Birth: personal stories to population policies


Thursday 18 September

Venue: Grant Room, 3.11, Michael Sadler Building, University of Leeds

L0054425 Good sexual health to prevent birth defects and AIDS

10am  Registration

10.20am  Welcome and introductions

10.30-12pm  Session 1: Birth, government and population

Chair: Stuart Murray (University of Leeds)

Iona McCleery (University of Leeds): Fertility and infant mortality in fifteenth-century royal families: patterns of inbreeding?

Andrea Major (University of Leeds): ‘His Manner of Getting into the World’: Debating Childbirth, Maternity and Mortality in Colonial India

Chris Renwick (University of York): Voluntary and Involuntary Parenthood: Population Thinking, Eugenics, and the Welfare State in 1930s Britain


12-1pm  Lunch


M0001058 Drawing showing a caesarean operation taking place in Uganda1-2.30pm  Session 2: Birth and medicine

Chair: Anyaa Anim-Addo (University of Leeds)

Alex Bamji (University of Leeds): Childbirth, midwives and neonatal mortality in Venice, c. 1600-1797

Shane Doyle (University of Leeds): Birth outcomes in twentieth-century East Africa

Will Jackson (University of Leeds): Mutating babies: child rescue and racial instability in 1920s Cape Town


2.30pm  Coffee


3-4.30pm  Session 3: Birth, identity and community

Chair – Adrian Wilson (University of Leeds)

Sarah Fox (University of Manchester): ‘The Woman was a Stranger’: childbirth and community in the long eighteenth century

Angela Davis (University of Warwick): The role of the Jewish community in maternal and child health provision in Palestine under the British Mandate

Laura King (University of Leeds): The impact of birth on men: becoming a father in Britain, 1950s to the present


L0022772 'The Expectant Mother' lectures: a 'synchrophonic' lecture5pm

Public lecture, in association with History & Policy Parenting Forum 

Venue: Conference Auditorium, University of Leeds

Simon Szreter (University of Cambridge): Births and the collective provision of welfare – the long view c.1550-2014


6.30  Drinks reception


Friday 19 September

Venue: Grant Room, 3.11, Michael Sadler Building, University of Leeds

9-10.30am  Session 4: Birth in the public eye and the press

Chair: Jessica Meyer (Leeds)

Will Gould (University of Leeds): The demography of Hindu revivalism: Fertility, birth rates and the census in late colonial India

Adrian Bingham (University of Sheffield): ‘Letting in some daylight?’ The popular press and sex education in twentieth-century Britain

Kate Gronow and Andrew Murphy (Leeds student interns, reporting back from a collaborative project with the Thackray Museum): Childbirth and risk on display


10.30am  Coffee, with a handling session led by museum curator Lauren Ryall-Stockton, featuring objects from the Thackray Medical Museum


L0015528 Mary Tofts duping several distinguished surgeons, physicians11.15-12.45pm  Session 5: Birth and personal experience

Chair – Iona McCleery (University of Leeds)

Leah Astbury (University of Cambridge): Delivered: After Birth Experiences in Seventeenth-Century England

Karen Harvey (University of Sheffield): Personal pain and social conflict: the experience of Mary Toft in 1726

Linda Fairley (De Partu): Experiences of forty years as a midwife


12.45pm  Lunch


1.30-2.30pm  Round table: The politics of procreation

Chair: Shane Doyle (University of Leeds)


L0052050 Five images of a penis putting on a condom; recommending



Keynote lecture

Kate Fisher (Exeter): The Sex and History Project: Using historical objects in sex education classes




All images courtesy of the Wellcome Library, London.

© Copyright Leeds 2018