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Judy Houck

Associate Professor and Chair

Joint appointments: Medical History and Bioethics, and History of Science
Affiliate: Department of History
Office location:
3327 Sterling Hall
Office Hours: Mondays, 1-3:20 and by appointment
Office phone: (608) 890-3890
Email: jahouck@wisc.edu

Associate Professor Judy Houck is currently working on a book project tentatively entitled, Looking Through the Speculum: Feminist Health Praxis, 1969-2010. Focusing on four women’s health clinics in California, her work explores several questions about social movements, women’s bodies, and feminist institutions. They include: How did health feminists position bodily control as central to the larger feminist movement?  How did radical feminist politics transform in the process of institution building? How did identity politics inform the shape and mission of feminist health institutions?  How did health activists simultaneously work for social change while delivering social services?  This project demonstrates how feminist projects, even those joined by their interest in women’s health, traveled distinct paths and built distinct institutions.  While all of these clinics were part of national feminist and health reform movements, local politics--medical, sexual, racial, and radical--influenced the form and the content of feminist health provision.
Houck’s research and teaching interests reflect her position at the intersection of gender and women’s studies, medical history, and history of science. She is interested in how bodies are interpreted, experienced, and deployed in a variety of political, social and personal contexts. To explore these issues, she teaches courses on race, medicine and science; the history of disease; health activism; the history of the body; and the history of sex and sexuality.  In the near future, she will also be offering courses in the history of public health in the United States. 

She is happy to supervise graduate projects in the history of medicine, health, bodies, reproduction, sexuality, and disease. 

In 2012 she also became the book review editor for the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences.  In 2013 she became Chair of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.


HM/HS 275: Science, Medicine, and Race: A History
HS 286: A Cultural History of Disease
GWS/HM/HS 532: A History of the American Body
GWS/HM/HS 524: Medical History of Sex and Sexuality
GWS/HM/HS 531: Women and Health in American History

Graduate Seminars:
HM 919: A History of Health Activism
HM 919: Gender, Health, and Illness
HM 919: A History of Reproduction
GWS 880: An Introduction to Graduate Study in Gender and Women’s Studies

Selected Publications:

“The Best Prescription for Women’s Health: Feminist Approaches to Well-Woman Care,” in Prescribed: Writing, Filling, Using, and Abusing the Prescription in Modern America, eds. Jeremy A. Greene and Elizabeth Siegel Watkins (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012).  

Hot and Bothered: Women, Medicine, and Menopause in Modern America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006).

"'What Do These Women Want?' Feminist Responses to Feminine Forever, 1963-1980," Bulletin of the History of Medicine 77 (2003): 103-132.

"How to Treat a Menopausal Woman: A History, 1900-2000,"Current Woman's Health Reports 2 (2000): 349-355.