Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ph.D.
Writer, educator. University of Iowa, Iowa City, department of women's studies, assistant professor.
National Endowment for the Humanities, summer stipend, 1997; American Philosophical Society, research grant, 1997; Social Science Research Council, Sexuality Research Fellowship, 1998-99, 2003-04.
Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 2005.
Writer and educator Johanna Schoen earned her doctoral degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She then went on to take a position on the faculty of the University of Iowa, where she serves as an assistant professor in the department of women's studies. Schoen's primary areas of research and academic interest include women and medicine, reproductive rights throughout history, and the history of sexuality, particularly as it pertains to women. She has researched the roles of birth control and abortion in health legislation and policies pertaining to public welfare from the 1920s through the 1970s, including state control over women's sexual and reproductive lives, particularly women who were poor or members of a minority. In the course of her work, she has spent time assisting various clinics and other abortion providers around the country, and has won a number of financial awards and stipends to support her research. Schoen is also the author of the book Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare.
Choice and Coercion is an in-dept analysis of the state of women's reproductive health and rights during the middle of the twentieth century, with a particular focus on the state of North Carolina and the eugenic sterilization program that they ran from approximately 1929 to 1975, and how it reflected on policies around the country. While technology was improving to the point where women actually had some control over their reproductive cycles and the frequency of their pregnancies, the government was also using technology to legislate what a woman was allowed to do with her own body. Schoen discusses the various areas that were touched upon by these new reproductive technologies, including medical and public policies, social class structures, family dynamics, and welfare. Issues such as infant mortality, as well as the health of mothers through the child-bearing process, public-provided birth control and sterilization, and the roles of physicians and social workers, are also included in the book. Susan L. Smith, in a review for the Historian, remarked that "Schoen's ambitious study extends the rich scholarship on the history of reproduction in the United States in fascinating new directions. She analyzes a complex set of factors to highlight the parallels and connections in reproductive health policies." Simone Caron, writing for the Journal of Southern History, dubbed the book "a must read for anyone interested in reproductive issues," and went on to conclude that "the reclamation of women's motivation in securing access to services, as well as the positive portrayal of some health and state officials, is a breath of fresh air."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, February 1, 2006, Wendy Kline, review of Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare, p. 216.
American Journal of Sociology, May 1, 2006, Laurie Schaffner, review of Choice and Coercion, p. 1976.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, January 1, 2006, A.H. Koblitz, review of Choice and Coercion, p. 940.
Conscience, fall, 2005, review of Choice and Coercion, p. 48.
Historian, summer, 2006, Susan L. Smith, review of Choice and Coercion, p. 356.
History: Review of New Books, spring, 2005, Gwen Kay, review of Choice and Coercion, p. 98.
Journal of African American History, summer, 2006, Rhonda Y. Williams, review of Choice and Coercion, p. 354.
Journal of American History, March 1, 2006, Jennifer Nelson, review of Choice and Coercion, p. 1526.
Journal of American Studies, April 1, 2006, Jennifer Black, review of Choice and Coercion, p. 198.
Journal of Economic Literature, June 1, 2005, review of Choice and Coercion, p. 573.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, fall, 2007, Rickie Solinger, review of Choice and Coercion, p. 309.
Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, March 1, 2006, Peggy Proudfoot McGuire, review of Choice and Coercion, p. 274.
Journal of Southern History, May 1, 2006, Simone Caron, review of Choice and Coercion, p. 499.
University of Iowa Department of Women's Studies Web site,http://www.uiowa.edu/~women/ (May 15, 2008), faculty profile.