History of Puberty

History of Puberty

Women, Gender & Sexuality Network of the Social Science History Association (SSHA)
Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, Washington DC
Washington DC
United States
Vom - Bis
19.11.2020 - 22.11.2020
Dominique Grisard

Call for papers for a panel on the "History of Puberty"

For many girls and boys, puberty is coming earlier than ever before, with studies showing that, on average, puberty is now starting for girls at around 10 years old - at least five years earlier than a century ago.

The idea that particularly girls are reaching "sexual adolescence" earlier than ever before is nothing new - for decades, researchers have been disconcerted about girls' entering puberty "too early". While puberty is problematised as precocious in the case of cis-girls, the practice of delaying puberty in gender variant and trans children is discussed controversially as well.

What is puberty in different places and times? What is the age of puberty in different times and places? When and how is puberty understood as a rite of passage? as the beginning of the gendered self? of the sexual self? When and why are discourses of puberty stressing gender differences? Since when is puberty seen to be defined by hormones? by environmental causes? by socialization? by medicine and/or psychology? How is puberty related to categories such as adolescence, tween, and teen?

We are looking for papers on the history and historicity of puberty, with a strong interest in intersectional approaches in:

- History of medicine
- History of science / STS
- Gender history
- Child & youth studies
- Trans studies
- Gender studies
- Sexuality studies
- Environmental studies
- (Pop)Cultural studies


Who we are:
The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Network of the SSHA seeks to inspire interdisciplinary collaboration among scholars interested in the study of women, men, gender, and sexuality around the world. WGS network members are excited to increase the reach of our very active network through papers and panels – often collaborating with other SSHA networks. We work with scholars who focus on feminist, queer and intersectional approaches to the study of power, the body, identities, the law, policy, social movements, migration, spaces, language, intimacies, etc.; we have explored such themes as “sex in the sixties” from new perspectives and geographical variety – and are eager to further expand such areas as sex, gender, and human rights, transgender studies, transnational feminist activism, disability studies, and more.


Dominique Grisard

Universität Basel