Open Library of Humanities Special Issue on “The Politics and History of Menstruation: Contextualising the Scottish Campaign to End Period Poverty”

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The Open Library of Humanities has a special issue devoted to “The Politics and History of Menstruation: Contextualising the Scottish Campaign to End Period Poverty.” The editors are Bettina Bildhauer (University of St Andrews), Camilla Røstvik (University of Leeds) and Sharra Vostral (History, Purdue University). Here is a description of the journal’s special issue:

In 2021, Scotland became the first country in the world to make universal access to free period products a legal right. This has attracted extraordinary attention internationally, positioning Scotland as a leader on menstrual policy. Yet, little is known about why Scotland has been able to take on this role, and why at this historical moment of watershed change in many practices and policies surrounding menstruation, including sustainable period products, transgender menstruation, workplace menopause, tracking apps, menstrual disorders.

This special collection tracks the roots of the current developments through the history of politics, activism, medicine, public health, the arts and education around menstruation in Scotland and transnationally. It is the first collection to analyse and contextualise Scottish menstrual policy. Using archives, interviews, and case studies from other countries and historical periods, our collection poses the question: Why Scotland? Why menstrual rights? Why now?

Here is the current table of contents, which will be updated as additional articles are added:

  • Introduction: The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act 2021 in the Context of Menstrual Politics and History, Bettina Bildhauer, Camilla Mork Røstvik and Sharra L Vostral
  • Uniting the Nation through Transcending Menstrual Blood: The Period Products Act in Historical Perspective, Bettina Bildhauer
  • Researching the Researchers: The Impact of Menstrual Stigma on the Study of Menstruation, Lara Owen
  • The Red Gown: Reflections on the In/Visibility of Menstruation in Scotland, Camilla Mørk Røstvik, Bee Hughes and Catherine Spencer
  • ‘A Crisis of Transition’: Menstruation and the Psychiatrisation of the Female Lifecycle in 19th-Century Edinburgh, Jessica Campbell and Gayle Davis
  • ‘Responsible Body’: Menstrual Education Films and Sex Education in the United States and Scotland, 1970s–1980s, Saniya Lee Ghanoui

The entire issue is open access and available here.

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