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Leslie J. Reagan

Profile picture for Leslie J. Reagan

Contact Information

443B Gregory Hall


Research Interests

Twentieth-century U.S. history; medicine, public health, and science; women, gender, sexuality; disability history; visual culture and documentary film; law and society; Vietnam.

Research Description

Current Research Projects:
Agent Orange in the United States and Vietnam
Examining the Body: In Medicine and Law.


Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, Madison
BA University of California, Davis


American Bar Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, 1988-1990.
Maurice Richardson Fellowship, University of Wisconsin, Madison Medical School, 1987, 1990.
American Historical Association Littleton-Griswold Research Grant, 1992.
Arnold O. Beckman Research Award, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 1992-1993; 2010.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)-National Library of Medicine, 1995.
Center for Advanced Study, UIUC, 1993-1994; 2014-15.
Radcliffe College Schlesinger Library Research Grant, 1995-96
Social Science Research Council, 1998-99.
ACOG-Ortho-McNeil Fellowship in the History of American Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2001.
Rockefeller Archive Center Research Fellowship, 2003.
James and Sylvia Thayer Short-Term Research Fellowship, UCLA, 2004.
National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Library of Medicine, 2004-06.
Mellon Faculty Fellowship, 2006-07.
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend, 2015.

Awards and Honors

Book and Article Awards:

James Willard Hurst Book Award, 1998, Law and Society Association, for When Abortion Was a Crime.
Louis Pelzer Memorial Award, 1990, from the Organization of American Historians, "About to Meet Her Maker," published in the Journal of American History (1991).
President's Book Award, 1995, Social Science History Assn. for When Abortion Was a Crime
Choice Outstanding Academic Book of the Year, 1997 for When Abortion Was a Crime
Inaugural Faculty Award for Research in the Humanities, 2010 Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) for “Rashes, Rights, and Wrongs in the Hospital and in the Courtroom” Law and History Review (Summer 2009).
Surrency Award, Honorable Mention, 2009, Society for Legal History
Eileen Basker Memorial Prize, 2011, American Anthropological Association for Dangerous Pregnancies
Joan Kelly Memorial Award, 2011, American Historical Association for Dangerous Pregnancies
Arthur J. Viseltear Prize, 2012, American Public Health Association for Dangerous Pregnancies
William H. Welch Medal, 2015, American Association for the History of Medicine for Dangerous Pregnancies

University of Illinois Honors:

University of Illinois University Scholar, 2012-2015

Public Voices Fellowship, 2020-21

Teaching Awards:

Graduate Advisor Award, Medical Scholars Program, UIC College of Medicine, Urbana, 2009.

Queen Award for Teaching, Department of History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2012-13.

List of Excellent Teachers, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Courses Taught

HIST 172 US 1877-present (Gen ed: USM)
Hist 203 Reacting to the Past: Gender Equality? Gender, Work, and Sports
HIST 263 US Hist of medicine/public health (Gen ed: USM)
Hist 286 US Gender History since 1877 (Gen ed: USM)
Hist 300 Film and History: Medicine and Health
Hist 400 War and Society: Vietnam
Hist 498 Research Seminar on Disabilities; US Gender/Women's History focused on UIUC; Sexuality
HIST 502, 505, 570 Comparative Gender; Epidemics and Diseases; Disability History; Core US History

Additional Campus Affiliations

Professor, History
Professor, Gender and Women's Studies
Professor, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
Professor, College of Law

Highlighted Publications

Reagan, L. J. (2010). Dangerous Pregnancies: Mothers, Disabilities, and Abortion in Modern America. University of California Press.

Reagan, L. J. (2022). When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973, with a New Preface. University of California Press.,

Reagan, L. J., Tomes, N., & Treichler, P. A. (Eds.) (2007). Medicine's Moving Pictures: Medicine, Health, and Bodies in American Film and Television. (Rochester Studies in Medical History). University of Rochester Press.

View all publications on Illinois Experts

Recent Publications

Reagan, L. J. (2023). From When Abortion Was a Crime to Abortion Is a Crime. Bulletin of the history of medicine, 97(1), 11-21.

Reagan, L. J. (2022). When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973, with a New Preface. University of California Press.,

Reagan, L. J. (2019). Abortion travels: An international history. Journal of Modern European History, 17(3), 337-352.

Reagan, L. J. (2018). Monstrous births, birth defects, unusual anatomy, and disability in Europe and North America. In The Oxford Handbook of Disability History (pp. 385-406). Oxford University Press.

Reagan, L. J. (2017). Timothy Nugent: “Wheelchair Students” and the Creation of the Most Accessible Campus in the World. In F. E. Hoxie (Ed.), The University of Illinois: Engine of Innovation (pp. 50-59). University of Illinois Press.

View all publications on Illinois Experts