Claremont Discourse Lecture: "The Satisfactory Midwife Bag: Midwifery Regulation in South Carolina in the Early Twentieth Century"

Thurs., March 14, 4:15 PM | Founders Room |

Alicia Bonaparte, Sociology Field Group, Pitzer College

How did childbirth, once commonly administered in the household by lay midwives for women, become the domain of the hospital and the state? During the early 20th century, it was common for older African-American women -- Granny Midwives -- to serve this function, both for rural black and white women in South Carolina and elsewhere in the American South. Professor Alicia D. Bonaparte, medical sociologist at Pitzer College, will discuss her examination of South Carolina Sanitary Codes and midwife supervisors' notes, demonstrating how local and state laws governing midwifery practice and bags , a microcosm reflecting a larger trend throughout the country, became more restrictive over time. As a result, these restrictions diminished the presence of midwives in birthing work.

FMI: Adam Rosenkranz

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