Carnegie Mellon University

With a Flashlight and a Speculum: Envisioning a Feminist Revolution

The Annual Margaret Morrison Distinguished Lecture in Women’s History

Judith A. Houck
Professor of History & Gender & Women's Studies at UW Madison

In the early 1970s, women across the country wielded flashlights, hand mirrors, and specula hoping to catch a glimpse of their cervix. Seemingly everywhere--in public and in private--women peered in their vaginas in protest and solidarity. In this talk, Houck explores women's political deployment of cervical self-exam in pursuit of autonomy and liberation.

Judith Houck’s work focuses on the history of women’s health in the U.S. She will speak from her new book Looking Through the Speculum: Examining the Women’s Health Movement (2024).