Laura E. Ettinger
Associate Professor of History
269 Bertrand H. Snell Hall
A.B., Vassar College
M.A., Ph. D., University of Rochester
• History of Women in America
• Medicine and Society in America
• History of the American Family
• Oral History: Theory and Practice
• America, 1877-present
My research and writings focus on the history of women, gender, and the medical, scientific, and technological professions in the United States, reflecting my political and professional concerns about the state of American health care, women’s health, and women in technology and science today. I am also a specialist in the methodology of oral history. I believe that history matters—that learning about the past helps us to understand current challenges and to make more informed decisions about the future.
Publications/ Presentations/ Grants:
My book, Nurse-Midwifery: The Birth of a New American Profession (Ohio State University Press), which was named an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice, examined the emergence of American nurse-midwifery, an occupation that developed in the 1920s and involved nurses who took advanced training in midwifery. I argue that nurse-midwives challenged what scholars have called the “male medical model” of childbirth, but the cost of the compromises they made to survive was that nurse-midwifery did not become the kind of independent, autonomous profession it might have been. My current research, inspired by more than a decade of teaching at a technological university, focuses on the history of women and gender in engineering. I have presented this research to fellow historians, as well as to engineers, including at the national Society of Women Engineers conference. I was awarded a Fulbright Scholar award to the University of Rijeka in Croatia for spring 2012.