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Women, Reproduction and Mental Illness in the ‘Long’ Twentieth Century

A Two Day Workshop, 8-9 April 2024, Warwick University


This workshop aims to investigate the relationship between women, reproduction and mental illness from the late nineteenth through to the twenty-first century. The papers will explore the perceived impact of pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, pregnancy loss, infertility, abortion and psychiatric models of lesbianism on mental health. The workshop also will examine support and treatment, in terms of institutional provision, and the care offered by peer supporters, voluntary organisations, family and community. It seeks to uncover how feminist health campaigns and organisations and professions lobbying for change in policy and service provision have explained mental illness among women, and, in some cases, utilised explanatory frameworks of risk to mental wellbeing to underpin and strengthen their campaigns. It will examine the accounts produced by women themselves, as they sought to understand their experiences, as well as the interventions of family, professionals and the media, and literary interpretations of reproduction and mental disorder. Alongside historical research, the workshop is keen to draw on sociological, literary and gender studies perspectives to consider how we can work with a variety of sources and approaches, while also considering the ethical dilemmas and questions prompted by this field of research.

More information about the research project,"The Last Taboo of Motherhood"

Places are limited; if you are interested in attending please contact