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Stigmabusters

Public breastfeeding, purity, and the Prado

The Prado gallery in Madrid is splendid and powerful, full of historical paintings that lift the spirit and energize the imagination. And on a recent visit as I wandered the galleries on a hot Spanish summer afternoon, I was struck by one recurring theme. Masterpiece upon masterpiece of a baby […]

The Source of “Stigma”

The cliche in stigma scholarship: first, cite Goffman. Like this. And this. His work on stigma is mentioned so often, he is one of the most cited Sociologists ever. Mostly, he is referenced for his 1963 book, “Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity“. Usually the citation is about how he defined […]

The Other Reason Carrie Fisher is My Hero

This week Carrie Fisher passed away. I was 13 when I first saw Star Wars. A Princess who didn’t wear a ball-gown was a revelation. But Fisher wasn’t just a kick-ass role model for teen girls in parochial, misogynistic, 1970s New Zealand. Fisher, like all people with public appeal, had […]

Slum tourism, empathy, and study abroad

At Emoya Estate in Bloemfontein, South Africa, visitors can experience what it is to live in a local village — heating your own water over a fire and using “a long drop effect” outside toilet. The corrugated iron chalets may look like poor people live in them, but they are carefully […]