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History of Women’s Health Conference 2014

PAH-PharmacyPAH will host its ninth annual History of Women’s Health Conference on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

The History of Women’s Health Conference focuses on areas of women’s health from the 18th century to the present. Keynote speaker Robert Aronowitz, MD, chair of the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, will present a history of breast cancer from his book Unnatural History: Breast Cancer and American Society (Cambridge University Press, 2007).  Dr. Aronowitz also authored the book Making Sense of Illness: Science, Society, and Disease and numerous articles.

The History of Women’s Health Conference began in 2006 as part of PHA’s celebration of co-founder Benjamin Franklin’s tercentenary – what would have been his 300th birthday. Each year since, scholars from the humanities and health care professionals gather to discuss the past, present, and future state of women’s health. The conference is jointly sponsored by the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department and the Pennsylvania Hospital Historic Collection. 

A lunch buffet, including a vegetarian option, is being offered for ten dollars. Lunch will take place in Great Court of the historic Pine Building. Please send a check payable to the Pennsylvania Hospital Historic Collections to: Pennsylvania Hospital Historic Collections c/o Stacey Peeples, 3 Pine East Rm. 2, 800 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19107. 

Please RSVP by March 30, to Stacey C Peeples, PAH curator-lead archivist, at: When registering, please indicate if you would like to purchase the $10 lunch.  For more information, email or call Stacey at 215-829-5434.

Conference Agenda

Keynote: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
Robert Aronowitz, M.D., Professor & Chair, History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania"Do not delay" – Early detection campaigns before mammography 

Session One: 9 - 9:50 a.m.
Karol K. Weaver, Associate Professor of History/Women's Studies, Susquehanna University
“That Awful Business” – Female Death Workers in Nineteenth-Century Pennsylvania

Carol-Ann Farkas, PhD, Associate Professor of English, MCPHS University
Constructing the “Lady Doctor” – Femininity and Female Professionalization in the Popular Press of the Late Nineteenth-Century

Session Two: 10 – 11 a.m.
Gina M. Greene, Ph.D , Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar
Uiversity of Pennsylvania
Architecture in Utero: From Maternity Ward to Maternal Environment at the Prentice Women’s Hospital (1975-1985)

Jodi Vandenberg-Daves, Professor of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies and History, University of Wisconsin-La Cross
“The Maternal Body in U.S. History:  Discipline, Fragmentation, and the Potential for Empowerment"

Susan E. Klepp, PhD, Professor Emerita of History, Temple University
"The Pregnant Revolution: Women and Fertility in the New Nation"

Session Three: 11:10 a.m. – 12 p.m
Carrie Adkins, PhD, Instructor, University of Oregon
This Is Catharine Macfarlane’s Life: Gender and Power in Twentieth-Century American Medicine

 Mary M. Mahoney, PhD, Student in History, University of Connecticut
“Taking a Literary Pulse: Ruth Tews and the Mystery of Bibliotherapy.”  


LUNCH – 12:10 - 1:15 p.m. 


Session Four: 1:20 - 2:10 p.m
Kelly O'Reilly, Ph.D.  Student in History, Vanderbilt University
"Doctor-less" Birth Control: Bringing Birth Control to California's Migrant Workers, 1939-1942 

Jennifer Fraser, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto
“From Nuns to Natives” – The Postcolonial History of the Cytopipette,"


CLOSING REMARKS: 2:10-2:15 p.m.


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