Sara Matthiesen

Mattheisen Faculty Photo
Assistant Professor
Phillips Hall
801 22nd St NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20052
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

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

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 deterioriated, 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.


Professor Matthiesen is currently at work on a second project that traces the persistence of "self-managed" or home abortion practices after Roe. 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. 



Ph.D., Brown University, 2015


"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

Classes Taught

Introduction to Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 

Costs of Reproduction 

US Women's History II