Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Birth Control in the Decolonizing Caribbean
Reproductive Politics and Practice on Four Islands, 1930–1970


  • Date Published: November 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107544468

£ 30.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Over the course of the twentieth century, campaigns to increase access to modern birth control methods spread across the globe and fundamentally altered the way people thought about and mobilized around reproduction. This book explores how a variety of actors translated this movement into practice on four islands (Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, and Bermuda) from the 1930s–70s. The process of decolonization during this period led to heightened clashes over imperial and national policy and brought local class, race, and gender tensions to the surface, making debates over reproductive practices particularly evocative and illustrative of broader debates in the history of decolonization and international family planning. Birth Control in the Decolonizing Caribbean is at once a political history, a history of activism, and a social history, exploring the challenges faced by working class women as they tried to negotiate control over their reproductive lives.

    • Employs a multi-level analysis, bringing together consideration of transnational activism with local politics
    • Uses personal stories, humorous anecdotes, and lively quotations, remaining accessible and enjoyable to a broad audience
    • Pursues connections to larger questions surrounding reproductive rights and contemporary activism
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Nicole C. Bourbonnais tracks the complex politics of birth control in the decolonising Caribbean, illuminating the way that local contingencies shaped broad global population policies. Deftly navigating competing interpretations of birth control as liberation or as coercion, her study encompasses both the debates surrounding the provision of contraception and the lives of those affected by it. This is a work of profound importance.' Philippa Levine, University of Texas, Austin

    'This book provides a riveting and comprehensive account of the grassroots, pro-feminist and cross-class/race/gender movements for birth control in the twentieth-century colonial English-speaking Caribbean. It locates the genesis of these movements in the demands by women for assistance to control their births and chronicles the later incorporation of these movements into state-led programs and neo-Malthusian and eugenicist population control strategies. This publication is a must-read for all including health and social and reproductive rights advocates, scholars and practitioners. It is a timely contribution to an issue that continues to demand our attention.' Rhoda Reddock, University of the West Indies

    'Nicole C. Bourbonnais's important book advances our understanding of the history of birth control in the British Caribbean during the decades leading to decolonization. This thoughtful and fascinating work tells us about the struggles and victories of ordinary women in the Caribbean, and its sensitive engagement with international developments ensures its appeal to scholars and others interested in the intertwined histories of reproduction, politics and gender globally.' Juanita De Barros, McMaster University, Ontario

    'Exhaustively and impeccably researched in archives and special collections across the Atlantic, Bourbonnais visited no less than six countries for this study - an impressive feat. The finished history is an excellent interdisciplinary study that will make its mark within a multitude of historical discourses.' Colleen A. Vasconcellos, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107544468
    • length: 267 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 3 b/w illus. 2 maps 3 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of tables and figures
    List of acronyms
    1. The answer, an aid, a right: birth control debates and social movements in the interwar years
    2. From politics to practice: the Colonial office, foreign activists, local advocates, and the structure of family planning clinics
    3. Beyond culture or choice: working class families and birth control clinics
    4. A matter of cost: reproductive politics, state family planning programs, and foreign aid in the transition to independent rule

  • Author

    Nicole C. Bourbonnais, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
    Nicole C. Bourbonnais is an Assistant Professor of International History at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.