Dr. Nicole Bourbonnais is an Associate Professor of International History at the Graduate Institute. Her research explores the intersections between the “private” sphere (gender relations, sex, reproduction, and the family), national/international politics, and transnational activism. Her first book, Birth Control in the Decolonizing Caribbean: Reproductive Politics and Practice on Four Islands, 1930-1970 (Cambridge University Press, 2016) traces how birth control campaigns in Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, and Bermuda were shaped concurrently by colonialism, nationalism, social activism, and working class women’s efforts to control their reproductive lives. Her next major project, The Gospel of Birth Control: Prophets, Patients, and the Global Family Planning Movement uses intermediary actors – the fieldworkers, doctors, and nurses sent out by international organizations and the local colleagues they worked with – as a vector to connect global and local histories of family planning. She is also interested in the links between anti-racist and feminist activism in the early twentieth century and the history of maternal and child health.
Dr. Bourbonnais received her BA from the University of British Colombia (Vancouver) and MA/PhD in History from the University of Pittsburgh. She teaches courses and supervises theses on the subjects of reproductive politics, social history, the history of gender/sexuality, transnational activism, Latin American and Caribbean history, and the history of public health and medicine.
Peer-reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters
- Forthcoming, “Colonizing and Decolonizing Sex in the Caribbean,” Dagmar Herzog and Chelsea Schields, eds. Routledge Companion to Sexuality and Colonialism (expected publication 2021)
- Forthcoming, Co-editor with Marcos Cueto and Davide Rodogno, História, Ciências, Saúde– Manguinhos special issue “Meaning(s) of Global Public Health” (expected publication 2020)
- “Population Control, Family Planning, and Maternal Health Networks in the 1960s/70s: Diary of an International Consultant,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine. 93.3 (Fall 2019): 335-364.
- “Our Joan of Arc: Women, Gender, and Authority in the Harmony Division of the UNIA,” in Ronald J. Stephens and Adam Ewing, eds. Global Garveyism: Diasporic Aspirations and Utopian Dreams. University Press of Florida, 2019.
- “Discrimination in Any Shape or Form: Black Activism and Women’s Rights in Interwar Bermuda,” in K. Natanya Duncan and Reena N. Goldthree, eds. Caribbean Review of Gender Studies Special Issue: Gender and Anticolonialism in the Interwar Caribbean, 12 (October 2018): 143-168.
- “Class, Colour, and Contraception: The Politics of Birth Control in Jamaica, 1938-1968,” in Taitu Heron and Shakira Maxwell, eds., Social and Economic Studies: Special Issue on Women’s Reproductive Health and Rights in Select Caribbean Countries, 61.3, (September): 7-38. 2012.
- “Dangerously Large: The 1938 Labor Rebellion and the Debate over Birth Control in Jamaica,” New West Indian Guide. 83.1&2 (2009): 39-69. 2009.
- “Review of Sasha Turner, Contested Bodies: Pregnancy, Childrearing, and Slavery in Jamaica, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine (Winter, 2018).
- “Review of Juanita de Barros and Sean Stilwell, eds., Public Health and the Imperial Project, (Africa World Press, 2016),” Medical History 61.1 (2017): 134-135.
- “Review of Juanita de Barros, Reproducing the British Caribbean: Sex, Gender and Population Politics after Slavery (University of North Carolina Press, 2014),” Canadian Journal of History 50.2 (2015): 380-382.
Works in Progress
- The Gospel of Birth Control: Prophets, Patients, and the Global Family Planning Movement, book-length project.
- Mother Earth: Global Institutions and Maternal Health, book-length project.
Media and Policy Papers
- Workplace Sexual Harassment, Power, and Hashtag Activism, Globe: The Graduate Institute Review, No. 21, Spring Edition, 2018
- Spreading the Good News: International Family-Planning Activism and Grassroots Information Networks in the 20th Century,” History of Knowledge blog, July 13, 2017.
- Reproductive Rights and Race Struggle in the Decolonizing Caribbean,” Black Perspectives online platform, April 1, 2017.
- Abortion under Apartheid: Interview with Susanne Klausen,” Notches: (re)marks on the history of sexualityblog, September 13, 2016.
- A Brief History of Women’s History,” LSE Engenderings Blog, March 29, 2016.
- Entre coercition et émancipation: une histoire globale du contrôle des naissances,” Le Temps, November 4, 2015.
- Implementing Free Maternal Health Care in Kenya: Challenges, Strategies, and Recommendations,” published by The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), 2013.