Leslie J. Reagan

Section 1


Affiliated Faculty of EUI
Professor of History
Professor of Gender and Women's Studies

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Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • Twentieth-century U.S. history; medicine, public health, and science; women, gender, sexuality; disability history; visual culture and documentary film; law and society; Vietnam.

Research Description

  • Current Research Projects

    Agent Orange in the United States and Vietnam 

    Examining the Body: In Medicine and Law.


  • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • BA University of California, Davis

Distinctions / Awards

  • James Willard Hurst Book Award, 1998, Law and Society Association, for When Abortion Was a Crime.
  • Louis Pelzer Memorial Award, 1990, from the Organization of American Historians
  • President's Book Award, 1995, Social Science History Assn. for When Abortion Was a Crime
  • Choice Outstanding Academic Book of the Year, 1997 for When Abortion Was a Crime, 1998
  • Inaugural Faculty Award for Research in the Humanities, 2010 Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) for “Rashes, Rights, and Wrongs in the Hospital and in the Courtroom” Law and History Review (Summer 2009).
  • Surrency Award, Honorable Mention, 2009, Society for Legal History
  • Graduate Advisor Award, Medical Scholars Program, UIC College of Medicine, Urbana, 2009.
  • List of Excellent Teachers, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Eileen Basker Memorial Prize, 2011, American Anthropological Association for Dangerous Pregnancies
  • Joan Kelly Memorial Award, 2011, American Historical Association
  • Arthur J. Viseltear Prize, 2012, American Public Health Association
  • Queen Award for Teaching, Department of History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2012-13.
  • William H. Welch Medal, 2015, American Association for the History of Medicine
  • University of Illinois University Scholar, 2012-2015


  • American Bar Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, 1988-1990.
  • Maurice Richardson Fellowship, University of Wisconsin, Madison Medical School, 1987, 1990.
  • American Historical Association Littleton-Griswold Research Grant, 1992.
  • Arnold O. Beckman Research Award, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 1992-1993; 2010.
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)-National Library of Medicine, 1995.
  • Center for Advanced Study, UIUC, 1993-1994; 2014-15.
  • Radcliffe College Schlesinger Library Research Grant, 1995-96
  • Social Science Research Council, 1998-99.
  • ACOG-Ortho-McNeil Fellowship in the History of American Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2001.
  • Rockefeller Archive Center Research Fellowship, 2003.
  • James and Sylvia Thayer Short-Term Research Fellowship, UCLA, 2004.
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Library of Medicine, 2004-06.
  • Mellon Faculty Fellowship, 2006-07.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend, 2015.


  • HIST 172 US 1877-present
  • HIST 263 US Hist of medicine/public health
  • Hist 400 War and Society: Vietnam
  • Hist 300 Film and History: Medicine and Health
  • Hist 203 Reacting to the Past: Gender Equality? Gender, Work, and Sports
  • Hist 498 Research Seminar on Disabilities; US Gender/Women's History focused on UIUC
  • HIST 502, 505, 570 Comparative Gender; Epidemics and Diseases; Disability History; Core US History



  • Reagan, Leslie J. Dangerous Pregnancies: Mothers, Disabilities, and Abortion in Modern America. . Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010.
  • Medicine’s Moving Pictures: Medicine, Health, and Bodies in American Film and Television. . Comp. Nancy Tomes and Paula A. Treichler. Ed. Leslie J. Reagan. Rochester, New York: University of Rochester Press, 2007.
  • Reagan, Leslie J. When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973. . Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Book Contributions

  • Reagan, Leslie J. "Monstrous Births, Birth Defects, Unusual Anatomy, and Disability." The Oxford Handbook on Disability History. . Ed. Katherine J. Kudlick, Kim E. Nielsen, and Michael Rembis. Oxford University Press, 2018.

  • Reagan, Leslie J. "Tim Nugent, ‘Wheelchair Students,’ and the Most Accessible Campus in the World." The University of Illinois: Engine of Innovation. . Ed. Fred Hoxie. University of Illinois Press, 2016.

  • Reagan, Leslie J. "After the Sex, What? A Feminist Reading of Reproductive History in Mad Men." Mad Men, Mad World. . Ed. Lauren Goodlad. Duke University Press, 2013. 92-110.

  • Reagan, Leslie J. "Law and Medicine." Cambridge History of Law in America. . Ed. Christopher Tomlins. Cambridge University Press, 2008. Chap. 7.

  • Reagan, Leslie J. "Medicine, Law, and the State: The History of Reproduction." Companion to American Women’s History. . Ed. Nancy A. Hewitt. New York and London: Blackwell Publishers, 2002. 348-365.

Journal Articles

  • Reagan, Leslie J. "My daughter was genetically drafted with me: U.S.-Vietnam War Veterans, Disabilities, and Gender." Gender & History 28.3 (2016):
  • "Representations and Reproductive Hazards of Agent Orange." Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics 39.1 (2011):
  • Reagan, Leslie J. "Rashes, Rights, and Wrongs in the Hospital and in the Courtroom: German Measles, Abortion, and Malpractice Before Roe and Doe." Law and History Review 27.2 (2009):
  • Reagan, Leslie J. "From Hazard to Blessing to Tragedy: Representations of Miscarriage in Twentieth-Century America." Feminist Studies 29.2 (2003): 356-378..
  • Reagan, Leslie J. "Victim or Accomplice?: Crime, Medical Malpractice, and the Construction of the Aborting Woman in American Case Law, 1860s-1970." Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 10.2 (2001): 311-332.
  • Reagan, Leslie J. "Crossing the Border for Abortions: California Activists, Mexican Clinics, and the Creation of a Feminist Health Agency in the 1960s." Feminist Studies, special issue on Women and Health 26.2 (2000): 323-348.
  • Reagan, Leslie J. "Engendering the Dread Disease: Women, Men, and Cancer." American Journal of Public Health, 150th anniversary issue, 87.11 (1997): 1779-1787..
  • "Linking Midwives and Abortion in the Progressive Era." Bulletin of the History of Medicine 69 (1995): 569-598.
  • Reagan, Leslie J. "About to Meet Her Maker': Women, Doctors, Dying Declarations, and the State's Investigation of Abortion, Chicago, 1867-1940." Journal of American History 77.4 (1991): 1240-1264.