Ainsley Hawthorn

Freelance contributor

Ainsley Hawthorn, PhD, is a cultural historian and author who lives in St. John’s.

Latest from Ainsley Hawthorn

Apocalypse Then

Wave over wave: How water imagery has helped us understand (and predict) disease

Even by the early 1800s, the concept of waves was seen in tracking the progress of disease. In her latest Apocalypse Then column, Ainsley Hawthorn notes that by the 20th century, waves had transitioned from a means of describing a pandemic's behaviour to a method for predicting it.

How the Ukraine crisis reveals our racial empathy gap

Whether we know it or not, and without meaning to, we feel more deeply when members of our own race, religion or other social group are suffering, writes Ainsley Hawthorn.

From Nalujuit to the Yule Cat, here's a look at the monsters of the holiday season

On Christmas Eve, millions of children drift off to sleep with full confidence that they will be visited in the night by a jolly old elf. Holiday creatures in many cultures, though, are not so benevolent.

Yowling cats and murdered frogs: The bizarre Victorian origins of Christmas cards

The tradition of sending Christmas cards came together in the Victorian era, although — as cultural historian Ainsley Hawthorn writes — many of those early cards were strange and sometimes downright morbid.

A is for … ox? How the Latin alphabet is descended from Egyptian hieroglyphs

You might not have learned it in elementary school, but the earliest history of the alphabet that forms the basis of written English and French has its origins in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Apocalypse Then

Like polio, the long-term impact of COVID will be measured in disability

Practically everyone, from public health officials to political pundits to social media commentators, has framed the threat of COVID-19 in terms of its mortality rate. But as cultural historian Ainsley Hawthorn writes, COVID is going to injure many more people than it kills.
Apocalypse Then

A mystery in Victorian London paved the way for the techniques we use to track COVID-19

The strategies epidemiologists use to track disease are not nearly as old as medicine itself. As Ainsley Hawthorn writes in the latest instalment of Apocalypse Then, you need to go back to the smelly, overcrowded streets of London in the 19th century.
Apocalypse Then

This isn't the first time a pandemic has made the rich even richer

Pandemics can stretch the average person's finances to the limit. Yet, as cultural historian Ainsley Hawthorn writes, there are always those who profit from disaster.
Apocalypse Then

The last time the Olympics went viral

The Olympics have gone ahead as planned, although more than half the citizens of the host country believed they should be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even extensive safety measures couldn’t stop some athletes from withdrawing over fears of contagion.
Apocalypse Then

The century-long debate over vaccine passports

More than a century ago, two countries had two very different responses to the introduction of vaccine passports, writes conrtibutor Ainsley Hawthorn.