A Desire to Cure, Not to Punish: Women Physicians and Eugenics in the American West, 1900–1930 by Jacqueline D. Antonovich

Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, 5 p.m., Graham Hall, Brown Fine Arts Center

Jacqueline D. Antonovich is Assistant Professor of History at Muhlenberg College. Professor Antonovich is a historian of health and medicine in the United States, with particular interests in how race, gender and politics shape the medical field and access to health care. Professor Antonovich also founded Nursing Clio, a public-facing academic blog that explores intersections of medicine’s history (and present) and identity, especially race and gender.  

Between 1900 and 1930, efforts to curb abortion, restrict contraception and promote eugenics dominated public and legal discourse on marriage, pregnancy and childbirth in the United States. This talk examines the role of women physicians in driving discourse, circulating ideas and setting policy agendas on reproductive surveillance and restrictions during this period. Through two case studies, we will explore how women physicians became an effective force for bringing eugenics to the masses—becoming the middleman between scientist and mother, researcher and reformer.

Antonovich’s lecture is in conjunction with the Kahn Institute yearlong project Health and Medicine, Culture and Society: Crossroads in a Liberal Arts Education.