Tag Archives: world history

Communists and Uteruses: How the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China Sought to Control Women’s Reproduction

There is something fascinating about the history of reproductive rights, contraception, and abortion in every country and ideology that we’ve looked at in our women’s reproductive rights series. This week we’re turning to the impact of Communism on these issues, particularly in China and the Soviet Union. Here we have the complete range of reproductive control extremes – from hyper pro-natalist policies and criminalization of birth control and abortion in both China and the USSR; to the Soviet Union’s provision and regulation of abortion while simultaneously paying for extensive maternal support programming; to China’s one child policy, which included forced abortion and sterilization in an attempt to get control over an overpopulation problem. Averill and Marissa discuss all of these nuances and more in this episode on the impact of Communism on uteruses.

 

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David M. Heer, “Abortion, Contraception, and Population Policy in the Soviet Union,” Demography, 2 (1965) 531-39

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Paula Michaels, “Motherhood, Patriotism, and Ethnicity: Soviet Kazakhstan and the 1936 Abortion Ban,” Feminist Studies 27, n2 (Summer 2001)

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Show Notes & Further Reading

Tomas Frejka, “Induced Abortion and Fertility,” Family Planning Perspectives v17 n5 (Guttmacher Institute, 1985) 230-234

Paula Michaels, “Motherhood, Patriotism, and Ethnicity: Soviet Kazakhstan and the 1936 Abortion Ban,” Feminist Studies 27, n2 (Summer 2001)

Yuliya Hilevych, “Abortion and Gender Relationships in Ukraine, 1955-70,” The History of the Family 20.1 (2015) 86-105

David M. Heer, “Abortion, Contraception, and Population Policy in the Soviet Union,” Demography, 2 (1965) 531-39

Jill M. Bystydzienski, “Women and Socialism: A Comparative Study of Women in Poland and the USSR,” Signs 14.3 (Spring 1989)

Scharping, Thomas. Birth Control in China 1949-2000: Population Policy and Demographic Development. Routledge, 2013.

Hemminki E, Z Wu, G Cao, and K Viisainen. 2005. “Illegal Births and Legal Abortions–the Case of China”. Reproductive Health. 2.

Nie, Jing-Bao, and Arthur Kleinman. Behind the Silence: Chinese Voices on Abortion. Lanham, Maryland [etc.]: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.


Feature image: “Glory to the Mother-Heroine!” 1944 propaganda poster on a Soviet mother’s duty to the state. (Boston University) & Carry out family planning, implement the basic national policy – 1986 poster of a painting by Zhou Yuwei. (SBS)

Forced Migration

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Immigration and migration have been pretty hot topics lately. This week a particularly interesting question has been bouncing around just about everywhere: were the people transported during the Atlantic Slave Trade immigrants? This got us thinking about forced migrations. In this episode, join Averill and Sarah as they talk about two particularly powerful examples of forced migration: the Atlantic Slave Trade, and Indian Removal. Also, a little chat at the end about the work we do, both as podcasters and as professional historians.

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Show Notes & Further Reading 

Ehle, John. The Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation (New York: Anchor Books, 1988).

Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African (London, 1789).

Inskeep, Steve. Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, And A Great American Land Grab (New York: Penguin Books, 2015).

Wheat, David.  The Iberian Roots of the Atlantic Slave Trade, from Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History 

Maiz, Jaime. The U. S. Government Imposes a “Civilization Plan,” National Parks Service

The Sequoyah Museum 

The Cherokee and the Trail of Tears, Learn NC

For more on the experience of the Atlantic Slave Trade, see this online roundtable of reactions to Sowande Muskateem’s Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage from Black Perspectives and the African American Intellectual History Society.

To see a digital representation of how land was seized from Native American peoples, see this interactive map.

And this map shows a time-lapse of the spread of cotton and the spread of slavery across the deep South. You’ll notice how it corresponds to the land seized from the Cherokee and other tribes.

For more on Cherokee culture, including lots of primary documents and information about the Cherokee people today, see the Cherokee Museum.

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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

The Travels of Cabeza de Vaca

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Join Averill and Sarah this week as they trace the journeys of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, an early Spanish explorer to the southern United States. His writings leave us with a rich picture of his travels, one that complicates the ruthless picture of the Spanish conquistadores that many of us have previously learned.

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Show Notes and Further Reading

The Treaty of Tordesillas

Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar Nunez. Chronicle of the Narvaez Expedition. Penguin, 2002.

Gibson, Charles. The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule: A History of the Indians in the Valley of Mexico, 1519-1810. Stanford University Press, 1964.

Varon Gabai, Rafael. Francisco Pizarro and His Brothers: The Illusion of Power in Sixteenth Century Peru. University of Oklahoma Press, 1997.

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Global Nineteenth-Century Revolutions

During seventeen tumultuous years in the mid-19th century, it seemed like the whole world was in chaos. Revolution broke out in Europe, South Asia, East Asia, and the United States. What was going on? Katie, Dan, and Tommy investigate.

 

Show Notes and Further Reading

Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Civil War Isn’t Tragic,” The Atlantic, April 26, 2011

Christopher Hibbert, The Great Mutiny (1978)

Thomas R. Metcalf, The Aftermath of Revolt (1964)

Jürgen Osterhammel, The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century.  Trans. Patrick Camiller (2014)


Feature images, clockwise from top: Suppression of the Taiping RebellionViennese students during the 1848 revolutionThe British Lion’s Vengeance on the Bengal TigerBombardment of Fort Sumter.  All works in the Public Domain.

Mini-Cast: How Britain and Russia made Afghanistan

There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about international borders. See, for example: Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014; the question of EU nations protecting their own borders from the overwhelming flow of migrants into Europe; the fluidity  and conflict of the Turkey-Syria border, and Donald Trump’s insistence that Mexico pay for a wall along the US-Mexico border. This got us to thinking:  what goes into making a border?  Who decides where the line is, and how is it enforced?  Marissa and Katie look to answer this question by exploring the the creation of Afghanistan’s borders in the late nineteenth century.  It’s a dramatic Victorian conflict that’s still relevant today. Join us!

The Great Game: the afghan Emir Sher Ali Khan with his “friends” Russia (the bear) and Britain (the lion), by Sir John Tenniel (1878).  Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.


 

Show Notes and Further Reading

Special thanks this week goes out to Dr. John Brobst, Assistant Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies at Ohio University, whose work on Central Asia inspired and informed much of this week’s episode.

 

Brobst, John.  The Future of the Great Game: Sir Olaf Caroe, India’s Independence, and the Defense of Asia (2005)

Fromkin, David. “The Great Game in Asia,” Foreign Affairs, Spring 1980

Hopkirk, Peter.  The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia (1992) and Tresspassers on the Roof of the World: The Secret Exploration of Tibet (1995)

Sergeev, Evgeny. The Great Game, 1856-1907: Russo-British Relations in Central and East Asia (2013)


Feature image:  A map of the countries between Constantinope and Calcutta:  including Turkey in Asia, Persia, Afghanistan, and Turkestan. London : Edward Stanford, 1912. Library of Congress.