Estelle Freedman

Edgar E. Robinson Professor in United States History
Ph.D, Columbia University, History (1976)
M.A, Columbia University, History (1972)
B.A, Barnard College, History (1969)
Estelle Freedman

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.

Featured News

September 16, 2020
Growing up in the predominantly white town of Los Alamos, New Mexico, Clayborne Carson learned about the civil rights movement from the news: school desegregation, lunch counter sit-ins, the Freedom Riders. But in 1963, he joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)—Black rights activists who “exemplified the rebelliousness and...
August 12, 2020
The upcoming centennial of the 19th Amendment is a milestone in women’s suffrage, marking a culmination of decades-long efforts by women who called for full citizenship. This history, Stanford historian Estelle Freedman says, can be traced back to the abolition movement in 19th-century America. Here, Freedman discusses how the histories of the...
June 26, 2019
Fifty years ago, the Stonewall rioters’ call for the recognition of gay rights in the United States launched annual gay pride parades that initially were more serious protest marches than the colorful celebrations known today, Stanford historian Estelle Freedman said. Here, Freedman reflects on the night of June 27, 1969, when New York City...


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