Drugs for Life? [Book Review]

Looks like an interesting work of cultural history - how our ideas of what is 'healthy' is determined by changes in the 'health' industry: Once upon a time, people generally considered themselves healthy unless they felt ill, or had frailties or symptoms beyond normal ones. Two large changes have resulted in a new model of health. First, in the past half-century we have seen the rise of risk factors: familiar things such as diet, age…

Book Review: Curious Behaviour

I love a bit of cultural history, and this review tweaked my attention: What do you like in a book? Originality. What do you like in a character? Bravery. Robert Provine is a real character. Not from a book, but from real life. Could someone please make a movie about this scientist? He deserves to be a hero for more people than simply those who will read his work. He is a valiant man and…

Revealing Footnotes (the kind of history I love)

What do your shoes say about you? More than you think, says Caroline Knowles. They hint at your class, job, where you live and even how you spend your leisure time Manolo Blahnik or Christian Louboutin? Most workers in higher education can afford neither make of shoe. But that's the point. Shoes reveal tantalising information about how the social world works, so why do sociologists, anthropologists and historians show so little interest in them? The…

Pop goes academy as nerds revel in American splendour

Jon Marcus visits a department dedicated to the study of popular culture, a growing scholarly field In a small town in rural Ohio, the heartland of the US, stands a building that resembles America's attic. This is the library of the department of popular culture at Bowling Green State University. It is stuffed to the brim with romance novels, board games, greeting cards, comic books, mail-order catalogues, matchbook covers, vinyl records and Star Trek memorabilia.…