Department of History

Laura L. Lovett

  • Professor


Modern America
Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Children and Youth
Public History


Global Histories of Gender, Sex, and Sexuality
Women’s History
Global History of Childhood and Youth

The Plastic Age

Education & Training

  • PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 1998

Representative Publications


It’s Our Movement Now: Black Women’s Politics and the 1977 National Women’s Conference. Laura L. Lovett, Rachel Jessica Daniel, and Kelly Giles, Editors. (Gainsville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2022).

With Her Fist Raised: Dorothy Pitman Hughes and the Transformative Power of Community Activism (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2021).

“Eugenic Housing:  Redlining, Reproductive Regulation, and Suburban Development in the United States,” Women’s Studies Quarterly 48 (2020), 76-83.

Sex in Global History: Modern Sources and Perspectives. Laura L. Lovett, Editor (San Diego, CA: Cognella Publishing, 2018).

Lori Rotskoff and Laura L. Lovett, Editors. When We Were Free to Be: Looking Back at a Children’s Classic and the Difference It Made (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2012).

Conceiving the Future: Pronatalism, Reproduction, and the Family in the United States, 1890-1930. Gender and American Culture Series (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2007).

“The Popeye Principle: Selling Child Health in the First Nutrition Crisis,” Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law 30 (2005) 803-838.

Research Interests

I am interested in women’s political action in the twentieth century. This broad interest has been manifested most recently in a set of historical studies of the transformative power of Black women’s activism in the 1960s and 1970s at the local, national, and transnational level. I have written on women’s activism concerning children and gender roles, environmentalism, food and nutrition, reproduction, housing, and welfare.

I am also interested in public history and local history. Pittsburgh’s rich local history has been an amazing resource for collaborative public-facing projects. I’ve been especially interested in issues of industrialization, fracking, plastic, and environmental justice.

I am currently researching two projects: one on different forms of women’s activism about families and children experiencing homelessness and another extending my work on eugenics and housing to consider transnational dialogues that led American policy makers to incorporate ideas of social welfare and reproductive regulation into a postwar housing plans.