Perceptions of Pregnancy 2021

On 15 September 2021 we will be hosting a one-day workshop brining together scholars from a range of disciplines who research perceptions of pregnancy across time periods, regions, cultural and global perspectives.

The conference will culminate in a Keynote Paper by Cathy McClive, Ben Weider Professor in Revolutionary Studies at Florida State University.

‘The Art of Childbirth. A Seventeenth-Century Midwife’s Epistolary Treatise to Dr Vallant’

Book your place at the Keynote paper here

Workshop programme

The conference will consist of a series of parallel panels running throughout the day (Times presented are GMT). Panels can be booked individually by clicking on the panel title.

Pregnancy Loss 10-11.30am

  1. Anna French (University of Liverpool), ‘“A seed without a soul”: reconsidering the history of early modern abortion’   
  2. Paige Donaghy (The University of Queensland), ‘Women’s pregnancy loss in early modern England: a case study in the history of (non)reproduction’   
  3. Jennifer Evans (University of Hertfordshire), ‘Recovering from miscarriage in early modern England’   

Nation and State 10-11.30am   

  • Judy Bolger (Trinity College Dublin), ‘Constructing and regulating impoverished motherhood: Institutionalised breastfeeding and the significance of the maternal body’.   
  • Charlotte Kelsted (University of Exeter), ‘Maternity, modernity and multiplicity in early mid-twentieth century Palestine (1920-1948).   
  • Eureka Henrich (University of Hertfordshire), ‘Pregnancy worries in migrant and non-migrant women: a post-war case study from Adelaide, Australia’.   

Negotiating experiences of pregnancy and its environment 11.30am-1pm

  • Joe Holloway (University of Exeter),Inter-subjectivity, bi-subjectivity and tri-subjectivity: pregnancy and conjoinment in late twentieth and twenty-first century texts’.   
  • Jennifer Hardy (King’s College London), ‘Biological clocks: early modern pregnancy and the experience of reproductive time’.   
  • Ciara Henderson (Trinity College Dublin), ‘Hidden in plain sight: Revealing and concealing stillborn children in the Irish landscape in the nineteenth and twentieth century’.   

——————————-Break 1-1.30pm ————————————————  

Family Limitation 1.30-3pm ​ 

  • Daniel Grey, (University of Hertfordshire) ‘“The woman … seemed to be in great distress”: infanticide in England and Wales during the First World War’.   
  •  Fionnuala Walsh (University College Dublin), ‘Preventing and coping with unwanted pregnancies in nineteenth and early twentieth century Ireland’.   
  • Cara Delay (College of Charleston), ‘“Caught again”: criminal abortion practitioners in Irish history, 1900-1950’.  

A Positive Outlook: Pregnancy and Birth in the Long Eighteenth century 1.30-3pm

  • Chelsea Phillips (Villanova University) Carrying All Before Her: Celebrity Pregnancy and the London Stage, 1689-1800   
  • Sarah Fox (University of Birmingham) Giving Birth in Eighteenth Century England   

Plenary Session 3-4pm  

Cathy McClive (Florida State University), ‘‘The Art of Childbirth. A Seventeenth-Century Midwife’s Epistolary Treatise to Dr Vallant’.   

———————————Break 4-4.30pm ——————————-  

Re-examining Maternity 4.30pm-6pm   

  • Hannah Copley (University of Westminster), ‘A speculum as a hall of mirrors: archival poetics and the re-examination of obstetric and gynaecological histories’.    
  • Michelle Millar Fisher (MFA Boston), ‘ Designing Motherhood: A Practical Paper on What it Took to Get an Exhibition on Design for the Reproductive Arc Greenlit’.

Legal Challenges and Advocacy 4.30-6pm  

  •  Emily Skidmore (Texas Tech University), ‘Rooming-in, breastfeeding and abortion: bodily autonomy and Edith Banfield Jackson’s feminism, 1940-1965   
  •  Zaina Mahmoud (University of Exeter), Surrogacy in Britain and California    
  •  Jennifer Kosmin (Bucknell University), ‘When the fetus becomes a child: reflections from the long eighteenth century’.   
  •  Phil Gorey (University College Dublin), ‘Who were the mothers? The Great Famine, poverty and childbirth in Dublin’.  

Perceptions & Visual Representations of Mothers & Maternal Bodies 6-7.30pm

  • Mary Elizabeth Leighton & Lisa Surridge (University of Victoria, Canada), ‘From “a piece of grossness” to “minute particularity”: Perceptions of Queen Victoria’s First Pregnancy in the Public Press    
  • Kate Naylor (University of Chester), ‘“We’d still know you were pregnant if you covered it up love, no need to point it out”: Black pregnant bodies on social media’.   
  • Nina Holmes (Independent Scholar), ‘The ideal of motherhood in Irish Governmental Health material, 1970s-1980s’.   

Midwives & the Development of Midwifery 6-7.30pm

  • Scottie Hale Buehler (University of Texas at Austin), ‘The rhetorical practices of midwifery education in eighteenth century France’.   
  • Claudia Roesch (German Historical Institute, Washington), ‘Homebirth, midwives and expert intervention: Mexican American birthing practices in the 1950s American Southwest’.   
  • Jennifer Rodgers (California Institute of Technology), ‘A public matter: reshaping birth cultures in Postwar Germany’.