About this site

Welcome to my site. My friends and I created this to share some of my work and - more importantly - to invite an exchange of ideas.


I've been a sociologist for a long time. and ventured into a number of different fields over the years: birth and midwifery (which I still think of as my home base); the new genetics and reproductive technologies; medical sociology; bioethics; issues in disability; adoption; race; and now I'm exploring food studies too. Some of you might know my work in one of these areas, others in a different area. What would be really interesting would be to have people talk, with each other and with me, across areas. I've tried, with some success over the years, to talk to midwives about genetics; to encourage people who do new reproductive technologies to think about home birth; to have bioethicists pay more attention to what medical sociology can offer; to get people in Food Studies thinking where midwifery issues overlap with their concerns. These are invariably the most fun and stimulating conversations I've ever been a part of. Connecting people, connecting ideas, weaving the webs that pull us together - nothing could make me happier. So this site, a gift from my friends, is my place to do this kind of weaving.


We've grouped my work by area - but please, if you're here because you have gotten anything useful out of my work in one area, do poke around for a minute in another. Bring your insights and wisdom and experience to a new place, a new issue. Let's see what we can weave together.


- Barbara Katz Rothman

My Finnish Fulbright Fantasy

I am the very honored recipient of the Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Distinguished Chair in Health Sciences 2018-2019.

This Fulbright, as a Distinguished Chair, differs from most -- it is for two separate month-long trips. My host, Prof. Ilpo Helén of the University of Eastern Finland, and I agreed that a pre-visit would be helpful, so I will be going 'unofficially' this October to meet people and learn more, and then returning in my official capacity in March and again in October of 2019.

The work I will be doing there includes returning to a project I did in the Netherlands on a Fulbright over 20 years ago, interviewing prenatal care providers on their experience and understandings of how prenatal diagnosis affects pregnancy as a social and emotional experience. That work was published as SPOILING THE PREGNANCY (click to read here) by the Dutch midwifery foundation. I very much look forward to learning more about the Finnish experience.

Air rights and local politics

Not all of my writing is strictly sociology. I recently got involved with a group at my Coop apartment complex, fighting the sale of our 'air rights.' We won! (so far...)

Click here to read on Bowery Boogie. Alternate link here.


African American Midwifery: A History and a Lament

It's a great source of pleasure to be working now with my former student, my 'progeny' Keisha Goode. We did a presentation of our joint work at the Americna Sociological Association meetings in a panel honoring the legacy of Ida B Wells. And we've published this article in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology. We're also working now on developing a reference book on Pregnancy and Birth in American for ABC-CLIO -- any thoughts on key issues that High School and College Students should know more about, please reach out to us!

Click here to read.