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Exploring the history of natural childbirth in Canada and the world

Whitney Wood

Award: 2017 Post-Doctoral Fellow

Whitney Wood is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Calgary and a visiting fellow at the Calgary Institute for the Humanities. She completed her PhD in History in the Tri-University Graduate Program (Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Waterloo, University of Guelph) in 2016, with specializations in Canadian History, the History of Medicine, and the History of Gender and Sexuality. From 2016 to 2018, she held a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Birkbeck, University of London, under the supervision of Professor Joanna Bourke. Her research centres on the intersecting histories of women’s health, medicalization, reproduction, and embodiment, and she explores these themes primarily as they relate to childbirth and women’s pain in modern Canada. She is an associate of the Birkbeck Trauma Project and the editor of Canadian and
“histories of medicine and reproduction” content at NOTCHES: (re)marks on the history of sexuality.

Whitney’s first book, Birth Pangs: Maternity, Medicine, and Feminine Delicacy in English Canada is under contract with McGill-Queen’s University Press, and her work has also appeared in the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History and the edited collections Perceptions of Pregnancy from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century (2017) and Pain and Emotion in Modern History (2014). As an AMS Postdoctoral Fellow, Whitney will continue the research for her second book manuscript, tentatively titled A New Way to Birth? Natural Childbirth in Canada and the World, 1930-2000, and will begin an oral history project that explores attitudes towards and experiences of natural childbirth in twentieth century Canada.