Gender & History is an international journal for research and writing on the history of femininity, masculinity, and gender relations. This Call for Proposals is aimed at scholars studying any country or region, and any temporal period, including the classical, medieval, early modern, modern, and contemporary periods.
This forum of four to six articles will examine the history of reproductive healthcare from the perspective of practitioners, patients, and activists beyond the now-dominant framework of American jurisprudence. In recent months, state legislators and conservative judges across the U.S. have creatively used the law to enshrine new categories of protected fetal personhood, control travel across state lines for abortion services, and conscript private citizens in the prosecution of abortion. Just last month the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade with their decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. The ease with which these actors have shaped the law to meet their agenda and overturn decades of precedent has laid bare the limits of a purely legal framework for articulating and analyzing reproductive healthcare.
Reproductive healthcare has long been practiced under a variety of names and by a variety of actors, well before and continuing after these practices were upheld juridically in landmark cases. This forum seeks proposals that document this history, shedding light on the multiple spaces, contexts, practices, and ideologies surrounding reproductive healthcare outside the Supreme Court decisions and their impact on the contemporary U.S., while drawing on the critical energy this recent racist, sexist, and classist decision is inspiring across the globe.
While this moment has inspired abundant discussions regarding the history of Roe and of rights-based access to care, we hope to add historical depth and texture to these conversations by bringing together histories that shed light on the ubiquity of reproductive care and the range of practices such care has entailed across the globe and throughout history. At the same time, we recognize that abortion practices have often been inimical to reproductive justice. Inspired by classic work such as Ranajit Guha’s recounting of and theorizing from “Chandra’s Death” by abortion in mid-nineteenth-century Bengal as well as more recent work by Françoise Vergès on forced abortions on Reunion Island in the 1970s and Divya Cherian’s recent study of abortion in eighteenth-century Marwar, we seek submissions that engage with the fraught history of abortion as a tool of colonialist, racist hegemony in addition to proposals that present alternative histories of abortion, centering the perspectives of practitioners, patients, activists, and communities. In this forum of articles, we wish to reframe historical analysis of abortion care as something more than a narrative of going back or moving forward, and instead recuperate the many meanings abortion has had in the past so that we can better understand its multiple meanings in contemporary society.
Possible topics include:
• The marketing/advertising of reproductive medicine
• Social protest for or against forms of reproductive care
• Micro-histories of individual practitioners/activists
• Communal or social structures enabling reproductive healthcare
• Beliefs surrounding fetal (non)personhood/viability
• Reproductive medical recipes
• Herbalists and home remedies
• Transmission of knowledge about abortion practices and remedies
• Abortion and white supremacy/racism/Great Replacement Theory
• Abortion and colonialism
• Abortion and religion
• Non-American legal histories of abortion
• (Non)reproduction and citizenship
• Abortion and medical fraud
• Abortion as a (remunerated) professional practice versus abortion as
• Rural abortion, urban abortion
• Visual and textual representations of abortion providers
Interested individuals are asked to submit a 500-word abstract and brief biography (250 words) to Melissa Reynolds (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Hannah Frydman (email@example.com) by 30 September 2022 at 5 pm Pacific Time for consideration. Abstracts will be reviewed by the editors and successful authors will submit full drafts (6– 8,000 words) by 1 June 2023 for submission for peer review. As with any submission, there is no guarantee of publication.