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Estelle B. Freedman

Headshot of Estelle B. Freedman

Estelle B. Freedman

Professor of United States History
Edgar E. Robinson Professor in U.S. History
Member of Academic Council
United States
Ph.D., Columbia University 1976
M.A., Columbia 1972
B.A., Barnard College 1969


Estelle Freedman is a U.S. historian specializing in women's history and feminist studies. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in history from Columbia University and her B.A. in history from Barnard College. She has taught at Stanford University since 1976 and is a co-founder of the Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her contributions to teaching have been recognized by Stanford’s Dinkelspiel Award, Dean's Award, Rhodes Prize, and Kahn-Van Slyke Graduate Mentoring Award, as well as the Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award for graduate mentorship from the American Historical Association. She is also a recipient of numerous national research fellowships.

Professor Freedman's research interests focus on the history of women and social reform, including prison reform (Their Sisters’ Keepers [1981] and Maternal Justice [1996]), as well as the history of sexuality (Intimate Matters [3d ed. 2012]). The Essential Feminist Reader (2007) is an edited anthology of 64 primary documents from feminist history around the world spanning the fifteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Feminism, Sexuality, and Politics (2006) is a collection of eight previously published and three new essays. No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women (2002) explores feminism in the West and its relationship to broader movements for women's rights and social change throughout the world. Her recent book, Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation (2013) has won three academic book prizes.

Selected Publications & Projects

Estelle B. Freedman
Rape has never had a universally accepted definition, and the uproar over “legitimate rape” during the 2012 U.S. elections confirms that it remains a...
Estelle B. Freedman
John D'Emilio
As the first full-length study of the history of sexuality in America, Intimate Matters offered trenchant insights into the sexual behavior...
Estelle B. Freedman
Including: Susan B. Anthony Simone de Beauvoir W.E.B. Du Bois Hélène Cixous Betty Friedan Charlotte Perkins Gilman Emma Goldman Guerrilla Girls Ding...

Selected Journals & Book Chapters

Estelle B. Freedman
(Foreword), edited by Thomas A. Foster
Over time, sexuality in America has changed dramatically. Frequently redefined and often subject to different systems of regulation, it has been used...
Estelle B. Freedman
(Introduction), by Allan Bérubé
This anthology pays tribute to Allan Berube (1946-2007), a self-taught historian and MacArthur Fellow who was a pioneer in the study of lesbian and...

More Information

Feminism, Sexuality, and Politics: Essays by Estelle B. Freedman
(University of North Carolina Press, 2006)

No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women
(Ballantine Books, 2002; Random House, 2003)
CHOICE magazine [American Library Association] selection for Best Academic Books of 2002.
Library Journal Editor's Choice selection, Best Books for 2002.

The Lesbian Issue: Essays From Signs
eds. Freedman, Gelpi, Johnson and Weston 
(University of Chicago Press, 1985)

Victorian Women: A Documentary Account of Women's Lives in Nineteenth-Century England, France and the United States
eds. Hellerstein, Hume and Offen; associate eds. Freedman, Gelpi and Yalom
(Stanford University Press, 1981)