Sara Matthiesen

Headshot of Sara Matthiesen

Sara Matthiesen

Associate Professor

U.S. Women and Gender


801 22nd St NW Washington DC 20052

Sara Matthiesen (she/her/hers) is an assistant professor of history and women's, gender, and sexuality studies at George Washington University. Professor Matthiesen's first book, Reproduction Reconceived: Family Making and the Limits of Choice after Roe v. Wade (University of California Press, 2021), shows how incarceration, for-profit and racist healthcare, disease, parentage laws, and poverty were worsened by state neglect in the decades following Roe. As queer, Black, poor, criminalized, and/or sick families' material conditions deteriorated, the labor required to maintain familial ties proliferated. Reproduction Reconceived reframes the decades following Roe as a labor history of family making to offer an urgent account: of the labors families were made to expend simply to survive in the face of state neglect; and of the costs that pile up when family making is regarded as a private responsibility rather than a public good. In 2022, Reproduction Reconceived was awarded the Sara A. Whaley Prize for the best monograph on gender and labor from the National Women's Studies Association.

Professor Matthiesen's current project, tentatively titled "Free Abortion on Demand" after Roe: A Reproductive Justice History of Abortion Organizing in the United States, traces the multi-racial feminist activism that opposed state and medical control of abortion throughout the era of choice. Her academic work has been published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society and Feminist Review. Her popular writing can be found in The Boston Review, The Nation, The Chronicle of Higher Ed, Inside Higher Ed, and Spectre Journal.

In addition to teaching classes on the history of gender, sexuality, and reproduction in the United States, Professor Matthiesen regularly teaches Introduction to Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, for which she was awarded the Kenny Teaching Prize. 

  • 20th-century United States
  • Gender, Sexuality, and Reproduction

Introduction to Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 

Costs of Reproduction 

US Women's History II

"Does The Sex Offender Exist?" Review of Sex and Harm in the Age of Consent, by Joseph J Fischel, Women's Review of Books. (Pending: September/October issue, 2017)

"Equality vs Reproductive Risk: Women and Aids Activism and False Choice in the Clinical Trials Debate," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 41 (Spring 2016): 579-601

Ph.D., Brown University, 2015