Born to a Changing World: Childbirth in Nineteenth-Century New Zealand

Bridget Williams Books
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Emerging from diaries, letters and memoirs, the voices of this remarkable book tell a new story of life arriving amidst a turbulent world. Before the Plunket Society, before antibiotics, before ‘safe’ Caesarean sections and registered midwives, nineteenth-century birthing practice in New Zealand was typically determined by culture, not nature or the state. Alison Clarke works from the heart of this practice, presenting a history balanced in its coverage of social and medical contexts. Connecting these contexts provides new insights into the same debates on childhood – from infant feeding to maternity care – that persist today. Tracing the experiences of Māori and Pākehā birth ways, this richly illustrated story remains centered throughout on birthing women, their babies and families: this is their history.
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About the author

Alison Clarke is a freelance historian and also works part-time at the Hocken Collections, University of Otago. After working in nursing for twenty years, Alison completed a PhD in history at the University of Otago in 2003. This was published in her first book, Holiday Seasons, and in various book chapters and articles, one of which won the Bruce Mansfield Award for the best article published in the Journal of Religious History, 2002–2003.

Alison has continued to research and write about various aspects of the social and religious history of nineteenth-century New Zealand, publishing further book chapters and articles. She has also written a centennial history of Dunedin student residence Knox College. In 2008 she received a grant from the New Zealand History Research Trust fund for her project on the history of childbirth.

Alison's current project is a history of the University of Otago, she shares some of this research on her blog University of Otago 1869-2019 ~ writing a history.

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Additional Information

Bridget Williams Books
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Published on
Dec 31, 2012
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Health & Fitness / Pregnancy & Childbirth
History / Australia & New Zealand
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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