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Reproductive Health : Selected Books on History of Fertility

Top Recommended Books

All books listed are available on the UW-Madison campus. 

Book cover for The Palgrave Handbook of Infertility in History

The Palgrave Handbook of Infertility in History Approaches, Contexts and Perspectives
Edited by Gayle Davis and Tracey Loughran
"This ground-breaking, interdisciplinary volume provides an overdue assessment of how infertility has been understood, treated and experienced in different times and places. It brings together scholars from disciplines including history, literature, psychology, philosophy, and the social sciences to create the first large-scale review of recent research on the history of infertility. Through exploring an unparalleled range of chronological periods and geographical regions, it develops historical perspectives on an apparently transhistorical experience. It shows how experiences of infertility, access to treatment, and medical perspectives on this 'condition' have been mediated by social, political, and cultural discourses. The handbook reflects on and interrogates different approaches to the history of infertility, including the potential of cross-disciplinary perspectives and the uses of different kinds of historical source material, and includes lists of research resources to aid teachers and researchers. It is an essential 'go-to' point for anyone interested in infertility and its history."—

Book cover for killing the black body race reproduction and the meaning of liberty

Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty
Dorothy Roberts
"This is a no-holds-barred response to the liberal and conservative retreat from an assertive, activist, and socially transformative civil rights agenda of recent years--using a black feminist lens and the issue of  the impact of recent legislation, social policy, and welfare 'reform' on black women's--especially poor black women's--control over their bodies' autonomy and their freedom to bear and raise children with respect and dignity in a society whose white mainstream is determined to demonize, even criminalize their lives. It gives its readers a cogent legal and historical argument for a radically new , and socially transformative, definition of 'liberty' and 'equality' for the American polity from a black feminist perspective."—

Additional Books

All books listed are available on the UW-Madison campus. 

Book cover for The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World

The Means of Reproduction: Sex Power and the Future of the World
Michelle Goldberg
"In a work of incisive cultural analysis and deep reporting, Michelle Goldberg shows how the emancipation of women has become the key human rights struggle of the twenty-first century. The Means of Reproduction travels through four continents, examining issues such as abortion, female circumcision, and Asia's missing girls to show how the battle over women's bodies has been globalized and how, too often, the United States has joined sworn enemies such as Iran and Sudan in an axis of repression. Reporting with unique insight from both the rarefied realm of international policy and from individual women's lives, Goldberg elucidates the economic, demographic, and health consequences of women's oppression, which affect more than half the world's population."—

Book cover for Revolutionary Conceptions: Women, Fertility, and Family Limitation in America, 1760-1820

Revolutionary Conceptions: Women, Fertility, and Family Limitation in America, 1760-1820
Susan E. Klepp
"In the Age of Revolution, how did American women conceive their lives and marital obligations? By examining the attitudes and behaviors surrounding the contentious issues of family, contraception, abortion, sexuality, beauty, and identity, Susan E. Klepp demonstrates that many women--rural and urban, free and enslaved--began to radically redefine motherhood. They asserted, or attempted to assert, control over their bodies, their marriages, and their daughters' opportunities."—

Book cover for The Polticis of Reproduction: Race, Medicine, and Fertility in the Age of Abolition

The Politics of Reproduction: Race, Medicine, and Fertility in the Age of Abolition
Katherine Paugh
"Many British politicians, planters, and doctors attempted to exploit the fertility of Afro-Caribbean women's bodies in order to ensure the economic success of the British Empire during the age of abolition. Abolitionist reformers hoped that a homegrown labor force would end the need for the Atlantic slave trade. By establishing the ubiquity of visions of fertility and subsequent economic growth during this time, The Politics of Reproduction sheds fresh light on the oft-debated question of whether abolitionism was understood by contemporaries as economically beneficial to the plantation

Book cover for the Stork and the Syringe: A Political History of Reproductive Medicine

The Stork and the Syringe: Political History of Reproductive Medicine
Naomi Pfeffer
"Reproductive technology is typically discussed in the future tense. Yet doctors have always treated involuntary childlessness. This book looks at the recent history of infertility and the different ways medicine has treated it. It traces the reluctance to allow infertility a past to a new tension that has emerged between utopian and anti-utopian fears about the growth rate and composition of population."—