Childbirth in 20th Century Arabia


Fri, 10/21/2022 - 3:00pm

Part of the Fall 2022 Middle Eastern and North African Studies Colloquium Series

Laura Goffman, Assistant Professor of Health Studies in MENAS, University of Arizona


Silverstein headshot



Rather than tracing a linear teleology in which women, obediently following the directives of male-dominated institutions, move from the home to the hospital to have their babies, this presentation unpacks three constellations of childbirth in twentieth-century Arabia. In defiance of pressure from Christian missionaries and state doctors, local women resisted the medicalization of childbirth and persisted in giving birth at home under the care of midwives and women relatives. Childbirth makes Arabian women’s worlds visible in the face of a historiography that has overwhelmingly focused on masculinist experiences of oceanic mobility and national development.


Laura Frances Goffman is Assistant Professor of Health Studies of the Middle East and North Africa in the School of Middle Eastern & North African Studies at the University of Arizona.

This event will be held both in-person in Marshall 490. Masks are recommended but not required.


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