Tag Archives: japan

Fascism and Uteruses

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There are some fascinating parallels between the deployment of eugenic policies around reproduction and women’s bodies in twentieth-century Germany and Japan. In this episode, the fourth in the HBP’s work on reproductive rights and fights in history (from the US to the world). Marissa and Averill tackle eugenics, Nazis, legalized abortion and illegal hormonal birth control, marriage counseling, and more. It’s a story of governments trying to dictate how women can or cannot use their uteruses. Enjoy?

Show Notes & Further Reading

Anita Grossman, Reforming Sex (Oxford University Press, 1995)

Volker Roelcke, Sascha Topp, and Etienne Lepicard, eds., Silence, Scapegoats, Self-Reflection: The Shadow of Nazi Medical Crimes on Medicine and Bioethics (Göttingen: V&r Unipress, 2015).

Dagmar Herzog, Sex after Fascism: Memory and Morality in 20th Century Germany (Princeton University Press: Princeton; 2007).

Mark Roseman, Devin Pendas, and Richard F. Wetzell, Beyond the Racial State (Indiana University Press: Bloomington, IN; 2008).

Christiana A. E. Norgren, Abortion Before Birth Control: The Politics of Reproduction in Postwar Japan (Newark: Princeton University Press, 2001).

Samuel Coleman, Family Planning in Japanese Society: Traditional Birth Control in a Modern Urban Culture (Princeton University Press, 1992)

Takeda Hiroko, The Political Economy of Reproduction in Japan (Routledge, Sep 23, 2004)

Family Limitation in the Pre-Modern World

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In the wake of the Global Gag Rule that the U.S. President just issued in his first week in office, there is really no better time to start talking about the history of family limitation in all of its iterations across time and space – from various contraceptives invented by the ancient Egyptians to the many herbal remedies employed by midwives and women generally to “restore the menses” to a broader discussion of when and where states have attempted to control the reproductive feature of women’s bodies. This episode is just the first of many more to come addressing these very issues of women’s reproductive health and rights. Join Marissa and Averill as they dive into the wild, weird, and sometimes dangerous methods of family limitation in the pre-modern world.

Show Notes & Further Reading

Edwards,Stassa. “The History of Abortifacients.” Jezebel. 18 Nov 2014.

Biddlecom, Ann E. “Family Planning, Abortion, and Reproductive Health.” The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. Ritzer, George (ed). Blackwell Publishing, 2007.

Brick, P. 2003. “The Encyclopedia of Birth Control, Edited by Vern L. Bullough”. JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH. 40: 315.

Hardacre, Helen. Marketing the Menacing Fetus in Japan. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press, 1999.

Hoffer, Peter Charles, and N. E. H. Hull. Murdering Mothers: Infanticide in England and New England, 1558-1803. New York: New York University Press, 1984.

James, Peter, and I. J. Thorpe. Ancient Inventions. 1994.

Poston, Dudley L. Fertility, Family Planning, and Population Policy in China. London: Routledge, 2006.

Riddle, John M. Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance. 1992.

Unschuld, Paul, and Jinsheng Zheng. Chinese Traditional Healing (3 Vols.) The Berlin Collections of Manuscript Volumes from the 16th Through the Early 20th Century. Leiden: BRILL, 2012

Wiesner, Merry E. Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Zheng, Tiantian. Ethnographies of Prostitution in Contemporary China: Gender Relations, HIV/AIDS, and Nationalism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009

Man on the Street Interviews after Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor, a naval base located in Hawaii, is bombed by the Japanese in the early hours of a sleepy Sunday morning. By the next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had addressed Congress in one of the most famous speeches of the twentieth century, and the United States was at war with Japan.

We all know this familiar story that marks the U.S. entrance into World War II. December 7, now remembered as Pearl Harbor Day, was one of the most traumatic days that this nation has ever seen. This got us to wondering: how did people react to the news? Ordinary, everyday people, not just the President, or members of Congress or the military.


World War II Poster, “Avenge Pearl Harbor.” Record Group 44: Records of the Office of Government Reports, 1932 – 1947, National Archives and Records Administration.


In today’s world, it’s not difficult to get nearly instantaneous feedback on what people are thinking or feeling. You only need to search Google or Twitter for a hashtag, and you can take the temperature of the social media-literate public almost instantly. Take the recent attacks in Paris, for example: within hours of the mass shootings of November 13, #prayforparis was trending on every social media platform. Parisians used Facebook’s check in tool to let loved ones know that they were safe. And when Belgian police raided homes in Brussels, they asked residents not to tweet sensitive information about the raids that could jeopardize their success. So instead of a play-by-play of events on the ground, #brusselslockdown showed pictures of Belgium’s cats saving the day. But what of World War II? How can we find out what people were thinking and feeling on the bloodiest day on U.S. soil since the Civil War? Listen as Elizabeth, Katie, and Dan explore that very question on this week’s edition of the History Buffs podcast!

Show Notes and Further Reading

Library of Congress, “After the Day of Infamy: ‘Man on the Street’ Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor.”

Library of Congress, Digital Preservation Initiatives

“Ford’s Anti-Semitism.” American Experience, WGBH Boston. 

Historical Opinion twitter account. 

“Lend-Lease and Military Aid to the Allies in the Early Years of World War II.” U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian. 

Ngai, Mae M. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 2003.


Tharoor, Ishaan. “What Americans Thought of Jewish Refugees on the Eve of World War II.The Washington Post. November 17, 2015.

On the Library of Congress Twitter Archive: 

Raymond, Matt. “How Tweet it Is!: Library Acquires Entire Twitter Archive.” April 14, 2010.

Scola, Nancy. “Library of Congress’ Twitter archive is a huge #FAIL.” July 11, 2015. .

Zimmer, Michael. “The Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress: Challenges for Information Practice and Information Policy” July 6, 2015.


Feature Image: Pearl Harbor scene showing USS SHAW exploding. General Negative Collection, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC.