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  • Website Review:Nursing Clio
  • Claire Jones

Nursing Clio is among a number of websites and blog projects dedicated to aspects of health and medicine in the modern world to emerge in the last decade. From its name alone, you could be forgiven for thinking that this project’s particular selling point is its dedication to aspects of professional nursing, but it does in fact provide much more than that. Its content allows the online reader to explore a huge range of present-day issues relating to gender, health, and medicine and does so by relating these issues to current historical scholarship. As the “About” page explains, part of the name originates in Greek mythology: Clio is the muse of history, while “nursing” has a dual meaning: nursing, as in the profession, and nursing in the way that mothers nurse their children. This name, along with the site’s accompanying tagline “the personal is historical,” creatively reflects its overall purpose. Nursing Clio functions as a platform for historians, health care workers, community activists, students, and others to engage in issues including, but not limited to, the body, sexuality, and reproductive rights, and achieves its aim in providing “a coherent, intelligent, informative, and fun historical source for the consideration of these topics.” [End Page 795]

First developed in 2012 by an editorial team largely composed of history doctoral candidates and early career scholars from universities across the United States, Nursing Clio has recently been revamped and relaunched with an impressive range of easy-to-navigate features, articles, and resources. Alongside the “About” tab, tabs labeled “articles” and “topics” allow the reader to explore the content in a number of ways. The article tab lists posts chronologically, while the topic tab allows readers to choose from fifteen different themes depending on their interests, ranging from “Adventures in the Archives” and “History” for the more historically orientated reader to “Activism” and “Feminism” for those so engaged. I found the topic tab more useful for exploring articles of interest, but must admit that I wasn’t aware at first that I was able to find related content in the articles tab by clicking on the topic highlighted above every post. This is a particularly useful feature and saves the reader from continually using back space to navigate. The search facility is also extremely useful and allows the reader to enter keywords on a topic of their choice.

The content of the posts are generally illuminating, engaging, and accessible. They range from the more formal article discussing part of a contributor’s current research project to a contributor’s musings on a recent healthcare experience. Of the recent posts, I particularly enjoyed Sarah Pripas’ piece on the importance of the Protestant missionary movement in Asia for recruiting women to U.S. medical colleges in the nineteenth century, Lara Freidenfelds’ discussion on the recent history of the pedicure and the cosmetic industry, and Jacqueline Antonovich’s historical reflections on the sale of homeopathic remedies in Whole Foods. While the majority of the topics are of primary relevance to the everyday in North America, there is some engagement too with issues and themes beyond the United States. Being English, I was particularly interested to read the piece by Sandra Trudgen Dawson, “When I Remember Margaret Thatcher, I Remember, …” which was published the week of Thatcher’s death in 2013. Of course Thatcher’s policies and their legacies had far-reaching global consequences, but Dawson’s post was a reminder of just how far they reached and the ways in which they affected health care. The publication of Dawson’s post, like many others on Nursing Clio, was in perfect coordination with the most recent relevant socio-political events. Another example is Ian Lekus’ post on global marriage equality, which was published around the time that the U.S. Supreme Court was due to give its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the collection of lawsuits challenging state bans on same-sex marriage in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The continual publication of timely posts is not only testament to the passion for these topics among the large number of site contributors, but also underscores the vibrancy...


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pp. 795-797
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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