Karen Weingarten

  • Abortion in the American Imagination Before Life and Choice, 1180-1940

PSC Chapter Chair
English and Writing Minor Internship Coordinator
Klapper Hall, Room 602

You can find my short CV here (updated August 2023).

Research Interests

I write about cultural histories of reproduction and reproductive technologies. My book Pregnancy Test was published with Bloomsbury Press’s Object Lessons series in March 2023. Pregnancy Test tells the history of the pregnancy test and how it changed what it means to be pregnant. My first book Abortion in the American Imagination: Before Life and Choice, 1880-1940 (Rutgers UP, 2014) presents a genealogy of the liberal rhetoric that currently subtends both the “pro-life” and “pro-choice” discourses of abortion today. I have also co-edited special issues for journals on “Disorienting Disability” and “Inheritance.”

Other research interests include late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American literature, especially the novels of Edith Wharton, the history of eugenics, disability studies, and feminist theory. I’m a regular contributor to the peer-reviewed history of medicine and gender blog, Nursing Clio.

Teaching Interests

I regularly teach English 244: Theory, which is a required course for all English majors. When I teach this course I like to introduce students to how feminist theory, queer theory, and race theory all influence how we read and understand literature. I’ve also taught undergraduate courses about the history of American literature and medicine, health humanities, and science and literature.

I’ve taught a range of courses for our MA program, including the required English 701: Methodologies for Graduate Studies. Most recently, I’ve taught MA courses about the history of eugenics and American Literature; a 19th-Century American literature course that examined what’s American about American literature; and a course about American memoirs with a focus on health and disability narratives.

I look forward to working with MA students interested in late 19th- and early 20th-century American literature, feminist theories, especially as they intersect with race and disability, and health humanities.

Selected Publications

Pregnancy Test. Object Lessons Series with Bloomsbury Press, March 2023.

Abortion in the American Imagination: Before Life and Choice, 1880- 1940. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, July 2014.

Edited Collections

Forum for Feminist Studies on “50 Years after Roe v. Wade.” Winter 2023.

Special Issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly, “Inheritance.” Co-edited with Maria Bellamy. Spring/ Summer 2020.

Special Issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, “Disorienting Disability.” Co-edited with Michele Friedner. July 2019.

Selected Articles

“13 Ways of Looking at Reproductive Lives.” American Literary History 33.1 (December 2020).

“From Maternal Impressions to Eugenics: Pregnancy and Inheritance in the Nineteenth-Century U.S.” Journal of the Medical Humanities 41.4 (October 2020).

“Disability and Debility in Edith Wharton’s Novels.” College Literature 47.3 (Summer 2020).

Selected Book Chapters

“’Is that a test from the supermarket?’: How the Home Pregnancy Test Changed the Representation of Abortion in American Television and Film.” Rewriting the Abortion Narrative: The Power of Popular Culture. Eds. Brenda Boudreau and Kelli Maloy. Forthcoming 2023.

“It’s All Biopolitics: A Feminist Response to the Critique of Prenatal Testing.” The Politics of Reproduction: Adoption, Abortion, and Surrogacy in the Age of Neoliberalism. Eds. Modhumita Roy and Mary Thompson. Ohio University Press, October 2019.