Art and Abortion panel

deadline for submissions: 
November 4, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Association for Art History Annual Conference, April 2023
contact email: 

On May 2, 2022, a draft decision leaked from the US Supreme Court confirmed what many had feared: that the highest US court was set to overturn the 1973 decision Roe vs. Wade and roll back protections governing women’s rights. Almost immediately after, appointment books and clinics began to close in multiple US states. This situation was far from isolated; in the U.K., pandemic gains for women in access to early at-home abortion will roll back on August 29th, 2022. As these and other examples from around the world demonstrate, the present moment appears to be one of regression and regulation.

In the light of these unprecedented cuts to abortion access concomitant with greater restrictions on women’s rights to make choices about their bodies, this panel takes up the politics surrounding the history of abortion as it threads through art practice and activism. The prioritization of the rights of the unborn over the those of girls, women, and others to their own bodies has a deeply rooted precedent and has thereby been a subject of artistic engagement and counterstrategy from the deep past through contemporary activist and feminist art–a lineage that can be traced, for example, from the production of ancient Greek medical tools to Marylin Minter’s Cuntrol (2019). 

Our panel--at the Association for Art History Annual Conference, April 12-14, 2023, in London ( historians of art and scholars of adjacent fields to engage with any aspect of the artistic engagement with abortion from antiquity to the present. Non- traditional approaches, methodologies, and objects are welcome, as are collaborations and cross-disciplinary formulations. Given the sensitive nature of this topic, we ask that presenters and audience members maintain awareness that others in the room may need content warnings and support during the presentations and subsequent conversation — and we, as convenors, will help facilitate such support.

To submit a proposal for consideration, please send your proposed title and abstract of up to 250 words along with your name and institutional affiliation (if any) to both Leila Easa ( and Jennifer Stager (