Block, Sharon 1968-

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Block, Sharon 1968-


Born August 20, 1968. Education: University of Pennsylvania, B.A., M.A., 1990; Princeton University, Ph.D., 1995.


Office—University of California, Irvine, Department of History, 133 Krieger Hall, Mail Code: 3275, Irvine, CA 92697; fax: 949-824-2865. E-mail—[email protected]


Academic and historian. University of Iowa, Iowa City, assistant professor of history; University of California, Irvine, associate professor of history. National Endowment for the Humanities postdoctoral fellow at Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, College of William and Mary.


Phi Beta Kappa.


Recipient of numerous research grants.


Rape and Sexual Power in Early America, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including Common-Place: The Interactive Journal of Early American Life, William and Mary Quarterly, Journal of American History, Radical History Review, Journalism History, History Compass, and Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.


Sharon Block is an academic and historian. Completing a Ph.D. in history at Princeton University in 1995, Block went on to teach at the University of Iowa and the University of California, Irvine, becoming an associate professor of history. Her research interests include rape, history of sexuality, gender, beauty, race, colonial America, and Native American history.

Block published her first book, Rape and Sexual Power in Early America, in 2006. The book outlines the perception of forced sex in colonial America where perpetrators could be sentenced to execution for committing the crime. However, it was also seen as an extension of men's natural aggressiveness, leading to a different understanding of what rape means in modern times.

Joshua D. Rothman, writing in the Journal of Southern History, noted that this is "a very smart book," adding that it is "sensitive to nuances and offering insightful readings of evidence ranging from courtroom testimonies to fiction to newspaper reports that were sometimes just a few sentences long." Rothman commented that the book was also "frustrating" as "Block is not always sure whether to approach her subject as cultural, social, or legal history." Ultimately Rothman concluded that Rape and Sexual Power in Early America "is impressively researched, with materials drawn from two dozen archives and an evidentiary base of nearly a thousand cases in twenty colonies, states, and territories. And it makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of how sexuality and violence made power" in eighteenth-century America.



American Historical Review, June, 2007, Merril D. Smith, review of Rape and Sexual Power in Early America, p. 848.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, June, 2007, R.A. Standish, review of Rape and Sexual Power in Early America, p. 1812.

Journal of American History, June, 2007, Clare A. Lyons, review of Rape and Sexual Power in Early America, p. 252.

Journal of Southern History, November, 2007, Joshua D. Rothman, review of Rape and Sexual Power in Early America, p. 872.

Women's Studies, October 1, 2007, Theresa Gregor, review of Rape and Sexual Power in Early America, p. 551.


University of California, Irvine, Web site, (March 8, 2008), author profile.