Tuesday, September 23, 2003


I've been reading Nancy Tomes: The Gospel of Germs: Men, Women, and the Microbe in American Life. It focuses one of the dilemmas of women's history--new ideas about housecleaning seem to have been both a way to keep women down by setting impossible tasks for them and something women embraced as a way to achieve goals they valued. What intrigues me most is the remnant practices: my parents built a sleeping porch because my mother grew up with one, but I had no idea that the original reason for sleeping porches was to fight tuberculosis.

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