People

The study of Indigenous People can create a respectful and rigorous understanding of their culture. Some classes for a term provide a broad approach by focusing on native cultures around the world. Some programs, on the other hand, look at the experience of a specific group. In the U.S., some universities offer undergraduate and graduate[…]