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Wendy Simonds

Professor    Director of Graduate Studies - Gerontology Institute    

Ph.D., City University of New York, 1990


Birth and Parenthood, Family, Gender, Cultural Studies, Medical Sociology, Sexuality, Theory


Dr. Simonds’s new book Hospital Land USA: Sociological Adventures in Medicalization (Routledge 2017), analyzes the wide-reaching powers of medicalization: the dynamic processes by which medical authorities, institutions, and ideologies impact our everyday experiences, culture, and social life. In the book, Simonds documents her own Hospital Land adventures and draws on a wide range of U.S. cultural representations–from memoirs to medical mail, from hospital signs to disaster movies–in order to urge critical thinking about conventional notions of care, health, embodiment, identity, suffering, and mortality.

Much of Simonds’ previous research centers on the sociology of procreative experiences. She is coauthor (with Barbara Katz Rothman and Bari Meltzer Norman) of Laboring On: Birth in Transition in the United States (Routledge, 2007), author of Abortion at Work: Ideology and Practice in a Feminist Clinic (Rutgers,1996) and co-author (with Barbara Katz Rothman) of Centuries of Solace: Expressions of Maternal Grief in Popular Literature (Temple, 1992). She has collaborated with researchers at the Population Council, which sponsored the U.S. clinical trials of mifepristone (RU-486), conducting interviews with users and health care workers who participated in the trials.  She has published articles on how mifepristone, as an oral abortion method, affects the ways in which people talk, think about and experience abortion. Another project (with Charlotte Ellertson) examines how providers and users of emergency contraception describe their experiences, and their view of emergency contraception as it relates to procreative decision-making.

Simonds is co-editor of Sex Matters: The Sexuality and Society Reader (WW Norton), now in its fourth edition (2014).

Simonds teaches courses in the specialty areas of gender and sexuality and family, health, and the life course.


Curriculum Vitae