Janet Farrell Brodie is a professor emerita of history at Claremont Graduate University. Her interests lie primarily in 19th- and 20th-century American history. Within this broad field, her research deals specifically with Cold War secrecy; war and American cultural history; and women, gender, and Cold War history. Along with these research interests, her teaching fields include studies of material culture in the United States and gender and women’s history in a broader scope.
Brodie’s book Contraception and Abortion in Nineteenth Century America (Cornell University Press, 1994) received much praise for its careful research of contraception and abortion information and practices in the 19th century. As reviewed by Women’s Review of Books, “One of Brodie’s many achievements is to denaturalize our sense of reproductive control by setting it firmly in historical context. Her insights into 19th-century meanings of contraception and abortion, however, are not without significance for current struggles.”
More recently, her work examines institutional and individual engagements with the radiation from atomic weapons. She focuses on the first decade after World War II, when civilians in wide-ranging fields and institutions across America grappled with the mysteries of nuclear radiation and with the new imperatives of national security secrecy surrounding anything to do with nuclear energy.
Brodie’s upcoming manuscript, The Trinity Site National Historic Landmark: A History, is in progress.
“Contested Knowledge: The Trinity Test Radiation Studies.” In Inevitably Toxic: Historical Perspectives on Contamination, Exposure, and Expertise, edited by Brinda Sarathy, et al. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018.
“Radiation Secrecy and Censorship After Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” Journal of Social History 48, no. 4 (2015): 842–64.
“Learning Secrecy in the Early Cold War: The RAND Corporation.” Diplomatic History 35, no. 4 (2011): 643–70.
Co-edited with Marc Redfield. High Anxieties: Studies in Addiction and Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.
Contraception and Abortion in Nineteenth-Century America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994.
Introduction to Doing History & Being a Historian
Photos in Interpreting U.S. History
Topics in 19th-Century U.S. History
Uses of Biography for Historians
War in Modern American History & Culture
Work & Labor in 20th-Century U.S. History