Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Georgia Southern University
Website URL
Law, Medicine, Gender, Women, Infanticide, Motherhood, Pregnancy
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Felicity Turner is an Associate Professor of History at Georgia Southern University, and an affiliated faculty member in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. She received her PhD in history from Duke University after completing her undergraduate education in Australia. Her research has been supported by postdoctoral fellowships from the Maurer School of Law, Indiana University, Bloomington; the University of Wisconsin Law School; and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia. In addition, she has received funding from the Newberry Library; the Illinois State Historical Society; the North Caroliniana Society; the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation of the American Society for Legal History; and the American Historical Association.

In 2015, she received the Coordinating Council for Women in History’s Nupur Chaudhuri Award for best first article by a member of the association for “Rights and the Ambiguities of Law: Infanticide in the Nineteenth-Century US South” published in the Journal of the Civil War Era in September 2014. More recently, she has published in Law and History Review (2021), and in an edited volume on Reconstruction, Freedoms Gained and Lost, published by Fordham University Press (2022).

The University of North Carolina Press recently published her book (2022), Proving Pregnancy: Gender, Law, and Medical Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century America. Drawing upon inquests, court cases, newspapers, and medical literature about infanticide and infant death from across the nation, Proving Pregnancy traces how claims to knowledge about the female body changed over the course of the nineteenth century. In tracing those changes, the book examines how knowledge—on a broader scale—became gendered, racialized, and commodified.

Her current projects include research on the role of print in gendering and racializing particular forms of knowledge over the course of the nineteenth century, and a legal history of Reconstruction for the Oxford Handbook of Reconstruction.

Recent Publications

Proving Pregnancy: Gender, Law, and Medical Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2022.

“A Woman of ‘Weak Mind’: Gender, Race, and Mental Competency in the Reconstruction era” edited by Adam Domby & Simon Lewis, Freedoms Gained and Lost: Reconstruction and its Meanings 150 Years Later. New York: Fordham University Press, 2022, 121-42.

“The Contradictions of Reform: Prosecuting Infant Murder in the Nineteenth-Century U.S.” Law and History Review 39:2 (May 2021): 277-97.

“Rights and the Ambiguities of Law: Infanticide in the Nineteenth-Century U.S. South,” Journal of the Civil War Era 4:3 (September 2014): 350-72.

A View of Dobbs from the 19th Century.” The Docket: Law and History Review, 5:2. June 14 2022.

With Sara McDougall, “Qatar and US: The Violation of Women’s Bodies Has a Long History Among Western Nations.Ms Magazine Online, November 23 2020.

On the Scent of Blood: The Senses as Historical Evidence.” ANZASA Online, May 13 2019.

The Proof of Pregnancy.Nursing Clio, October 24 2018.

Media Coverage
The Conversation, Ms. Magazine
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century
Expertise by Topic
American Civil War, Emancipation, Gender, Law, Medicine, Race, Sexuality, Sexual Violence, Slavery, Women