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Palgrave Macmillan

The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies

  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2020

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  • Field-defining handbook which provides a comprehensive and carefully curated view of the state of the field of Critical Menstruation Studies, whilst also pointing toward new directions in research and advocacy.
  • Readers will gain a deep understanding of the depth and breadth of the best of the extant literature as well as iterative questions pertinent to the field.
  • Multi-disciplinary, genre-spanning and critical examination of the cultural, psychological, political and social aspects of menstruation.
  • An invaluable resource for researchers across fields, policy makers, practitioners, and activists alike

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About this book

This open access handbook, the first of its kind, provides a comprehensive and carefully curated multidisciplinary and genre-spanning view of the state of the field of Critical Menstruation Studies, opening up new directions in research and advocacy. It is animated by the central question: ‘“what new lines of inquiry are possible when we center our attention on menstrual health and politics across the life course?” The chapters—diverse in content, form and perspective—establish Critical Menstruation Studies as a potent lens that reveals, complicates and unpacks inequalities across biological, social, cultural and historical dimensions. This handbook is an unmatched resource for researchers, policy makers, practitioners, and activists new to and already familiar with the field as it rapidly develops and expands.


Table of contents (72 chapters)

  1. Menstruation as Fundamental

  2. Menstruation as Embodied


“This open access book is a remarkable rarity among academic publications. … The successful engagement of altern and subaltern voices in the production of the book is a genuine attempt to address Critiques … .” (Elvira Domínguez Redondo, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. (43) 2, May, 2021)

“The volume will reach readers across the world and beyond academia, inviting a broad range of interested groups and people to consider menstruation as a topic for critical, interdisciplinary study.” (Camilla Mørk Røstvik, Social History of Medicine, December 11, 2020)

“The handbook is a celebration of, and a testament to, the creative, interdisciplinary, theoretically grounded approaches that are embraced in critical menstrual studies. It will be significant for readers interested in policy, art, fem tech, and beyond.” (Sara E. Baumann, Psychology of Women Quarterly, October 21, 2020)

“This is surely a very important contribution to women’s health—for women, their providers, and researchers. This is a real landmark in a sorely neglected area.” (Emily Martin, Professor Emerita of Anthropology, New York University, Author of The Woman in the Body: A Cultural Analysis of Reproduction)

“Sometimes the things we don’t talk about are the most important. The Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies is a great leap forward. It breaks the silence and starts not just one conversation, but many. And because it amplifies the voices of some of the most marginalized menstruators and highlights multiple diverse perspectives, it will be of interest to activists and academics alike.” (Cynthia Pearson, Executive Director, National Women’s Health Network)

“Academic research that places menstruation at the intersection of key development issues is urgent and overdue. It can and should inform public policies and programmes designed to challenge gender-based discrimination related to menstruation everywhere—from schools to the workplace.” (Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, USA

    Chris Bobel

  • Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University, New York, USA

    Inga T. Winkler

  • Women and Gender Studies & Social and Cultural Analysis, Arizona State University, Glendale, USA

    Breanne Fahs

  • Center for Genetics and Society, Berkeley, USA

    Katie Ann Hasson

  • Women’s & Gender Studies, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, USA

    Elizabeth Arveda Kissling

  • Department of Psychology, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, USA

    Tomi-Ann Roberts

About the editors

Chris Bobel is professor and chair of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her recent publications include The Managed Body: Developing Girls and Menstrual Health (2019) and Body Battlegrounds: Transgressions, Tensions and Transformations (2019).

Inga T. Winkler is a lecturer in Human Rights and director of the Working Group on Menstrual Health & Gender Justice at Columbia University. As former legal adviser to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation, she continues to work at the intersection of research and policy.

Breanne Fahs is professor of Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University, where she specializes in studying women’s sexuality, critical embodiment studies, radical feminism, and political activism.  Her most recent projects include Burn it Down! Feminist Manifestos for the Revolution(2020), and Women, Sex, and Madness: Notes from the Edge (2019).

Katie Hasson is the program director on genetic justice at the Center for Genetics and Society, a public interest nonprofit working at the intersection of social justice and human biotechnologies.

Elizabeth Arveda Kissling is professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Eastern Washington University. Her research focuses on women’s health, bodies, and feminism in media. She is the author of From a Whisper to a Shout (2018) and Capitalizing on the Curse (2006) and numerous articles.

Tomi-Ann Roberts is professor of Psychology at Colorado College. Her research, teaching, and advocacy centers on her theory “Objectification Theory”, which examines the sexual objectification of girls and women, self-objectification, and the consequences of these for emotions and attitudes regarding menstruation and other mattersof mental and reproductive health.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies

  • Editors: Chris Bobel, Inga T. Winkler, Breanne Fahs, Katie Ann Hasson, Elizabeth Arveda Kissling, Tomi-Ann Roberts

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Singapore

  • eBook Packages: Literature, Cultural and Media Studies, Literature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-981-15-0613-0Published: 25 July 2020

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-981-15-0616-1Published: 18 September 2020

  • eBook ISBN: 978-981-15-0614-7Published: 24 July 2020

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: L, 1037

  • Number of Illustrations: 15 b/w illustrations, 33 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Gender Studies, Medicine/Public Health, general

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