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HIS 11 — A History of Reproductive Rights in the United States

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Mar 30—Apr 27
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 1
Unit: 1
Tuition: $320
Instructor(s): Margo Horn
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Mar 30—Apr 27
5 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 1
1 Unit
Margo Horn
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Since the late 19th century, a woman’s right to control her intimate reproductive life in the United States has emerged as a publicly contested arena. This course explores the long history of women’s reproductive lives in the US as the context for that struggle. Topics include the history of women’s sexuality, birth control, abortion, and childbirth. We will begin with an overview of ideas of women’s sexuality from the 18th century through the present. We will then turn to the history of contraceptives and abortion, which already formed the backdrop for public regulation of this private realm of women’s lives by the end of the 19th century, followed in the early 20th century by Emma Goldman's crusade for birth control, Margaret Sanger’s opening of the first public birth control clinic in the US, in 1916, and their subsequent arrests. We will examine women’s personal experience of these processes, the religious, legal, and policy frameworks that sought to control them, and the many feminist movements that emerged to protect women’s reproductive rights.

Margo Horn, Lecturer, Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Stanford

Margo Horn specializes in the history of women, the history of family, and the social history of medicine and psychiatry. Her research concerns the history of women physicians in the US, the history of single women in 20th-century America, and the history of women and mental illness in America during the same period. She is the author of Before It's Too Late: The Child Guidance Movement in the United States, 1922-1945. She received an MA and a PhD from Tufts.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.