Gianna May Sanchez, PhD Candidate, Department of History, University of Michigan, and SAR’s 2022 Mellon Fellow.
“Grandmothering Midwives: Negotiation, Legislation, and Medical Authority in the New Mexico Birthing Room, 1880–1950”
May Sanchez’s project, “Grandmothering Midwives: Negotiation, Legislation, and Medical Authority in the New Mexico Birthing Room, 1880 – 1950,” examines curanderismo, midwifery, and medical professionalization in New Mexico. It addresses the state’s reliance upon traditional healers and midwives during the twentieth century, and how these women were vital in meeting the medical needs of women and children in the state, especially for rural, Mexican American communities. It examines the varied responses from the medical community, public health officials, and midwives to reduce the high rates of infant and maternal mortality from 1920s – 1940s, and how this concern over public health sustained the practice of midwifery far into the latter half of the century, contrary to the national historiographical narrative of medical professionalization.
This event is part of the 2022 fall scholar colloquia series. Each year, incoming resident scholars introduce their work to the SAR community through a presentation and Q&A. This year’s talks are hosted online and continue to be free and open to the public. Registration is required.
See the full series here.